When, however, summer was at its height some of the legions were sent
back overland into winter-quarters, but most of them Caesar put on
board the fleet and brought down the river Amisia to the ocean. At
first the calm waters merely sounded with the oars of a thousand vessels
or were ruffled by the sailing ships. Soon, a hailstorm bursting from
a black mass of clouds, while the waves rolled hither and thither
under tempestuous gales from every quarter, rendered clear sight impossible,
and the steering difficult, while our soldiers, terrorstricken and
without any experience of disasters on the sea, by embarrassing the
sailors or giving them clumsy aid, neutralized the services of the
skilled crews. After a while, wind and wave shifted wholly to the
south, and from the hilly lands and deep rivers of Germany came with
a huge line of rolling clouds, a strong blast, all the more frightful
from the frozen north which was so near to them, and instantly caught
and drove the ships hither and thither into the open ocean, or on
islands with steep cliffs or which hidden shoals made perilous. these
they just escaped, with difficulty, and when the tide changed and
bore them the same way as the wind, they could not hold to their anchors
or bale out the water which rushed in upon them. Horses, beasts of
burden, baggage, were thrown overboard, in order to lighten the hulls
which leaked copiously through their sides, while the waves too dashed
over them.

As the ocean is stormier than all other seas, and as Germany is conspicuous
for the terrors of its climate, so in novelty and extent did this
disaster transcend every other, for all around were hostile coasts,
or an expanse so vast and deep that it is thought to be the remotest
shoreless sea. Some of the vessels were swallowed up; many were wrecked
on distant islands, and the soldiers, finding there no form of human
life, perished of hunger, except some who supported existence on carcases
of horses washed on the same shores. Germanicus’s trireme alone reached
the country of the Chauci. Day and night, on those rocks and promontories
he would incessantly exclaim that he was himself responsible for this
awful ruin, and friends scarce restrained him from seeking death in
the same sea.

At last, as the tide ebbed and the wind blew favourably, the shattered
vessels with but few rowers, or clothing spread as sails, some towed
by the more powerful, returned, and Germanicus, having speedily repaired
them, sent them to search the islands. Many by that means were recovered.
The Angrivarii, who had lately been admitted to our alliance, restored
to us several had ransomed from the inland tribes. Some had been carried
to Britain and were sent back by the petty chiefs. Every one, as he
returned from some far-distant region, told of wonders, of violent
hurricanes, and unknown birds, of monsters of the sea, of forms half-human,
half beast-like, things they had really seen or in their terror believed.

Meanwhile the rumoured loss of the fleet stirred the Germans to hope
for war, as it did Caesar to hold them down. He ordered Caius Silius
with thirty thousand infantry and three thousand cavalry to march
against the Chatti. He himself, with a larger army, invaded the Marsi,
whose leader, Mallovendus, whom we had lately admitted to surrender,
pointed out a neighbouring wood, where, he said, an eagle of one of
Varus’s legions was buried and guarded only by a small force. Immediately
troops were despatched to draw the enemy from his position by appearing
in his front, others, to hem in his rear and open the ground. Fortune
favoured both. So Germanicus, with increased energy, advanced into
the country, laying it waste, and utterly ruining a foe who dared
not encounter him, or who was instantly defeated wherever he resisted,
and, as we learnt from prisoners, was never more panic-stricken. The
Romans, they declared, were invincible, rising superior to all calamities;
for having thrown away a fleet, having lost their arms, after strewing
the shores with the carcases of horses and of men, they had rushed
to the attack with the same courage, with equal spirit, and, seemingly,
with augmented numbers.

The soldiers were then led back into winter-quarters, rejoicing in
their hearts at having been compensated for their disasters at sea
by a successful expedition. They were helped too by Caesar’s bounty,
which made good whatever loss any one declared he had suffered. It
was also regarded as a certainty that the enemy were wavering and
consulting on negotiations for peace, and that, with an additional
campaign next summer the war might be ended. Tiberius, however, in
repeated letters advised Germanicus to return for the triumph decreed
him. “He had now had enough of success, enough of disaster. He had
fought victorious battles on a great scale; he should also remember
those losses which the winds and waves had inflicted, and which, though
due to no fault of the general, were still grievous and shocking.
He, Tiberius, had himself been sent nine times by Augustus into Germany,
and had done more by policy than by arms. By this means the submission
of the Sugambri had been secured, and the Suevi with their king Maroboduus
had been forced into peace. The Cherusci too and the other insurgent
tribes, since the vengeance of Rome had been satisfied, might be left
to their internal feuds.”

When Germanicus requested a year for the completion of his enterprise,
Tiberius put a severer pressure on his modesty by offering him a second
consulship, the functions of which he was to discharge in person.
He also added that if war must still be waged, he might as well leave
some materials for renown to his brother Drusus, who, as there was
then no other enemy, could win only in Germany the imperial title
and the triumphal laurel. Germanicus hesitated no longer, though he
saw that this was a pretence, and that he was hurried away through
jealousy from the glory he had already acquired.
The Annals by Tacitus