mercoledì 29 ottobre 2008

PUBLIO SESTIO BACULO (ENGLISH)

Here is what is known about Publius Sextius Baculus (the Roman name I chose for the role game).

Publius Sextus Baculus is a historical figure, who lived at the time of Julius Caesar. He was his Primus Pilus during the Gallic war and to him he was faithful until death (Baculus desperately tried to save Caesar from the conspiracy that, later, was successful in killing him at March Ides).


The following are some extracts from “De bello gallico” concerning Baculus.

Caesar proceeded, after encouraging the tenth legion, to the right wing; where he perceived that his men were hard pressed, and that in consequence of the standards of the twelfth legion being collected together in one place, the crowded soldiers were a hinderance to themselves in the fight; that all the centurions of the fourth cohort were slain, and the standard- bearer killed, the standard itself lost, almost all the centurions of the other cohorts either wounded or slain, and among them the chief centurion of the legion P. Sextius Baculus, a very valiant man, who was so exhausted by many and severe wounds, that he was already unable to support himself; he likewise perceived that the rest were slackening their efforts, and that some, deserted by those in the rear, were retiring from the battle and avoiding the weapons; that the enemy [on the other hand] though advancing from the lower ground, were not relaxing in front, and were [at the same time] pressing hard on both flanks; he also perceived that the affair was at a crisis, and that there was not any reserve which could be brought up, having therefore snatched a shield from one of the soldiers in the rear (for he himself had come without a shield), he advanced to the front of the line, and addressing the centurions by name, and encouraging the rest of the soldiers, he ordered them to carry forward the standards, and extend the companies, that they might the more easily use their swords. On his arrival, as hope was brought to the soldiers and their courage restored, while every one for his own part, in the sight of his general, desired to exert his utmost energy, the impetuosity of the enemy was a little checked.”


P. Sextius Baculus, who had led a principal century under Caesar (of whom we have made mention in previous engagements), had been left an invalid in the garrison, and had now been five days without food. He, distrusting his own safety and that of all, goes forth from his tent unarmed; he sees that the enemy are close at hand and that the matter is in the utmost danger; he snatches arms from those nearest, and stations himself at the gate. The centurions of that cohort which was on guard follow him; for a short time they sustain the fight together. Sextius faints, after receiving many wounds; he is with difficulty saved, drawn away by the hands of the soldiers. This space having intervened, the others resume courage so far as to venture to take their place on the fortifications and present the aspect of defenders.”


When they had now been fighting for more than six hours, without cessation, and not only strength, but even weapons were failing our men, and the enemy were pressing on more rigorously, and had begun to demolish the rampart and to fill up the trench, while our men were becoming exhausted, and the matter was now brought to the last extremity, P. Sextius Baculus, a centurion of the first rank, whom we have related to have been disabled by severe wounds in the engagement with the Nervii, and also C. Volusenus, a tribune of the soldiers, a man of great skill and valour, hasten to Galba, and assure him that the only hope of safety lay in making a sally, and trying the last resource. Whereupon assembling the centurions, he quickly gives orders to the soldiers to discontinue the fight a short time, and only collect the weapons flung [at them], and recruit themselves after their fatigue, and afterward, upon the signal being given, sally forth from the camp, and place in their valour all their hope of safety.”