AmmianusMT2Transl

AmmianusMT2Transl - 12 The Manners and Customs of the...

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12 The Manners and Customs of the Gauls. 1 Almost all the Gauls are of tall stature, fair and ruddy, terrible for the fierceness of their eyes, fond of quarrelling, and of overbearing insolence. In fact, a whole band of foreigners will be unable to cope with one of them in a fight, if he calls in his wife, stronger than he by far and with flashing eyes; least of all when she swells her neck and gnashes her teeth, and poising her huge white arms, proceeds to rain punches mingled with kicks, like shots discharged by the twisted cords of a catapult. 2 The voices of most of them are formidable and threatening, alike when they are good-natured or angry. But all of them with equal care keep clean and neat, and in those districts, particularly in Aquitania, no man or woman can be seen, be she neverso poor, in soiled and ragged clothing, as elsewhere. 3 All ages are most fit for military service, and the old man marches out on a campaign with a courage equal to that of the man in the prime of life; since his limbs are toughened by cold and constant toil, and he will make light of many formidable dangers. Nor does anyone of them, for dread of the service of Mars, cut off his thumb, as in Italy: 93 there they call such men " murci ," or cowards. 4 It is a race greedy for wine, devising numerous drinks similar to wine, and some among them of the baser sort, with wits dulled by continual drunkenness (which Cato's saying pronounced a voluntary kind of madness) rush about in aimless revels, so that those words seem true which Cicero spoke when defending Fonteius: 94 "The Gauls henceforth will drink wine mixed with water, which they once thought poison." 5 These regions, and especially those bordering on Italy, came gradually and with slight effort under the dominion of Rome; they were first essayed by Fulvius, 95 then undermined in petty battles by Sextius, 96 and finally subdued by Fabius Maximus, 97a on whom the full completion of this business (when he had vanquished the formidable tribe of the Allobroges) 97b conferred that surname. 98 6 Now the whole of Gaul (except where, as the authority of Sallust 99 informs us, it was impassable with marshes), after losses on both sides during ten years of war the dictator Caesar subdued and joined to us in aneverlasting covenant of alliance. I have digressed too far, but I shall at last return to my subject.
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18.6 20 There was at that time in Corduene, 38 which was subject to the Persian power, a satrap called Jovinianus on Roman soil, a youth who had secret sympathy with us for the reason that, having been detained in Syria as a hostage and allured by the charm of liberal studies, he felt a burning desire to return to our country. 21 To him I was sent with a centurion of tried loyalty, for the purpose of getting better informed of what was going on; and I reached him over pathless mountains and through steep defiles. After he had seen and recognized me, and received me cordially, I confided to him alone the reason for my presence. Thereupon with one silent
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AmmianusMT2Transl - 12 The Manners and Customs of the...

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