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Quote of the day: He subsequently incurred the degrading i
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Historiae by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book I Chapter 79: Attack of the Roxolani[AD 69]
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Men's minds were so intent on the civil war, that foreign affairs were disregarded. This emboldened the Roxolani, a Sarmatian tribe, who had destroyed two cohorts in the previous winter, to invade Moesia with great hopes of success. They had 9000 cavalry, flushed with victory and intent on plunder rather than on fighting. They were dispersed and off their guard, when the third legion together with some auxiliaries attacked them. They had everything ready for battle, the Sarmatians were scattered, and in their eagerness for plunder had encumbered themselves with heavy baggage, while the superior speed of their horses was lost on the slippery roads. Thus they were cut down as if their hands were tied. It is wonderful how entirely the courage of this people is, so to speak, external to themselves. No troops could shew so little spirit when fighting on foot; when they charge in squadrons, hardly any line can stand against them. But as on this occasion the day was damp and the ice thawed, what with the continual slipping of their horses, and the weight of their coats of mail, they could make no use of their pikes or their swords, which being of an excessive length they wield with both hands. These coats are worn as defensive armour by the princes and most distinguished persons of the tribe. They are formed of plates of iron or very tough hides, and though they are absolutely impenetrable to blows, yet they make it difficult for such as have been overthrown by the charge of the enemy to regain their feet. Besides, the Sarmatians were perpetually sinking in the deep and soft snow. The Roman soldier, moving easily in his cuirass, continued to harass them with javelins and lances, and whenever the occasion required, closed with them with his short sword, and stabbed the defenceless enemy; for it is not their custom to defend themselves with a shield. A few who survived the battle concealed themselves in the marshes. There they perished from the inclemency of the season and the severity of their wounds. When this success was known, Marcus Aponius, governor of Moesia, was rewarded with a triumphal statue, while Fulvius Aurelius, Julianus Titius, and Numisius Lupus, the legates of the legions, received the ensigns of consular rank. Otho was delighted, and claimed the glory for himself, as if it were he that commanded success in war, and that had aggrandised the State by his generals and his armies.

Event: Attack of the Roxolani

Conversis ad civile bellum animis externa sine cura habebantur. eo audentius Rhoxolani, Sarmatica gens, priore hieme caesis duabus cohortibus, magna spe Moesiam inruperant, ad novem milia equitum, ex ferocia et successu praedae magis quam pugnae intenta. igitur vagos et incuriosos tertia legio adiunctis auxiliis repente invasit. apud Romanos omnia proelio apta: Sarmatae dispersi aut cupidine praedae graves onere sarcinarum et lubrico itinerum adempta equorum pernicitate velut vincti caedebantur. namque mirum dictu ut sit omnis Sarmatarum virtus velut extra ipsos. nihil ad pedestrem pugnam tam ignavum: ubi per turmas advenere vix ulla acies obstiterit. sed tum umido die et soluto gelu neque conti neque gladii, quos praelongos utraque manu regunt, usui, lapsantibus equis et catafractarum pondere. id principibus et nobilissimo cuique tegimen, ferreis lamminis aut praeduro corio consertum, ut adversus ictus impenetrabile ita impetu hostium provolutis inhabile ad resurgendum; simul altitudine et mollitia nivis hauriebantur. Romanus miles facilis lorica et missili pilo aut lanceis adsultans, ubi res posceret, levi gladio inermem Sarmatam (neque enim scuto defendi mos est) comminus fodiebat, donec pauci qui proelio superfuerant paludibus abderentur. ibi saevitia hiemis aut vulnerum absumpti. postquam id Romae compertum, M. Aponius Moesiam obtinens triumphali statua, Fulvus Aurelius et Iulianus Tettius ac Numisius Lupus, legati legionum, consularibus ornamentis donantur, laeto Othone et gloriam in se trahente, tamquam et ipse felix bello et suis ducibus suisque exercitibus rem publicam auxisset.