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Battle of Aquae Sextiae, 102 BC

Battle of Aquae Sextiae, 102 BC

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Battle of Aquae Sextiae, 102 BC

The battle of Aquae Sextiae (102 BC) was the first of Marius's great victories during the Cimbric War and saw him destroy the Teutones and the Ambrones, two of the smaller tribes involved in the great invasion of Italy.

In 105 BC the Cimbri had crushed a Roman army at Arausio (6 October 105 BC), apparently leaving Italy open to invasion, but they chose instead to invade Spain, where they spent most of 105-103 BC. News of the disaster at Arausio reached Rome just before the news that Marius had captured the Numidian king Jugurtha, bringing to an end the lengthy Jugurthine War. Unsurprisingly Marius was the overwhelming choice as one of the consuls of 104 BC, despite having already served as consul in 107 BC, well within the ten year limit for a second term.

The absence of the Cimbri gave Marius plenty of time to train his army, which was built around a core of troops recruited in Italy in the aftermath of Arausio. However it also meant that he had to arrange for his re-election in 103 BC, for an almost unprecedented second consecutive term. Rumours that the tribes were planning an invasion in 103 helped him get reelected in that year, and popular agitation, led by one of Marius's supporters, the tribune of the plebs L. Appuleius Saturninus, secured him the election for 102 BC.

The Cimbri finally reappeared in 102 BC, but this time they were at the head of a much larger tribal coalition, which included the Teutones (another tribe from the North Sea coastline), the Ambrones and two Alpine tribes, the Tigurini and the Toygeni. After their earlier victories the Cimbri had decided not to invade Italy, but they now decided to attempt a two pronged invasion. The Teutones and the Ambrones were to invade from Gaul into the north-west of Italy, the Cimbri and the Tigurini from the north-east.

As is so often the case for this war, the exact details of the battle are unclear. At least some of the tribes advanced down the Rhone, towards Marius's camp at the junction of the Isere and Rhone Rivers (close to modern Valence). According to Orosius, all of the tribes were together at this point, and only split up after they failed to persuade Marius to come of out his camp to fight. According to Plutarch only the Teutones and the Ambrones came down the Rhone, while the Cimbri marched across country towards Noricum. This version of events makes rather more sense.

Marius was determined only to fight on ground of his own chosing, and used this opportunity to get his men used to the sight of the tribes, to reduce the mystery associated with them. After three days of failed attacks on his camp, the Teutones and Ambrones decided to begin their invasion of Italy. According to Plutarch it took six days for the barbarian army to pass Marius's camp. Once they were past, Marius broke camp and followed close behind, always making sure that he camped in strongly fortified positions, to deny the tribes any chance to attack.

This continued until the two armies were in the vicinity of Aquae Sextiae (modern Aix-en-Provence). The barbarians were now getting dangerously close to Italy, and so Marius decided to fight (possibly having picked out this location in the previous two years). He chose to camp on a hill overlooking a river, protected on both flanks by woods and ravines. However the hilltop lacked water. Marius ordered his soldiers to fortify their camp before he would allow them to go for warter, but the camp followers were less patient. They went down to the river, where they became involved in a clash with the Ambrones (said to be 30,000 strong). This soon expanded into a major battle, with more and more of Marius's men getting involved, starting with the Ligurians. The Ambrones were caught against the river, and suffered a very heavy defeat.

Several days then passed without any more fighting. Marius refused to come down from the hill, but instead planned to force the Teutones to come up to attack him. He posted 3,000 legionaries in the woods on one flank, where they were hidden from the Teutones. Four days after the clash at the river he was ready to fight. He moved his infantry out of their camp, and formed up at the top of the hill. The cavalry were sent down to the plains to harass the Teutones, but the rest of his army was ordered to stay at the top.

The Teutones fell for the trap, and advanced up the hill. This probably forced them into a narrow area between the ravines and trees, reducing the impact of their superior numbers. They were also forced to fight after a climb, and were slowly forced back down the hill by Marius's men. When they reached the base, Marecellus attacked their rear, throwing the entire force into confusion. The Teutones soon broke and fled, suffering very heavily in the resulting pursuit. Plutarch says that they lost 100,000 men killed or captured. Orosius gives higher figures of 200,000 killed, 8,000 captured and 3,000 who escaped. The leaders escaped for a short time, but were captured in the Alps.

In the aftermath of this victory, news arrived that Marius had been elected consul for a fifth time. Worse news soon followed - his colleague for 102 NC, Q. Lutatius Catulus, had performed less impressively against the Cimbri when they crossed the Alps. Once again Marius had to come to his rescue, defeating the Cimbri in the final battle of the war at Vercellae or the Raudine Plain (30 July 101 BC).


105 BC The Romans suffered a bitter defeat against the Cimbri and Teutons in the battle of Arausio . Reports of the defeat spread great horror among the Romans. The Teutons then marched through the Celtic areas of the Pyrenees and Gaul , plundering until they turned back to the Roman Empire three years later. On the way, the Cimbri army had separated from the Teutons and advanced over the Brenner Pass to northern Italy, while the Teutons again invaded the Roman province of Gallia ulterior in order to pave their way from there to Italy.

The Romans had meanwhile prepared. The shock of the defeat of Arausio had the indirect consequence that the general Gaius Marius , who had previously proven himself in the Yugurthin War in Numidia , 104 BC. Was elected consul for the war against the Cimbri and Teutons. Marius had promoted the Marian army reform , which greatly increased the fighting power of the Roman armed forces. To ward off the Teutons, he had gathered six legions. He awaited the Teutons in a well-developed and well-stocked camp at the influence of the Isère in the Rhone . There the two military roads to Italy that were practicable at the time met - namely the one over the little St. Bernhard and the one along the Mediterranean coast . In this respect, he blocked their way to Italy.

The Teutons had in the summer of 102 BC Crossed the Rhone and advanced downstream along the left bank and finally came across the Roman camp. For three days the Teutons repeatedly stormed the entrenchments of the Romans, but failed because of the superiority of the Romans in the fortress war. After a few losses, the Teutons decided to move on past the camp straight towards the Mediterranean to Italy. It took six days for the Teuton army to march past the camp of the Romans, which speaks less for the enormous number of Teutons reported in Roman annals than for the clumsiness of their entourage . In addition to armed warriors, the Teutons also carried their entire families with women, children and old people, as well as all their belongings on wagons, and therefore made slow progress.

Gaius Marius maintained the necessary caution against the savage and combat-experienced Teutons and failed to let his well-disciplined but inexperienced troops risk attacks against the passing Teutons. When they had passed, he had the camp broken up and the Teutons followed in a strictly ordered march formation, carefully entrenching themselves every night. So the Teutons advanced down the Rhone into the area of ​​Aquae Sextiae (today's Aix-en-Provence in southern France), the then Roman provincial capital.


Marius took up a strong position on a carefully selected hill and enticed the Teutones to attack him there using his cavalry and light infantry skirmishers (most of whom were allied Ligurians). The leading elements, the Ambrones, took the bait and attacked. They were soon followed by the rest of the Teutones' force. Meanwhile, Marius had hidden a small Roman force of 4,000 nearby. This force was commanded by Marius's second-in-command, Claudius Marcelus. At the battle's height this force launched an ambush, attacking the Teutones from behind, and throwing them into confusion and rout. The Roman accounts [ which? ] claim that in the ensuing massacre 90,000 Teutones were slain and 20,000 including their King Teutobod, were captured. The only surviving reports are Roman.

Plutarch mentions (Marius 10, 5-6) that during the battle, the Ambrones began to shout "Ambrones!" as their battle-cry the Ligurian troops fighting for the Romans, on hearing this cry, found that it was identical to an ancient name in their country which the Ligurians often used when speaking of their descent ( "οὕτως κατὰ ὀνομάζουσι Λίγυες" ), so they returned the shout, "Ambrones!". Roman historians recorded that 300 of the captured women committed mass suicide, which passed into Roman legends of Germanic heroism (cf Jerome, letter cxxiii.8, 409 AD [1]):

By the conditions of the surrender three hundred of their married women were to be handed over to the Romans. When the Teuton matrons heard of this stipulation they first begged the consul that they might be set apart to minister in the temples of Ceres and Venus and then when they failed to obtain their request and were removed by the lictors, they slew their little children and next morning were all found dead in each other's arms having strangled themselves in the night.


A quarter of a million Germanic and Gallic tribesmen, led by King Teutobod of the Teutones, had crossed the Durance river, east of where it entered the Rhône. They spread out for miles: there were about 130,000 warriors, as well as wagons, cattle, horses, and their women and children. With the Teutones, who made up the bulk of the invaders, were the Ambrones, who had around 30,000 warriors, making them second most numerous tribe in the coalition under Teutobod. Gaius Marius and his army had arrived some time earlier, Marius had used his time wisely he had constructed a heavily fortified camp on a hill close to the river and stocked it with enough supplies to withstand a lengthy siege. The tribesmen tried to get the Romans to come out of their fort and fight them on even ground they shouted insults and challenges, which Marius ignored. He was unwilling to give up a strongly defended position for a battle with an uncertain outcome. Marius let it be known throughout his camp that he intended to fight the barbarians, but on his terms, not theirs. The catcalls and challenges continued. [19] [20]

A Teuton warrior even issued a challenge directly to Marius. The barbarian invited the general to join him in single combat. Marius mocked him by advising him that if the warrior desired death he should find a rope, fashion a noose and hang himself. The Teuton did not give up so Marius produced a veteran gladiator and explained to the barbarian that if he still lusted for blood he could try and slay the trained fighter for it was beneath Marius's station as a consul to reduce himself to a common brawler. [21]

After they failed to lure the Romans out they tried to wait them out, but Marius had anticipated this and his fortress was well stocked. Frustrated the tribesmen attacked the fort for three days. Assault after assault was launched at the Roman defense works, but the fortifications held and from these the Romans released a barrage of missiles, killing many barbarians and repulsing the rest. Still, the Romans did not come out and the tribal coalition decided to move on south toward Massilia, which they intended to plunder. It took several days for their entire wagon train to clear the area but, once they were out of sight, Gaius Marius followed, dogging them and waiting for an opportune moment to strike. [19] [20]

Marius now started trailing the tribal coalition and camped alongside them, when ending each day's march he ordered his men to build a fortified camp with impressive defense works. After all the losses they took trying to take Marius's fortress on the Rhone the Teutones and Ambrones never tried to storm Marius's camp again. Marius was biding his time waiting for the barbarians to make a mistake. Fortunately for Marius, he was presented with a chance to take on part of the tribal horde when they entered the area of Aquae Sextiae. [22] [23]


Teutobod was a king of the Teutons, who, together with the Cimbri invaded the Roman Republic in the Cimbrian War, won a spectacular victory at the Battle of Arausio in 105 BC. He was captured at the Battle of Aquae Sextiae in 102 BC. [1]

The supposed migrations of the Teutons and the Cimbri.
L Cimbri and Teutons defeats.
W Cimbri and Teutons victories.

In the late 2nd century BC, together with their neighbors, allies, and possible relatives, the Cimbri, the Teutons attacked south into the Danube valley, southern Gaul and northern Italy. Here they began to intrude upon the lands of Rome (Julius Caesar, in his Gallic Wars account De Bello Gallico, reports that it was the Boii who had attacked Noricum). The inevitable conflict which followed is called the Cimbrian War. The Cimbri (under their King Boiorix) and the Teutons, won the opening battles of this war, defeating tribes allied with the Romans and destroying a huge Roman army at the Battle of Arausio in 105 BC. But Rome regrouped and reorganized under Consul Gaius Marius. In 104 BC the Cimbri left the Rhône valley to raid Spain, while the Teutons remained in Gaul, still strong but not powerful enough to march on Rome on their own. This gave Marius time to build a new army and in 102 BC he moved against the Teutons. At the Battle of Aquae Sextiae the Teutons were virtually annihilated and Teutobod along with, reportedly, 20,000 of his people were captured. After this, he and his tribe drop out of history. He most likely was sent to Rome for a triumphal procession to celebrate his defeat, then ritually executed afterward. The following year, the Cimbri would suffer a similar fate at the Battle of Vercellae, where two of their leaders, Caesorix and Claodicus, were captured, while two other leaders, Boiorix and Lugius, were killed. [2]

Battle of Aquae Sextiae, 102 BC - History

By Lindsay Powell

In 102 bc, a disturbing report circulated through Rome that the people they called Cimbri and Teutones had crossed the Alps. Neither the towering mountains nor the ice and snow had stopped these much-feared barbarians from the north, despite their alleged nakedness. Indeed, it was said that they had used their great curved shields as sleds to slide down the frigid valleys into the grassy plains of Cisalpine Gaul below.

The report was only partly true, but the Romans had good reason to be concerned. For more than a decade, the generals they sent against the Cimbri had seriously and consistently underestimated their northern adversaries. Roman forces twice had been completely wiped out. The most devastating defeat occurred on October 6, 105 bc, at a place called Arausio, where Rome suffered its single greatest military defeat. Some 300,000 massed Cimbri and Teutones annihilated 80,000 Roman troops led by Quintus Servilius Caepio and Cnaeus Mallius Maximus. Rome’s defeat that day was on par with the crushing defeat at Cannae (216 bc) and more devastating than Carrhae (53 bc). Legion after legion had been destroyed by the Germano-Celtic alliance. The need to replace such large numbers of men so quickly put the Roman commonwealth under great stress and threatened to bring it down.

Caius Marius: Rome’s “New Man”

Caius Marius.

The cycle of disaster was finally broken by an ambitious politician from Arpinum, a small backwater hill town 70 miles southeast of Rome. His name was Caius Marius. He was a so-called “new man,” a citizen without the prestige born of an ancient family of Rome. In the fiercely competitive political system of Rome, which championed tradition over innovation, men advanced to the highest offices of government by winning the hearts and minds of voters through their performance in the courthouses and on the battlefield. There, in pursuit of glory, a man could demonstrate his courage and nobility in the face of great personal risk. Marius had established his credentials as a warrior over three decades of conflicts in Spain and North Africa, where he had finally defeated the usurper king of Numidia, Jugurtha, in 105 bc. He had worked his way up the political career ladder from the lowest magistracy to the consulship—not once but four times. It was the consuls, two of whom were elected each year, who led Rome’s legions of citizen soldiers against its enemies.

As consul, the 55-year-old Marius engaged a massive combined army of Ambrones and Teutones, allies of the Cimbri, beyond the Italian Alps at Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence) in 102 bc. From a nondescript hilltop in southern Gaul, Marius and his small force of Roman infantry and Ligurian cavalry had faced tremendous odds to defeat a much larger force. Estimates of casualties that day were a staggering 200,000 enemy killed and 90,000 captured. Among the captives was the king of the Ambrones, Teutobod. The bodies of the fallen were left unburied on the ground. Thousands of tribal women, who had also fought the Romans and been taken prisoner, committed mass suicide in a last desperate act of protest, giving birth to the legend of Germanic heroism. The victory, grim as it was, had been crucial in raising Roman morale and giving Rome and its allies time to regroup.

Catulus of the Lutatia Clan

Despite Marius’s victory at Aquae Sextiae, another migration of Cimbri had crossed unopposed over the central region of the Alps via the Reschen, or Brenner, Passes. The Cimbri continued on their way, following the course of the Adige River to the Tridentine heights on the Italian side of the Alps. Hoping to block their advance, Marius’s fellow consul, Quintus Lutatius Catulus, moved to intercept them. A member of the prestigious Lutatia clan, 48-year-old Catulus was a wealthy and cultured man known for his prowess in oratory, prose, and poetry, but like all aristocrats of his age, he was expected to perform his duty and lead his countrymen in war.

Arriving in the region north of the Po River, Catulus quickly established a fortified position on the Adige, over which he built a bridge to support the forward shock troops and provide them with an escape route if necessary. Seeing the Romans’ defensive installations, the Cimbri responded by ripping up trees and floating them downriver into the bridge’s piers, almost destroying it. Concerned for the safety of his men, Catulus called for an orderly evacuation. Meanwhile, the invaders surrounded the fort but, respecting their adversaries’ courage, showed mercy and let them depart unharmed. The Cimbri then settled in large numbers on the plains below the Italian Alps in the region the Romans called Cisalpine Gaul. With this buffer territory lost, there was a very real possibility that the Cimbri could invade the Italian Peninsula and that Rome itself could be attacked. The fate of the city still hung in the balance. The only way to be sure was for the Romans to engage the invaders in pitched battle at a time and place of their choosing.

The Cimbri Migration

The Cimbri first entered written history in 113 bc, but their origin is obscure. Plutarch argued that they were Germanic, while other contemporaries proposed that they were Gallic or Scythian. Recent DNA studies suggest that Celts from the Marne region of Gaul immigrated to Northern Jutland in Denmark around 400 bc. The Cimbri may actually have been a confederation of smaller warrior bands retaining their tribal chieftains. From 120 bc onward, between 200,000 and 300,000 Cimbri migrated south and wandered around Western Europe in search of a new homeland. They eventually arrived in the Alps in the Carinthia region of Austria, already occupied by the Norici people, and went farther southeast to where the Taurisci nation lived. The Cimbri settled around Veneto.

The Taurisci, treaty-bound allies of Rome, sent warnings of the arrival of the Cimbri in northern Italy. In 113 bc, Consul Caius Papirius Carbo was dispatched by the Senate to investigate the potential threat. Rather than first assessing the situation, he immediately took up a defensive posture. The Cimbri hastily sent emissaries offering apologies for entering Taurisci land without invitation. Carbo did not believe a word of their explanation. Eager for the political capital a solid victory would bring, Carbo spoiled for a fight. He marched his army out of camp and ambushed the Cimbri at Noreia, in eastern Austria. The consul soon discovered that the Cimbri were more than a match for him and his men. These were not the naked savages of popular reports, but instead well-equipped, battle-hardened warriors who wore helmets that resembled the open mouths of frightful beasts with strange-shaped heads surmounted by lofty crests of feathers, which made them appear taller. They also wore iron breastplates and carried glittering white shields. They were an organized fighting force, not a disorganized rabble. Carbo’s army was utterly destroyed in an ambush.

A Roman reenactor wearing chain mail, armed with a gladius sword and pilum javelins.

Like most Celtic societies of the time, the Cimbri were led by a war chief the current chief was named Boiorix. Below the war chief was a class of nobles, personal retainers, and freemen. Beneath them was a great number of disenfranchised common folk who could be called upon to fight whenever asked by their leaders. The Cimbri’s allies, the Teutones, despite their name, were actually Celtic rather than Germanic. Why they migrated from their homeland in the north is unclear.

A Fair Fight

In the face of the mounting threat, Marius was sworn in as consul on January 1, 101 bc. It was his fifth time to serve in the highest magistracy of the republic. The Senate looked to him to lead Rome’s preemptive strike against the invaders from the north, who now threatened the nation’s security. A consul was normally placed in charge of two legions, giving him enough troops to deal with most military challenges but not so many that he could pose a risk to the state. Knowing how large an enemy he faced, however, Marius demanded more men. He was joined by additional legions under the command of Catulus, his co-consul of the previous year. The two men marched off with their legions, gathering others recruited from their Italian allies en route, finally arriving in the foothills of the Alps, where they established temporary camps and waited for the enemy to show themselves.

The prelude to the battle was a surprisingly civilized affair, with negotiations taking place between the commanders of the two opposing sides. Boiorix and his bodyguard rode up to the gate of Marius’s camp under a flag of truce and demanded to know when and where they would fight to settle the claim to the land both now occupied. Marius replied contemptuously that Romans never took advice from their enemies as to fighting. Nevertheless, he said he would gratify their request for a fair fight and agreed to meet them three days later on the plain of Vercellae, a place, he said, that would suit his cavalry and also allow space for the Cimbri to deploy their vast numbers.

Although vastly outnumbered, Marius’s Roman army defeated a combined force of Ambrones and Tuetones at the Battle of Aquae Sextiae, near present-day Aix-en-Provence, in 102 bc.

The exact location has vexed historians for years. The name Vercellae possibly locates the battlefield near modern-day Vercelli in the Piedmont on the Sesia River, a tributary of the Po. Some modern historians, however, place the location about 40 miles north of Milan. The 1st century ad Roman historian Velleius Paterculus called the site of the battle the Raudine Plain and located it on “this side of the Alps,” placing it on the Italian side. Writing almost a century later, Florus called the place by the same name and described it as a “very wide plain.”

The place and time of battle decided, the opposing leaders parted. The interlude gave Marius the time he needed to prepare his strategy and battle plan. He had won at Aquae Sextiae because of his level-headedness and patience. Unlike his predecessors, Marius was not impulsive he had picked the terrain for battle with great care to give his troops the fullest tactical advantage. A key to Marius’s success was his leadership style. He was a firm but charismatic leader who enjoyed the unswerving loyalty of his troops. Unlike many consuls and proconsuls who led men to war, Marius was not a patrician aristocrat but an outsider who had made his own way in Rome’s rigidly class-conscious society. He was a self-made man, not the child of a privileged lineage. While many of his men came from Rome, many more had been born and raised in the surrounding region of Latium from which Marius himself came, and he shared a special connection with them. Marius drilled his soldiers intensively and required that they carry their own food and utensils to reduce the length of the baggage train, which earned them the nickname “Marius’s mules.”

“Mine is the Victory!”

Early on the morning of July 30, 101 bc, Roman commanders issued the order to assemble the troops. The brassy sound of curved Roman trumpets filled the air, and legionaries raced to form up their units under their respective centurions and standards. They marched out of their camp and took their assigned places on the plain. Before battle, Marius led his men in the traditional purification rite to cleanse them in the eyes of the gods. As each sacrificial animal was slain with a deep cut to the throat, a priest intoned the words, “Father Mars, to thee I make atonement.” The animals’ livers were inspected, omens were interpreted, and fresh meat was offered to the gods. Marius personally inspected the entrails. Washing the warm blood from his hands, he then lifted them skyward and shouted for all his men to hear, “Mine is the victory!”

An original gladius blade with reproduction hilt.

Marius had chosen the time of day well. The bright sun was shining full in the faces of the Cimbri. Prisoners rounded up after the battle told of how “heaven seemed to be on fire from the glittering of the Roman helmets and the reflection of the sun’s rays from them.” The Romans formed on the eastern side of the plain, with Catulus’s men in the center. Marius divided his force in two, placing one on each flank. The 37-year-old Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who had served earlier under Marius as military tribune, now commanded a legion under Catulus. Marius was keen to bear the brunt of the enemy attack in order to claim the glory entirely for himself and his troops. With the majestic Alps showing above the haze on the horizon, Marius surveyed the open plain of the battlefield. As far as his eyes could see the forces of the barbarous army of the north were hurriedly assembling.

The northern alliance faced a combined Roman force numbering about 55,000 men. Marius fielded 32,000 troops, while Catulus brought 22,300. The Romans were outnumbered more than three to one, and the northern tribesmen already had beaten them more times in a straight fight than they had defeated the invaders. Together, the Cimbri and Teutones fielded an army of between 180,000 and 200,000 (including women and children), of which 15,000 were cavalry.

The Battle of Vercellae Begins

Despite the prior agreement on time and place, the Celts were not ready that morning. They were unprepared for battle and fell into disorder when they saw the Roman ranks forming up in the distance. They left their families behind with the wagons and baggage and formed up in front. Their cavalry took the lead and opened the battle with a charge directly at the Roman center. As the Cimbri approached, their riders steered their horses to the right. It was a feint designed to draw the Roman shock troops away. Catulus’s men took the bait. Someone in the Roman ranks cried out that the enemy was fleeing others took up the cry. The normal discipline of the legionaries broke down and, despite their officers’ attempts to stop them, the men charged off in eager pursuit.

Behind the cavalry, the heavily armed Cimbri infantry now began a slow and steady march forward in a dense square formation some 18,750 feet across. Once in range of the Roman lines, they unleashed their razor-sharp darts. Each man carried two darts, and the ensuing rain of missiles was potentially devastating. When they had exhausted their ammunition, the Cimbri unsheathed their long swords, which they wielded as slashing weapons. It was a remarkably similar combat doctrine to the Romans’ own.

Marius was prepared. Understanding his adversary’s mode of fighting had given him the advantage he needed to defeat his foes at Aquae Sextiae. With the Cimbri equipped similarly to his own troops and being greater in numbers, Marius knew that he had to beat them through superior strategy and disciplined execution on the ground. His plan was to execute the same tactics that Hannibal Barca had employed with such devastating effect at Cannae, deploying his flanking infantry and cavalry with instructions to envelop their foes.

A Bloody Massacre

An unexpected distraction arose. As Marius’s men raced forward to engage the Cimbri, a great cloud of dust swept up, caused by the wind and the movement of troops, shrouding the two opposing forces. Unable to see through the cloud but continuing their charge, Marius’s men could not see that they were actually running alongside the Cimbri in the opposite direction. The front line of the Celtic square fell upon the legions under the command of Catulus. The dust storm, however, turned to the Romans’ advantage by obscuring the great number of the Cimbri. Unable to see exactly how many troops they faced, the Romans raced on enthusiastically. The Roman soldier’s missile of choice was the short spear called the pilum, launched in volleys before charging forward with shield raised and carrying a short, bayonet-like stabbing sword, the gladius.

An original Roman spearhead, apparently bent from combat.

Eventually, the wind died down and the fog evaporated. The sun now shone directly into the eyes of the northern warriors and sparkled on their opponents’ polished helmets, blinding them. The Roman counterattack gained ground, and the northern troops began to falter, their moves hampered by their own measures to enforce discipline in their ranks. The Cimbri were reportedly joined together by long chains fastened around their waists. As their men were cut down by the shower of Roman pila and the stabbing of their short swords, those still living were unable to break free. It quickly turned into a bloody massacre.

The Cimbri cavalry was driven back into the lines of its own infantry. In the confusion, horses trampled many of the foot soldiers. The Cimbri infantry, however, still pressed on gallantly. Boiorix himself fought furiously before being mortally wounded. The Romans now had momentum and shoved their opponents back. Sensing defeat, the Cimbri turned and retreated, but their withdrawal was blocked by the lines of wagons parked behind them, upon which stood their families. They had been watching the battle unfold before them and were armed with axes and pikes ready to defend the baggage if the need arose. The women cried out for their men to continue the fight. Those who refused were struck down by the pitiless women, regardless of whether they were their husbands, brothers, or fathers. Rather than allowing their children to fall into enemy hands, the mothers strangled them or threw them under the wheels of the wagons or beneath the hooves of their beasts of burden.

The Victors on the Raudine Plain

The battle on the Raudine Plain was over victory was claimed by the Romans. The numbers recorded for those killed or captured vary widely, with some Roman historians placing the Cimbrian casualties as high as 160,000 killed and 60,000 captured. Fewer than 300 Romans were acknowledged to have been killed. After the battle, the victorious Roman troops were allowed to pick over the battlefield and wagon train to take the enemy’s spoils and booty. Particularly prized were the battle standards. Thirty-three military standards of the Cimbri were recovered, two by Marius and 31 by Catulus. On the basis of the sheer number of captured flags, Catulus claimed the glory of the victory. Marius’s men disputed the claim, and scuffles broke out among the rival Roman troops. To arbitrate between the two bickering sides, ambassadors from the free city of Parma were called in. They went out on to the battlefield and studied the strewn bodies of the fallen Celts. Catulus’s men had carved their commander’s name into the shafts of their pila, and they were able to point to weapons that still pierced the corpses.

As Marius and his Romans overran the Cimbri, the tribe’s women, shown at bottom, rushed to join the fray. Many strangled their own children to prevent them from falling into Roman hands.

Winning the battle, of course, had been a team effort, but the credit for it nevertheless went to one man. Taking into account his previous victories and his political stature, Marius was declared the victor at Vercellae. The Roman people acclaimed him “the third founder of Rome” for saving their city and included prayers to him in public and private religious rites. They urged that he alone should be granted the right to celebrate not one, but two triumphs. There were vociferous protests before a compromise was reached. It was proposed that Marius should share his triumph with Catulus. Marius magnanimously agreed.

The battle on the plain beneath the Alps marked a turning point in Marius’s illustrious career. Recognizing the contribution of the Italian allies, but without first seeking the consent of the Senate, Marius granted them the full rights of Roman citizenship. Until Vercellae, Rome’s Italian allies had been considered as second class to its own citizens. Marius argued that on the battlefield he could not distinguish between Romans or allies. Now they would serve with the Roman legions without discrimination and be treated as equals. It might have been the right thing to do, but Marius went about it in the wrong way. By not first consulting the Senate, he had snubbed the ancient institution and acted unilaterally in the manner of a dictator or a king. It was the first time an elected senior official had openly defied the political leaders, and it set a terrible precedent. The inviolate sanctity of the relationship between the Senate and the people, consuls and army, had been irrevocably challenged.

In 91 bc, Romans fell out with their Italian allies over the issue of citizenship rights and equal treatment before the courts in Rome, and the disagreement led to bloodshed. Marius was given command of Roman forces in the resulting War of the Allies, or Social War, but fearing that he would grow too powerful, senators persuaded him to relinquish command. Sulla took over leadership of the war and saw it through to its conclusion in 88 bc.

The Political Upheavals of Marius and Catulus

A new threat, meanwhile, had emerged when Mithridates VI of Pontus began to make claims on Rome’s dominions in Asia and Greece, even going so far as sending ambassadors to the Cimbri to request military assistance. Rome’s response to the threat split along class lines. The Popular Assembly voted for Marius to lead the war against Mithridates, but the Senate supported Sulla. For his part, Sulla refused to accept the validity of the popular vote. Civil war ensued. Catulus joined forces with Sulla, whose army marched on Rome—the first time in the history of the Republic that a Roman general had marched on the city.

Once in control, Sulla declared Marius an enemy of the state and forced him into exile. Sulla then left Rome to fight the war in the East. Aided by Lucius Cornelius Cinna, Marius plotted his return from Africa, and in 87 bc he returned to Rome at the head of his army. He immediately banished Sulla in absentia and repealed his regressive laws. A case against Catulus was brought by Marius’s nephew, but rather than accept the inevitable humiliation of a guilty verdict Catulus committed suicide. Marius himself died a few months later, apparently of natural causes, leaving Cinna to rule Rome alone.

Returning from the East in late 82 bc, Sulla reentered Rome under force of arms, whereupon the Senate granted him emergency powers as dictator. After instituting a number of far-reaching constitutional reforms, Sulla surprised everyone by resigning within a year and retiring to write his memoirs. He died at age 60 from liver failure or a ruptured gastric ulcer in 78 bc, the last of the great Roman generals who had fought and won the epoch-making victory alongside Marius in the thick fog at Vercellae.

Two Decisive Battles by Gaius Marius: Aquae Sextiae and Vercellae

Gaius Marius, the Roman statesman and soldiers, is not usually counted among the great generals of history. But he led Roman legions to win two decisive battles that saved the Roman Republic from a Germanic invasion.

In the 100s BC, two Germanic tribes, the Teutones and the Cimbri, had invaded Gaul, what is now modern France, and had ravaged the countryside, defeating a number of Roman armies sent against them. Marius, who had been elected Consul after scoring a number of victories in Africa, gathered an army to meet the threat.

Fortunately the Cimbri, who had spent several years in Hispania, modern Spain, and the Teutones, who had remained in Gaul, were divided, even as each tribe resolved to invade Italy in the year 102 BC.

The Battle of Aquae Sextiae

Marius first met the Teutones at a fortified Roman settlement called Aquae Sextiae, in southern Gaul. An allied tribe to the Teutones called the Ambrones attacked first, before the rest of the Teutones host could arrive. Marius defeated this force with ease, slaughtering 30,000 men. When the rest of the Teutones army arrived, Marius engaged that as well, but was able to attack it in the rear with 3,000 men who had been hidden in ambush. He was able to annihilate the Teutones, taking upwards to 100,000 lives.

The Battle of Vercellae

In the meantime, the Cimbri had slipped through a pass through the Alps, avoiding another Roman Army, and entering northern Italy. In 101 BC Marius, who had again been elected consul, marched north to face the new threat. The Romans and the Cimbri fought on a level Raudine Plain near Vercellae, in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. The Roman cavalry was able to launch a surprise attack in the morning mist, driving off the Cimbri cavalry. Thereafter superior Roman discipline won the day and the Cimbri as well were destroyed, with many prisoners taken who were sold into slavery.

Why Were Aquae Sextiae and Vercellae Decisive?

Clearly if Marius had not been able to stop the German threat, the Teutones and Cimbri would have been able to ravage their way through Italy, perhaps destroying Rome itself. Marius secured the Roman Republic against a German invasion for fifty years, allowing it to turn its full attention to other threats both foreign and domestic. Ironically many of the prisoners Marius took, children at the time, were later to fight the Romans under Spartacus during the slave rebellion about 30 years later.

Army’s new uniform aims to instill pride in new generation

Posted On April 29, 2020 15:44:25

The Army plans to issue a new World War II-style uniform starting the summer of 2020, as senior leaders look to sharpen the professional appearance of soldiers and inspire others to join them.

The Army Greens uniform, a version of the uniform once worn by the Greatest Generation, will now be worn by today’s generation as they lead the service into the future.

“As I go around and talk to soldiers… they’re very excited about it,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey. “They’re excited for the same reasons why we wanted to do this. This uniform is very much still in the minds of many Americans.”

The Army Service Uniform will revert to a dress uniform for more formal events, while the Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform will still be used as a duty uniform.

The Army does not plan to get rid of the ASU or have soldiers wear the Army Greens uniform in the motor pool, Dailey said Nov. 19, 2018, during a media roundtable at the Pentagon.

“The intent is to not replace the duty uniform,” he said. “You’re still going to have a time and place to wear the duty uniform every day.”

A pair of soldier demonstrators wear prototypes of the Army Greens uniform.

Ultimately, it will be up to the unit commander what soldiers will wear.

“It’s going to be a commander’s call,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony Potts, who is in charge of PEO Soldier, the lead developer of the uniform. “Each commander out there will have the opportunity to determine what the uniform is going to be.”

The Greens uniform, Potts said, will provide a better option to soldiers who work in an office or in public areas.

“What we found is that the ASU itself doesn’t really dress down well to a service uniform with a white shirt and stripes on the pants,” the general said Friday in a separate interview.

In the summer of 2020, fielding is expected to start with soldiers arriving to their first duty assignments. The uniform will also be available for soldiers to purchase at that time. The mandatory wear date for all soldiers is set for 2028.

The new uniform will be cost-neutral for enlisted soldiers, who will be able to purchase it with their clothing allowance.

Before any of that, the Greens uniform will begin a limited user evaluation within 90 days to help finalize the design of the uniform.

The first uniforms will go out to about 200 soldiers, mainly recruiters, who interact with the public on a daily basis.

“Every time you design a new uniform, the devil is in the details,” Potts said.

PEO Soldier teams will then go out and conduct surveys and analysis with those wearing the uniform.

“What that does is that helps us fix or correct any of the design patterns that need to be corrected,” he said, “or any potential quality problems you might see with some of the first runs of new materials.”

PEO Soldier worked with design teams at the Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center to modernize the WWII-era uniform. Some of the updates make the uniform more durable and comfortable, he said.

“There will be differences,” Potts said. “Differences in materials, slight differences in design, but keeping the authentic feel of that time period and that original uniform.”

The Army Uniform Board, part of the Army G-4 office, also sought and addressed feedback from the service’s first all-female uniform board.

One approved change the female board recommended was the slacks and low-quarter dress shoes instead of the skirt and pumps for female soldiers.

“It was a more comfortable uniform for them during the day,” Potts said of what he had heard from female demonstrators who have worn the uniform. “And they really felt like it was a very sharp uniform that they were proud to wear.”

While the uniform is issued with an all-weather coat, there will be optional jackets for soldiers to purchase and wear.

An Eisenhower or “Ike” waist-length jacket will be available as well as a green-colored tanker jacket and a leather bomber jacket.

Options for headgear will include the garrison cap and the beret, both of which will be issued. Soldiers will also have the option to purchase a service cap.

For soldiers who do wear the uniform, they will help honor those who came before them.

“This nation came together during World War II and fought and won a great war,” Dailey said. “And that’s what the secretary and the chief want to do, is capitalize on that Greatest Generation, because there’s another great generation that is serving today and that’s the soldiers who serve in the United States Army.”

This article originally appeared on the United States Army. Follow @USArmy on Twitter.

More on We are the Mighty


Who was this 30 foot tall Kegtolochus aka Teutobochus Rex?

While working on an unrelated article I ran into this little 1882 paragraph pertaining to the Giants of Old. It is talking about 25-33 foot Giants. It specifically mentions one named Kegtolochus Rex. "Rex" means King in Latin language. Kegtolochus is only mentioned in Google as it pertains to this same very book it was found in.

We know that in Greek mythology, Antilochus was the son of Nestor, king of Pylos, and was one of the Acheans in the Trojan War. But who was this Kegtolochus?

  • Alternate name:Theutobochus Rex
  • World-Historical Individual:Teutobod
    • Teutobod was a king of the Teutons, who, together with the Cimbri invaded the Roman Republic in the Cimbrian War, won a spectacular victory at the Battle of Arausio in 105 BC. He was captured at the Battle of Aquae Sextiae in 102 BC.
    • At the Battle of Aquae Sextiae the Teutons were virtually annihilated and Teutobod along with, reportedly, 20,000 of his people were captured.
    • After this, he and his tribe drop out from history.
    • He most likely was sent to Rome for a triumphal procession to celebrate his defeat, then ritually executed afterwards.

    • Museum of Aix, The Tomb of Teutobochus, vintage engraved illustration. Magasin Pittoresque 1844.
    • KD: I have not seen the mentioned 1844 magazine, but the linked page claims that this is the depiction of the King's tomb

    When the tomb was opened they found a human skeleton entire, 25-1/2 feet long, 10 feet wide across the shoulders, and 5 feet deep from the breast to the back. His teeth were about the size of an ox's foot, and his shin-bone measured 4 feet in length."

    The bones were displayed in Paris by Pierre Mazurier, a surgeon who claimed to be one of the finders.

    • Three centuries later, the zoologist Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville analyzed the bones and concluded they came from a mastodon.
    • Finally in the 1980s, the paleontologist Léonard Ginsburg analyzed a plaster mold from Paris' Muséum national d'histoire naturelle, that came from the giant bones, and identified a deinotherium.
    • The bones are housed in the Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy.

    Here is what adult species of these Deinotherium were supposed to look like I guess. Sounds like we have 2 complete skeletons, and a few additional bones, though I am not sure.

    The skeleton of this Deinotherium looks virtually identical to that of our contemporary elephant. Sure there can be differences a scientist would recognize. At the same time does this skeleton look like it could belong to a humanoid? I don't think so.

    On the other hand, if our "elephant" looked something like this. well. may be. I don't know.

    I was unable to find any pictures of the actual "elephant" bones they allegedly keep at the Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy. And I have no idea what plaster mold was given to Léonard Ginsburgto analyze.

    The below 1657 publication casts doubt on the entire story. At the same time it is hard to blame its author for being skeptical, if all he had was a secondary source of information.

    There are several 16th-17th century publications mentioning Theutobochus. Most are in Latin. If Theutobochus and Teutobod were indeed one and the same. could it add some credibility to the story? Let's see what else we have.

    I got sucked into this rabbit hole. So far it appears that both Teutons and Titans were giants. Do we have any textual connection between the two? The first book I ran into, gave me more than I bargained for. The Sioux are in the mix?

    Simple google-searching produced the following: 2019 book titled Myths of the Rhine.


  1. Kern

    I agree, this thought will come in handy

  2. Dacian


  3. Sherman

    I join. All of the above is true. We can communicate on this theme.

  4. Clancy

    is there another way out?

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