He then moved his camp near to the enemy, leaving in his former entrenchments
the Thracians who, as I have mentioned, were with us. These had permission
to ravage, burn, and plunder, provided they confined their forays
to daylight, and passed the night securely and vigilantly in their
camp. This at first they strictly observed. Soon they resigned themselves
to enjoyment, and, enriched by plunder, they neglected their guards,
and amid feasts and mirth sank down in the carelessness of the banquet,
of sleep and of wine. So the enemy, apprised of their heedlessness,
prepared two detachments, one of which was to attack the plunderers,
the other, to fall on the Roman camp, not with the hope of taking
it, but to hinder the din of the other battle from being heard by
our soldiers, who, with shouts and missiles around them, would be
all intent on their own peril. Night too was chosen for the movement
to increase the panic. Those however who tried to storm the entrenchment
of the legions were easily repulsed; the Thracian auxiliaries were
dismayed by the suddenness of the onset, for though some were lying
close to their lines, far more were straggling beyond them, and the
massacre was all the more savage, inasmuch as they were taunted with
being fugitives and traitors and bearing arms for their own and their
country’s enslavement.

Next day Sabinus displayed his forces in the plain, on the chance
of the barbarians being encouraged by the night’s success to risk
an engagement. Finding that they did not quit the fortress and the
adjoining hills, he began a siege by means of the works which he had
opportunely began to construct; then he drew a fosse and stockade
enclosing an extent of four miles, and by degrees contracted and narrowed
his lines, with the view of cutting off their water and forage. He
also threw up a rampart, from which to discharge stones, darts, and
brands on the enemy, who was now within range. It was thirst however
which chiefly distressed them, for there was only one spring for the
use of a vast multitude of soldiers and non-combatants. Their cattle
too, penned up close to them, after the fashion of barbarians, were
dying of want of fodder; near them lay human bodies which had perished
from wounds or thirst, and the whole place was befouled with rotting
carcases and stench and infection. To their confusion was added the
growing misery of discord, some thinking of surrender, others of destruction
by mutual blows. Some there were who suggested a sortie instead of
an unavenged death, and these were all men of spirit, though they
differed in their plans.

One of their chiefs, Dinis, an old man who well knew by long experience
both the strength and clemency of Rome, maintained that they must
lay down their arms, this being the only remedy for their wretched
plight, and he was the first to give himself up with his wife and
children to the conqueror. He was followed by all whom age or sex
unfitted for war, by all too who had a stronger love of life than
of renown. The young were divided between Tarsa and Turesis, both
of whom had resolved to fall together with their freedom. Tarsa however
kept urging them to speedy death and to the instant breaking off of
all hope and fear, and, by way of example, plunged his sword into
his heart. And there were some who chose the same death. Turesis and
his band waited for night, not without the knowledge of our general.
Consequently, the sentries were strengthened with denser masses of
troops. Night was coming on with a fierce storm, and the foe, one
moment with a tumultuous uproar, another in awful silence, had perplexed
the besiegers, when Sabinus went round the camp, entreating the men
not to give a chance to their stealthy assailants by heeding embarrassing
noises or being deceived by quiet, but to keep, every one, to his
post without moving or discharging their darts on false alarms.

The barbarians meanwhile rushed down with their bands, now hurling
at the entrenchments stones such as the hand could grasp, stakes with
points hardened by fire, and boughs lopped from oaks; now filling
up the fosses with bushes and hurdles and dead bodies, while others
advanced up to the breastwork with bridges and ladders which they
had constructed for the occasion, seized it, tore it down, and came
to close quarters with the defenders. Our soldiers on the other side
drove them back with missiles, repelled them with their shields, and
covered them with a storm of long siege-javelins and heaps of stones.
Success already gained and the more marked disgrace which would follow
repulse, were a stimulus to the Romans, while the courage of the foe
was heightened by this last chance of deliverance and the presence
of many mothers and wives with mournful cries. Darkness, which increased
the daring of some and the terror of others, random blows, wounds
not foreseen, failure to recognise friend or enemy, echoes, seemingly
in their rear, from the winding mountain valleys, spread such confusion
that the Romans abandoned some of their lines in the belief that they
had been stormed. Only however a very few of the enemy had broken
through them; the rest, after their bravest men had been beaten back
or wounded, were towards daybreak pushed back to the upper part of
the fortress and there at last compelled to surrender. Then the immediate
neighbourhood, by the voluntary action of the inhabitants, submitted.
The early and severe winter of Mount Haemus saved the rest of the
population from being reduced by assault or blockade.

At Rome meanwhile, besides the shocks already sustained by the imperial
house, came the first step towards the destruction of Agrippina, Claudia
Pulchra, her cousin, being prosecuted by Domitius Afer. Lately a praetor,
a man of but moderate position and eager to become notorious by any
sort of deed, Afer charged her with unchastity, with having Furnius
for her paramour, and with attempts on the emperor by poison and sorcery.
Agrippina, always impetuous, and now kindled into fury by the peril
of her kinswoman, went straight to Tiberius and found him, as it happened,
offering a sacrifice to his father. This provoked an indignant outburst.
“It is not,” she exclaimed, “for the same man to slay victims to the
Divine Augustus and to persecute his posterity. The celestial spirit
has not transferred itself to the mute statue; here is the true image,
sprung of heavenly blood, and she perceives her danger, and assumes
its mournful emblems. Pulchra’s name is a mere blind; the only reason
for her destruction is that she has, in utter folly, selected Agrippina
for her admiration, forgetting that Sosia was thereby ruined.” These
words wrung from the emperor one of the rare utterances of that inscrutable
breast; he rebuked Agrippina with a Greek verse, and reminded her
that “she was not wronged because she was not a queen.” Pulchra and
Furnius were condemned. Afer was ranked with the foremost orators,
for the ability which he displayed, and which won strong praise from
Tiberius, who pronounced him a speaker of natural genius. Henceforward
as a counsel for the defence or the prosecution he enjoyed the fame
of eloquence rather than of virtue, but old age robbed him of much
of his speaking power, while, with a failing intellect, he was still
impatient of silence.

Agrippina in stubborn rage, with the grasp of disease yet on her,
when the emperor came to see her, wept long and silently, and then
began to mingle reproach and supplication. She begged him “to relieve
her loneliness and provide her with a husband; her youth still fitted
her for marriage, which was a virtuous woman’s only solace, and there
were citizens in Rome who would not disdain to receive the wife of
Germanicus and his children.” But the emperor, who perceived the political
aims of her request, but did not wish to show displeasure or apprehension,
left her, notwithstanding her urgency, without an answer. This incident,
not mentioned by any historian, I have found in the memoirs of the
younger Agrippina, the mother of the emperor Nero, who handed down
to posterity the story of her life and of the misfortunes of her family.
The Annals by Tacitus