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The Gallic War (De Bello Gallico) by Julius Caesar
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book III Chapter 14: War with the Veneti. And how to attack them.[56 BC]
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Caesar, after taking many of their towns, perceiving that so much labor was spent in vain and that the flight of the enemy could not be prevented on the capture of their towns, and that injury could not be done them, he determined to wait for his fleet. As soon as it came up and was first seen by the enemy, about 220 of their ships, fully equipped and appointed with every kind of naval implement, sailed forth from the harbor, and drew up opposite to ours; nor did it appear clear to Brutus, who commanded the fleet, or to the tribunes of the soldiers and the centurions, to whom the several ships were assigned, what to do, or what system of tactics to adopt; for they knew that damage could not be done by their beaks; and that, although turrets were built [on their decks], yet the height of the stems of the barbarian ships exceeded these; so that weapons could not be cast up from [our] lower position with sufficient effect, and those cast by the Gauls fell the more forcibly upon us. One thing provided by our men was of great service, [viz.] sharp hooks inserted into and fastened upon poles, of a form not unlike the hooks used in attacking town walls. When the ropes which fastened the sail-yards to the masts were caught by them and pulled, and our vessel vigorously impelled with the oars, they [the ropes] were severed; and when they were cut away, the yards necessarily fell down; so that as all the hope of the Gallic vessels depended on their sails and rigging, upon these being cut away, the entire management of the ships was taken from them at the same time. The rest of the contest depended on courage; in which our men decidedly had the advantage; and the more so, because the whole action was carried on in the sight of Caesar and the entire army; so that no act, a little more valiant than ordinary, could pass unobserved, for all the hills and higher grounds, from which there was a near prospect of the sea were occupied by our army.

Event: War with the Veneti

[14] Compluribus expugnatis oppidis Caesar, ubi intellexit frustra tantum laborem sumi neque hostium fugam captis oppidis reprimi neque iis noceri posse, statuit expectandam classem. Quae ubi convenit ac primum ab hostibus visa est, circiter CCXX naves eorum paratissimae atque omni genere armorum ornatissimae profectae ex portu nostris adversae constiterunt; neque satis Bruto, qui classi praeerat, vel tribunis militum centurionibusque, quibus singulae naves erant attributae, constabat quid agerent aut quam rationem pugnae insisterent. Rostro enim noceri non posse cognoverant; turribus autem excitatis tamen has altitudo puppium ex barbaris navibus superabat, ut neque ex inferiore loco satis commode tela adigi possent et missa a Gallis gravius acciderent. Una erat magno usui res praeparata a nostris, falces praeacutae insertae adfixaeque longuriis, non absimili forma muralium falcium. His cum funes qui antemnas ad malos destinabant comprehensi adductique erant, navigio remis incitato praerumpebantur. Quibus abscisis antemnae necessario concidebant, ut, cum omnis Gallicis navibus spes in velis armamentisque consisteret, his ereptis omnis usus navium uno tempore eriperetur. Reliquum erat certamen positum in virtute, qua nostri milites facile superabant, atque eo magis quod in conspectu Caesaris atque omnis exercitus res gerebatur, ut nullum paulo fortius factum latere posset; omnes enim colles ac loca superiora, unde erat propinquus despectus in mare, ab exercitu tenebantur.