Learning that the enemy were near, Marius rapidly crossed the Alps, and built a fortified camp along the river Rhone. Into this he brought together an abundance of stores, that he might never be forced by lack of provisions to give battle contrary to his better judgment.
The conveyance of what was needful for his army, which had previously been a long and costly process where it was by sea, he rendered easy and speedy. That is, the mouths of the Rhone, encountering the sea, took up great quantities of mud and sand packed close with clay by the action of the billows, and made the entrance of the river difficult, laborious, and slow for vessels carrying supplies.
So Marius brought his army to the place, since the men had nothing else to do, and ran a great canal. Into this he diverted a great part of the river and brought it round to a suitable place on the coast, a deep bay where large ships could float, and where the water could flow out smoothly and without waves to the sea. This canal, indeed, still bears the name of Marius. 1
The Barbarians divided themselves into two bands, and it fell to the lot of the Cimbri to proceed through Noricum in the interior of the country against Catulus, and force a passage there, while the Teutones and Ambrones were to march through Liguria along the sea-coast against Marius.
On the part of the Cimbri there was considerable delay and loss of time, but the Teutones and Ambrones set out at once passed through the intervening country, and made their appearance before Marius. Their numbers were limitless, they were hideous in their aspect, and their speech and cries were unlike those of other peoples. They covered a large part of the plain, and after pitching their camp challenged Marius to battle.