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39.

While he is tarrying a few days at Vesontio , on account of corn and provisions; from the inquiries of our men and the reports of the Gauls and traders (who asserted that the Germans were men of huge stature, of incredible valor and practice in arms-that oftentimes they, on encountering them, could not bear even their countenance, and the fierceness of their eyes)-so great a panic on a sudden seized the whole army, as to discompose the minds and spirits of all in no slight degree. This first arose from the tribunes of the soldiers, the prefects and the rest, who, having followed Caesar from the city [ Rome ] from motives of friendship, had no great experience in military affairs. And alleging, some of them one reason, some another, which they said made it necessary for them to depart, they requested that by his consent they might be allowed to withdraw; some, influenced by shame, stayed behind in order that they might avoid the suspicion of cowardice. These could neither compose their countenance, nor even sometimes check their tears: but hidden in their tents, either bewailed their fate, or deplored with their comrades the general danger. Wills were sealed universally throughout the whole camp. By the expressions and cowardice of these men, even those who possessed great experience in the camp, both soldiers and centurions, and those [the decurions] who were in command of the cavalry, were gradually disconcerted. Such of them as wished to be considered less alarmed, said that they did not dread the enemy, but feared the narrowness of the roads and the vastness of the forests which lay between them and Ariovistus, or else that the supplies could not be brought up readily enough. Some even declared to Caesar, that when he gave orders for the camp to be moved and the troops to advance, the soldiers would not be obedient to the command, nor advance in consequence of their fear.

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load focus Notes (J. B. Greenough, Benjamin L. D'Ooge, M. Grant Daniell, 1898)
load focus Latin (T. Rice Holmes, 1914)
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