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 Of these they say that the Belgæ are the bravest. They are divided into fifteen nations, and dwell near the ocean between the Rhine and the Loire, and have therefore sustained themselves single-handed against the incursions of the Germans, the Cimbri,1 and the Teutons. The bravest of the Belgæ are the Bellovaci,2 and after them the Suessiones. The amount of their population may be estimated by the fact that formerly there were said to be 300,000 Belgæ capable of bearing arms.3 The numbers of the Helvetii, the Arverni, and their allies, have already been mentioned. All this is a proof both of the amount of the population [of Gaul], and, as before remarked, of the fecundity of their women, and the ease with which they rear their children. The Gauls wear the sagum, let their hair grow, and wear short breeches. Instead of tunics they wear a slashed garment with sleeves descending a little below the hips.4 The wool [of their sheep is coarse, but long; from it they weave the thick saga called laines. However, in the northern parts the Romans rear flocks of sheep which they cover with skins, and which produce very fine wool. The equipment [of the Gauls] is in keeping with the size of their bodies; they have a long sword hanging at their right side, a long shield, and lances in proportion, together with a madaris somewhat resembling a javelin; some of them also use bows and slings; they have also a piece of wood resembling a pilum, which they hurl not out of a thong, but from their hand, and to a farther distance than an arrow. They principally make use of it in shooting birds. To the present day most of them lie on the ground, and take their meals seated on straw. They subsist principally on milk and all kinds of flesh, especially that of swine, which they eat both fresh and salted. Their swine live in the fields, and surpass in height, strength, and swiftness. To persons unaccustomed to approach them they are almost as dangerous as wolves. The people dwell in great houses arched, constructed of planks and wicker, and covered with a heavy thatched roof. They have sheep and swine in such abundance, that they supply saga and salted pork in plenty, not only to Rome but to most parts of Italy. Their governments were for the most part aristocratic; formerly they chose a governor every year, and a military leader was likewise elected by the multitude.5 At the present day they are mostly under sub- jection to the Romans. They have a peculiar custom in their assemblies. If any one makes an uproar or interrupts the person speaking, an attendant advances with a drawn sword, and commands him with menace to be silent; if he persists, the attendant does the same thing a second and third time; and finally, [if he will not obey,] cuts off from his sagum so large a piece as to render the remainder useless. The labours of the two sexes are distributed in a manner the reverse of what they are with us, but this is a common thing with numerous other barbarians.
1 The Cimbri inhabited Denmark and the adjacent regions.
2 The inhabitants of the Beauvoisis.
3 Vide Cæsar, lib. ii. c. 4.
4 This slashed garment is the smock frock of the English peasant and the blouse of the continent.
5 Conf. Cæsar, lib. vi. c. 13. Plebs pene servorum habetur loco, quæ per se nihil audet, et nulli adhibetur consilio.
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