Caesari omnia uno tempore erant agenda:  vexillum proponendum, quod erat insigne cum ad arma concurri oporteret, signum tuba dandum, ab opere revocandi milites, qui laulo longius aggeris petendi causa processerant arcessendi, acies instruenda, milites cohortandi, signum dandum. Quarum rerum magnam partem temporis brevitas et successus hostium impediebat. His difficultatibus duae res erant subsidio, scientia atque usus militum, quod superioribus proeliis exercitati, quid fieri oporteret, non minus commode ipsi sibi praescribere quam ab aliis doceri potereant, et quod ab opera singulisqu munitis castris vetuerat. Hi propter propinquitatem et celeritatem hostium nihil iam Caesaris imperium exspectabant, sed per se quae videbantur administrabant.

Caesar had everything to do at one moment--the flag to raise, as a signal of a general call to arms;1 the trumpet-call to sound; the troops to recall from entrenching; the men to bring in who had gone somewhat farther afield in search of stuff for the ramp; the line to form; the troops to harangue; the signal to give. A great part of these duties was prevented by the shortness of the time and the advance of the enemy. The stress of the moment was relieved by two things:  the knowledge and experience of the troops--for their training in previous battles enabled them to appoint for themselves what was proper to be done as redily as others could have shown them--and the fact that Caesar had forbidden the several lieutenant-generals to leave the entrenching and their proper legions until the camp was fortified. These generals, seeing the nearness and the speed of the enemy, waited no more for a command from Caesar, but took on their own account what steps seemed to them proper.

1See Appendix A

Translation and notes by H.J. Edwards

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