The History, 27.1

Ammian  translated by C. D. Yonge

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1While these events which we have related were taking place with various consequences in the east, the Allemanni, after the many disasters and defeats which they had received in their frequent contests with the emperor Julian, at length, having recruited their strength, though not to a degree equal to their former condition, for the reason which has been already set forth, crossed the frontier of Gaul in formidable numbers. And immediately after the beginning of the year, while winter was still in its greatest severity in those frozen districts, a vast multitude poured forth in a solid column, plundering all the places around in the most licentious manner.

2Their first division was met by Charietto, who at that time had the authority of count in both the German provinces, and who marched against them with his most active troops, having with him as a colleague count Severianus, a man of great age and feeble health, who had the legions Divitensis and Tungricana under his command, near Cabillonum (Châlons).

3Then having formed the whole force into one solid body, and having with great rapidity thrown a bridge over a small stream, the Romans assailed the barbarians from a distance with arrows and light javelins, which they shot back at us with great vigour.

4But when the battalions met and fought with drawn swords, our line was shaken by the vehement onset of the enemy, and could neither resist nor do any valorous deeds by way of attack, but were all put to flight as soon as they saw Severianus struck down from his horse and severely wounded by an arrow.

5Charietto, too, while labouring by the exposure of his own person, and with bitter reproaches, to encourage his men, who were giving way, and while by the gallantry with which he maintained his own position he strove to efface the disgrace they were incurring, was slain by a mortal wound from a javelin.

6And after his death the standard of the Eruli and of the Batavi was lost, and the barbarians raised it on high, insulting it, dancing round it, but after a fierce struggle it was recovered.

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