Ac primo adventu exercitus nostri crebas ex oppido excursiones faciebant parvulisque proeliis cum nostris contendebant; postea vallo pedum [XII] in circuitu quindecim milium crebisque castellis circummuniti oppido sese continebant. Ubi vineis actis aggere exstructo turrim procul constitui viderunt, primum irridere ex muro atque increpitare vocibus, quod tanta machinatio ab tanto spatio instrueretur:  quibusnam manibus aut quibus viribus praesertim homines tantulae staturae (nam plerumque hominibus Gallis prae magnitudine corporum suorum brevitas nostra contemptui est) tanti oneris turrim in muro [posse] sese collocare confiderent?

And now, upon the first arrival of our army, they made frequent sallies from the stronghold, and engaged in petty encounters with our troops. Afterwards, when they had round them a fortified rampart of fifteen thousand feet in circumference, with forts at close interval, they kept within the town. When our mantlets had been pushed up and a ramp constructed, and they saw a tower set up in the distance, they first of all laughed at us from the wall, and loudly railed upon us for erecting so great an engine at so great a distance. By what handiwork, said they, by what strength could men, especially of so puny a stature (for, as a rule, our stature, short by comparison with their own huge physique, is despised of the Gauls), hope to set so heavy a tower on the wall?

Translation and notes by H.J. Edwards

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