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I: Part 9

This webpage reproduces part of
The Epitome of Roman History


published in the Loeb Classical Library,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
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I: Part 11

Lucius Annaeus Florus

The two books of the Epitome,
extracted from Titus Livius,
of all the wars of seven hundred years

Book I (continued)

XXXV. The Asiatic War.
XXXVI. The Jugurthine War.
XXXVII. The War with the Allobroges.
XXXVIII. The War with the Cimbri, Teutones and Tigurini.
XXXVIIII. The Thracian War.

 p159  [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXXV. The Asiatic War

II, 20 When Spain had been conquered in the West, the Roman people had peace in the East; and they not only had peace, but, by an unparalleled and unheard‑of dispensation of fortune, wealth was left to them by royal bequests and whole kingdoms at a time passed into their hands. 2 Attalus, king of Pergamon, son of King Eumenes, who had been our former ally and supporter in war, left a will which said, "Let the Roman people be heir to my estate: the following possessions now constitute the royal property."​1 3 Entering, therefore, into this inheritance, the Roman people took possession of a province not by war or force of arms but, what is more equitable, by the right conferred by a will. 4 It is difficult to say whether the Roman people lost or recovered the province with greater ease. Aristonicus, a high-spirited young man of the royal blood, easily won over some of the cities which had been accustomed to obey the kings, and compelled a few others — Myndos, Samos and Colophon — which refused to join him. He also defeated the army of the praetor Crassus and captured its commander.  p161 5 The latter, however, not forgetful of the traditions of his family and of the Roman name, blinded with a stick the barbarian who was guarding him and thus provoked him, as was his purpose, to put him to death. 6 Aristonicus was soon afterwards overcome by Perperna and taken prisoner, and was kept in chains after resigning his claims. 7 Aquilius finally brought the Asiatic war to a close by the wicked expedient of poisoning the springs in order to procure the surrender of certain cities. This, though it hastened his victory, brought shame upon it, for he had disgraced the Roman arms, which had hitherto been unsullied, by the use of foul drugs in violation of the laws of heaven and the practice of our forefathers.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXXVI. The Jugurthine war

III, 1 So much for events in the East; in the South there was not the same tranquillity. Who, after the fate of Carthage, could expect another war to arise in Africa? 2 Yet Numidia bestirred herself in a serious effort, and there was something in Jugurtha to make him an object of dread as the successor of Hannibal. This crafty king used his wealth to attack the Roman people when they were invincible with arms. Contrary to general expectation, fate decreed that a king pre-eminent in stratagem should himself be ensnared by a stratagem. 3 Jugurtha, the grandson of Massinissa and the adopted son of Micipsa, having, in his hurry to possess kingly power, determined to put his brothers to death, was less afraid of them than of the Roman senate and people, in whose allegiance and under whose protection the kingdom then was; he, therefore, relied  p163 on treachery in the commission of his first crime. 4 Having possessed himself of the head of Hiempsal, he had turned his attention to Adherbal, who had fled to Rome, and sending ambassadors with money he won over the senate to his side. This was his first victory over us. 5 Adopting similar methods with the commissioners who had been sent to partition the kingdom between him and Adherbal, and having carried by assault the very embodiment of the character of the Roman Empire by bribing Scaurus, he trusted to audacity to complete the evil with which he had begun. 6 But crimes do not long remain undetected. The scandal of the bribed commission came to light, and it was resolved to begin hostilities against the murderer of his own kinsman. 7 The consul Calpurnius Bestia​2 was the first general to be sent against Numidia; but the king, who knew by experience that gold was more efficacious against the Romans than steel, purchased peace from him. 8 Jugurtha, being accused of this criminal action and having been summoned to appear before the senate under promise of safe-conduct, showed equal effrontery in coming to Rome and sending an assassin and murdering Massiva, his rival for the throne. 9 This act was an additional pretext for war against the king. The vengeance that was to follow was entrusted to Albinus. But his brother​3 too (shameful to relate) so corrupted the army that, through the spontaneous flight of our troops, the Numidian was victorious and gained possession of our camp. This was followed by a disgraceful treaty fixing the terms of their safety, under which he allowed the armies which he had brought to depart. 10 At last Metellus arose  p165 to defend not so much the might as the honour of the Roman Empire. With great skill he used their own wiles against the enemy, who sought to delude him now with entreaties and now with threats, at one moment by pretended and at another by actual flight. 11 Not content with laying waste the fields and villages, he attacked the principal cities of Numidia. He was unsuccessful indeed in his assault upon Zama, but plundered Thala, a storehouse of arms and royal treasures. 12 He then pursued the king, stripped of his cities and now a fugitive from his country and kingdom, through Mauretania and Gaetulia. 13 Finally, Marius with considerably increased forces (for, acting as one would expect a low-born man to act, he had forced the lowest class of citizens to enlist), though he attacked the king when he was already routed and wounded, did not, however, defeat him any more easily than if his strength had been fresh and unimpaired. 14 Marius not only captured, by a wonderful stroke of good fortune, the city of Capsa founded by Hercules in the middle of Africa, defended by waterless tracts, snakes and sand, but he also penetrated, thanks to a Ligurian soldier,​4 to Molucha, a city built on a rocky height, the approach to which was steep and inaccessible. 15 Presently he defeated not only Jugurtha himself but also Bocchus, king of Mauretania, who from ties of kinship was supporting the Numidians, near the city of Cirta. 16 Bocchus, apprehensive about his own interests and afraid of being involved in another's ruin, offered the person of Jugurtha as the price of a treaty and friendship. 17 Thus the most treacherous of kings was entrapped by the treachery of his own father-in‑law  p167 and handed over to Sulla, and at last the Roman people saw Jugurtha led in triumph loaded with chains; 18 and he himself, too, conquered and in chains, saw the city of which he had vainly prophesied that it could be bought and would one day perish if it could find a purchaser. In Jugurtha it had a purchaser — if it had been for sale; but once it had escaped his hands, it was certain that it was not doomed to perish.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXXVII. The War with the Allobroges.

III, 2 So much for the activities of the Roman people in the South. A much more formidable and widespread danger threatened them from the North.​5 Nothing is more inclement than this region. 2 The climate is harsh, and the disposition of the inhabitants resembles it. Along the whole extent, on the right and left and in the centre of the country to the north, violent foes broke forth.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 3 The Saluvii felt the first shock of our arms on the other side of the Alps, when the loyal and friendly city of Marseilles complained of their behaviour. 4 The Allobroges and Arveni were next attacked, when similar complaints against them on the part of the Aedui demanded our help and assistance. The rivers Isara and Vindelicus and the Rhone, swiftest of streams, can bear witness to the victories which we won over each of them. 5 Our elephants, whose ferocity matched that of the barbarians, caused great alarm amongst them. The most conspicuous figure in the triumph was King Bituitus  p169 himself, in his vari-coloured arms and silver chariot, just as he had appeared in battle. 6 The great joy caused by both these victories may be judged from the fact that both Domitius Ahenobarbus and Fabius Maximus set up towers of stone on the actual sites of the battles which they had fought, and fixed on the top of them trophies adorned with the enemy's arms. This practice was unusual with our generals; for the Roman people never cast their defeats in the teeth of their conquered enemies.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXXVIII. The War with the Cimbri, Teutones and Tigurini

III, 3 The Cimbri, Teutones and Tigurini, fugitives from the extreme parts of Gaul, since the Ocean had inundated their territories, began to seek new settlement throughout the world, 2 and excluded from Gaul and Spain, descended into Italy and sent representatives to the camp of Silanus and thence to the senate asking that "the people of Mars should give them some land by way of pay and use their hands and weapons for any purpose it wished." 3 But what land could the Roman people give them when they were on eve of a struggle amongst themselves about agrarian legislation? Thus repulsed they began to seek by force of arms what they had failed to obtain by entreaties. 4 Silanus could not withstand the first attack of the barbarians, nor Manilius the second, nor Caepio the third; they were all routed and the camps captured. 5 There would have been an end of Rome if that age had not had the good fortune to possess Marius. Even he did not dare to meet the enemy immediately, but kept his soldiers in camp until the irresistible  p171 fury and rage, which in barbarians takes the place of courage, spent itself. 6 The barbarians, therefore, made off, jeering at our men and — such was their confidence that they would capture Rome — advising them to give them any messages which they had for their wives. With a speed which amply fulfilled their threats, they bore down towards the Alps, which form the barriers of Italy, in three detachments. 7 Marius with wonderful celerity immediately, by taking shorter routes, outstripped the enemy, and coming upon the Teutones first at the very foot of the Alps, what a defeat he inflicted upon them, ye heavenly powers, at the place called Aquae Sextiae! 8 The enemy held the valley and the river flowing through it, while our men had no water-supply. It is uncertain whether the general acted designedly or whether he converted a mistake into a stratagem; at any rate the valour of the Romans under the constraint of necessity gave them victory. 9 For when the men demanded water, Marius replied, "If you are men, there it is yonder for you." With such ardour, then, did they fight and such was the slaughter of the enemy that the victorious Romans drank as much barbarian gore as water from the blood-stained stream. 10 Their king, Teutobodus himself, who had been accustomed to vault over four or even six horses, could scarcely find one to mount when he fled, and having been captured in a neighbouring forest was a striking figure in the triumphal procession; for, being a man of extraordinary stature, he towered above the trophies of his defeat.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 11 The Teutones having been thus absolutely destroyed, attention was next directed to the Cimbri.  p173 This people, though it is scarcely credible, had already descended during the winter (which increases the height of the Alps) from the Tridentine ranges like an avalanche into Italy. 12 Attempting at first to cross the river Atesis, not by a bridge or in boats, but, with the stupidity of barbarians, by swimming, when they had vainly tried to stem the current with their hands and shields, they blocked it by hurling trees into it, and so crossed. 13 If they had immediately marched upon Rome with hostile intent, the danger would have been great; but in Venetia, a district in which the Italian climate is almost at its softest, the very mildness of the country and of the air sapped their vigour. When they had been further demoralized by the use of bread and cooked meat and the delights of wine, Marius opportunely approached them. 14 They came of their own accord — for the barbarians have no trace of fear​6 — and asked our general to name a day for the battle; and so he appointed the morrow. The armies met in a very wide plain which they call the Raudian Plain. On the side of the enemy 65,000 men fell, on our side less than 300; the slaughter of the barbarians continued all day. 15 On this occasion too our general had added craft to courage, imitating Hannibal and his stratagem at Cannae. For, in the first place, the day he had chosen was misty, so that he could charge the enemy unawares, and it was also windy, so that the dust was driven into the eyes and faces of the enemy; finally, he had drawn up his line facing the west, so that, as was afterwards learned from the prisoners, the sky seemed to be on fire with the glint reflected from the bronze of the Roman helmets. 16 There  p175 was quite as severe a struggle with the women-folk of the barbarians as with the men; for they had formed a barricade of their waggons and carts and, mounting on the top of it, fought with axes and pikes. 17 Their death was as honourable as their resistance; for when, after sending a delegation to Marius, they had failed to secure their liberty and to be made priestesses​7 — a request which could not lawfully be granted — they strangled all their infants or dashed them to pieces, and themselves either fell by wounds inflicted by one another, or else, making ropes of their own hair, hanged themselves on trees or the yokes of their waggons. 18 Their king Boiorix fell fighting energetically in the forefront of the battle, and not without having inflicted vengeance on his foes.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The third body, consisting of the Tigurini, who had taken up their position as a reserve force among the Norican ranges of the Alps, dispersing in different directions, resorted to ignoble flight and depredations and finally vanished away. 19 The joyful and happy news of the deliverance of Italy and the salvation of the empire was received by the Roman people not, as usual, through human agency but from the lips of the gods themselves, if we may believe the tale. 20 For on the same day as that on which the battle was fought, young men were seen to present to the praetor a despatch decked with laurels in front of the temple of Pollux and Castor, and the rumour of a victory over the Cimbri spread far and wide through the theatre. . . .​8 exclaimed, "May it be a good omen." 21 What could be more wonderful or remarkable than this? For just as though Rome, raised aloft on her hills, was present watching the battle, the people in the  p177 city were raising the usual applause which is given at a gladiatorial show at the very moment when the Cimbri were falling on the field of battle.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXXVIIII. The Thracian War

III, 4 After the Macedonians (heaven save the mark) the Thracians, former tributaries of the Macedonians, rebelled and, not content with making incursions merely into the neighbouring provinces of Thessaly and Dalmatia, penetrated as far as the Adriatic; checked by the boundary which it formed, since nature apparently stayed their advance, they hurled their weapons against the very waters. 2 Throughout the period of their advance they left no cruelty untried, as they vented their fury on their prisoners; they sacrificed to the gods with human blood; they drank out of human skulls; by every kind of insult inflicted by burning and fumigation​9 they made death more foul; they even forced infants from their mothers' wombs by torture. 3 The cruellest of all the Thracians were the Scordisci, and to their strength was added cunning as well; 4 their haunts among the woods and mountains harmonized well with their fierce temper. An army, therefore, was not only routed and put to flight by them, but — what almost seemed like a miracle — entirely cut up under the command of a Cato. 5 Didius, finding them wandering about and dispersed in undisciplined plundering, drove them back into their own land of Thrace. Drusus forced them still further and prevented them from recrossing the Danube. Minucius laid waste all the country along the Hebrus, losing, however, many of his men as they rode across a river covered  p179 with treacherous ice. 6 Volso penetrated to Rhodope and the Caucasus.​10 Curio reached Dacia, but shrank from its gloomy forests. Appius advanced as far as the Sarmatians, while Lucullus reached the Tanais, the boundary of those tribes, and Lake Maeotis. 7 These savage enemies could only be reduced by the employment of their own methods against them; severe cruelties were inflicted upon the captives by fire and the sword, but nothing was regarded by the barbarians as more horrible than that they should be left with their hands cut off and be forced to survive their punishment.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 fuerunt appears to be a sort of epistolary perfect: "were, when I made my will."

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2 Consul in 111 B.C.

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3 Aulus Albinus, who was left in Africa, as pro-praetor (Sall., Jug. 38).

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4 The incident is described by Sallust (Jug. 93.2).

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5 The reading here is uncertain (see critical note), but the general sense is clear.

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6 The text here is very uncertain; see critical note.

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7 They had asked to be sent as a gift to the Vestal Virgins and promised to take vows of chastity (Val. Max. VI.1).

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8 There is a lacuna in the text at this point.

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9 Cp. Cicero, in Verr. I.17 (45), where torture by fumigation is described.

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10 The mention here of the Caucasus is a good example of the gross exaggeration in which Florus sometimes indulges.

Thayer's Note: Not fair. Caucasumque is an uncertain reading, and one scholar has proposed "the Haemus" which makes perfect sense — see the critical note.

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Page updated: 29 Oct 08