November 28, 2003
Bloggus Caesari is now on hiatus. The site's administrator no longer has the time needed to continue: read more here.
I'd like to thank all readers for following the site, and for donating money, links and friendly emails along the way.
October 06, 2003
Caninius managed to intercept and destroy the enemy's grain convoy and then, catching them unawares, attacked the enemy camp outside the town and destroyed it. Drapes himself was taken prisoner. However, the soldiers in control of Uxellodunum were not yet ready to give it up. Fabius arrived with more legions and our men began construction of the siegeworks.
In the meantime I had been on a campaign of reconciliation. I tried to secure peace treaties amongst all the tribes, and convinced them with friendship and encouragement rather than with the sword. Roman rule always brought with it justice, wealth and comfort, and Gaul would be no exception. But when I heard of the siege of Uxellodunum I was somewhat concerned. While the holdout force was laughable, if the siege became drawn out it could give the rest of Gaul a bad example: even a small group of rebels could withstand the Romans through nothing but force of conviction. Others could decide to follow their example, especially since the Gauls knew there would be only one more summer until my governorship was up. So I left two legions behind and made my way to Uxellodunum.
When I arrived I discovered the following: the siegework was complete and the town was entirely enclosed with no means of escape; the town had ample food, and they had access to water - there was a spring behind the city wall. So by the construction of a sixty-foot mound and a ten-story tower on top of it, we managed to inflict harm upon any who tried to gather water and thus the town began to suffer from thirst. They fought back by rolling flaming barrels down onto our siegeworks, which almost burned down, but we managed to counterattack and contain them. Finally we dug mines and managed to cut off the source of the spring, depriving them of water completely. At this point they saw their cause was hopeless and they surrendered.
Now at this point my leniency and mercy are not in question, as I have taken every chance to forgive men when I could have killed them. So no-one could take me to be cruel if I chose to punish some. At the same time I needed to make an example to the Gauls, to better illustrate their choice: on the one hand, prosperity and peace under Roman rule; on the other, poverty, suffering, war, and ultimately death. So I ordered my men to cut off the hands of each man who had borne arms against me. The men's lives were spared, so their punishment might stand on display for longer.
There were several smaller actions toward the end of the summer, but nothing worth troubling you with. As it stands now the winter draws to a close in this new year, the 704th since the founding of Rome. By the end of the year, if all goes well, I will be campaigning for Consul. If it goes badly - well, let's hope it doesn't go badly.
October 03, 2003
Where were we? Oh yes. We had destroyed the Bellovacian rebellion and reduced the country of Ambiorix. I decided to give some of my officers a chance to prove their worth. Labienus was sent with one legion against the Treveri, who live close to the Germans and are in many ways quite similar: warlike, brutish, opposed to civilization. Caninius was to deal with reported unrest among the Pictones, as his camp was closest. Fabius went out on a political mission to sign treaties with various tribes.
The Pictones, under the command of fiery rebel Dumnacus, had taken up arms and were beseiging their countrymen who remained loyal to Rome. Caninius marched to the site with the legions under his charge, and discovering the enemy force was quite large, encamped nearby. The enemy tried to attack his camp but retreated after sustaining heavy casualties.
Caninius wisely requested help from Fabius, who had finished up his diplomatic affairs and promptly marched his legions toward Caninius. Getting word of this, Dumnacus retreated. Seeing that his best bet was to get on the other side of the Loire, he headed for the only bridge in the region (the Loire is too deep to be forded). However, clever Fabius anticipated this move and claimed the bridge before the rebels even arrived. He sent out a cavalry force which surprised the rebel army and inflicted great damage. The next day, worrying that the enemy force would retreat in another direction now, he sent out the cavalry with orders to delay the enemy's retreat until the legions arrived. This decision was to give us a pyschological advantage. For Dumnacus had prepared for a cavalry attack by mixing infantry in with the horses, and his men assumed the Roman cavalry was the extent of the force they were facing. They fought bravely, but our men even more so, since they knew the legions were on their way to suppport them. Finally, when the legions did appear, the enemy's will was entirely broken. They fled in such disorder that our cavalry were able to cut them down freely - they killed 12,000 men and captured the entire baggage train.
At this point Caninius set out with two legions to intercept Drapes, a despicable Senonian, who was approaching to lend support to Dumnacus with 5,000 men. Fabius left to secure the peace with the neighbouring tribes, since some of them had supplied auxiliaries to the Pictones. When Drapes found out about the Roman victory, and that legions were bearing down on him, he captured the fortress town of Uxellodunum. Caninius arrived to discover a town with near-impregnable natural defences, squezed in amongst the mountains. He pitched three small camps and was having siegework built when he learned that a significant proportion of the enemy force was actually outside the walls of the town, about ten miles off, gathering corn. For the enemy, when they saw the siegeworks going up, were reminded of the siege of Alesia, and they wanted to amass as much corn as humanly possible before they were completely enclosed. So now Caninius had to abandon the construction, since his force was too small to defend it from outside attack.
October 01, 2003
I'm back. Much has happened. I will have more details tomorrow or the next day.
September 03, 2003
Across Gaul the embers of rebellion are finally going out. Peace and prosperity will soon flourish in their place, even as Rome's great Republic withers. Responsible men will now look to the workings of the Republic, to cure the ills no matter how harsh the medicine. We must not shy away from extreme measures - Rome must be purified of all poisons. If the heart fails, there's no reason to try and fix the hand. Just so, if Rome fails, why worry about the provinces?
The remaining skirmishes and battles in Gaul will not be blogged live. This site will take a break from updates until the first day of Octobris, your time, at which point I'll bring you up to speed. Curate ut valeatis.
August 29, 2003
Ambiorix has fled, as is his way. As he leaves me no army to fight, I'll fight his country. We'll destroy the land, buildings and inhabitants as we find them, so the people might turn on this 'leader' when they see the devastation he has led them to.
August 25, 2003
I was right - the other tribes fell in line. The most warlike nations of Gaul are now at peace. That's not to say there aren't still pockets of resistance. There are reports of unrest in the west of Gaul, and while we have two legions there under Caninius' command, I'll send Gaius Fabius with two more just in case. The 15th legion will go to Cisalpine Gaul to fend off barbarian raids of increasing ferocity. Labienus, Marc Antony and I will go to the territory of the Eubrones to finally deal with Ambiorix.
It will be impossible to bring Commius to justice. Labienus just told me that he had tried to have Commius killed last year, while I was in Cisalpine Gaul, once he had learned the extent of Commius' treachery. Labienus sent Volusenus with some choice centurions, and by making some sham promise or another they set up a meeting with Commius. At the meeting they tried to assassinate him. Unfortunately, Commius' friends managed to get in the way of the Roman swords, and he himself escaped alive. After that incident he swore never again to come into the presence of any Roman.
August 24, 2003
As an attempt at avoiding punishment the Bellovacian ambassadors tried to blame everything on the dead man, Correus. Of course, one man could hardly steer a nation down a dangerous course without any consent from the people and the powerful families, especially considering this tribe took part in last year's general uprising. But I decided the Bellovaci's present condition was punishment enough, and let them off lightly. Hopefully this will convince neighbouring tribes who had joined them that they should simply submit, and spare us a couple months' fighting. I'm eager to pacify Gaul by the end of the summer.
August 21, 2003
The Bellovaci's resistance effort has collapsed. Even though the force we defeated was only a small part of their army, it contained their best men, and now that they hear our legions are advancing on them, they have sent ambassadors to negotiate surrender terms.
Word is that Commius has escaped to Germany, to hide out amongst the tribes who supported the uprising. I don't intend to let this rebel get away so easily.
Note that a not-yet-complete FAQ has been added to the site. Next additions will be proper dates and a map feature, although they may yet take some time.
August 20, 2003
As soon as our foragers and their escort arrived at the site, enemy cavalry swarmed out of the woods. At first the fighting was fierce, since our troops were badly outnumbered, and I had yet to arrive with the legions. Yet our cavalry fought bravely since they knew we were coming to back them up. In fact, they aimed to win the battle before we arrived, so they could take all the glory for themselves. Once they survived the initial onslaught, they were so emboldened that they became almost undefeatable. Or so they said - the battle was mostly over by the time I arrived; Correus was fighting to the last, but the bulk of his men had fled. I got there in time to see my archers finally shoot him down.
August 18, 2003
Once again the cowardly Bellovaci have resorted to small-unit ambushes of our foraging parties. However, we have learned from a prisoner that Correus has a larger trap planned. At an exceedingly fertile location that he was sure would attract Roman attention he lies in wait with six thousand infantry and a thousand cavalry. I will send the usual cavalry escort, but I'll also conceal light infantry among them - and I'll bring up the rear with a legion or two.
August 13, 2003
We were working on the fortifications when suddenly the enemy's front line erupted in flames. A curtain of fire stretched across the sky and we could no longer see anything. It seemed to me a cover for the enemy's inevitable retreat, but there was a slim chance it was a trap, so I had the legions advance with caution while I ordered the cavalry to skirt around it. Unfortunately the smoke was so thick the riders couldn't see the heads of their horses, so they didn't get very far. Once it had cleared we saw it was indeed a cover for retreat, and an ingenious one at that. It seems the Gauls use bundles of twigs as impromptu seats. They set these alight, all at the same time, and now they have made it to a very strong position ten miles away.