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II: Part 7

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,
please let me know!


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II: Part 9

Lucius Annaeus Florus

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

Book II (continued)

XXII. The Norican War.
XXIII. The Illyrian War.
XXIIII. The Pannonian War.
XXV. The Dalmatian War.
XXVI. The Moesian War.
XXVII. The Thracian War.
XXVIII. The Dacian War.
XXVIIII. The Sarmatian War.
XXX. The German War.
XXXI. The Gaetulian War.
XXXII. The Armenian War.

 p329  [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXII. The Norican War

(IIII, 12) 4 The Alps gave confidence to the Noricans, who imagined that war could not reach their rocks and snows; but Caesar, by the hand of his stepson Claudius Drusus, subdued all the nations in that quarter, the Breuni, the Ucenni and the Vindelici. 5 How savage these Alpine peoples were is proved by the action of their women, who, when missiles failed, dashed out the brains of their own children against the ground and hurled them in the faces of the soldiers.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXIII. The Illyrian War

6 The Illyrians also live at the foot of the Alps and keep watch over the depths of their valleys and the barriers formed there by the windings of precipitous torrents. Caesar himself undertook an expedition against them and gave orders for the building of bridges. 7 It was here that, in the confusion caused by the water and the enemy, he snatched a shield from the hand of a soldier who was hesitating to mount the bridge, and was the first to cross. When the army followed him and the bridge had collapsed, broken down by the number of persons upon it, Caesar, wounded in the hands and legs, his comeliness  p331 enhanced by his blood and his dignity by his very danger, dealt the enemy a heavy blow in the rear.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXIIII. The Pannonian War

8 The Pannonians are protected by two swiftly-flowing rivers, the Drave and the Save; after ravaging the territory of their neighbours, they used to withdraw behind the banks of these streams. Caesar sent Vinnius to subdue them, and they were defeated on both rivers. 9 The arms of the conquered enemy were not burnt, as was the usual custom in war, but broken to pieces and hurled into the current, that the fame of Caesar might thus be announced to those who were still resisting.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXV. The Dalmatian War

10 The Dalmatians for the most part lived in the forests, whence they frequently made predatory raids. 11 Marcius the consul had already​1 crippled them by burning Delminium, their capital; afterwards Asinius Pollio — the second greatest of Roman orators​2 — had deprived them of their flocks, arms and territory; Augustus entrusted the task of completely subjugating them to Vibius, 12 who forced this savage people to dig the earth and to melt from its veins the gold, which this otherwise most stupid of peoples seeks with such zeal and diligence that you would think they were extracting it for their own purposes.

 p333  [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXVI. The Moesian War

13 It is a repulsive task to describe the savagery and cruelty of the Moesians and their barbarity surpassing that of all other barbarians. 14 One of their leaders, after calling for silence, exclaimed in front of the host, "Who are you?" And when the reply was given, "We are Romans, lords of the world," 15 "So you will be," was the answer, "if you conquer us." Marcus Crassus accepted the omen. The Moesians immediately sacrificed a horse in front of the army and made a vow that they would offer up and feed upon the vitals of the slaughtered leaders of their enemies. 16 I can well believe that the gods heard their boast, for they would not even endure the sound of our trumpets. No little terror was inspired in the barbarians by the centurion Cornidius, a man of rather barbarous stupidity, which, however, was not without effect upon men of similar character; carrying on the top of his helmet a pan of coals which were fanned by the movement of his body, he scattered flame from his head, which had the appearance of being on fire.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXVII. The Thracian War

17 Though the Thracians had often revolted before, their most serious rising had taken place now under King Rhoemetalcis. He had accustomed the barbarians to the use of military standards and discipline and even of Roman weapons. Thoroughly subdued by Piso, they showed their mad rage even in captivity; for they punished their own savagery by trying to bite through their fetters.

 p335  [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXVIII. The Dacian War

18 The Dacians cling close to the mountains, whence, whenever the Danube froze and bridged itself, under the command of their King Cotiso, they used to make descents and ravage the neighbouring districts. 19 Though they were most difficult to approach, Caesar resolved to drive back this people. He, therefore, sent Lentulus and pushed them beyond the further bank of the river; and garrisons were posted on the nearer bank. On this occasion then Dacia was not subdued, but its inhabitants were moved on and reserved for future conquest.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXVIIII. The Sarmatian War

20 The Sarmatians range on horseback over wide-spreading plains. Them too it was deemed sufficient to debar from access to the Danube, and Lentulus was entrusted with this task also. Their territory consists entirely of snow, ice and forest. So barbarous are they that they do not even understand what peace is.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXX. The German War​a

21 It could be wished that Caesar had not set such store on conquering Germany also. Its loss was a disgrace which far outweighed the glory of its acquisition. 22 But since he was well aware that his father, Gaius Caesar, had twice crossed the Rhine by bridging it and sought hostilities against Germany, he had conceived the desire of making it into a province to do him honour. His object would have been achieved if the barbarians could have tolerated our vices as well as they tolerated our rule.

 p337  [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 23 Drusus was sent into the province and conquered the Usipetes first, and then overran the territory of the Tencturiº and Catthi.​b1 He erected, by way of a trophy, a high mound adorned with the spoils and decorations of the Marcomanni. 24 Next he attacked simultaneously those powerful tribes, the Cherusci, Suebi and Sicambri, who had begun hostilities after crucifying twenty of our centurions, an act which served as an oath binding them together, and with such confidence of victory that they made an agreement in anticipation for dividing the spoils. The Cherusci had chosen the horses, 25 the Suebi the gold and silver, the Sicambri the captives. Everything, however, turned out contrariwise; for Drusus, after defeating them, divided up their horses, their herds, their necklets and their own persons as spoil and sold them. 26 Furthermore, to secure the province he posted garrisons and guard-posts all along the Meuse, Elbe and Weser. Along the banks of the Rhine he disposed more than five hundred forts. He built bridges at Borma and Gesoriacum, and left fleets to protect them.​c 27 He opened a way through the Hercynian forest, which had never before been visited or traversed. In a word, there was such peace in Germany that the inhabitants seemed changed, the face of the country transformed, and the very climate milder and softer than it used to be. 28 Lastly, when the gallant young general had died there, the senate itself, not from flattery but as an acknowledgment of his merit, did him the unparalleled honour of bestowing upon him a surname derived from the name of a province.

 p339  [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 29 But it is more difficult to retain than to create provinces; they are won by force, they are secured by justice. 30 Therefore our joy was short-lived; for the Germans had been defeated rather than subdued, and under the rule of Drusus they respected our moral qualities rather than our arms. 31 After his death they began to detest the licentiousness and pride not less than the cruelty of Quintillius Varus. He had the temerity to hold an assembly and had issued an edict against the Catthi,​b2 just as though he could restrain the violence of barbarians by the rod of a lictor and the proclamation of a herald. 32 But the Germans who had long been regretting that their swords were rusted and their horses idle, as soon as they saw the toga and experienced laws more cruel than arms, snatched up their weapons under the leader­ship of Armenius. 33 Meanwhile Varus was so confident of peace that he was quite unperturbed even when the conspiracy was betrayed to him by Segestes, one of the chiefs. 34 And so when he was unprepared and had no fear of any such thing, at a moment when (such was his confidence) he was actually summoning them to appear before his tribunal, they rose and attacked him from all sides. His camp was seized, and three legions were overwhelmed. 35 Varus met disaster by the same fate and with the same courage as Paulus on the fatal day of Cannae. 36 Never was there slaughter more cruel than took place there in the marshes and woods, never were more intolerable insults inflicted by barbarians, especially those directed  p341 against the legal pleaders. 37 They put out the eyes of some of them and cut off the hands of others; they sewed up the mouth of one of them after first cutting out his tongue, exclaiming, "At last, you viper, you have ceased to hiss." 38 The body too of the consul himself, which the dutiful affection of the soldiers had buried, was disinterred. As for the standards and eagles, the barbarians possess two to this day; the third eagle was wrenched from its pole, before it could fall into the hands of the enemy, by the standard-bearer, who, carrying it concealed in the folds round his belt, secreted himself in the blood-stained marsh. The result of this disaster was that the empire, which had not stopped on the shores of the Ocean, 39 was checked on the banks of the Rhine.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXXI. The Gaetulian War

40 Such were the operations in the north; in the south there were risings rather than wars. Augustus put down the Musulami and Gaetulians who dwell near the Syrtes, through the agency of Cossus, who thus gained the name of Gaetulicus, a title more extensive than his actual victory warranted. 41 He entrusted the subjugation of the Marmarides and Garamantes to Quirinius, who likewise might have returned with the title of Marmaricus, had he not been too modest in estimating his victory.​d

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXXII. The Armenian War

42 In the east the Armenians caused more trouble. Hither Caesar sent one of the Caesars, his grandsons.  p343 Both were cut off in early life, one without having distinguished himself; for Lucius died of disease at Marseilles, while Gaius perished in Syria by a wound received while recovering Armenia, which was transferring its allegiance to Parthia. 43 Pompeius, after defeating Tigranes, had accustomed the Armenians to a state of bondage which merely obliged them to accept rulers appointed by Rome. The exercise of this right, which had been interrupted, was re-established by Gaius Caesar after a struggle which, though not serious, involved some loss of life. 44 For Dones, whom the king had appointed governor of Artagerae,​3 pretending to betray his master, attacked the general while he was engaged in examining a document, which he had himself handed to him as containing a list of the treasures, and suddenly struck him with his drawn sword. Caesar recovered from the wound for the time being but . . .​4 45 His barbarian assailant, beset on all sides by the angry soldiers, made atonement to the still surviving Caesar; for he fell by the sword, and was burnt upon the pyre on which he hurled himself after he was stabbed.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 In 156 B.C.

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2 i.e. second only to Cicero, with whom he is compared by Quintilian, X.1.113. Some commentators regard hic secundus orator as a gloss.

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3 The Artageira of Strabo XI, p529.

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

Thayer's Notes:

a This section, with some further useful notes, is also online at Livius.

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b1 b2 The second instance of this curiously spelled proper name appears in no manuscript and is the result of an emendation (see critical note). Either the Chatti or the Chauci may be meant.

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c Borma is otherwise unknown, and Jona Lendering (see his note on the page at Livius) is surely right to emend to Bonna.

Gesoriacum appears in no manuscript and is the result of an emendation (see critical note): and although paleographically all those g's in the manuscripts do suggest Gesoriacum, I suspect it's not right, merely the result of the copyist of the archetype casting around to fit an undecipherable placename with classibusque. Gesoriacum, the modern Boulogne, is a seaport on the English Channel — whereas in this whole section we are clearly along the Rhine; and although it is at the mouth of the Liane, that's a very small and insignificant river.

Finally, protecting a bridge with a fleet is awkward and unusual.

So: as a first approach, I would steer the emendation of this garbled text in a different direction, to Bonnam et Mogontiacum (?) pontibus iunxit castellisque [or castrisque or some similar word] firmavit: "He built bridges at Bonn and Mainz (?), and left forts/camps (?) to protect them."

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d Modern research has considerably expanded our knowledge of the shadowy Garamantes; see the interesting (and illustrated) page at Livius.

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Page updated: 10 Dec 16