Marcus Junianius Justinus, Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus

Nothing is known for certain about Marcus Junianius (or Junianus) Justinus; it is believed that he was active in the third, or perhaps fourth, century of the common era.

The following is an adaptation of Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, trans. Rev. John Selby Watson. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853.

§ 14.4. When the Gauls had grown so numerous that they were no longer able to live off of the produce their homeland, they sent out three hundred thousand men, like a sacred spring, to seek new settlements. Some of these adventurers settled in Italy, and took and burnt the city of Rome; others penetrated into the remotest parts of Illyricum under the direction of a flight of birds (for the Gauls are more skilled in augury than other nations) making their way amidst great slaughter of the barbarous nations, and fixed their abode in Pannonia. They were a savage, bold, and warlike nation, and were the first after Hercules (to whom that undertaking procured great admiration for his valour, and a belief in his immortality), to pass the unconquered heights of the Alps, and places uninhabitable from excess of cold.

After having conquered the Pannonians, they carried on various wars with their neighbours for many years. Success encouraging them, they set off in separate groups, some to Greece, and some to Macedonia, laying waste all before them with the sword. Such indeed was the fear of the Gauls, that even kings, before they were attacked, purchased peace from them with large sums of money.

Ptolemy, the king of Macedonia, was the only man who was not frightened when he heard of the approach of the Gauls. Hurried on by the madness that distracted him for his unnatural crimes, he went out to meet them with a few undisciplined troops, as if wars could be dispatched with as little difficulty as murders. He rejected messengers from the Dardanians, who offered him twenty thousand armed men, for his assistance, adding insulting language, and saying that “the Macedonians were in a sad condition if, after having conquered the whole east without help, they now required aid from the Dardanians to defend their country; and that he had for soldiers the sons of those who had served under Alexander the Great, and had been victorious throughout the world.” This answer being repeated to the Dardanian prince, he observed that “the famous kingdom of Macedonia would soon fall a sacrifice to the carelessness of a raw youth.”

§ 14.5. The Gauls, under the command of Belgius, sent deputies to Ptolemy to sound out the reaction of the Macedonians, offering him peace if he liked to purchase it; but Ptolemy boasted to his courtiers that the Gauls sued for peace from fear of war. Nor was his manner less arrogant before the messengers than before his own adherents, saying that “he would grant peace only on condition that they would give their chiefs as hostages, and deliver up their arms; for he would put no trust in them until they were disarmed.” The deputies bringing back this answer, the Gauls laughed, and exclaimed throughout their camp, that “he would soon see whether they had offered peace from regard for themselves or for him.” Some days after a battle was fought, and the Macedonians were defeated and cut to pieces. Ptolemy, after receiving several wounds, was taken, and his head, cut off and stuck on a lance, was carried round the whole army to strike terror into the enemy. A few of the Macedonians survived by running away; the rest were either taken or slain.
When the news of this event was spread through all Macedonia, the gates of the city were shut, and all places filled with mourning. Sometimes they lamented their bereavement, from the loss of their children; sometimes they were seized with dread, for fear that their cities would be destroyed; and at other times they invoked the names of their kings, Alexander and Philippus, like gods to protect them; saying that “under them they were not only secure, but conquerors of the world” and begging that “they would guard their country, whose fame they had raised to heaven by the glory of their exploits, and give assistance to the afflicted, whom the insanity and rashness of Ptolemy had ruined.” While all were thus in despair, Sosthenes, one of the Macedonian chiefs, thinking that nothing would be effected by prayers, assembled those who were old enough for war, repulsed the Gauls in the midst of their exultation at their victory, and saved Macedonia from devastation. For these great services, he, though of humble extraction, was chosen before many nobles that aspired to the throne of Macedonia. But though he was saluted as king by the army, he made the soldiers take an oath to him, not as king, but as general.

§ 14.6. Brennus had led a contingent of Gauls on an invasion of Greece. Brennus heard how Belgius had led their countrymen to defeat the Macedonians and became annoyed that the riches of the east had been so carelessly abandoned by him. He therefore assembled an army of a 150,000 infantry and 15,000 cavalry and suddenly invaded Macedonia. As he was laying waste the fields and villages, Sosthenes met him with his army of Macedonians in full array, but being few in number, and in some consternation, they were easily overcome by the more numerous and powerful Gauls. The defeated Macedonians retreated to their cities and the victorious Brennus, meeting with no opposition, ravaged the lands throughout the whole of Macedonia. Soon after, as if the spoils of mortals were not important enough for him, he turned his thoughts to the temples of the immortal gods, saying, with a profane jest, that “the gods, being rich, ought to be generous to men.” He suddenly, therefore, directed his march towards Delphi, regarding plunder more than religion, and caring for gold more than for the wrath of the deities, “who,” he said, “had no need of riches, since it was instead their customs to give them to mortals.”

The temple of Apollo at Delphi is located on Mount Parnassus, on a rock steep on all sides. A concourse of people, who, collecting from the parts around, through veneration for the majesty of the god, settled on the rock, formed a city there. Thus, not walls, but precipices, not defenses formed by the hand, but by nature, protect the temple and the city; so that it is utterly uncertain whether the strength of the place, or the influence of the deity residing in it, attracts more admiration. The central part of the rock falls back in the shape of an amphitheatre; and, in consequence, if ever shouts are raised, or if the noise of trumpets is mingled with them, the sound, from the rocks echoing and re-echoing to one another, is heard many times repeated, and louder than it was made at first. This effect, on those who are ignorant of its cause, and are struck with wonder at it, produces a greater awe of the power of the god. In the winding of the rock, about half way up the hill, there is a small plain, and in it a deep fissure in the ground, which is open for giving oracles; for a cold exhalation, driven upwards by some force, as it were by a wind, produces in the minds of the priestesses a certain madness, and compels them, filled with the influence of the god, to give answers to such as consult them. Hence many rich presents of kings and nations are to be seen there, which, by their magnificence, testify the grateful feelings of those that have paid their vows, and their belief in the oracles given by the deity.

§ 14.7. Brennus, when he came within sight of the temple, spent timing considering whether he should make an immediate attack on it or should allow his soldiers, wearied with their march, a night to refresh themselves. The captains of the Emanus and Thessalorus, who had joined him for a share in the booty, advised that “no delay should be made,” while the enemy were unprovided for defense, and the alarm at their coming still fresh; that in the interval of a night, the courage of the enemy would perhaps revive, and assistance come to them; and that the approaches, which were now open, might be blocked up. But the common soldiers, when, after a long endurance of scarcity, they found a country abounding with wine and other provisions, had dispersed themselves over the fields, rejoicing as much at the plenty as if they had gained a victory, and leaving their standards deserted, wandered about to seize on everything like conquerors.
This decision gave some rest to the Delphians. At the first report that the Gauls were approaching, the country people are said to have been prohibited by the oracle from carrying away their grain and wine from their houses. It took some time to realize the good consequences of this prohibition: since the Gauls were being given an excess of wine and other foods, this slowed them down and gave time for reinforcements from the neighbours of Delphi to collect. The Delphians, accordingly, supported by the strength of their allies, secured their city before the Gauls, who clung to the wine-skins, on which they had seized, could be recalled to their standards. Brennus had 56,000 infantry, selected from his whole army; there were not more than 4,000 of the Delphians. In utter contempt of them, Brennus, to rouse the courage of his men, pointed to the vast quantity of spoil before them, declaring that the statues, and four-horse chariots, of which a great number were visible at a distance, were made of solid gold, and would prove greater prices when they came to be weighed than they were in appearance.

§ 14.8. The Gauls were inspired by these words but at the same time disordered from the wine which they had drunk the day before. They rushed to battle without any fear of danger. The Delphians, on the other hand, placing more confidence in the god than in their own strength, resisted the enemy with contempt, and, from the top of the hill, repelled the Gauls as they climbed up, partly with pieces of rock, and partly with their weapons. Amidst this contest between the two, the priests of all the temples, as well as the priestesses themselves, with their hair loose, and with their decorations and fillets, rushed, trembling and frantic, into the front ranks of the combatants, exclaiming that “the god was come; that they had seen him leap down into his temple through the opening roof; that, while they were all humbly imploring aid of the deity, a youth of extraordinary beauty, far above that of mortals, and two armed virgins, coming from the neighbouring temples of Diana and Minerva, met them; that they had not only perceived them with their eyes, but had heard also the sound of a bow and the rattling of arms” and they therefore conjured them with the strongest entreaties, “not to delay, when the gods were leading them on, to spread slaughter among the enemy, and to share the victory with the powers of heaven.”
Incited by these exhortations, they all rushed eagerly to the field of battle, where they themselves also soon perceived the presence of the divinity; for a part of the mountain, broken off by an earthquake, overwhelmed a group of the Gauls and some of the densest bodies of the enemy were scattered abroad, bearing wounds, and fell to the earth. A tempest then followed, which destroyed, with hail and cold, those that were suffering from bodily injuries.

The general Brennus himself, unable to endure the pain of his wounds, ended his life with his dagger. The other general, after punishing the advisers of the war, made off from Greece with all speed, accompanied by 10,000 wounded men. But neither was fortune more favourable to those who fled; for in their terror, they passed no night under shelter, and no day without hardship and danger; and continual rains, snow congealed by the frost, famine, fatigue, and, what was the greatest evil, the constant want of sleep, consumed the wretched remains of the unfortunate army. The nations and people too, through whom they marched, pursued their stragglers, if to spoil them. Hence it happened that, of so great an army which, little before, presuming on its strength, contended even against the gods, not a man was left to be a memorial of its destruction.

§ 25.1. After peace was made between the two kings, Antigonus and Antiochus, a new enemy suddenly started up against Antigonus as he was returning to Macedonia. The Gauls, who had been left behind by their general Brennus, when he marched into Greece, to defend the borders of their country, armed 15,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry (that they alone might not seem idle), and having routed the forces of the Getae and Triballi, and preparing to invade Macedonia, sent messengers to Antigonus to offer him peace if he would pay for it, and to play the part of spies, at the same time, in his camp. Antigonus, with royal munificence, invited them to a banquet, and entertained them with a sumptuous display of luxuries. But the Gauls were so struck with the vast quantity of gold and silver set before them, and so tempted with the richness of such a spoil, that they returned more inclined to war than they had come. The king had also ordered his elephants to be shown them, as monsters unknown to those barbarians, and his ships laden with stores to be displayed; little thinking that he was thus exciting the cupidity of those to seize his treasures, whom he sought to strike with terror by the ostentation of his strength. The messengers, returning to their countrymen, and exaggerating every thing excessively, set forth at once the wealth and unsuspiciousness of the king; saying that “his camp was filled with gold and silver, but secured neither by rampart nor trench, and that the Macedonians, as if they had sufficient protection in their wealth, neglected all military duties, apparently thinking that, as they had plenty of gold, they had no use for steel.”

§ 25.2. By this statement, the desires of a covetous people were sufficiently stimulated to take possession of such spoil. The example of Belgius, too, had its influence with them, who, a little before, had cut to pieces the army of the Macedonians and their king. Being all of one mind, therefore, they attacked the king’s camp by night; but he, foreseeing the storm that threatened him, had given notice to his soldiers to remove all their baggage, and to conceal themselves noiselessly in a neighbouring wood; and the camp was only saved because it was deserted. The Gauls, when they found it empty not only of defenders, but of sentinels, suspecting that there was not a flight, but some stratagem on the part of the enemy, were for some time afraid to enter the gates. At last, leaving the defenses entire and untouched, and more like men come to explore than to plunder, they took possession of the camp; and then, carrying off what they found, they directed their course towards the coast. Here, as they were incautiously plundering the vessels, and fearing no attack, they were cut down by the sailors, and a part of the army that had fled thither with their wives and children; and such was the slaughter among them that the report of this victory procured Antigonus peace, not only from the Gauls, but from his other barbarous neighbours.

There were so many Gauls, however, at that time that they filled all Asia as with one swarm. The kings of the east then carried on no wars without a mercenary army of Gauls; nor, if they were driven from their thrones, did they seek protection with any other people than the Gauls. Such indeed was the fear of the Gauls, and their constant success in battle, that rulers thought they could neither maintain their power in peacetime, nor recover their power if lost, without the assistance of the Gauls. Hence, being called by the king of Bithynia to his aid, and having gained him the victory over his enemies, they shared his kingdom with him, and called their part of it “Gallograecia.”

§ 43.3. In the time of King Tarquin, a company of Phocaeans from Asia, sailing up the Tiber, formed an alliance with the Romans, and proceeding from thence to the inmost part of the gulf of Gaul, built the city of Marseilles amidst the Ligurians and the savage Gallic nations, and performed great exploits there, both in defending themselves against the fierce Gauls, and in attacking, of themselves, those by whom they had previously been molested.

The Phocaeans, compelled by the smallness and infertility of their territory, had applied themselves more to the sea than to the culture of the ground, supporting themselves by fishing, merchandise, and above all by piracy, which in those days was thought an honourable occupation. Venturing accordingly to visit the remotest shores of the ocean, they came into the gulf of Gaul and to the mouth of the river Rhone; and, charmed with the pleasantness of the country, and relating, on their return home, what they had seen, they tempted others to go to the same parts. Of the fleet Simos and Protis were the captains, who applied to the king of the Segobrigii, named Nannus, in whose territory they were anxious to build a city, desiring his friendship. On that day, as it happened, the king was engaged in preparing for the nuptials of his daughter Gyptis, whom, after the custom of that people, he intended to give in marriage to a son-in-law to be chosen at the feast. The suitors having been all invited to the wedding, the Grecian strangers were also requested to join the festival. The maiden was then introduced, and being desired by her father to give water to him whom she chose for her husband, she overlooked all the rest, and turning to the Greeks, held out water to Protis, who, from the king’s guest becoming his son-in-law, was presented by his father-in-law with the ground for building a city. Marseilles was accordingly built near the mouth of the river Rhone, in a retired bay, and as it were in a corner of the sea. The Ligurians, jealous of the growing greatness of the city, harassed the Greeks with continual war; but they, repelling their attacks, rose to such a degree of strength, that they conquered their enemies and planted several colonies in the lands which they captured.

§ 43.4. From the people of Marseilles, therefore, the Gauls learned a more civilized way of life, their former barbarity being laid aside or softened; and by them they were taught to cultivate their lands and to enclose their towns with walls. Then too, they grew accustomed to live according to laws, and not by violence; then they learned to prune the vine and plant the olive; and such a radiance was shed over both men and things, that it was not Greece which seemed to have immigrated into Gaul, but Gaul that seemed to have been transplanted into Greece. […]

§ 43.5. […] But after a time, when Marseilles was at the height of distinction, as well for the fame of its exploits as for the abundance of its wealth and its reputation for strength, the neighbouring [Gaulish] people, on a sudden, conspired to destroy the very name of Marseilles, as they would have united to put out a fire that threatened them all. Catumandus, one of their petty princes, was unanimously chosen general, who, when he was besieging the enemy’s city with a vast army of select troops, was frightened in his sleep by the vision of a stern-looking woman, who told him that she was a goddess, and of his own accord made peace with the Massilians. Having then asked permission to enter their city and pay adoration to their gods, and having gone into the temple of Minerva, and observed in the portico the statue of the goddess whom he had seen in his sleep, he suddenly exclaimed “that it was she who had frightened him in the night; that it was she who had ordered him to raise the siege”; then, congratulating the Massilians that they were under the care, as he perceived, of the immortal gods, and offering a neck-lace of gold to the goddess, he made a league with them for ever.