After burning Mattium, the capital of the tribe, and ravaging the
open country, Germanicus marched back towards the Rhine, the enemy
not daring to harass the rear of the retiring army, which was his
usual practice whenever he fell back by way of stratagem rather than
from panic. It had been the intention of the Cherusci to help the
Chatti; but Caecina thoroughly cowed them, carrying his arms everywhere,
and the Marsi who ventured to engage him, he repulsed in a successful

Not long after envoys came from Segestes, imploring aid against the
violence of his fellow-countrymen, by whom he was hemmed in, and with
whom Arminius had greater influence, because he counselled war. For
with barbarians, the more eager a man’s daring, the more does he inspire
confidence, and the more highly is he esteemed in times of revolution.
With the envoys Segestes had associated his son, by name Segimundus,
but the youth hung back from a consciousness of guilt. For in the
year of the revolt of Germany he had been appointed a priest at the
altar of the Ubii, and had rent the sacred garlands, and fled to the
rebels. Induced, however, to hope for mercy from Rome, he brought
his father’s message; he was graciously received and sent with an
escort to the Gallic bank of the Rhine.

It was now worth while for Germanicus to march back his army. A battle
was fought against the besiegers and Segestes was rescued with a numerous
band of kinsfolk and dependents. In the number were some women of
rank; among them, the wife of Arminius, who was also the daughter
of Segestes, but who exhibited the spirit of her husband rather than
of her father, subdued neither to tears nor to the tones of a suppliant,
her hands tightly clasped within her bosom, and eyes which dwelt on
her hope of offspring. The spoils also taken in the defeat of Varus
were brought in, having been given as plunder to many of those who
were then being surrendered.

Segestes too was there in person, a stately figure, fearless in the
remembrance of having been a faithful ally. His speech was to this
effect. “This is not my first day of steadfast loyalty towards the
Roman people. From the time that the Divine Augustus gave me the citizenship,
I have chosen my friends and foes with an eye to your advantage, not
from hatred of my fatherland (for traitors are detested even by those
whom they prefer) but because I held that Romans and Germans have
the same interests, and that peace is better than war. And therefore
I denounced to Varus, who then commanded your army, Arminius, the
ravisher of my daughter, the violater of your treaty. I was put off
by that dilatory general, and, as I found but little protection in
the laws, I urged him to arrest myself, Arminius, and his accomplices.
That night is my witness; would that it had been my last. What followed,
may be deplored rather than defended. However, I threw Arminius into
chains and I endured to have them put on myself by his partisans.
And as soon as give opportunity, I show my preference for the old
over the new, for peace over commotion, not to get a reward, but that
I may clear myself from treachery and be at the same time a fit mediator
for a German people, should they choose repentance rather than ruin,
For the youth and error of my son I entreat forgiveness. As for my
daughter, I admit that it is by compulsion she has been brought here.
It will be for you to consider which fact weighs most with you, that
she is with child by Arminius or that she owes her being to me.”

Caesar in a gracious reply promised safety to his children and kinsfolk
and a home for himself in the old province. He then led back the army
and received on the proposal of Tiberius the title of Imperator. The
wife of Arminius gave birth to a male child; the boy, who was brought
up at Ravenna, soon afterwards suffered an insult, which at the proper
time I shall relate.

The report of the surrender and kind reception of Segestes, when generally
known, was heard with hope or grief according as men shrank from war
or desired it. Arminius, with his naturally furious temper, was driven
to frenzy by the seizure of his wife and the foredooming to slavery
of his wife’s unborn child. He flew hither and thither among the Cherusci,
demanding “war against Segestes, war against Caesar.” And he refrained
not from taunts. “Noble the father,” he would say, “mighty the general,
brave the army which, with such strength, has carried off one weak
woman. Before me, three legions, three commanders have fallen. Not
by treachery, not against pregnant women, but openly against armed
men do I wage war. There are still to be seen in the groves of Germany
the Roman standards which I hung up to our country’s gods. Let Segestes
dwell on the conquered bank; let him restore to his son his priestly
office; one thing there is which Germans will never thoroughly excuse,
their having seen between the Elbe and the Rhine the Roman rods, axes,
and toga. Other nations in their ignorance of Roman rule, have no
experience of punishments, know nothing of tributes, and, as we have
shaken them off, as the great Augustus, ranked among dieties, and
his chosen heir Tiberius, departed from us, baffled, let us not quail
before an inexperienced stripling, before a mutinous army. If you
prefer your fatherland, your ancestors, your ancient life to tyrants
and to new colonies, follow as your leader Arminius to glory and to
freedom rather than Segestes to ignominious servitude.”
The Annals by Tacitus