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Suomarius and Hortarius, kings of the Alamanni, on giving back their prisoners are granted peace by Julianus Caesar.
At length, after the mutiny had been quelled, not without various sorts of fair words, they built a pontoon bridge and crossed the Rhine; but when they set foot in the lands of the Alamanni, Severus, master of the horse, who had previously been a warlike and energetic officer, suddenly lost heart.  And he that had often encouraged one and all to brave deeds, now advised against fighting and seemed despicable and timid—perhaps through fear of his coming death, as we read in the books of Tages 1 or of Vegoe 2 that those who are shortly to be struck by lightning are so dulled in their senses that they can hear neither thunder nor any louder crashes whatsoever. And contrary to his usual custom, he had marched so lazily that he intimidated the guides, who were leading the way rapidly, and threatened them with death unless they would all agree, and unanimously make a statement, that they were wholly ignorant of the region. So they, being thus forbidden, and in fear of his authority, on no occasion went ahead after that.  Now in the midst of these delays Suomarius, king of the Alamanni, of his own initiative met the Romans unexpectedly with his troops, and although he had previously been haughty and cruelly bent upon harming the Romans, at that time on the [p. 361] contrary he thought it an unlooked-for gain if he were allowed to keep what belonged to him. And inasmuch as his looks and his gait showed him to be a suppliant, he was received and told to be of good cheer and set his mind at rest; whereupon he completely abandoned his own independence and begged for peace on bended knee.  And he obtained it, with pardon for all that was past, on these terms: that he should deliver up his Roman captives and supply the soldiers with food as often as it should be needed, receiving security 3 for what he brought in just like any ordinary contractor. And if he did not present it on time, he was to know that the same amount would again be demanded of him.  When this, which was properly arranged, had been carried out without a hitch, since the territory of a second king, Hortarius by name, was to be attacked and nothing seemed to be lacking but guides, Caesar had given orders to Nestica, a tribune of the targeteers, and Charietto, a man of extraordinary bravery, to take great pains to seek out and catch one and bring him in captive. Quickly a young Alamann was seized and led in, and on condition of having his life spared he promised to show the way.  He led and the army followed, but it was prevented from going forward by a barricade of tall felled trees. But when they finally, by long and circuitous detours, reached the spot, every man in the army, 4 wild with anger, joined in setting the fields on fire and raiding flocks and men; and if [p. 363] they resisted, they butchered them, without compunction.  The king was overwhelmed by these calamities, and when he saw the numerous legions and the ruins of his villages which they had burned down, now fully convinced that the final wreck of his fortunes was at hand, he too begged for pardon and under the solemn sanction of an oath promised that he would do what might be ordered. Being bidden to restore all prisoners—for that was insisted on with special earnestness—he did not keep faith but held back a large number and gave up only a few.  On learning this, Julian was roused to righteous indignation, and when the king came to receive presents, as was usual, he would not release his four attendants, on whose aid and loyalty he chiefly relied, until all the captives returned.  Finally the king was summoned by Caesar to an interview and reverenced him with trembling eyes; and overcome at the sight of the conqueror, he was forced to accept these hard terms, namely, that inasmuch as it was fitting that after so many successes the cities also should be rebuilt which the violence of the savages had destroyed, the king should furnish carts and timber from his own supplies and those of his subjects. And when he had promised this and taken oath that if he did any disloyal act, he should expiate it with his heart's blood, he was allowed to return to his own domains. For as to supplying grain, as Suomarius did, he could not be coerced, for the reason that his country had been ravaged to the point of ruin, and nothing to give to us could be found.  So those kings, who in times past were inordinately puffed up with pride, and accustomed to [p. 365] enrich themselves with the spoils of our subjects, put their necks, now bowed down, under the yoke of Roman dominion, and ungrudgingly obeyed our commander, as if born and brought up among our tributaries. And after this conclusion of events the soldiers were distributed among their usual posts and Caesar returned to winter quarters.
1 According to Censorinus, De Die Nat. 4, 13, and others, these books came from a certain Tages, who came up from the ground when a peasant was ploughing near Tarquinii in Etruria, and taught the people who flocked to him the secrets of prophecy. He is described as a boy with the wisdom of an old man; see Cic., De Div. ii. 23, 50 and Pease's note. The Tarquitian books of xxv. 2, 7 are perhaps the same.
2 Cf. Servius, on Aen. vi. 72, libri Begoes nymphae, quae artem scripserat fulguritorum apud Tuscos. The correct spelling is Vegoe.
3 That is, he was to receive receipts from those in charge of the supplies, and show them to Julian.
4 For this use of armorum, cf. xxxi. 10, 5, cum quadraginta armorum milibus; etc.
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