Dubnorix

Rios immi toutias rias1
(I am a free man of a free people)

This is my wife, my good Vindosebara2,
First by alliance, then by love long after
My allies were dismembered. It is she
Who helmed my life through these past months in horror
Of the sick gods, knowing that I lived only
Because my brother kissed the ears of Caesar.


I say I was a free man of free people.
So what might I have done to my own people
Had the gods allowed me, should they have served
To make my name a bold hot fact of power
Stamped on the hide of Gaul? I'm coaxed to serve
A bloated master. This I would not do
Even if Caesar were a man of honor


And all last night I heard drunk Caesar spew
Of debt he planned to pay with Gaulish gold,
Of the new Rome now building in his brain,
Of Corinth where the royal Latin sons
Of Troy enslaved the homeland of Achilles
And Agamemnon's kingdom, brought at last
Their law to bear upon a crippled Argos.


So All Hail Caesar say the Aedui,
And all hail Caesar. Snivel, shrink and hide.
The world will have to learn what life awaits
A man who waits on Caesars to provide.
It matters nothing that a sometime chief
Through mist of ministers should learn at last,
As I have learned, that Alexanders die
Feverish, weeping blood, or by the hand
Of others' will. No matter that I found
How much a sword my friend Orgetorix
Spoke with between his teeth, the bitterment
Of wine slurped from my slaves' hands in the shade
Of Rome. The world will have to learn again
In every age, in nations still unborn,
In streets that run through fingers of a king
Or bloody nasty fields, to fear and face
The double-bladed scepter's sugar-tongue.


The morning darkens. My men have turned
and over there lies my Vindosebara,
legs snapped and spread, son slit out of her stomach.
Here back against the oak stands Dubnorix
Alone, who will not kneel to Caesar's will,
And finally a free man for free people.

1Dubnorix (meaning "Worldking" in Gaulish) was a chief of the Aedui in Roman Gaul who refused to obey Caesar and follow him to Rome. Caesar sent a cavalry detachment to hunt Dubnorix down and ordered him to be brought back, alive if possible, dead if he resisted. He knew that a man who disregarded his authority would not be controllable with the Roman army overseas. When told to return, he resisted and doggedly defended himself, calling on his men to remain loyal, crying out again and again "I am a free man of a free people." The cavalry obeyed their orders, surrounded the man, and executed him. The Aeduan horsemen returned to Caesar's service.

Dubnorix had married the sister of Orgetorix of the Elueti, as part of a political alliance. Dubnorix, Orgetorix and Casticus had reportedly plotted, and failed, to seize control of all Gaul and rule it as a joint united autocracy. Vindosebara, meaning "White Spirit" is the Gaulish version of the Celtic female name which surfaces in English as Guinevere or Jennifer (Welsh Gwenhwyfar, Irish Findabair).

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