The History, 17.8

Ammian  translated by C. D. Yonge

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8Cæsar, passing his winter among the Parisii, was eagerly preparing to anticipate the Allemanni, who were not yet assembled in one body, but who, since the battle of Strasburg, were working themselves up to a pitch of insane audacity and ferocity. And he was waiting with great impatience for the month of July, when the Gallic campaigns usually begin. For indeed he could not march before the summer had banished the frost and cold, and allowed him to receive supplies from Aquitania.

2But as diligence overcomes almost all difficulties, he, revolving many plans of all kinds in his mind, at last conceived the idea of not waiting till the crops were ripe, but falling on the barbarians before they expected him. And having resolved on that plan, he caused his men to take corn for twenty days’ consumption from what they had in store, and to make it into biscuit, so that it might keep longer; and this enabled the soldiers to carry it, which they did willingly. And relying on this provision, and setting out as before, with favourable auspices, he reckoned that in the course of five or six months he might finish two urgent and indispensable expeditions.

3And when all his preparations were made, he first marched against the Franks, that is against that tribe of them usually called Salii, who some time before had ventured with great boldness to fix their habitations on the Roman soil near Toxandria. But when he had reached Tongres, he was met by an embassy from this tribe, who expected still to find him in his winter quarters, offering him peace on condition of his leaving them unattacked and unmolested, as if the ground they had seized were rightfully their own. Julian comprehended the whole affair, and having given the ambassadors an ambiguous reply, and also some presents, sent them back again, leaving them to suppose he would remain in the same place till they returned.

4But the moment they had departed he followed them, sending Severus along the bank of the river, and suddenly came upon the whole settlement like a thunderbolt; and availing himself of his victory to make a reasonable exhibition of clemency, as indeed they met him with entreaties rather than with resistance, he received the submission of them and their children.

5He then attacked the Chamavi, who had been guilty of similar audacity, and through the same celerity of movement he slew one portion of them, and another who made a vigorous resistance he took prisoners, while others who fled precipitately he allowed to escape unhurt to their own territories, to avoid exhausting his soldiers with a long campaign. And when ambassadors were afterwards sent by them to implore his pardon, and generally to do what they could for them, when they prostrated themselves before him, he granted them peace on condition of retiring to their own districts without doing any mischief.

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