A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

served as legate in the army of C. Julius Caesar in Gaul, and distinguished himself no less by his valour than by his foresight and prudence. In B. C. 54, when Caesar, on account of the scarcity of provisions in Gaul, distributed his troops over a great part of the country for their winter-quarters, Cotta and Q. Titurius Sabinus obtained the command of one legion and five cohorts, with which they took up their position in the territory of the Eburones, between the Meuse and the Rhine. Soon after, Ambiorix and Cativolcus, the chiefs of the Eburones, caused a revolt against the Romans, and attacked the camp of Cotta and Sabinus only fifteen days after they had been stationed in the country. Cotta, who apprehended more from the cunning than from the open attacks of the Gauls, strongly recommended his colleague not to abandon the camp and trust to the faith of the Gauls; but Sabinus, who feared that they should be overpowered in their winter-quarters, was anxious to avail himself of the safe-conduct which Ambiorix promised, and to proceed to the winter-quarters of the legions nearest to them. After some debates, Cotta gave way for the sake of concord among his forces. The Romans were drawn into an ambuscade by the Gauls, and Cotta, who neglected none of the duties of a general in his perilous position, received a wound in his face while addressing the soldiers; but he still continued to fight bravely, and refused entering into negotiations with the enemy, until shortly after he and the greater part of his soldiers were cut down by the Gauls. (Caesar, Caes. Gal. 2.11, 5.24_37; D. C. 40.5, 6 ; Sueton. Caes. 25; Appian, App. BC 2.150; Florus, 3.10; Eutrop. 6.14.)