[Sidenote: Caesar’s plans.]
But, although the Romans were inclined to consider these nations as only half civilized, still there would be great glory, as Caesar thought, in subduing them, and probably great treasure would be secured in the conquest, both by the plunder and confiscation of governmental property, and by the tribute which would be collected in taxes from the people of the countries subdued. Caesar accordingly placed himself at the head of an army of three Roman legions, which he contrived, by means of a great deal of political maneuvering and management, to have raised and placed under his command. One of these legions, which was called the tenth legion, was his favorite corps, on account of the bravery and hardihood which they often displayed. At the head of these legions, Caesar set out for Gaul. He was at this time not far from forty years of age.
[Sidenote: His pretexts.]
Caesar had no difficulty in finding pretexts for making war upon any of these various nations that he might desire to subdue. They were, of course, frequently at war with each other, and there were at all times standing topics of controversy and unsettled disputes among them. Caesar had, therefore, only to draw near to the scene of contention, and then to take sides with one party or the other, it mattered little with which, for the affair almost always resulted, in the end, in his making himself master of both. The manner, however, in which this sort of operation was performed, can best be illustrated by an example, and we will take for the purpose the case of Ariovistus.
[Sidenote: Ariovistus.] [Sidenote: The Aeduans.]
Ariovistus was a German king. He had been nominally a sort of ally of the Romans. He had extended his conquests across the Rhine into Gaul, and he held some nations there as his tributaries. Among these, the Aeduans were a prominent party, and, to simplify the account, we will take their name as the representative of all who were concerned. When Caesar came into the region of the Aeduans, he entered into some negotiations with them, in which they, as he alleges, asked his assistance to enable them to throw off the dominion of their German enemy. It is probable, in fact, that there was some proposition of this kind from them, for Caesar had abundant means of inducing them to make it, if he was disposed, and the receiving of such a communication furnished the most obvious and plausible pretext to authorize and justify his interposition.