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Bill Thayer

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II: Part 8

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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Lucius Annaeus Florus

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

Book II (end)

XXXIII. The War against the Cantabrians and Asturians.
XXXIIII. The Peace with Parthia and the Deification of Augustus.

 p343  [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXXIII. The War against the Cantabrians and Asturians

(IIII, 12) 46 In the west almost all Spain had been subjugated, except that part which adjoins the cliffs where the Pyrenees end and is washed by the nearer waters of the Ocean.​1 Here two powerful nations,  p345 the Cantabrians and the Asturians, lived in freedom from the rule of Rome. 47 The Cantabrians rose first and were more energetic and obstinate in their rebellion; not content with defending their liberty, they tried also to dominate their neighbours and harassed the Vaccaei, the Turmogi and the Autrigones by frequent raids. 48 The news of their unusual activity induced Caesar himself to undertake an expedition instead of entrusting it to another. He came personally to Segisama, where he pitched his camp, and then, dividing his army into three parts, enveloped the whole of Cantabria and enclosed its fierce people like wild beasts in a net. 49 Nor did he give them any peace on the side of the Ocean; for they were also assailed in the rear by the attacks of his fleet. The first battle against the Cantabrians was fought under the walls of Bergida. From here they fled to the lofty peak of Mount Vindius, to which they had thought the Roman army was less likely to ascend than the waters of the Ocean. 50 Next the town of Aracelium offered a stout resistance, but was eventually taken. The last incident was the siege of Mount Medullus. When it had been surrounded by a continuous earthwork extending over eighteen miles and the Romans were closing in upon it on every side, the barbarians, seeing that their last hour had come, vied with one another in hastening on their own deaths in the midst of a banquet by fire and the sword and a poison which is there commonly extracted from the yew-tree. Thus most of them saved themselves from a captivity which was deemed more grievous than death itself by men who had hitherto never been conquered. 51 Caesar received the news of these operations, which  p347 were carried out by Antistius and Furnius, his lieutenant-generals, and Agrippa, while he was wintering on the coast at Tarraco. 52 Himself arriving quickly on the scene, he brought some of the inhabitants down from the mountains, secured the fidelity of others by taking hostages, and sold others, by right of conquest, into slavery. 53 His success was considered by the senate to be worthy of a laurel crown and a triumphal chariot; but Caesar was so mighty that he despised any glory that a triumph could bestow. 54 The Asturians meanwhile had come down from the snow-clad mountains in a vast host. This attack seems not to have been undertaken without consideration by the barbarians; but they pitched their camp at the river Astura and, dividing their forces into three parts, prepared a simultaneous attack on the three camps of the Romans. 55 With such brave enemies attacking suddenly and with so well-conceived a plan the struggle would have been doubtful and bloody — and I would I could think that the losses on both sides would have been equal​256 had not the Brigaecini acted as traitors and had not Carisius arrived with his army as a result of their warnings. To have frustrated the enemy's designs meant victory, though, even so, the struggle was a bloody one. 57 The well-fortified city of Lancea opened its gates to the remains of the defeated army; here such efforts were needed to counteract the natural advantage of the place, that when firebrands were demanded to burn the captured city, it was only with difficulty that the general won mercy for it from the soldiers, 58 on the plea that it would form a better monument of the Roman victory if it were left standing than if it were burnt.

 p349  [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 59 This was the end of Augustus' campaigns as well as of the rebellion in Spain. After this we were able to rely on the loyalty of the Spaniards, and uninterrupted peace ensued as a result both of their natural disposition for the arts of peace and also of the wise measures taken by Caesar, who, dreading the confidence inspired by the mountains into which they were wont to retire, ordered them to occupy and cultivate the district in the plain where his camp had been; 60 he urged that the council of the nation should be held there and the place regarded as the capital. The natural advantages of the place favoured his plan; for the whole district bears gold and is rich in chrysocolla,​3 vermilion and other pigments; he, therefore, ordered that the soil should be tilled. Thus the Astures, digging deep into the ground in search of riches for others, gained their first knowledge of their own resources and wealth.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXXIIII. The Peace with Parthia and the Deification of Augustus

61 Now that all the races of the west and south were subjugated, and also the races of the north, those at least between the Rhine and the Danube, and of the east between the Cyrus and the Euphrates, the other nations too, who were not under the rule of the empire, yet felt the greatness of Rome and revered its people as the conqueror of the world. 62 For the Scythians and the Sarmatians sent ambassadors seeking friendship; the Seres​4 too and the Indians, who live immediately beneath the sun, though they  p351 brought elephants amongst their gifts as well as precious stones and pearls, regarded their long journey, in the accomplishment of which they had spent four years, as the greatest tribute which they rendered; and indeed their complexion proved that they came from beneath another sky. 63 The Parthians too, as though they repented of their victory, voluntarily returned the standards which they had won at the time of Crassus' defeat. 64 Thus everywhere throughout the inhabited world there was firmly-established and uninterrupted peace or truce, and Caesar Augustus ventured at last, in the seven hundredth year since the foundation of the city,​5 to close the double doors of the temple of Janus, which had previously been shut on two occasions only, in the reign of Numa and after the first defeat of Carthage. 65 Next, devoting himself to securing tranquillity, by many strict and severe enactments he restrained an age which was prone to every vice and readily led into luxury. For all these great achievements he was named Perpetual Imperator and Father of his Country. 66 It was also discussed in the senate whether he should not be called Romulus, because he had established the empire; but the name of Augustus was deemed more holy and venerable, in order that, while he still dwelt upon earth, he might be given a name and title which raised him to the rank of a deity.​a

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 The Ocean being regarded as a broad stream, the Atlantic shores of Spain form its nearer bank.

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2 This is the only sense which can be extracted from the words utinam mutua clade which is read by all MSS.; but utinam is possibly corrupt.

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3 A green pigment.

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4 Chinese.

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5 Strictly speaking the year of the closing of the temple of Janus (29 B.C.) was A.U.C. 725.

Thayer's Note:

a For the considerations that impelled Octavian to choose the name Augustus rather than some other, see F. J. Haverfield, The Name Augustus (JRS 5:249‑250); and John Buchan, Augustus p145 f.

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