Florus meanwhile followed up his designs and tried to induce a squadron
of cavalry levied among the Treveri, trained in our service and discipline,
to begin hostilities by a massacre of the Roman traders. He corrupted
a few of the men, but the majority were steadfast in their allegiance.
A host however of debtors and dependents took up arms, and they were
on their way to the forest passes known as the Arduenna, when they
were stopped by legions which Visellius and Silius had sent from their
respective armies, by opposite routes, to meet them. Julius Indus
from the same state, who was at feud with Florus and therefore particularly
eager to render us a service, was sent on in advance with a picked
force, and dispersed the undisciplined rabble. Florus after eluding
the conquerors by hiding himself in one place after another, at last
when he saw some soldiers who had barred every possible escape, fell
by his own hand. Such was the end of the rebellion of the Treveri.

A more formidable movement broke out among the Aedui, proportioned
to the greater wealth of the state and the distance of the force which
should repress it. Sacrovir with some armed cohorts had made himself
master of Augustodunum, the capital of the tribe, with the noblest
youth of Gaul, there devoting themselves to a liberal education, and
with such hostages he proposed to unite in his cause their parents
and kinsfolk. He also distributed among the youth arms which he had
had secretly manufactured. There were forty thousand, one fifth armed
like our legionaries; the rest had spears and knives and other weapons
used in the chase. In addition were some slaves who were being trained
for gladiators, clad after the national fashion in a complete covering
of steel. They were called crupellarii, and though they were ill-adapted
for inflicting wounds, they were impenetrable to them. This army was
continually increased, not yet by any open combination of the neighbouring
states, but by zealous individual enthusiasm, as well as by strife
between the Roman generals, each of whom claimed the war for himself.
Varro after a while, as he was infirm and aged, yielded to Silius
who was in his prime.

At Rome meanwhile people said that it was not only the Treveri and
Aedui who had revolted, but sixty-four states of Gaul with the Germans
in alliance, while Spain too was disaffected; anything in fact was
believed, with rumour’s usual exaggeration. All good men were saddened
by anxiety for the country, but many in their loathing of the present
system and eagerness for change, rejoiced at their very perils and
exclaimed against Tiberius for giving attention amid such political
convulsions to the calumnies of informers. “Was Sacrovir too,” they
asked, “to be charged with treason before the Senate? We have at last
found men to check those murderous missives by the sword. Even war
is a good exchange for a miserable peace.” Tiberius all the more studiously
assumed an air of unconcern. He changed neither his residence nor
his look, but kept up his usual demeanour during the whole time, either
from the profoundness of his reserve; or was it that he had convinced
himself that the events were unimportant and much more insignificant
than the rumours represented?

Silius meantime was advancing with two legions, and having sent forward
some auxiliary troops was ravaging those villages of the Sequani,
which, situated on the border, adjoin the Aedui, and were associated
with them in arms. He then pushed on by forced marches to Augustodunum,
his standard-bearers vying in zeal, and even the privates loudly protesting
against any halt for their usual rest or during the hours of night.
“Only,” they said, “let us have the foe face to face; that will be
enough for victory.” Twelve miles from Augustodunum they saw before
them Sacrovir and his army in an open plain. His men in armour he
had posted in the van, his light infantry on the wings, and the half-armed
in the rear. He himself rode amid the foremost ranks on a splendid
charger, reminding them of the ancient glories of the Gauls, of the
disasters they had inflicted on the Romans, how grand would be the
freedom of the victorious, how more intolerable than ever the slavery
of a second conquest.

His words were brief and heard without exultation. For now the legions
in battle array were advancing, and the rabble of townsfolk who knew
nothing of war had their faculties of sight and hearing quite paralysed.
Silius, on the one hand, though confident hope took away any need
for encouragement, exclaimed again and again that it was a shame to
the conquerors of Germany to have to be led against Gauls, as against
an enemy. “Only the other day the rebel Turoni had been discomfited
by a single cohort, the Treveri by one cavalry squadron, the Sequani
by a few companies of this very army. Prove to these Aedui once for
all that the more they abound in wealth and luxury, the more unwarlike
are they, but spare them when they flee.”

Then there was a deafening cheer; the cavalry threw itself on the
flanks, and the infantry charged the van. On the wings there was but
a brief resistance. The men in mail were somewhat of an obstacle,
as the iron plates did not yield to javelins or swords; but our men,
snatching up hatchets and pickaxes, hacked at their bodies and their
armour as if they were battering a wall. Some beat down the unwieldy
mass with pikes and forked poles, and they were left lying on the
ground, without an effort to rise, like dead men. Sacrovir with his
most trustworthy followers hurried first to Augustodunum and then,
from fear of being surrendered, to an adjacent country house. There
by his own hand he fell, and his comrades by mutually inflicted wounds.
The house was fired over their heads, and with it they were all consumed.
The Annals by Tacitus