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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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


    XVIII. The first war that Caesar made with the Gauls, was with the Helvetians and Tigurinians, who having set fire on all their good cities, to the number of twelve, and four hundred villages besides, came to invade that part of Gaul which was subject to the Romans, as the Cimbri and Teutons had done before, unto whom for valiantness they gave no place : and they were also a great number of them (for they were three hundred thousand souls in all) whereof there were an hundred four score and ten thousand fighting men. Of those, it was not

    The Tigurinians slain by Labienus. Arax fl.

    Caesar himself that overcame the Tigurinians, but Labienus his lieutenant, that overthrew them by the river of Arax. But the Helvetians themselves came suddenly with their army to set upon him, as he was going towards a city of his confederates. Caesar perceiving that, made haste to get him some place of strength, and there did set his men in battle ray. When one brought him his horse to get upon, which he used in battle, he said unto them: "When I have overcome mine enemies, I will then get upon him to follow the chase, but now let us give them charge." Therewith he marched forward on foot and gave charge: and there fought it out a long, before he could make them fly that were in battle. But the greatest trouble he had was to distress their camp, and to break their strength which they had made with their carts. For there, they that before had fled from the battle did not only put themselves in force, and valiantly fought it out:

    The Helvetians slain by Caesar.

    but their wives and children also, fighting for their lives to the death, were all slain, and the battle was scant ended at midnight. Now if the act of this victory was famous, unto that he also added another as notable, or exceeding it. For of all the barbarous people that had escaped from this battle, he gathered together again above an hundred thousand of them, and compelled them to return home into their country which they had forsaken, and unto their towns also which they had burnt: because he feared the Germans would come over the river of Rheyn, and occupy that country Iying void.