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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book V Chapter 23: The Batavian Uprise. A naval demonstration[AD 70]
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Civilis was seized by a desire to make a naval demonstration. He manned all the triremes that he had, and such vessels as were propelled by a single bank of oars. To these he added a vast number of boats. He put in each three or four hundred men, the usual complement of a Liburnian galley. With these were the captured vessels, in which, picturesquely enough, plaids of various colours were used for sails. The place selected was an expanse of water, not unlike the sea, where the mouth of the Mosa serves to discharge the Rhine into the ocean. The motive for equipping this fleet was, to say nothing of the natural vanity of this people, a desire to intercept, by this alarming demonstration, the supplies that were approaching from Gaul. Cerialis, more in astonishment than alarm, drew up his fleet in line, and, though inferior in numbers, it had the advantage in the experience of the crews, the skill of the pilots, and the size of the vessels. The Romans had the stream with them, the enemy's vessels were propelled by the wind. Thus passing each other, they separated after a brief discharge of light missiles. Civilis attempted nothing more, and retired to the other side of the Rhine. Cerialis mercilessly ravaged the Island of the Batavi, but, with a policy familiar to commanders, left untouched the estates and houses of Civilis. Meanwhile, however, the autumn was far advanced, and the river, swollen by the continual rains of the season, overflowed the island, marshy and low-lying as it is, till it resembled a lake. There were no ships, no provisions at hand, and the camp, which was situated on low ground, was in process of being carried away by the force of the stream.
Event: The Batavian Uprise