Page 0849



Republic the danger which might be apprehended from the Transalpine

nations. This people came southward as far as Noricum, in the neighborhood

of Aquileia, and there defeated the army of Papirius Carbo. The Cimbri,

however, instead of following up their advantage and invading Italy,

crossed the Jura Mountains to the west. In this region they persuaded other

tribes to join them in their hostilities to the Romans. In B.C. 109 the

consul Junius Silanus was defeated by the barbarians, and two years

afterwards a second consular army, under command of Lucius Cassius

Longinus, was almost annihilated by the same tribes. The town of Tolosa

then rose in revolt, but was retaken by the consul and despoiled of its

treasures. In B. C. 105 the Cimbri began to retrace their course, with the

evident purpose of carrying the war into Italy, At the fords of the Rhone

they were met by three Roman armies. These were, each in its turn,

disastrously defeated. For the moment it appeared that Rome was once more

at the mercy of the Gauls, as she had been in the days of Brennus. This

peril of the country, as was believed, had been brought about by the

incompetency of the oligarchy which now swayed the destinies of the state,

and popular fury broke forth against the aristocrats and their adherents. A

second time, however, the danger of invasion was averted by the action of

the Cimbri themselves, who, instead of pouring into Italy, turned aside

into Spain.

During his absence in settling affairs after the overthrow of Jugurtha,

Marius was reelected consul. Such an action was a double violation of the

law; for the statute required the candidate for the consulship to be

personally present in the city, and also forbade his reelection until after

the lapse of ten years. On the very day of the celebration of his triumph

over the king of Numidia he entered upon his second term of office, and

began immediate preparations for repelling the invasion of the Gauls. To

him the people now looked with entire confidence, as to one who had both

the will and the ability to see that the Republic should receive no harm.

The movement of the Cimbri into Spain removed the immediate danger of

invasion, and Marius availed himself of the respite to construct a canal

from the Rhone to the sea, thus opening a better line of communication.

In the mean time the Cimbri, having satisfied themselves with predatory

excursions into the northern districts of Spain, returned into Gaul,

gathered other nations to their standard, and again bore down on Italy. In

doing so, however, the barbarian army divided into two. One division

crossed the Rhone with the purpose of reaching Italy through the Eastern

Alps, while the other marched against Marius, who was then encamped on the

Rhone, with a view of entering Etruria by the passes of the Maritime Alps.

The consul had taken his position so as to command both of the western

routes into Italy. On came the barbarians, under the lead of their great

warrior Teutoboch, and made a fierce assault upon the entrenched camp of

the Romans; but the place could not be carried by mere ferocity; and the

Teutones were obliged to file past the consular army without bringing it to

a general engagement. This movement occupied six days, so great was the

host, and was not interrupted by Marius. The barbarians, believing that the

Romans were afraid to give battle, taunted and derided them as they passed,

inquiring if they had any messages which they wished to send to their


As soon as the Germanic horde were well en route for Italy, Marius broke up

his camp and pursued them. At Aquae Sextiae he overtook the enemy and

offered battle, which was eagerly accepted, A dreadful conflict ensued, in

which the discipline and valor of the Roman legions finally gave them the

victory over the brute force and personal prowess of the German warriors.

They were completely routed and dispersed. The tremendous Teutoboch was

taken, brought into the presence of Marius, and reserved for the triumph.

While the consul was about to apply the torch to an immense pile of spoils

and arms, which could not be appropriated, word was brought to him that in

the election just held at the capital he had been, for the fifth time,

chosen to the consulship.

In this same year (B. C. 101), the other division of the barbarian army had