|Do not fly Iberia
Display Latin text
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book III Chapter 21: War in Africa (Cont.)[AD 20]
Return to index
On receiving this information, Lucius Apronius, successor to Camillus, alarmed more by the dishonour of his own men than by the glory of the enemy, ventured on a deed quite exceptional at that time and derived from old tradition. He flogged to death every tenth man drawn by lot from the disgraced cohort. So beneficial was this rigour that a detachment of veterans, numbering not more than five hundred, routed those same troops of Tacfarinas on their attacking a fortress named Thala. In this engagement Rufus Helvius, a common soldier, won the honour of saving a citizen's life, and was rewarded by Apronius with a neck-chain and a spear. To these the emperor added the civic crown complaining, but without anger, that Apronius had not used his right as proconsul to bestow this further distinction. Tacfarinas, however, finding that the Numidians were cowed and had a horror of siege-operations, pursued a desultory warfare, retreating when he was pressed, and then again hanging on his enemy's rear. While the barbarian continued these tactics, he could safely insult the baffled and exhausted Romans. But when he marched away towards the coast and, hampered with booty, fixed himself in a regular camp, Caesianus was despatched by his father Apronius with some cavalry and auxiliary infantry, reinforced by the most active of the legionaries, and, after a successful battle with the Numidians, drove them into the desert.
Event: War in Africa