Ab his castris oppidum Remorum nomine Bibrax aberat milia passuum octo.  Id ex itinere magno impetu Belgae oppugnare coeperunt.  Aegre eo die sustentatum est.  Gallorum eadem atque Belgarum oppugnatio est haec.  Ubi circuiecta multitudine hominum totis moenibus undisque in murum lapides iaci coepti sunt murusque defensoribus nudatus est, tetudine facta portas succedunt murumque subruunt.  Quod tum facile fiebat.  Nam cum tanta multitudo lapides ac tela conicerent, in muro consistendi potestas erat nulli.  Cum finem oppugnandi nox fecisset, Iccius Remus, summa nobilitate et gratia inter suos, qui tum oppido praefuierat, unus ex eis qui legati de pace ad Caesarem venerant, nuntium ad eum mittit, nisi subsidium sibi submittatur, sese diutius sustinere non posse.

From this camp a town of the Remi called Bibrax was eight miles distant.  The Belgae turned direct from their march to attack1 this town with great violence.  The defence was with difficulty maintained on that day.  The Gauls and the Belgae use on method of attack.  A host of men is set all round the ramparts, and when a rain of stones from all sides upon the wall has begun, and the wall is stripped of defenders, the attackers form a "tortoise,"2 move up to the gates, and undercut the wall.  When night made an end of the assault, Iccius of the Remi, pre-eminent among his tribesmen in rank and favour, who was the officer in charge of the town at this time, and one of those who had come as deputies to Caesar to treat of peace, sent a report to him to the effect that unless a reinforcement were tent up to him he could no longer hold his position.

1ex itinere oppugnare (cf. ch. 12 infra) seems to mean "to assault direct from the march"--to storm a town by a coup de main without interrupting the main advance.

2i.e. lock their shields together over their heads.  See Appendix A

Translation and notes by H.J. Edwards

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