Relations of Rome to the North
The Country between the Alps and the Pyrenees
Conflicts with the Ligurians and the Salassi
From the close of the sixth century the Roman community ruled over the three great peninsulas projecting from the northern continent into the Mediterranean, at least taken as a whole. Even there however—in the north and west of Spain, in the valleys of the Ligurian Apennines and the Alps, and in the mountains of Macedonia and Thrace—tribes wholly or partially free continued to defy the lax Roman government. Moreover the continental communication between Spain and Italy as well as between Italy and Macedonia was very superficially provided for, and the countries beyond the Pyrenees, the Alps, and the Balkan chain—the great river basins of the Rhone, the Rhine, and the Danube— in the main lay beyond the political horizon of the Romans. We have now to set forth what steps were taken on the part of Rome to secure and to round off her empire in this direction, and how at the same time the great masses of peoples, who were ever moving to and fro behind that mighty mountain-screen, began to beat at the gates of the northern mountains and rudely to remind the Graeco-Roman world that it was mistaken in believing itself the sole possessor of the earth.
Let us first glance at the region between the western Alps and the Pyrenees. The Romans had for long commanded this part of the coast of the Mediterranean through their client city of Massilia, one of the oldest, most faithful, and most powerful of the allied communities dependent on Rome. Its maritime stations, Agatha (Agde) and Rhoda (Rosas) to the westward, and Tauroentium (Ciotat), Olbia (Hyeres?), Antipolis (Antibes), and Nicaea (Nice) on the east secured the navigation of the coast as well as the land-route from the Pyrenees to the Alps; and its mercantile and political connections reached far into the interior. An expedition into the Alps above Nice and Antibes, directed against the Ligurian Oxybii and Decietae, was undertaken by the Romans in 600 partly at the request of the Massiliots, partly in their own interest; and after hot conflicts, some of which were attended with much loss, this district of the mountains was compelled to furnish thenceforth standing hostages to the Massiliots and to pay them a yearly tribute. It is not improbable that about this same period the cultivation of the vine and olive, which flourished in this quarter after the model set by the Massiliots, was in the interest of the Italian landholders and merchants simultaneously prohibited throughout the territory beyond the Alps dependent on Massilia.(1) A similar character of financial speculation marks the war, which was waged by the Romans under the consul Appius Claudius in 611 against the Salassi respecting the gold mines and gold washings of Victumulae (in the district of Vercelli and Bard and in the whole valley of the Dorea Baltea). The great extent of these washings, which deprived the inhabitants of the country lying lower down of water for their fields, first gave rise to an attempt at mediation and then to the armed intervention of the Romans. The war, although the Romans began it like all the other wars of this period with a defeat, led at last to the subjugation of the Salassi, and the cession of the gold district to the Roman treasury. Some forty years afterwards (654) the colony of Eporedia (Ivrea) was instituted on the territory thus gained, chiefly doubtless with a view to command the western, as Aquileia commanded the eastern, passage of the Alps.
Transalpine Relations of Rome
These Alpine wars first assumed a more serious character, when Marcus Fulvius Flaccus, the faithful ally of Gaius Gracchus, took the chief command in this quarter as consul in 629. He was the first to enter on the career of Transalpine conquest. In the much-divided Celtic nation at this period the canton of the Bituriges had lost its real hegemony and retained merely an honorary presidency, and the actually leading canton in the region from the Pyrenees to the Rhine and from the Mediterranean to the Western Ocean was that of the Arverni;(2) so that the statement seems not quite an exaggeration, that it could bring into the field as many as 180,000 men. With them the Haedui (about Autun) carried on an unequal rivalry for the hegemony; while in north-eastern Gaul the kings of the Suessiones (about Soissons) united under their protectorate the league of the Belgic tribes extending as far as Britain. Greek travellers of that period had much to tell of the magnificent state maintained by Luerius, king of the Arvernians—how, surrounded by his brilliant train of clansmen, his huntsmen with their pack of hounds in leash and his band of wandering minstrels, he travelled in a silver-mounted chariot through the towns of his kingdom, scattering the gold with a full hand among the multitude, and gladdening above all the heart of the minstrel with the glittering shower. The descriptions of the open table which he kept in an enclosure of 1500 double paces square, and to which every one who came in the way was invited, vividly remind us of the marriage table of Camacho. In fact, the numerous Arvernian gold coins of this period still extant show that the canton of the Arvernians had attained to extraordinary wealth and a comparatively high standard of civilization.
War with Allobroges and Arverni
The attack of Flaccus, however, fell in the first instance not on the Arverni, but on the smaller tribes in the district between the Alps and the Rhone, where the original Ligurian inhabitants had become mixed with subsequent arrivals of Celtic bands, and there had arisen a Celto-Ligurian population that may in this respect be compared to the Celtiberian. He fought (629, 630) with success against the Salyes or Salluvii in the region of Aix and in the valley of the Durance, and against their northern neighbours the Vocontii (in the departments of Vaucluse and Drome); and so did his successor Gaius Sextius Calvinus (631, 632) against the Allobroges, a powerful Celtic clan in the rich valley of the Isere, which had come at the request of the fugitive king of the Salyes, Tutomotulus, to help him to reconquer his land, but was defeated in the district of Aix. When the Allobroges nevertheless refused to surrender the king of the Salyes, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, the successor of Calvinus, penetrated into their own territory (632). Up to this period the leading Celtic tribe had been spectators of the encroachments of their Italian neighbours; the Arvernian king Betuitus, son of the Luerius already mentioned, seemed not much inclined to enter on a dangerous war for the sake of the loose relation of clientship in which the eastern cantons might stand to him. But when the Romans showed signs of attacking the Allobroges in their own territory, he offered his mediation, the rejection of which was followed by his taking the field with all his forces to help the Allobroges; whereas the Haedui embraced the side of the Romans. On receiving accounts of the rising of the Arverni, the Romans sent the consul of 633, Quintus Fabius Maximus, to meet in concert with Ahenobarbus the impending attack. On the southern border of the canton of the Allobroges at the confluence of the Isere with the Rhone, on the 8th of August 633, the battle was fought which decided the mastery of southern Gaul. King Betuitus, when he saw the innumerable hosts of the dependent clans marching over to him on the bridge of boats thrown across the Rhone and the Romans who had not a third of their numbers forming in array against them, is said to have exclaimed that there were not enough of the latter to satisfy the dogs of the Celtic army. Nevertheless Maximus, a grandson of the victor of Pydna, achieved a decisive victory, which, as the bridge of boats broke down under the mass of the fugitives, ended in the destruction of the greater part of the Arvernian army. The Allobroges, to whom the king of the Arverni declared himself unable to render further assistance, and whom he advised to make their peace with Maximus, submitted to the consul; whereupon the latter, thenceforth called Allobrogicus, returned to Italy and left to Ahenobarbus the no longer distant termination of the Arvernian war. Ahenobarbus, personally exasperated at king Betuitus because he had induced the Allobroges to surrender to Maximus and not to him, possessed himself treacherously of the person of the king and sent him to Rome, where the senate, although disapproving the breach of fidelity, not only kept the men betrayed, but gave orders that his son, Congonnetiacus, should likewise be sent to Rome. This seems to have been the reason why the Arvernian war, already almost at an end, once more broke out, and a second appeal to arms took place at Vindalium (above Avignon) at the confluence of the Sorgue with the Rhone. The result was not different from that of the first: on this occasion it was chiefly the African elephants that scattered the Celtic army. Thereupon the Arverni submitted to peace, and tranquillity was re-established in the land of the Celts.(3)
Province of Narbo
The result of these military operations was the institution of a new Roman province between the maritime Alps and the Pyrenees. All the tribes between the Alps and the Rhone became dependent on the Romans and, so far as they did not pay tribute to Massilia, presumably became now tributary to Rome. In the country between the Rhone and the Pyrenees the Arverni retained freedom and were not bound to pay tribute to the Romans; but they had to cede to Rome the most southerly portion of their direct or indirect territory- the district to the south of the Cevennes as far as the Mediterranean, and the upper course of the Garonne as far as Tolosa (Toulouse). As the primary object of these occupations was the establishment of a land communication between Italy and Spain, arrangements were made immediately thereafter for the construction of the road along the coast. For this purpose a belt of coast from the Alps to the Rhone, from 1 to 1 3/4 of a mile in breadth, was handed over to the Massiliots, who already had a series of maritime stations along this coast, with the obligation of keeping the road in proper condition; while from the Rhone to the Pyrenees the Romans themselves laid out a military highway, which obtained from its originator Ahenobarbus the name of the -Via Domitia-.
Roman Settlements in the Region of the Rhone
As usual, the formation of new fortresses was combined with the construction of roads. In the eastern portion the Romans chose the spot where Gaius Sextius had defeated the Celts, and where the pleasantness and fertility of the region as well as the numerous hot and cold springs invited them to settlement; a Roman township sprang up there—the "baths of Sextius," Aquae Sextiae (Aix). To the west of the Rhone the Romans settled in Narbo, an ancient Celtic town on the navigable river Atax (Aude) at a small distance from the sea, which is already mentioned by Hecataeus, and which even before its occupation by the Romans vied with Massilia as a place of stirring commerce, and as sharing the trade in British tin. Aquae did not obtain civic rights, but remained a standing camp;(4) whereas Narbo, although in like manner founded mainly as a watch and outpost against the Celts, became as "Mars' town," a Roman burgess-colony and the usual seat of the governor of the new Transalpine Celtic province or, as it was more frequently called, the province of Narbo.
The Advance of the Romans Checked by the Policy of the Restoration
The Gracchan party, which suggested these extensions of territory beyond the Alps, evidently wished to open up there a new and immeasurable field for their plans of colonization,—a field which offered the same advantages as Sicily and Africa, and could be more easily wrested from the natives than he Sicilian and Libyan estates from the Italian capitalists. The fall of Gaius Gracchus, no doubt, made itself felt here also in the restriction of acquisitions of territory and still more of the founding of towns; but, if the design was not carried out in its full extent, it was at any rate not wholly frustrated. The territory acquired and, still more, the foundation of Narbo—a settlement for which the senate vainly endeavoured to prepare the fate of that at Carthage—remained standing as parts of an unfinished structure, exhorting the future successor of Gracchus to continue the building. It is evident that the Roman mercantile class, which was able to compete with Massilia in the Gallo-Britannic traffic at Narbo alone, protected that settlement from the assaults of the Optimates.
A problem similar to that in the north-west had to be dealt with in the north-east of Italy; it was in like manner not wholly neglected, but was solved still more imperfectly than the former. With the foundation of Aquileia (571) the Istrian peninsula came into possession of the Romans;(5) in part of Epirus and the former territory of the lords of Scodra they had already ruled for some considerable time previously. But nowhere did their dominion reach into the interior; and even on the coast they exercised scarcely a nominal sway over the inhospitable shore-belt between Istria and Epirus, which, with its wild series of mountain-caldrons broken neither by river-valleys nor by coast-plains and arranged like scales one above another, and with its chain of rocky islands stretching along the shore, separates more than it connects Italy and Greece. Around the town of Delminium (on the Cettina near Trigl) clustered the confederacy of the Delmatians or Dalmatians, whose manners were rough as their mountains. While the neighbouring peoples had already attained a high degree of culture, the Dalmatians were as yet unacquainted with money, and divided their land, without recognizing any special right of property in it, afresh every eight years among the members of the community. Brigandage and piracy were the only native trades. These tribes had in earlier times stood in a loose relation of dependence on the rulers of Scodra, and had so far shared in the chastisement inflicted by the Roman expeditions against queen Teuta(6) and Demetrius of Pharos;(7) but on the accession of king Genthius they had revolted and had thus escaped the fate which involved southern Illyria in the fall of the Macedonian empire and rendered it permanently dependent on Rome.(8) The Romans were glad to leave the far from attractive region to itself. But the complaints of the Roman Illyrians, particularly of the Daorsi, who dwelt on the Narenta to the south of the Dalmatians, and of the inhabitants of the islands of Issa (Lissa), whose continental stations Tragyrium (Trau) and Epetium (near Spalato) suffered severely from the natives, compelled the Roman government to despatch an embassy to the latter, and on receiving the reply that the Dalmatians had neither troubled themselves hitherto about the Romans nor would do so in future, to send thither an army in 598 under the consul Gaius Marcius Figulus. He penetrated into Dalmatia, but was again driven back as far as the Roman territory. It was not till his successor Publius Scipio Nasica took the large and strong town of Delminium in 599, that the confederacy conformed and professed itself subject to the Romans. But the poor and only superficially subdued country was not sufficiently important to be erected into a distinct province: the Romans contented themselves, as they had already done in the case of the more important possessions in Epirus, with having it administered from Italy along with Cisalpine Gaul; an arrangement which was, at least as a rule, retained even when the province of Macedonia had been erected in 608 and its north western frontier had been fixed to the northward of Scodra.(9)
The Romans in Macedonia and Thrace
But this very conversion of Macedonia into a province directly dependent on Rome gave to the relations of Rome with the peoples on the north-east greater importance, by imposing on the Romans the obligation of defending the everywhere exposed frontier on the north and east against the adjacent barbarian tribes; and in a similar way not long afterwards (621) the acquisition by Rome of the Thracian Chersonese (peninsula of Gallipoli) previously belonging to the kingdom of the Attalids devolved on the Romans the obligation hitherto resting on the kings of Pergamus to protect the Hellenes here against the Thracians. From the double basis furnished by the valley of the Po and the province of Macedonia the Romans could now advance in earnest towards the region of the headwaters of the Rhine and towards the Danube, and possess themselves of the northern mountains at least so far as was requisite for the security of the lands to the south.
The Tribes at the Sources of the Rhine and along the Danube
Raeti, Euganei, Veneti
In these regions the most powerful nation at that time was the great Celtic people, which according to the native tradition(10) had issued from its settlements on the Western Ocean and poured itself about the same time into the valley of the Po on the south of the main chain of the Alps and into the regions on the Upper Rhine and on the Danube to the north of that chain. Among their various tribes, both banks of the Upper Rhine were occupied by the powerful and rich Helvetii, who nowhere came into immediate contact with the Romans and so lived in peace and in treaty with them: at this time they seem to have stretched from the lake of Geneva to the river Main, and to have occupied the modern Switzerland, Suabia, and Franconia Adjacent to them dwelt the Boii, whose settlements were probably in the modern Bavaria and Bohemia.(11) To the south-east of these we meet with another Celtic stock, which made its appearance in Styria and Carinthia under the name of the Taurisci and afterwards of the Norici, in Friuli, Carniola, and Istria under that of the Carni. Their city Noreia (not far from St. Veit to the north of Klagenfurt) was flourishing and widely known from the iron mines that were even at that time zealously worked in those regions; still more were the Italians at this very period allured thither by the rich seams of gold brought to light, till the natives excluded them and took this California of that day wholly into their own hands. These Celtic hordes streaming along on both sides of the Alps had after their fashion occupied chiefly the flat and hill country; the Alpine regions proper and likewise the districts along the Adige and the Lower Po were not occupied by them, and remained in the hands of the earlier indigenous population. Nothing certain has yet been ascertained as to the nationality of the latter; but they appear under the name of the Raeti in the mountains of East Switzerland and the Tyrol, and under that of the Euganei and Veneti about Padua and Venice; so that at this last point the two great Celtic streams almost touched each other, and only a narrow belt of native population separated the Celtic Cenomani about Brescia from the Celtic Carnians in Friuli. The Euganei and Veneti had long been peaceful subjects of the Romans; whereas the peoples of the Alps proper were not only still free, but made regular forays down from their mountains into the plain between the Alps and the Po, where they were not content with levying contributions, but conducted themselves with fearful cruelty in the townships which they captured, not unfrequently slaughtering the whole male population down to the infant in the cradle—the practical answer, it may be presumed, to the Roman razzias in the Alpine valleys. How dangerous these Raetian inroads were, appears from the fact that one of them about 660 destroyed the considerable township of Comum.
If these Celtic and non-Celtic tribes having their settlements upon and beyond the Alpine chain were already variously intermingled, there was, as may easily be conceived, a still more comprehensive intermixture of peoples in the countries on the Lower Danube, where there were no high mountain ranges, as in the more western regions, to serve as natural walls of partition. The original Illyrian population, of which the modern Albanians seem to be the last pure survivors, was throughout, at least in the interior, largely mixed with Celtic elements, and the Celtic armour and Celtic method of warfare were probably everywhere introduced in that quarter. Next to the Taurisci came the Japydes, who had their settlements on the Julian Alps in the modern Croatia as far down as Fiume and Zeng,—a tribe originally doubtless Illyrian, but largely mixed with Celts. Bordering with these along the coast were the already-mentioned Dalmatians, into whose rugged mountains the Celts do not seem to have penetrated; whereas in the interior the Celtic Scordisci, to whom the tribe of the Triballi formerly especially powerful in that quarter had succumbed, and who had played a principal part in the Celtic expeditions to Delphi, were about this time the leading nation along the Lower Save as far as the Morava in the modern Bosnia and Servia. They roamed far and wide towards Moesia, Thrace, and Macedonia, and fearful tales were told of their savage valour and cruel customs. Their chief place of arms was the strong Segestica or Siscia at the point where the Kulpa falls into the Save. The peoples who were at that time settled in Hungary, Transylvania, Roumania, and Bulgaria still remained for the present beyond the horizon of the Romans; the latter came into contact only with the Thracians on the eastern frontier of Macedonia in the Rhodope mountains.
Conflicts on the Frontier
In the Alps
It would have been no easy task for a government more energetic than was the Roman government of that day to establish an organized and adequate defence of the frontier against these wide domains of barbarism; what was done for this important object under the auspices of the government ment of the restoration, did not come up to even the most moderate requirements. There seems to have been no want of expeditions against the inhabitants of the Alps: in 636 there was a triumph over the Stoeni, who were probably settled in the mountains above Verona; in 659 the consul Lucius Crassus caused the Alpine valleys far and wide to De ransacked and the inhabitants to be put to death, and yet he did not succeed in killing enough of them to enable him to celebrate a village triumph and to couple the laurels of the victor with his oratorical fame. But as the Romans remained satisfied with razzias of this sort which merely exasperated the natives without rendering them harmless, and, apparently, withdrew the troops again after every such inroad, the state of matters in the region beyond the Po remained substantially the same as before.
On the opposite Thracian frontier they appear to have given themselves little concern about their neighbours; except that there is mention made in 651 of conflicts with the Thracians, and in 657 of others with the Maedi in the border mountains between Macedonia and Thrace.
More serious conflicts took place in the Illyrian land, where complaints were constantly made as to the turbulent Dalmatians by their neighbours and those who navigated the Adriatic; and along the wholly exposed northern frontier of Macedonia, which, according to the significant expression of a Roman, extended as far as the Roman swords and spears reached, the conflicts with the barbarians never ceased. In 619 an expedition was undertaken against the Ardyaei or Vardaei and the Pleraei or Paralii, a Dalmatian tribe on the coast to the north of the mouth of the Narenta, which was incessantly perpetrating outrages on the sea and on the opposite coast: by order of the Romans they removed from the coast and settled in the interior, the modern Herzegovina, where they began to cultivate the soil, but, unused to their new calling, pined away in that inclement region. At the same time an attack was directed from Macedonia against the Scordisci, who had, it may be presumed, made common cause with the assailed inhabitants of the coast. Soon afterwards (625) the consul Tuditanus in connection with the able Decimus Brutus, the conqueror of the Spanish Callaeci, humbled the Japydes, and, after sustaining a defeat at the outset, at length carried the Roman arms into the heart of Dalmatia as far as the river Kerka, 115 miles distant from Aquileia; the Japydes thenceforth appear as a nation at peace and on friendly terms with Rome. But ten years later (635) the Dalmatians rose afresh, once more in concert with the Scordisci. While the consul Lucius Cotta fought against the latter and in doing so advanced apparently as far as Segestica, his colleague Lucius Metellus afterwards named Dalmaticus, the elder brother of the conqueror of Numidia, marched against the Dalmatians, conquered them and passed the winter in Salona (Spalato), which town henceforth appears as the chief stronghold of the Romans in that region. It is not improbable that the construction of the Via Gabinia, which led from Salona in an easterly direction to Andetrium (near Much) and thence farther into the interior, falls within this period.
The Romans Cross the Eastern Alps and Reach the Danube
The expedition of the consul of 639, Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, against the Taurisci(12) presented more the character of a war of conquest. He was the first of the Romans to cross the chain of the eastern Alps where it falls lowest between Trieste and Laybach, and contracted hospitable relations with the Taurisci; which secured a not unimportant commercial intercourse without involving the Romans, as a formal subjugation would have involved them, in the movements of the peoples to the north of the Alps. Of the conflicts with the Scordisci, which have passed almost wholly into oblivion, a page, which speaks clearly even in its isolation, has recently been brought to light through a memorial stone from the year 636 lately discovered in the neighbourhood of Thessalonica. According to it, in this year the governor of Macedonia Sextus Pompeius fell near Argos (not far from Stobi on the upper Axius or Vardar) in a battle fought with these Celts; and, after his quaestor Marcus Annius had come up with his troops and in some measure mastered the enemy, these same Celts in connection with Tipas the king of the Maedi (on the upper Strymon) soon made a fresh irruption in still larger masses, and it was with difficulty that the Romans defended themselves against the onset of the barbarians.(13) Things soon assumed so threatening a shape that it became necessary to despatch consular armies to Macedonia.(14) A few years afterwards the consul of 640 Gaius Porcius Cato was surprised in the Servian mountains by the same Scordisci, and his army completely destroyed, while he himself with a few attendants disgracefully fled; with difficulty the praetor Marcus Didius protected the Roman frontier. His successors fought with better fortune, Gaius Metellus Caprarius (641-642), Marcus Livius Drusus (642-643), the first Roman general to reach the Danube, and Quintus Minucius Rufus (644-647) who carried his arms along the Morava(15) and thoroughly defeated the Scordisci. Nevertheless they soon afterwards in league with the Maedi and the Dardani invaded the Roman territory and plundered even the sanctuary at Delphi; it was not till then that Lucius Scipio put an end to the thirty-two years' warfare with the Scordisci and drove the remnant over to the left bank of the Danube.(16) Thenceforth in their stead the just-named Dardani (in Servia) begin to play the first part in the territory between the northern frontier of Macedonia and the Danube.
But these victories had an effect which the victors did not anticipate. For a considerable period an "unsettled people" had been wandering along the northern verge of the country occupied by the Celts on both sides of the Danube. They called themselves the Cimbri, that is, the Chempho, the champions or, as their enemies translated it, the robbers; a designation, however, which to all appearance had become the name of the people even before their migration. They came from the north, and the first Celtic people with whom they came in contact were, so far as is known, the Boii, probably in Bohemia. More exact details as to the cause and the direction of their migration have not been recorded by contemporaries,(17) and cannot be supplied by conjecture, since the state of things in those times to the north of Bohemia and the Main and to the east of the Lower Rhine lies wholly beyond our knowledge. But the hypothesis that the Cimbri, as well as the similar horde of the Teutones which afterwards joined them, belonged essentially not to the Celtic nation, to which the Romans at first assigned them, but to the Germanic, is supported by the most definite facts: viz., by the appearance of two small tribes of the same name—remnants apparently left behind in their primitive seats—the Cimbri in the modern Denmark, the Teutones in the north-east of Germany in the neighbourhood of the Baltic, where Pytheas, a contemporary of Alexander the Great, makes mention of them thus early in connection with the amber trade; by the insertion of the Cimbri and Teutones in the list of the Germanic peoples among the Ingaevones alongside of the Chauci; by the judgment of Caesar, who first made the Romans acquainted with the distinction betweenthe Ge rmans and the Celts, and who includes the Cimbri, many of whom he must himself have seen, among the Germans; and lastly, by the very names of the peoples and the statements as to their physical appearance and habits in other respects, which, while applying to the men of the north generally, are especially applicable to the Germans. On the other hand it is conceivable enough that such a horde, after having been engaged in wandering perhaps for many years and having in its movements near to or within the land of the Celts doubtless welcomed every brother-in-arms who joined it, would include a certain amount of Celtic elements; so that it is not surprising that men of Celtic name should be at the head of the Cimbri, or that the Romans should employ spies speaking the Celtic tongue to gain information among them. It was a marvellous movement, the like of which the Romans had not yet seen; not a predatory expedition of men equipped for the purpose, nor a "-ver sacrum-" of young men migrating to a foreign land, but a migratory people that had set out with their women and children, with their goods and chattels, to seek a new home. The waggon, which had everywhere among the still not fully settled peoples of the north a different importance from what it had among the Hellenes and the Italians, and which universally accompanied the Celts also in their encampments, was among the Cimbri as it were their house, where, beneath the leather covering stretched over it, a place was found for the wife and children and even for the house-dog as well as for the furniture. The men of the south beheld with astonishment those tall lank figures with the fair locks and bright blue eyes, the hardy and stately women who were little inferior in size and strength to the men, and the children with old men's hair, as the amazed Italians called the flaxen-haired youths of the north. Their system of warfare was substantially that of the Celts of this period, who no longer fought, as the Italian Celts had formerly done, bareheaded and with merely sword and dagger, but with copper helmets often richly adorned and with a peculiar missile weapon, the -materis-; the large sword was retained and the long narrow shield, along with which they probably wore also a coat of mail. They were not destitute of cavalry; but the Romans were superior to them in that arm. Their order of battle was as formerly a rude phalanx professedly drawn up with just as many ranks in depth as in breadth, the first rank of which in dangerous combats not unfrequently tied together their metallic girdles with cords. Their manners were rude. Flesh was frequently devoured raw. The bravest and, if possible, the tallest man was king of the host. Not unfrequently, after the manner of the Celts and of barbarians generally, the time and place of the combat were previously arranged with the enemy, and sometimes also, before the battle began, an individual opponent was challenged to single combat. The conflict was ushered in by their insulting the enemy with unseemly gestures, and by a horrible noise—the men raising their battle-shout, and the women and children increasing the din by drumming on the leathern covers of the waggons. The Cimbrian fought bravely—death on the bed of honour was deemed by him the only death worthy of a free man—but after the victory he indemnified himself by the most savage brutality, and sometimes promised beforehand to present to the gods of battle whatever victory should place in the power of the victor. The effects of the enemy were broken in pieces, the horses were killed, the prisoners were hanged or preserved only to be sacrificed to the gods. It was the priestesses—grey-haired women in white linen dresses and unshod—who, like Iphigenia in Scythia, offered these sacrifices, and prophesied the future from the streaming blood of the prisoner of war or the criminal who formed the victim. How much in these customs was the universal usage of the northern barbarians, how much was borrowed from the Celts, and how much was peculiar to the Germans, cannot be ascertained; but the practice of having the army accompanied and directed not by priests, but by priestesses, may be pronounced an undoubtedly Germanic custom. Thus marched the Cimbri into the unknown land—an immense multitude of various origin which had congregated round a nucleus of Germanic emigrants from the Baltic— not without resemblance to the great bodies of emigrants, that in our own times cross the ocean similarly burdened and similarly mingled, and with aims not much less vague; carrying their lumbering waggon-castle, with the dexterity which a long migratory life imparts, over streams and mountains; dangerous to more civilized nations like the sea-wave and the hurricane, and like these capricious and unaccountable, now rapidly advancing, now suddenly pausing, turning aside, or receding. They came and struck like lightning; like lightning they vanished; and unhappily, in the dull age in which they appeared, there was no observer who deemed it worth while accurately to describe the marvellous meteor. When men afterwards began to trace the chain, of which this emigration, the first Germanic movement which touched the orbit of ancient civilization, was a link, the direct and living knowledge of it had long passed away.
Cimbrian Movements and Conflicts
Defeat of Carbo
This homeless people of the Cimbri, which hitherto had been prevented from advancing to the south by the Celts on the Danube, more especially by the Boii, broke through that barrier in consequence of the attacks directed by the Romans against the Danubian Celts; either because the latter invoked the aid of their Cimbrian antagonists against the advancing legions, or because the Roman attack prevented them from protecting as hitherto their northern frontiers. Advancing through the territory of the Scordisci into the Tauriscan country, they approached in 641 the passes of the Carnian Alps, to protect which the consul Gnaeus Papirius Carbo took up a position on the heights not far from Aquileia. Here, seventy years before, Celtic tribes had attempted to settle on the south of the Alps, but at the bidding of the Romans had evacuated without resistance the ground which they had already occupied;(18) even now the dread of the Transalpine peoples at the Roman name showed itself strongly. The Cimbri did not attack; indeed, when Carbo ordered them to evacuate the territory of the Taurisci who were in relations of hospitality with Rome—an order which the treaty with the latter by no means bound him to make—they complied and followed the guides whom Carbo had assigned to them to escort them over the frontier. But these guides were in fact instructed to lure the Cimbri into an ambush, where the consul awaited them. Accordingly an engagement took place not far from Noreia in the modern Carinthia, in which the betrayed gained the victory over the betrayer and inflicted on him considerable loss; a storm, which separated the combatants, alone prevented the complete annihilation of the Roman army. The Cimbri might have immediately directed their attack towards Italy; they preferred to turn to the westward. By treaty with the Helvetii and the Sequani rather than by force of arms they made their way to the left bank of the Rhine and over the Jura, and there some years after the defeat of Carbo once more threatened the Roman territory by their immediate vicinity.
Defeat of Silanus
With a view to cover the frontier of the Rhine and the immediately threatened territory of the Allobroges, a Roman army under Marcus Junius Silanus appeared in 645 in Southern Gaul. The Cimbri requested that land might be assigned to them where they might peacefully settle—a request which certainly could not be granted. The consul instead of replying attacked them; he was utterly defeated and the Roman camp was taken. The new levies which were occasioned by this misfortune were already attended with so much difficulty, that the senate procured the abolition of the laws—presumably proceeding from Gaius Gracchus—which limited the obligation to military service in point of time.(19) But the Cimbri, instead of following up their victory over the Romans, sent to the senate at Rome to repeat their request for the assignment of land, and meanwhile employed themselves, apparently, in the subjugation of the surrounding Celtic cantons.
Inroad of the Helvetii into Southern Gaul
Defeat of Longinus
Thus the Roman province and the new Roman army were left for the moment undisturbed by the Germans; but a new enemy arose in Gaul itself. The Helvetii, who had suffered much in the constant conflicts with their north-eastern neighbours, felt themselves stimulated by the example of the Cimbri to seek in their turn for more quiet and fertile settlements in western Gaul, and had perhaps, even when the Cimbrian hosts marched through their land, formed an alliance with them for that purpose. Now under the leadership of Divico the forces of the Tougeni (position unknown) and of the Tigorini (on the lake of Murten) crossed the Jura,(20) and reached the territory of the Nitiobroges (about Agen on the Garonne). The Roman army under the consul Lucius Cassius Longinus, which they here encountered, allowed itself to be decoyed by the Helvetii into an ambush, in which the general himself and his legate, the consular Lucius Piso, along with the greater portion of the soldiers met their death; Gaius Popillius, the interim commander-in-chief of the force which had escaped to the camp, was allowed to withdraw under the yoke on condition of surrendering half the property which the troops carried with them and furnishing hostages (647). So perilous was the state of things for the Romans, that one of the most important towns in their own province, Tolosa, rose against them and placed the Roman garrison in chains.
But, as the Cimbri continued to employ themselves elsewhere, and the Helvetii did not further molest for the moment the Roman province, the new Roman commander-in-chief, Quintus Servilius Caepio, had full time to recover possession of the town of Tolosa by treachery and to empty at leisure the immense treasures accumulated in the old and famous sanctuary of the Celtic Apollo. It was a desirable gain for the embarrassed exchequer, but unfortunately the gold and silver vessels on the way from Tolosa to Massilia were taken from the weak escort by a band of robbers, and totally disappeared: the consul himself and his staff were, it was alleged, the instigators of this onset (648). Meanwhile they confined themselves to the strictest defensive as regarded the chief enemy, and guarded the Roman province with three strong armies, till it should please the Cimbri to repeat their attack.
Defeat of Arausio
They came in 649 under their king Boiorix, on this occasion seriously meditating an inroad into Italy. They were opposed on the right bank of the Rhone by the proconsul Caepio, on the left by the consul Gnaeus Mallius Maximus and by his legate, the consular Marcus Aurelius Scaurus, under him at the head of a detached corps. The first onset fell on the latter; he was totally defeated and brought in person as a prisoner to the enemy's head-quarters, where the Cimbrian king, indignant at the proud warning given to him by the captive Roman not to venture with his army into Italy, put him to death. Maximus thereupon ordered his colleague to bring his army over the Rhone: the latter complying with reluctance at length appeared at Arausio (Orange) on the left bank of the river, where the whole Roman force now stood confronting the Cimbrian army, and is alleged to have made such an impression by its considerable numbers that the Cimbri began to negotiate. But the two leaders lived in the most vehement discord. Maximus, an insignificant and incapable man, was as consul the legal superior of his prouder and better born, but not better qualified, proconsular colleague Caepio; but the latter refused to occupy a common camp and to devise operations in concert with him, and still, as formerly, maintained his independent command. In vain deputies from the Roman senate endeavoured to effect a reconciliation; a personal conference between the generals, on which the officers insisted, only widened the breach. When Caepio saw Maximus negotiating with the envoys of the Cimbri, he fancied that the latter wished to gain the sole credit of their subjugation, and threw himself with his portion of the army alone in all haste on the enemy. He was utterly annihilated, so that even his camp fell into the hands of the enemy (6 Oct. 649); and his destruction was followed by the no less complete defeat of the second Roman army. It is asserted that 80,000 Roman soldiers and half as many of the immense and helpless body of camp-followers perished, and that only ten men escaped: this much is certain, that only a few out of the two armies succeeded in escaping, for the Romans had fought with the river in their rear. It was a calamity which materially and morally far surpassed the day of Cannae. The defeats of Carbo, of Silanus, and of Longinus had passed without producing any permanent impression on the Italians. They were accustomed to open every war with disasters; the invincibleness of the Roman arms was so firmly established, that it seemed superfluous to attend to the pretty numerous exceptions. But the battle of Arausio, the alarming proximity of the victorious Cimbrian army to the undefended passes of the Alps, the insurrections breaking out afresh and with increased force both in the Roman territory beyond the Alps and among the Lusitanians, the defenceless condition of Italy, produced a sudden and fearful awakening from these dreams. Men recalled the never wholly forgotten Celtic inroads of the fourth century, the day on the Allia and the burning of Rome: with the double force at once of the oldest remembrance and of the freshest alarm the terror of the Gauls came upon Italy; through all the west people seemed to be aware that the Roman empire was beginning to totter. As after the battle of Cannae, the period of mourning was shortened by decree of the senate.(21) The new enlistments brought out the most painful scarcity of men. All Italians capable of bearing arms had to swear that they would not leave Italy; the captains of the vessels lying in the Italian ports were instructed not to take on board any man fit for service. It is impossible to tell what might have happened, had the Cimbri immediately after their double victory advanced through the gates of the Alps into Italy. But they first overran the territory of the Arverni, who with difficulty defended themselves in their fortresses against the enemy; and soon, weary of sieges, set out from thence, not to Italy, but westward to the Pyrenees.
The Roman Opposition
Warfare of Prosecutions
If the torpid organism of the Roman polity could still of itself reach a crisis of wholesome reaction, that reaction could not but set in now, when, by one of the marvellous pieces of good fortune, in which the history of Rome is so rich, the danger was sufficiently imminent to rouse all the energy and all the patriotism of the burgesses, and yet did not burst upon them so suddenly as to leave no space for the development of their resources. But the very same phenomena, which had occurred four years previously after the African defeats, presented themselves afresh. In fact the African and Gallic disasters were essentially of the same kind. It may be that primarily the blame of the former fell more on the oligarchy as a whole, that of the latter more on individual magistrates; but public opinion justly recognized in both, above all things, the bankruptcy of the government, which in its progressive development imperilled first the honour and now the very existence of the state. People just as little deceived themselves then as now regarding the true seat of the evil, but as little now as then did they make even an attempt to apply the remedy at the proper point. They saw well that the system was to blame; but on this occasion also they adhered to the method of calling individuals to account—only no doubt this second storm discharged itself on the heads of the oligarchy so much the more heavily, as the calamity of 649 exceeded in extent and peril that of 645. The sure instinctive feeling of the public, that there was no resource against the oligarchy except the -tyrannis-, was once more apparent in their readily entering into every attempt by officers of note to force the hand of the government and, under one form or another, to overturn the oligarchic rule by a dictatorship.
It was against Quintus Caepio that their attacks were first directed; and justly, in so far as he had primarily occasioned the defeat of Arausio by his insubordination, even apart from the probably well-founded but not proved charge of embezzling the Tolosan booty; but the fury which the opposition displayed against him was essentially augmented by the fact, that he had as consul ventured on an attempt to wrest the posts of jurymen from the capitalists.(22) On his account the old venerable principle, that the sacredness of the magistracy should be respected even in the person of its worst occupant, was violated; and, while the censure due to the author of the calamitous day of Cannae had been silently repressed within the breast, the author of the defeat of Arausio was by decree of the people unconstitutionally deprived of his proconsulship, and—what had not occurred since the crisis in which the monarchy had perished—his property was confiscated to the state-chest (649?). Not long afterwards he was by a second decree of the burgesses expelled from the senate (650). But this was not enough; more victims were desired, and above all Caepio's blood. A number of tribunes of the people favourable to the opposition, with Lucius Appuleius Saturninus and Gaius Norbanus at their head, proposed in 651 to appoint an extraordinary judicial commission in reference to the embezzlement and treason perpetrated in Gaul; in spite of the de facto abolition of arrest during investigation and of the punishment of death for political offences, Caepio was arrested and the intention of pronouncing and executing in his case sentence of death was openly expressed. The government party attempted to get rid of the proposal by tribunician intervention; but the interceding tribunes were violently driven from the assembly, and in the furious tumult the first men of the senate were assailed with stones. The investigation could not be prevented, and the warfare of prosecutions pursued its course in 651 as it had done six years before; Caepio himself, his colleague in the supreme command Gnaeus Mallius Maximus, and numerous other men of note were condemned: a tribune of the people, who was a friend of Caepio, with difficulty succeeded by the sacrifice of his own civic existence in saving at least the life of the chief persons accused.(23)
Of more importance than this measure of revenge was the question how the dangerous war beyond the Alps was to be further carried on, and first of all to whom the supreme command in it was to be committed. With an unprejudiced treatment of the matter it was not difficult to make a fitting choice. Rome was doubtless, in comparison with earlier times, not rich in military notabilities; yet Quintus Maximus had commanded with distinction in Gaul, Marcus Aemilius Scaurus and Quintus Minucius in the regions of the Danube, Quintus Metellus, Publius Rutilius Rufus, Gaius Marius in Africa; and the object proposed was not to defeat a Pyrrhus or a Hannibal, but again to make good the often-tried superiority of Roman arms and Roman tactics in opposition to the barbarians of the north—an object which required no genius, but merely a stern and capable soldier. But it was precisely a time when nothing was so difficult as the unprejudiced settlement of a question of administration. The government was, as it could not but be and as the Jugurthine war had already shown, so utterly bankrupt in public opinion, that its ablest generals had to retire in the full career of victory, whenever it occurred to an officer of mark to revile them before the people and to get himself as the candidate of the opposition appointed by the latter to the head of affairs. It was no wonder that what took place after the victories of Metellus was repeated on a greater scale after the defeats of Gnaeus Mallius and Quintus Caepio. Once more Gaius Marius came forward, in spite of the law which prohibited the holding of the consulship more than once, as a candidate for the supreme magistracy; and not only was he nominated as consul and charged with the chief command in the Gallic war, while he was still in Africa at the head of the army there, but he was reinvested with the consulship for five years in succession (650-654)—in a way, which looked like an intentional mockery of the exclusive spirit that the nobility had exhibited in reference to this very man in all its folly and shortsightedness, but was also unparalleled in the annals of the republic, and in fact absolutely incompatible with the spirit of the free constitution of Rome. In the Roman military system in particular—the transformation of which from a burgess-militia into a body of mercenaries, begun in the African war, was continued and completed by Marius during his five years of a supreme command unlimited through the exigencies of the time still more than through the terms of his appointment—the profound traces of this unconstitutional commandership-in-chief of the first democratic general remained visible for all time.
The new commander-in-chief, Gaius Marius, appeared in 650 beyond the Alps, followed by a number of experienced officers—among whom the bold captor of Jugurtha, Lucius Sulla, soon acquired fresh distinction— and by a numerous host of Italian and allied soldiers. At first he did not find the enemy against whom he was sent. The singular people, who had conquered at Arausio, had in the meantime (as we have already mentioned), after plundering the country to the west of the Rhone, crossed the Pyrenees and were carrying on a desultory warfare in Spain with the brave inhabitants of the northern coast and of the interior; it seemed as if the Germans wished at their very first appearance in the field of history to display their lack of persistent grasp. So Marius found ample time on the one hand to reduce the revolted Tectosages to obedience, to confirm afresh the wavering fidelity of the subject Gallic and Ligurian cantons, and to obtain support and contingents within and without the Roman province from the allies who were equally with the Romans placed in peril by the Cimbri, such as the Massiliots, the Allobroges, and the Sequani; and on the other hand, to discipline the army entrusted to him by strict training and impartial justice towards all whether high or humble, and to prepare the soldiers for the more serious labours of war by marches and extensive works of entrenching—particularly the construction of a canal of the Rhone, afterwards handed over to the Massiliots, for facilitating the transit of the supplies sent from Italy to the army. He maintained a strictly defensive attitude, and did not cross the bounds of the Roman province.
The Cimbri, Teutones, and Helvetii Unite
Expedition to Italy Resolved on
Teutones in the Province of Gaul
At length, apparently in the course of 651, the wave of the Cimbri, after having broken itself in Spain on the brave resistance of the native tribes and especially of the Celtiberians, flowed back again over the Pyrenees and thence, as it appears, passed along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, where everything from the Pyrenees to the Seine submitted to the terrible invaders. There, on the confines of the brave confederacy of the Belgae, they first encountered serious resistance; but there also, while they were in the territory of the Vellocassi (near Rouen), considerable reinforcements reached them. Not only three cantons of the Helvetii, including the Tigorini and Tougeni who had formerly fought against the Romans at the Garonne, associated themselves, apparently about this period, with the Cimbri, but these were also joined by the kindred Teutones under their king Teutobod, who had been driven by events which tradition has not recorded from their home on the Baltic sea to appear now on the Seine.(24) But even the united hordes were unable to overcome the brave resistance of the Belgae. The leaders accordingly resolved, now that their numbers were thus swelled, to enter in all earnest on the expedition to Italy which they had several times contemplated. In order not to encumber themselves with the spoil which they had heretofore collected, they left it behind under the protection of a division of 6000 men, which after many wanderings subsequently gave rise to the tribe of the Aduatuci on the Sambre. But, whether from the difficulty of finding supplies on the Alpine routes or from other reasons, the mass again broke up into two hosts, one of which, composed of the Cimbri and Tigorini, was to recross the Rhine and to invade Italy through the passes of the eastern Alps already reconnoitred in 641, and the other, composed of the newly-arrived Teutones, the Tougeni, and the Ambrones—the flower of the Cimbrian host already tried in the battle of Arausio—was to invade Italy through Roman Gaul and the western passes. It was this second division, which in the summer of 652 once more crossed the Rhone without hindrance, and on its left bank resumed, after a pause of nearly three years, the struggle with the Romans. Marius awaited them in a well-chosen and well-provisioned camp at the confluence of the Isere with the Rhone, in which position he intercepted the passage of the barbarians by either of the only two military routes to Italy then practicable, that over the Little St. Bernard, and that along the coast. The Teutones attacked the camp which obstructed their passage; for three consecutive days the assault of the barbarians raged around the Roman entrenchments, but their wild courage was thwarted by the superiority of the Romans in fortress-warfare and by the prudence of the general. After severe loss the bold associates resolved to give up the assault, and to march onward to Italy past the camp. For six successive days they continued to defile—a proof of the cumbrousness of their baggage still more than of the immensity of their numbers. The general permitted the march to proceed without attacking them. We can easily understand why he did not allow himself to be led astray by the insulting inquiries of the enemy whether the Romans had no commissions for their wives at home; but the fact, that he did not take advantage of this audacious defiling of the hostile columns in front of the concentrated Roman troops for the purpose of attack, shows how little he trusted his unpractised soldiers.
Battle of Aquae Sextiae
When the march was over, he broke up his encampment and followed in the steps of the enemy, preserving rigorous order and carefully entrenching himself night after night. The Teutones, who were striving to gain the coast road, marching down the banks of the Rhone reached the district of Aquae Sextiae, followed by the Romans. The light Ligurian troops of the Romans, as they were drawing water, here came into collision with the Celtic rear-guard, the Ambrones; the conflict soon became general; after a hot struggle the Romans conquered and pursued the retreating enemy up to their waggon-stronghold. This first successful collision elevated the spirits of the general as well as of the soldiers; on the third day after it Marius drew up his array for a decisive battle on the hill, the summit of which bore the Roman camp. The Teutones, long impatient to measure themselves against their antagonists, immediately rushed up the hill and began the conflict. It was severe and protracted: up to midday the Germans stood like walls; but the unwonted heat of the Provengal sun relaxed their energies, and a false alarm in their rear, where a band of Roman camp-boys ran forth from a wooded ambuscade with loud shouts, utterly decided the breaking up of the wavering ranks. The whole horde was scattered, and, as was to be expected in a foreign land, either put to death or taken prisoners. Among the captives was king Teutobod; among the killed a multitude of women, who, not unacquainted with the treatment which awaited them as slaves, had caused themselves to be slain in desperate resistance at their waggons, or had put themselves to death in captivity, after having vainly requested to be dedicated to the service of the gods and of the sacred virgins of Vesta (summer of 652).
Cimbrians in Italy
Thus Gaul was relieved from the Germans; and it was time, for their brothers-in-arms were already on the south side of the Alps. In alliance with the Helvetii, the Cimbri had without difficulty passed from the Seine to the upper valley of the Rhine, had crossed the chain of the Alps by the Brenner pass, and had descended thence through the valleys of the Eisach and Adige into the Italian plain. Here the consul Quintus Lutatius Catulus was to guard the passes; but not fully acquainted with the country and afraid of having his flank turned, he had not ventured to advance into the Alps themselves, but had posted himself below Trent on the left bank of the Adige, and had secured in any event his retreat to the right bank by the construction of a bridge. When the Cimbri, however, pushed forward in dense masses from the mountains, a panic seized the Roman army, and legionaries and horsemen ran off, the latter straight for the capital, the former to the nearest height which seemed to afford security. With great difficulty Catulus brought at least the greater portion of his army by a stratagem back to the river and over the bridge, before the enemy, who commanded the upper course of the Adige and were already floating down trees and beams against the bridge, succeeded in destroying it and thereby cutting off the retreat of the army. But the general had to leave behind a legion on the other bank, and the cowardly tribune who led it was already disposed to capitulate, when the centurion Gnaeus Petreius of Atina, struck him down and cut his way through the midst of the enemy to the main army on the right bank of the Adige. Thus the army, and in some degree even the honour of their arms, was saved; but the consequences of the neglect to occupy the passes and of the too hasty retreat were yet very seriously felt Catulus was obliged to withdraw to the right bank of the Po and to leave the whole plain between the Po and the Alps in the power of the Cimbri, so that communication was maintained with Aquileia only by sea. This took place in the summer of 652, about the same time when the decisive battle between the Teutones and the Romans occurred at Aquae Sextiae. Had the Cimbri continued their attack without interruption, Rome might have been greatly embarrassed; but on this occasion also they remained faithful to their custom of resting in winter, and all the more, because the rich country, the unwonted quarters under the shelter of a roof, the warm baths, and the new and abundant supplies for eating and drinking invited them to make themselves comfortable for the moment. Thereby the Romans gained time to encounter them with united forces in Italy. It was no season to resume—as the democratic general would perhaps otherwise have done—the interrupted scheme of conquest in Gaul, such as Gaius Gracchus had probably projected. From the battle-field of Aix the victorious army was conducted to the Po; and after a brief stay in the capital, where Marius refused the triumph offered to him until he had utterly subdued the barbarians, he arrived in person at the united armies. In the spring of 653 they again crossed the Po, 50,000 strong, under the consul Marius and the proconsul Catulus, and marched against the Cimbri, who on their part seem to have marched up the river with a view to cross the mighty stream at its source.
Battle on the Raudine Plain
The two armies met below Vercellae not far from the confluence of the Sesia with the Po,(25) just at the spot where Hannibal had fought his first battle on Italian soil. The Cimbri desired battle, and according to their custom sent to the Romans to settle the time and place for it; Marius gratified them and named the next day—it was the 30th July 653—and the Raudine plain, a wide level space, which the superior Roman cavalry found advantageous for their movements. Here they fell upon the enemy expecting them and yet taken by surprise; for in the dense morning mist the Cimbrian cavalry found itself in hand-to-hand conflict with the stronger cavalry of the Romans before it anticipated attack, and was thereby thrown back upon the infantry which was just making its dispositions for battle. A complete victory was gained with slight loss, and the Cimbri were annihilated. Those might be deemed fortunate who met death in the battle, as most did, including the brave king Boiorix; more fortunate at least than those who afterwards in despair laid hands on themselves, or were obliged to seek in the slave-market of Rome the master who might retaliate on the individual Northman for the audacity of having coveted the beauteous south before it was time. The Tigorini, who had remained behind in the passes of the Alps with the view of subsequently following the Cimbri, ran off on the news of the defeat to their native land. The human avalanche, which for thirteen years had alarmed the nations from the Danube to the Ebro, from the Seine to the Po, rested beneath the sod or toiled under the yoke of slavery; the forlorn hope of the German migrations had performed its duty; the homeless people of the Cimbri and their comrades were no more.
The Victory and the Parties
The political parties of Rome continued their pitiful quarrels over the carcase, without troubling themselves about the great chapter in the world's history the first page of which was thus opened, without even giving way to the pure feeling that on this day Rome's aristocrats as well as Rome's democrats had done their duty. The rivalry of the two generals—who were not only political antagonists, but were also set at variance in a military point of view by the so different results of the two campaigns of the previous year—broke out immediately after the battle in the most offensive form. Catulus might with justice assert that the centre division which he commanded had decided the victory, and that his troops had captured thirty-one standards, while those of Marius had brought in only two, his soldiers led even the deputies of the town of Parma through the heaps of the dead to show to them that Marius had slain his thousand, but Catulus his ten thousand. Nevertheless Marius was regarded as the real conqueror of the Cimbri, and justly; not merely because by virtue of his higher rank he had held the chief command on the decisive day, and was in military gifts and experience beyond doubt far superior to his colleague, but especially because the second victory at Vercellae had in fact been rendered possible only by the first victory at Aquae Sextiae. But at that period it was considerations of political partisanship rather than of military merit which attached the glory of having saved Rome from the Cimbri and Teutones entirely to the name of Marius. Catulus was a polished and clever man, so graceful a speaker that his euphonious language sounded almost like eloquence, a tolerable writer of memoirs and occasional poems, and an excellent connoisseur and critic of art; but he was anything but a man of the people, and his victory was a victory of the aristocracy. The battles of the rough farmer on the other hand, who had been raised to honour by the common people and had led the common people to victory, were not merely defeats of the Cimbri and Teutones, but also defeats of the government: there were associated with them hopes far different from that of being able once more to carry on mercantile transactions on the one side of the Alps or to cultivate the fields without molestation on the other. Twenty years had elapsed since the bloody corpse of Gaius Gracchus had been flung into the Tiber; for twenty years the government of the restored oligarchy had been endured and cursed; still there had risen no avenger for Gracchus, no second master to prosecute the building which he had begun. There were many who hated and hoped, many of the worst and many of the best citizens of the state: was the man, who knew how to accomplish this vengeance and these wishes, found at last in the son of the day-labourer of Arpinum? Were they really on the threshold of the new much-dreaded and much-desired second revolution?