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The same summer a great battle was fought between the Hermunduri and the Chatti, both forcibly claiming a river which produced salt in plenty, and bounded their territories. They had not only a passion for settling every question by arms, but also a deep-rooted superstition that such localities are specially near to heaven, and that mortal pray-
INTESTINE WAR IN GERMANY
ers are nowhere more attentively heard by the gods. It is, they think, through the bounty of divine power, that in that river and in those forests salt is produced, not, as in other countries, by the drying up of an overflow of the sea, but by the combination of two opposite elements, fire and water, when the latter had been poured over a burning pile of wood. The war was a success for the Hermunduri, and the more disastrous to the Chatti because they had devoted, in the event of victory, the enemy's army to Mars and Mercury, a vow which consigns horses, men, everything indeed on the vanquished side to destruction. And so the hostile threat recoiled on themselves. Meanwhile, a state in alliance with us, that of the Ubii, suffered grievously from an unexpected calamity. Fires suddenly bursting from the earth seized everywhere on country houses, crops, and villages, and were rushing on to the very walls of the newly founded colony. Nor could they be extinguished by the fall of rain, or by river-water, or by any other moisture, till some countrymen, in despair of a remedy and in fury at the disaster, flung stones from a distance, and then, approaching nearer, as the flames began to sink, tried to scare them away, like so many wild beasts, with the blows of clubs and other weapons. At last they stript off their clothes and threw them on the fire, which they were the more likely to quench, the more they had been soiled by common use.

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