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Quote of the day: Zeno, son of Polemon, king of Pontus who
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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book IV Chapter 51: Revolt in Thracia (cont.)[AD 26]
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The barbarians meanwhile stones such as the hand could grasp, stakes with points hardened by fire, and boughs lopped from oaks; now filling up the fosses with bushes and hurdles and dead bodies, while others advanced up to the breastwork with bridges and ladders which they had constructed for the occasion, seized it, tore it down, and came to close quarters with the defenders. Our soldiers on the other side drove them back with missiles, repelled them with their shields, and covered them with a storm of long siege-javelins and heaps of stones. Success already gained and the more marked disgrace which would follow repulse, were a stimulus to the Romans, while the courage of the foe was heightened by this last chance of deliverance and the presence of many mothers and wives with mournful cries. Darkness, which increased the daring of some and the terror of others, random blows, wounds not foreseen, failure to recognise friend or enemy, echoes, seemingly in their rear, from the winding mountain valleys, spread such confusion that the Romans abandoned some of their lines in the belief that they had been stormed. Only however a very few of the enemy had broken through them; the rest, after their bravest men had been beaten back or wounded, were towards daybreak pushed back to the upper part of the fortress and there at last compelled to surrender. Then the immediate neighbourhood, by the voluntary action of the inhabitants, submitted. The early and severe winter of Mount Haemus saved the rest of the population from being reduced by assault or blockade. Interea barbari catervis decurrentes nunc in vallum manualia saxa, praeustas sudes, decisa robora iacere, nunc virgultis et cratibus et corporibus exanimis complere fossas, quidam pontis et scalas ante fabricati inferre propugnaculis eaque prensare, detrahere et adversum resistentis comminus niti. miles contra deturbare telis, pellere umbonibus, muralia pila, congestas lapidum molis provolvere. his partae victoriae spes et si cedant insignitius flagitium, illis extrema iam salus et adsistentes plerisque matres et coniuges earumque lamenta addunt animos. nox aliis in audaciam, aliis ad formidinem opportuna; incerti ictus, vulnera improvisa; suorum atque hostium ignoratio et montis anfractu repercussae velut a tergo voces adeo cuncta miscuerant ut quaedam munimenta Romani quasi perrupta omiserint. neque tamen pervasere hostes nisi admodum pauci: ceteros, deiecto promptissimo quoque aut saucio, adpetente iam luce trusere in summa castelli ubi tandem coacta deditio. et proxima sponte incolarum recepta: reliquis quo minus vi aut obsidio subigerentur praematura montis