By means of a stratagem, the Batavians have launched a nocturnal attack on a Roman camp. On the left of this painting are the tents where the sleeping Romans are being taken by surprise. Only a few are armed and dressed; most are almost naked and virtually defenceless.
Ever since 1584, stadholders had been compared with the leaders of the Batavian revolt. The Batavian leader Claudius Civilis and the Canninefate leader Brinio are the key figures in five works in the Batavian series. The Batavians and the Canninefates had united with the Frisians to fight the Romans in 69-70 AD. The mythical forefathers of the Dutch rebelled not so much against the Roman Emperor as against the unreasonable behaviour of the governor, just as the seven provinces that formed the Dutch Republic united to fight harsh Spanish officials, rather than the Spanish king.