Jy blaai in die argief vir 2011 Junie.

Caesar’s Gallic War 34:Crassus in Aquitania (continued)

30/06/2011 in Sonder kategorie

After the surrender of the Sontiates Crassus marched against the Vocates and Tarasutes, who had obtained reinforcements and leaders from Spain.

 

“At dawn Crassus led out his army and formed it into two lines, with the auxiliaries stationed in the centre of the line, and waited to see what tactics the enemy would adopt. Although their numbers and their old renown in war and the weakness of the Roman force inspired them with the belief that they could safely venture on a battle, they thought it safer to secure victory without bloodshed, as the Romans were cut off from their supplies by the blocking of the roads. If the Romans decided, from lack of supplies, to retreat, they intended to attack them on their march, when they would be burdened by their packs and so have less spirit for a fight. As this policy was approved by their leaders they kept within their camp when the Roman army was led out to battle.

Crassus perceived their design. Their delay, which his soldiers attributed to fear, made the Romans more eager for battle, and everywhere in the army the opinion was expressed that their camp ought to be attacked without further delay. Crassus, after a few encouraging words, granted the desire of all his troops and marched against the enemy’s camp.

Then some of his men filled up the ditches, others tried to drive the defenders from the rampart and fortifications by a shower of javelins. The auxiliaries, in whom Crassus had little trust for actual fighting, were used to supply the fighters with stones and darts, and to bring sods for filling up the ditches, and their activity gave the enemy the impression that they were actually combatants. The enemy fought  with equal steadiness and bravery, and their higher position enabled them to hurl their spears with effect.”

Caesar’s Gallic War 33:Crassus in Aquitania

29/06/2011 in Sonder kategorie

“Meanwhile P.Crassus had reached Aquitania, already mentioned as one of the three main divisions of Gaul. When he reflected that he had to wage war in a country where a Roman army had been routed a few years before, and its legate L.Valerius Praeconinus killed, and from which the proconsul L. Mallius had been forced to flee with the loss of all his baggage, he saw that the campaign would demand preparations and precautions beyond the ordinary. He paid special attention to his supplies, raised a force of auxiliary infantry and cavalry, and even called out a large number of Roman veterans, excellent soldiers, from Tolosa,Carcaso, and Narbo, towns in the Roman province near the Aquitanian border.

Then he led the united force into the country of the Sontiates, who on the news of his approach had mustered large forces, including cavalry (the strongest part of their army). They attacked our column while it was on the march, at first with their cavalry only, but when this was routed and pressed hard by our pursuit they suddenly produced their infantry, which they had posted in ambush in a valley. They attacked our men, who had scattered in the pursuit, and renewed the battle.

The battle was long and stubborn. The Sontiates, remembering the victories they had won, thought that on their courage depended the liberties of all Aquitania. The Romans were eager to prove to their comrades what they could achieve under their young leader, without the presence of the commander-in-chief or the help of the other legions. At last the enemy were so exhausted by their wounds that they turned and fled. Crassus killed great numbers of them during their retreat, and proceeded to attack their main town; but he was compelled by their brave resistance to bring up his sheds and towers for a regular siege.

The defenders tried sorties and dug mines to the earthworks and sheds (the Aquitani were very adept in such mining operations, because there were copper mines worked in many parts of their country), but when they saw that all their attempts were foiled by the watchfulness of the Roman troops, they sent envoys to Crassus, and begged him to accept their unconditional surrender. Their request was granted, and in obedience to the Roman demands they surrendered their weapons.”

Kakamas, ensovoorts

26/06/2011 in Sonder kategorie

Die kortste dag, 22 Junie, is verby. Dis vir my asof die jaar na 22 Desember, op die kruin, afdraende hardloop na die laagste punt in Junie en daarvandaan moeisaam opklim terug na die kruin. Die koudste oggendtemperatuur sover vanjaar was 1 graad Celsius. Gedurende die koudste dae was die temperatuur nooit oor 10 grade nie. Dit het die afgelope week ‘n paar nagte geryp en soggens drup die dou van die dak af.

Laas Dinsdag was ons weer Kakamas toe. ENB se tak in Pofadder is laasjaar gesluit en sekere banksake moet nou by die naaste tak, in Kakamas, uitgevoer word. Ons maak egter van die geleentheid ‘n ‘joy ride’. Terwyl ek met banksake besig was, is Anna met ‘n inkopielys by die “Food Zone” in, later ook die O.K. Die tweedehandse boekwinkel kry sy besoek, waarna ons by die tandarts, Dr. Hite, gaan koffie drink het en ek terselfdertyd ‘n afspraak vir ‘n roetine-ondersoek gemaak het. Die Hite’s was ons tydgenote in Alexanderbaai en ons het oor sowat twintig jaar sedertdien in kontak gebly. Terwyl Anna by die hardeware-winkel, Mica, in is het ek die tyd op die stoep voor die eiendoms-agentskappe verwyl. Jy kry nog medium-grootte huise vir R300 000-R400 000 en groot huise vir R500 000-R700 000. Kakamas is nie ‘n slegte keuse om vir aftrede oorweeg te word nie. Daar is, behalwe ‘n tandarts, ook ‘n dokter se spreekkamers, apteek, asook verskeie soorte winkels. Upington is slegs 80 kilometers ver, met stedelike fasiliteite.

Teen eenuur is ons na Yanuck vir ‘n laterige ontbyt van spek-en-eiers en koffie. Hulle het ‘n ou woonhuis omskep in ‘n restaurant, waar ook tuisgebak en ‘curious’ aangehou word.  Van die tuinhekkie af loop mens op ‘n paadjie oor ‘n grasperk met groot bome. Naaste aan die hekkie is ‘n apiesdoringboom met so ‘n dik stam dat ‘n ‘tree hugger’ nie sy arms rondom sal kry nie. Daar is ook ‘n yslike palmboom en ‘n jakaranda.

Voor ons die pad terug vat ry ons eers heen-en-weer oor die brug. Die Oranje is voller as gewoonlik vir hierdie tyd van die jaar, maar steeds sowat twee meter onder die opdrifsels aan die treinbrug, wat die vorige somer se vloedhoogte aandui.

Die oggend, met die son laag op die horison, was daar niks blomme te sien nie, maar met die terugtog en die son van regbo was dit ‘n ander saak. Tussen die suurgras is daar reeds heelwat blomme. Hulle is veral sigbaar waar die pad opgebou is en sodoende ‘n aansig bo-oor die gras bied. Die streek (Boesmanland) het vanjaar reeds meer reen as die hele laasjaar gekry en ‘n goeie blomjaar kan verwag word, met ‘n piektyd teen Augustus-September. In Pofadder is sommige erwe kolle geel gekleur,  waar ‘onkruid’ nie tydig en ontydig uitgeskoffel is nie. Oor die vooruitsigte vir Namakwaland het ek egter nie op hierdie stadium inligting nie.

Ek het die rekords opgespoor, waarna ek in ‘n vorige pos verwys het. Die ‘Springbok Hit Parade’ gebaseer op plate-verkope (die ou ‘seven singles’) vanaf 4 Julie 1964 tot 4 Februarie 1972. Van volgende naweek af kan ek ‘n reeks begin, “Hierdie Week, 47 jaar gelede, se Treffers”. Dit mag by bloglesers van my generasie herinnerings opwek. 

    

Caesar’s Gallic War 32: The Venelli

26/06/2011 in Sonder kategorie

The campaign of Sabinus in Normandy* against the Venelli and their allies.

 

“During these operations among the Veneti, Q. Titurius Sabinus with the forces Caesar had placed under his command arrived in the territory of the Venelli. Their leader was Viridovix, who was in command of all the revolted tribes in that region, from whom he had raised a large army. A few days before the arrival of the Romans he was joined by the Eburovican and the Lexovii, who had put to death the members of their council because they refused to sanction war, and had closed their gates against the Romans. Vast numbers of desperadoes and bandits also flocked to his standard from all parts of Gaul, who always found the hope of plunder and love of fighting more attractive than farming and regular work.

Sabinus refused to leave his camp, which was suitably situated for all purposes, although Viridorix, who was encamped only two miles away, led his army every day and offered battle. By this conduct Sabinus incurred some criticism from his soldiers, as well as the contempt of the enemy, who were so convinced of his cowardice that they ventured right up to the rampart of the Roman camp. Sabinus declined the challenge, because he thought that a legate ought to avoid battle against an enemy so superior in numbers, especially in the absence of the commander-in-chief, unless the ground were favourable or he could catch the enemy at a disadvantage.”

Sabinus, by keeping the Venelli and their allies occupied outside his camp, was buying time for Caesar. As mentioned in a previous post, Caesar was unable to subject the Venetian towns, as long as their fleet was controlling the Atlantic. The Veneti towns were located on peninsulas, which at high tides were cut off from the mainland. They could concentrate their defences at the narrow land connections, and conventional sieges were unworkable due to the support by their ships.

 

The enemy was eventually caught at a disadvantage. Sabienus’s camp was located on a hill with a mile long slope towards the enemy position. One day, when the enemy came from their camp, they found the Romans waiting for them in battle lines just outside their camp. The  Venelli charged  uphill towards the Romans, and closed for battle in a state of exhaustion. The Romans were victorious.

*The term only became applicable after the Normans settled their many centuries later. 

Caesar’s Gallic War 31: The Sea Battle

23/06/2011 in Sonder kategorie

Caesar had been compelled to put many of his ships under the command of centurions, who had probably never done anything of the kind before. They must have depended on the nautical knowledge of their pilots, but supplied the necessary element of authority. As the Venetian ships were too solidly constructed to be damaged by ramming, and were too high above water for grappling and boarding, other tactics had to be employed. The Romans had prepared impliments not unlike the wall-hooks used in sieges to detach stones from the enemy’s wall, and made of a beam with a sickle-shaped metal hook firmly fastened into one end. On the Venetian ships the halyard, which normally fastened the sail-yards (on which sails were extended) to the mast, were apparently made fast not to the mast, but to the gunwale (the upper edge of a ship’s side). A Roman ship in passing caught the halyard of a Venetian ship with the prepared hook, then rowed on at full speed and snapped the halyard. Then the sail-yards, with the sails attached, fell down on the deck. This rendered the stricken enemy ships immobile, and at a disadvantage to the oar-propelled Roman ships. A sudden calm deprived the remaining ships of their only means of flight, as they had no oars. 

“This battle decided the war against the Veneti and all the sea-coast tribes. All their fighting men, and even those more advanced in years who were distinguished by ability and council or by noble birth, had taken part, and they had concentrated there all the ships which were available anywhere. After the loss of these men and ships the survivors had no place of refuge and no means of defending their walled towns, and had to surrender their persons and all their property to Caesar. Caesar decided to punish them with unusual severity, as a lesson to the barbarians to respect the rights of envoys more scrupulously in the future. All the members of the council were executed, and the rest of the tribe sold into slavery.

The mastery of the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel passed to the victorious Romans, making possible the invasion of Britain in the following year.

Caesar’s Gallic War 30: The Veneti (cont.)

22/06/2011 in Sonder kategorie

Without the support of the Roman fleet, which was detained in the Loire by stormy weather, Caesar’s initial attacks on the Veneti’s ports failed.

 

“The ships of the Veneti were adapted to the local conditions in their construction and rigging. They had keels much flatter than those of the Roman ships, which enabled them to take the shoals and the ebb-tide more easily, prow and stern were very high to meet the violence of the waves and storms, hulls made entirely of oak to withstand any amount of external pressure or violence, cross-timbers made of beams a foot thick, secured with iron bolts as thick as a man’s thumb, and anchors attached to the ships by iron chains instead of ropes. Raw hides and soft leather beaten thin took the place of sails, either because flax was scarce there and its use unfamiliar, or more probably, because they thought ordinary sails would be less suited to resist the great storms and powerful winds of the Atlantic.

The only advantage of our ships over theirs was our superior speed, due to our use of oars; in all other respects their ships were better adapted to the local conditions and to the strain of the frequent storms. Their ships were too solid to be damaged by ramming, and too high to be swept by javelins or held fast by grappling-hooks. Moreover, when they ran before the wind they could weather the storm more easily, and came to anchor in shoal waters more safely, and when the tide ebbed they had no fear of rocks and reefs, whereas all and any of these dangers would threaten the Roman ships with disaster.”

Caesar’s Gallic War 29: The Veneti (continued)

21/06/2011 in Sonder kategorie

Caesar was still in North Italy early in April. During the last year the Republican party had begun to revive, and Pompeius had shown a disposition to throw in his lot with them. [Rome was ruled by a triumvirate consisting of Caesar, Crassus and Pompeius, taking turns at being consul]. Caesar’s enemies had been encouraged to attack his legislation (carried through in his consulship in 59 B.C.) and to demand his recall from Gaul. Caesar met Crassus at Ravenna and proceeded with him to Lucca, near the boundary between his province and Italy, where they met Pompeius. Caesar offered generous terms to the other two, and so secured the renewal of the triumvirate for five more years. Crassus and Pompeius were to be consuls for 55, and to receive large provincial commands afterwards. Caesar’s command, which was due to expire on 1 March 54 B.C., was extended in 55 B.C. for another period of five years, presumably until 1 March 49.

 

…, there were many considerations which forced Caesar to take up the challenge: the affront offered by the detention of Roman knights, the renewal of war after submission, the revolt after the surrender of hostages, the coalition of so many tribes, and above all the danger that if he failed to punish the Veneti the other tribes might conclude that they could follow their example with impunity. For these reasons, when he reflected that almost all the Gauls were fond of change, and could easily and speedily be persuaded to take up arms, and that nature has endowed all men with a passion for liberty and a loathing for slavery, he decided that he must divide his army, and distribute the legions more widely, to prevent the further spread of the rising.

With this purpose he sent his legate T. Labienus with a division of cavalry to the Treveri, on the left bank of the Rhine, with instructions to visit the Remi and other Belgic tribes and keep them true to Rome, and to drive back the Germans (it was reported that the Belgae had summoned them to their assistance) if they made any attempt to force the passage of the Rhine. He ordered P.Crassus (the younger) to march to Aquitania with twelve cohorts of regular infantry [about 7,000 men] and a strong cavalry force, to prevent the dispatch of reinforcements from the tribes there to Central Gaul and their coalition with the Veneti and their allies. The legate Q. Titurius Sabinus was sent to the Venelli, Curiosolites, and Lexovii with three legions to keep their forces occupied. D. Brutus, one of the younger men, was put in command of the fleet and the Gallic ships summoned from the Pictones, Santoni, and other tribes which had submitted to Rome. Caesar instructed him to sail against the Veneti as soon as possible. He himself marched to their country with the land-forces. 

Caesar’s Gallic War 28: The Veneti

20/06/2011 in Sonder kategorie

In the beginning of winter (57/56 B.C.) Caesar, believing that Gaul had been pacified, started for Illyricum to visit the tribes and study the country in that part of his province, when suddenly a fresh war broke out in Gaul.

“P.Crassus the younger was wintering with the seventh legion among the Andes, near the Atlantic.  There was a shortage of corn in this region, so he sent several praefecti and military tribunes to the neighbouring states to collect supplies. Among them were T. Terrasidius, sent to the Esubii, M. Trebius Gallus to the Curiosolites, and Q. Velanius with T. Silius to the Veneti.

The Veneti were the most influential of the sea-coast tribes in that part of Gaul because they had the most ships, in which they made frequent voyages to Britain, and because their seamen were more skilful and experienced than any others in Gaul. Moreover, as the sea off that coast is open and very stormy  and the few available harbours were all in their hands, they were able to levy tribute on almost all who frequent that part of the Atlantic. They now led the way by the detention of Silius and Velanius, thinking that they would be able to exchange them for their own hostages recently given to Crassus. Their prestige induced their neighbours to follow their example, and with the usual suddenness and abruptness of Gallic designs they detained Trebius and Terrasidius, hoping like the Veneti to get back their hostages. Then they hastened to send envoys to the Veneti and through their leading men exchanged an oath to act together in everything, and to fight side by side to the end, whatever it might be. They urged the other  tribes to choose the maintenance of the freedom which they had inherited from their fathers before the meek acceptance of slavery to Rome. Before long they had won over all the north-west seaboard to their side, and sent an embassy representing all the tribes to P. Crassus, commanding him to send back their hostages if he wished to recover his officers.” 

Mondspoel

19/06/2011 in Sonder kategorie

Ons kan nie aangaan asof ons nie die oorlog gewen het nie”  (J. Malema, Die Burger, Vrydag 17 Junie).

 

Wie is sy ‘ons’? Ek weet nie van enige oorlog wat ons (ons ‘ons’) sedert die Anglo-Boere oorlog op eie bodem of die destydse Suid-Rhodesie of S.W.A. se bodem verloor het nie. Dat die M.K.’s kampe elders in Afrika beman het gedurende die ‘struggle’ is algemeen bekend, maar plaaslike sabotasie en terreur-insidente kwalifiseer nie as veldslae nie. Indien daar verwys word na die onderhandelinge waar Roelf en kie deur Cyrel-hulle ore aangesit is, moet hy egter gelyk gegee word. J.M. is volgens sy onlangse uitsprake nie meer tevrede om net myne en plase sonder vergoeding af te vat nie, maar banke haal ook nou sy kortlys vir nasionalisering. Hoe lank gaan senior party-leiers sy openlike ambisie nog duld, of kry hy net tou om homself mee op te hang? In ‘n vorige pos het ek ‘n aanmerking gemaak oor sy prima kondisie. ‘n Koroner raak nou ‘overdue’. 

In New York het ‘n internasionale beraad oor klimaat pas afgeloop. Suid-Afrika is ook daar verteenwoordig deur regeringsamptenare, nie dat die persone juis enige bydrae op wetenskaplike gebied kan lewer nie. Westerse moondhede raak al louer oor voorstelle om ‘koolstof-emissie’ te beperk, aangesien die voorgestelde maatreels ernstige nadelige gevolge inhou op ‘n reeds wankelende wereld-ekonomie, sonder dat enigiets daardeur bereik kan word. (Een vulkaniese uitbarsting kan meer kweekhuisgasse vrystel as wat in jare bespaar kan word.) Verteenwoordigers uit Afrika is egter meer entoesiasties, aangesien ‘groenbelasting’ ‘n motivering is om die belastingbetalers verder te melk, om die soustreine aan die gang te hou.

Waar ek oor die algemeen ‘n baie lae dunk van omgewings-aktiviste het, kon ek my die keer met ‘n besprekingspunt vereenselwig, naamlik die kommer oor woude wat uitgeroei word. Laat ek dit onomwonde stel, ek is ‘n ‘tree hugger’. Nie net die in woude nie, maar alle bome, lewer ‘n positiewe bydrae tot die omgewing. Bome help om lugbesoedeling teen te werk,  geraas te demp en verbeter die voorkoms van enige landskap. Dis tragies as bome wat dekades gevat het om op te groei in oomblikke vernietig word.  Net twee huise van my af is etlike groot bome onlangs tot op die grond afgesaag, op versoek van ‘n buurman wat nie bome waardeer nie. As dit my bome was, kon die ontevredene gaan doppies blaas.

Daar is ‘n beheptheid om ‘indringerbome’ uit te roei. Hoekom word daar gediskrimineer teen indringerbome, terwyl buiten afstammelinge van die Khoi en San alle ander inwoners van Suid-Afrika as ‘indringermense’ beskou kan word? Bloekom-lanings en bome wat al vir hoe lank die omgewing versier is nou nie meer welkom nie.  Indringerbome word afgesaag, maar die bome bly net daar waar dit val. ‘n Regop, groen boom is vir my enige tyd verkieslik bo ‘n uitgedroogte boom op die grond. Die heuphoogte boomstamme wat nou op talle plekke die  landskap ontsier, is die gevolg van kortsigtige besluite deur owerhede.   

Caesar’s Gallic War 27: St. Bernard Pass* (continued)

16/06/2011 in Sonder kategorie

Galba’s camp at Octodurus was attacked by a large force of Alpine tribes.

 

“After a brief interval, scarcely long enough for the Romans to make the dispositions on which they had decided, the enemy on a given signal rushed down from the heights on every side, and hurled stones and spears against the rampart. At first, while the Romans were fresh, they fought bravely, and found a mark for every javelin they threw from their commanding position, while they rushed to the assistance of any part of the camp which was hard pressed and short of defenders. But the enemy had a great advantage over them. As the fight went on the men who were exhausted left the field and were replaced by fresh troops, whereas on the Roman side the weakness of their force made such relief impossible. Those who were exhausted had no chance to leave the field, and even the wounded could not be spared from their posts to attend to their wounds.”

After a severe struggle the enemy was driven off by a successful sortie. Afterwards Galba returned to the country of the Allobroges in the Roman province in Gaul. Caesar did not say whether Galba withdrew the two cohorts which had been posted among the Nantuates. It is clear that Galba had failed in his main purpose of keeping the route open. His force was probably inadequate (the twelfth was a new legion, which had sustained heavy losses on the Sambre against the Nervii), and to avoid the heavy labour of constructing fresh winter quarters with his weakened force he had been tempted to occupy the village of Octodurus, although the position was quite untenable. Perhaps the wonderful successes of the last two years had made Caesar’s legati over-confident.

 

 

* The route through the Alps had not yet been named. People were only proclaimed saints during the Christian era.