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About this text

  • Title: Life of Caesar
  • Editor: John D. Cox

  • Copyright John D. Cox. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Plutarch
    Editor: John D. Cox
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Life of Caesar

    22

    XXII. Then Caesar, returning into Gaul beyond the Alps unto his army, found there a great war in the country. For two great nations of Germany had not long before passed over the river of Rheyn, to conquer new lands: and the one of

    Ipes and Tenterides, people of Germany.

    these people were called Ipes, and the other Tenterides. Now touching the battle which Caesar fought with them, he himself doth describe it in his Commentaries, in this sort. That the barbarous people having sent ambassadors unto him to require peace for a certain time, they notwithstanding, against the law of arms, came and set upon him as he travelled by the way, insomuch as

    Caesar's horsemen put to flight.

    eight hundred of their men of arms overthrew five thousand of his horsemen, who nothing at all mistrusted their coming. Again, that they sent him other ambassadors to mock him once more: but that he kept them, and therewith caused his whole army to march against them, thinking it a folly and madness to keep faith with such traitorous barbarous breakers of leagues. Canutius writeth, that the Senate appointing again to do new sacrifice, processions, and feasts, to give thanks to the gods for this victory, Cato was of contrary opinion, that Caesar should be delivered into the hands of the barbarous people, for to purge their city and commonwealth of this breach of faith, and to turn the curse upon him that was the author of it. Of

    The Ipes and Tenterides slain by Caesar.

    these barbarous people, which came over the Rheyn (being about the number of four hundred thousand persons) they were all in manner slain, saving a very few of them, that flying from the battle got over the river of Rheyn again, who were

    Sicambri, a people of the Germans.

    received by the Sicambrians, another people of the Germans. Caesar taking this occasion against them, lacking no goodwill of himself besides, to have the honor to be counted the first Roman that ever passed over the river of Rheyn with an army, he built a bridge over it.

    Caesar made a bridge over the river of Rhine.

    This river is marvelous broad, and runneth with great fury; and in that place specially where he built his bridge, for there it is of a great breadth from one side to the other: and it hath so strong and swift a stream besides, that men casting down great bodies of trees into the river (which the stream bringeth down with it) did with the great blows and force thereof marvelously shake the posts of the bridge he had set up. But to prevent the blows of those trees, and also to break the fury of the stream, he made a pile of great wood above the bridge a good way, and did forcibly ram them into the bottom of the river; so that in ten days space he had set up and finished his bridge of the goodliest carpenters' work, and most excellent invention to see to, that could be possibly thought or devised.