The History, 17.2

Ammian  translated by C. D. Yonge

« Amm. 17.1 | Amm. 17.2 | Amm. 17.3 | About This Work »

2Now when everything was settled in that country as fairly as the case permitted, Julian, returning to his winter quarters, found some trouble still left for him. Severus, the master of the horse, being on the way to Rheims through Cologne and Juliers, fell in with some strong battalions of Franks, consisting of six hundred light-armed soldiers, who were laying waste those places which were not defended by garrisons. They had been encouraged to this audacious wickedness by the opportunity afforded them when the Cæsar was occupied in the remote districts of the Allemanni, thinking to obtain a rich booty without any hindrance. But in fear of the army which had now returned, they occupied two fortresses which had been abandoned for some time, and defended themselves there as long as they could.

2Julian, amazed at the novelty of such an attempt, and thinking it impossible to say how far such a spirit would spread if he allowed it to pass without a check, halted his soldiers, and gave orders to blockade the forts. . . . The Meuse passes beneath them; and the blockade was protracted for fifty-four days, through nearly the entire months of December and January, the barbarians resisting with incredible obstinacy and courage.

3Then the Cæsar, like an experienced general, fearing that the barbarians might take advantage of some moonless night to cross over the river, which was now thoroughly frozen, ordered soldiers to go up and down the stream every day in light boats, from sunset till daybreak, so as to break the crust of ice and prevent any one from escaping in that manner. Owing to this manœuvre, the barbarians were so exhausted by hunger, watching, and the extremity of despair, that at last they voluntarily surrendered, and were immediately sent to the court of the emperor.

4And a vast multitude of Franks, who had come to their assistance, hearing that they were taken prisoners and sent off, would not venture on any further enterprise, but returned to their own country. And when this affair was finished, the Cæsar retired to Paris to pass the winter there.

« Amm. 17.1 | Amm. 17.2 | Amm. 17.3 | About This Work »

Version menu

Table of contents