Caesar singulis legionibus singulos legatos et quaestorem praefecit, uti eos testes suae quique virtutis haberet; ipse a dextro cornu, quod eam partem minime firmam hostium esse animadverterat, proelium commisit.  Ita nostri acriter in hostes signo dato impetum fecerunt, itaque hostes repente celeriterque procurrerunt, ut spatium pila in hostes coniciendi non daretur.  Reiectis pilis comminus gladiis pugnatum est.  At Germani celeriter ex consuetudine sua phalange facta impetus gladiorum exceperunt.  Reperti sunt complures nostri milites, qui in phalangas insilirent et scuta manibus revellerent et desuper vulnerarent.  Cum hostium acies a sinistro cornu pulsa atque in fugam conversa esset, a dextro cornu vehementer multitudine suorum nostram aciem premebant.  Id cum animadvertisset Publius Crassus adulescens, qui equitatui praeerat, quod expeditior erat quam ei qui inter aciem versabantur, tertiam aciem laborantibus nostris subsidio misit.


Caesar put the lieutenant-generals and the quartermaster-general1 each in command of a legion, that every man might have their witness of his valour.  He himself took station on the right wing, having noticed that the corresponding division of the enemy was the least steady, and joined battle.  Our troops attacked the enemy so fiercely when the signal was given, and the enemy dashed forward so suddenly and swiftly, that there was no time to discharge javelins upon them.  So javelins were thrown aside, and it was a sword-fight at close quarters.  But the Germans, according to their custom, speedily formed mass, and received the sword-attack.  Not a few of our soldiers were found brave enough to leap on to the masses of the enemy, tear the shields from their hands, and deal a wound from above.  The left wing of the enemy's line was beaten and put to flight, but their right wing, by sheer weight of numbers, was pressing our line hard.  Young Publius Crassus, commanding our cavalry, noticed this, and as he could move more freely than the officers who were occupied in and about the line of battle, he sent the third line in support of our struggling troops.

1See Appendix A.  Here the quaestor commanded one legion, legati the other five.

Translation and notes by H.J. Edwards


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