|Do not fly Iberia
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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book I Chapter 40: Caesar against Ariovistus. Speech of Caesar.[58 BC]
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|When Caesar observed these things, having called a council, and summoned to it the centurions of all the companies, he severely reprimanded them, "particularly, for supposing that it belonged to them to inquire or conjecture, either in what direction they were marching, or with what object. That Ariovistus, during his [Caesar's] consulship, had most anxiously sought after the friendship of the Roman people; why should any one judge that he would so rashly depart from his duty? He for his part was persuaded, that, when his demands were known and the fairness of the terms considered, he would reject neither his nor the Roman people's favor. But even if, driven on by rage and madness, he should make war upon them, what after all were they afraid of? - or why should they despair either of their own valor or of his zeal? Of that enemy a trial had been made within our fathers' recollection, when, on the Teutones by Gaius Marius, the army was regarded as having deserved no less praise than their commander himself. It had been made lately, too, in Italy, during the rebellion of the slaves, whom, however, the experience and training which they had received from us, assisted in some respect. From which a judgment might be formed of the advantages which resolution carries with it inasmuch as those whom for some time they had groundlessly dreaded when u armed, they had afterward vanquished, when well armed and flushed with success. In short, that these were the same men whom the Helvetii , in frequent encounters, not only in their own territories, but also in theirs [the German ], have generally vanquished, and yet can not have been a match for our army. If the unsuccessful battle and flight of the Gauls disquieted any, these, if they made inquiries, might discover that, when the Gauls had been tired out by the long duration of the war, Ariovistus, after he had many months kept himself in his camp and in the marshes, and had given no opportunity for an engagement, fell suddenly upon them, by this time despairing of a battle and scattered in all directions, and was victorious more through stratagem and cunning than valor. But though there had been room for such stratagem against savage and unskilled men, not even [Ariovistus] himself expected that thereby our armies could be entrapped. That those who ascribed their fear to a pretense about the [deficiency of] supplies and the narrowness of the roads, acted presumptuously, as they seemed either to distrust their general's discharge of his duty, or to dictate to him. That these things were his concern; that the Sequani, the Leuci, and the Lingones were to furnish the corn; and that it was already ripe in the fields; that as to the road they would soon be able to judge for themselves. As to its being reported that the soldiers would not be obedient to command, or advance, he was not at all disturbed at that; for he knew, that in the case of all those whose army had not been obedient to command, either upon some mismanagement of an affair, fortune had deserted them, or, that upon some crime being discovered, covetousness had been clearly proved [against them]. His integrity had been seen throughout his whole life, his good fortune in the war with the Helvetii. That he would therefore instantly set about what he had intended to put off till a more distant day, and would break up his camp the next night, in the fourth watch, that he might ascertain, as soon as possible, whether a sense of honor and duty, or whether fear had more influence with them. But that, if no one else should follow, yet he would go with only the tenth legion, of which he had no misgivings, and it should be his praetorian cohort This legion Caesar had both greatly favored, and in it, on account of its valor, placed the greatest confidence.