Caesar, The Gallic War

LCL 72: 12-13

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Caesar

Nammeius et Verucloetius principem locum obtinebant, qui dicerent sibi esse in animo sine ullo maleficio iter per provinciam facere, propterea quod aliud iter haberent nullum: rogare, ut eius voluntate id sibi facere liceat. Caesar, quod memoria tenebat L. Cassium consulem occisum exercitumque eius ab Helvetiis pulsum et sub iugum missum, concedendum non putabat; neque homines inimico animo, data facultate per provinciam itineris faciendi, temperaturos ab iniuria et maleficio existimabat. Tamen, ut spatium intercedere posset, dum milites quos imperaverat convenirent, legatis respondit diem se ad deliberandum sumpturum: si quid vellent, ad Id. April. reverterentur.

8Interea ea legione quam secum habebat, militibusque qui ex provincia convenerant, a lacu Lemanno, qui in flumen Rhodanum influit, ad montem Iuram, qui fines Sequanorum ab Helvetiis dividit, milia passuum decem novem murum in altitudinem pedum sedecim fossamque perducit. Eo opere perfecto praesidia disponit, castella communit, quo facilius, si se invito transire conarentur, prohibere possit. Vbi ea dies quam constituerat cum legatis venit, et legati ad eum reverterunt, negat se more et exemplo populi Romani posse iter ulli per provinciam dare et, si vim facere conentur, prohibiturum ostendit.

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Gallic War, Book I

state. Nammeius and Verucloetius held the chief place in the deputation, with instructions to say that their purpose was to march through the Province without any mischief, because they had no other route; and they asked that they might have leave so to do of his good will. Remembering that the consul Lucius Cassius had been slain,1 and his army routed and sent under the yoke, by the Helvetii, Caesar considered that no concession should be made; nor did he believe that men of unfriendly disposition, if granted an opportunity of marching through the Province, would refrain from outrage and mischief. However, to gain an interval for the assembly of the troops he had levied, he replied to the deputies that he would take a space of time for consideration: if they wished for anything, they were to return on the 13th of April.

In the meanwhile he used the legion which he had with him, and the troops which had concentrated from the Province, to construct a continuous wall, sixteen feet high, and a trench, from the Lake of Geneva, which flows into the river Rhone, to the Jura range, which separates the territory of the Sequani from the Helvetii, a distance of nineteen miles. This work completed, he posted separate garrisons, in entrenched forts, in order that he might more easily be able to stop any attempt of the enemy to cross against his wish. When the day which he had appointed with the deputies arrived, and the deputies returned to him, he said that, following the custom and precedent of the Roman people, he could not grant anyone a passage through the Province; and he made it plain that he would stop any attempt to force the same. Disappointed of this hope, the

  • 1107 b.c.
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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.caesar-gallic_wars.1917