Appian, Gallic War 3

Appian of Alexandria (c.95-c.165): one of the most underestimated of all Greek historians, author of a Roman History in twenty-four books.

Although only Appian's books on the Roman Civil Wars survive in their entirety, large parts of the other books, devoted to Rome's foreign wars, have also come down to us. The parts on the Third Punic War, the wars in Iberia, the Illyrian Wars, and the Mithridatic Wars are very important historical sources.

Because these texts have to be reconstructed from several medieval manuscripts, not all editions of Appian's account of Rome's foreign wars are numbered in the same way. On these pages, the separate units of a book are counted strictly chronologically.

The translation was made by Horace White; notes by Jona Lendering.


The Allobroges

[15] [From Constantine Porphyrogenitus, The Embassies] The chiefs of the Salyi, a nation vanquished by the Romans, took refuge with the Allobroges.note When the Romans asked for their surrender and it was refused, they made war on the Allobroges, under the leadership of Gnaeus Domitius.note When he was passing through the territory of the Salyi, an ambassador of Bituitus, king of the Allobroges, met him, arrayed magnificently and followed by attendants likewise arrayed, and also by dogs; for the barbarians of this region use dogs also as body-guards. A musician was in the train who sang in barbarous fashion the praises of King Bituitus, and then of the Allobroges, and then of the ambassador himself, celebrating his birth, his bravery, and his wealth; for which reason chiefly their illustrious ambassadors usually take such persons along with them. But this one, although he begged pardon for the chiefs of the Salyi, accomplished nothing.

[16] [From an Epitome] Even before Marius, Fabius Maximus Aemilianus with a very small army killed 120,000 of them in one battle, losing only fifteen of his own men;note and he did this although suffering from a recent wound, urging and encouraging his troops and showing them how to fight barbarians, now borne on a litter and now hobbling on foot leaning on the arms of others.)

The Cimbri and Teutones

[17] [From Constantine Porphyrogenitus, The Embassies] A numerous band of the Teutones bent on plunder invaded the territory of Noricum.note The Roman consul, Papirius Carbo,note fearing lest they should make an incursion into Italy, occupied the Alps at a place where the pass is narrowest. As they made no attempt in this direction he attacked them, complaining that they had invaded the people of Noricum, who were foreign friends of the Romans. It was the practice of the Romans to make foreign friends of any people for whom they wanted to intervene on the score of friendship, without being obliged to defend them as allies.

As Carbo was approaching, the Teutones sent word to him that they had not known anything about this relationship between Rome and Noricum, and that for the future they would keep hands off. He praised the ambassadors, and gave them guides for their homeward journey, but privately charged the guides to take them by a longer route. He himself then marched by a shorter one and fell unexpectedly upon the Teutones, though they were still desisting from hostilities, but he suffered severely for his perfidy, and lost a large part of his army. He would probably have perished with his whole force had not darkness and a tremendous thunderstorm fallen upon them while the fight was in progress, separating the combatants and putting an end to the battle by sheer terror from heaven. Even as it was, the Romans fled in small bands through the woods and came together with difficulty three days later. The Teutones passed into Gaul.

[18] [From an Epitome] Shortly before the consulships of Marius a most numerous and warlike horde of Celtic tribes,note most formidable in bodily strength, made incursions into both Italy and Gaul, and defeated some of the Roman consuls, and cut their armies in pieces. Marius was sent against them and he destroyed them all.

[19] [From the Suda] Henote ordered them to leave the bodies of the Cimbri intact till daylight because he believed they were adorned with gold.note

This page was created in 2005; last modified on 3 January 2016.