Julius Caesar stood atop a cliff and surveyed the wreckage scattered near the coast. Twenty Romans ships were smashed to pieces, slowly sinking into the choppy waters of the Atlantic. His legionaries flailed their limbs in the water, most being hunted down, a lucky few swimming ashore.
“Stop ramming their ships,” Caesar shouted.
The trumpet bearers tooted twice. The coastline filled with their blares, and the Roman ships still engaged in a last desperate attempt backed off.
Caesar glanced across the ocean one more time, considering his options. Every attack on the enemy had brought him humiliation. His tactics at sea had failed. Even ramming the enemy ships had been fruitless. The wreckage that lay before his eyes — drowning men and demolished ships — was the proof of his enemy's superiority on water.
“Sound the retreat,” he finally said, as the sun dipped towards the horizon, almost sheepishly hiding beneath the edge of the ocean.
It had been a long summer full of mistakes.