|Do not fly Iberia
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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book IV Chapter 23: The Batavian Uprise. Siege of Castra Vetera (cont.)[AD 69]
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Part of the camp occupied the gentle slope of a hill; to part was a level approach. By this encampment Augustus had thought the German tribes might be watched and checked; never had he contemplated such a pitch of disaster, as that these tribes should themselves advance to attack our legions. Hence no labour was bestowed on the ground or on the defences. Our valour and our arms seemed defence enough. The Batavians and the Transrhenane tribes took up their position, each tribe by itself, to distinguish and so the better to display the valour of each; first annoying us by a distant volley; then, as they found that very many of their missiles fixed themselves harmlessly in the turrets and battlements of the walls, and they themselves suffered from the stones showered down on them, they fell on the entrenchment with a shout and furious rush, many placing their scaling-ladders against the ramparts, and others mounting on a testudo formed by their comrades. Some were in the act of climbing over when they were thrust down by the swords of the enemy, and fell overwhelmed by a storm of javelins and stakes. Always very daring at first and excessively elated by success, they now in their eagerness for plunder bore up against reverse. They also ventured to use what to them was a novelty, engines of war; they had themselves no skill in handling them, but the prisoners and deserters taught them to pile up timber in the shape of a bridge, under which they put wheels, and so propelled it, some standing on the top, and fighting as they would from an earthwork, others concealing themselves within and undermining the walls. But the stones thrown by the catapults prostrated the ill-constructed fabric, and when they set themselves to prepare hurdles and mantlets, burning spears were thrown on them by the engines, fire being thus actually used against the assailants. At last, despairing of success by force, they changed their plans, and resolved to wait, for they were well aware that only a few days' provisions were in the camp, and that there was a great crowd on non-combatants; and they counted at the same time on the treachery that might follow on scarcity, on the wavering fidelity of the slaves, and on the chances of war.
Event: The Batavian Uprise