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Commentaries (Latin Edition) (Latin) Paperback – January 1, 2010
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
THE WAR IN GAUL
I. All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in ours Gauls, the third. All these differ from each other in language, customs and laws. The river Garonne separates the Gauls from the Aquitani; the Marne and the Seine separate them from the Belgae.
Of all these, the Belgae are the bravest, because they are farthest from the civilisation and refinement of [our] Province, and merchants least frequently resort to them and import those things which tend to effeminate the mind; and they are the nearest to the Germans, who dwell beyond the Rhine, with whom they are continually waging war; for which reason the Helvetii also surpass the rest of the Gauls in valour, as they contend with the Germans in almost daily battles, when they either repel them from their own territories, or themselves wage war on their frontiers.
One part of these, which it has been said that the Gauls occupy, takes its beginning at the river Rhone: it is bounded by the river Garonne, the ocean, and the territories of the Belgae: it borders, too, on the side of the Sequani and the Helvetii, upon the river Rhine, and stretches towards the north.
The Belgae rise from the extreme frontier of Gaul, extend to the lower part of the river Rhine; and look towards the north and the rising sun.
Aquitania extends from the river Garonne to the Pyrenaean mountains and to that part of the ocean which is near Spain: it looks between the setting of the sun and the north star.
II. Among the Helvetii, Orgetorix was by far the most distinguished and wealthy. He, when Marcus Messala and Marcus Piso were consuls, incited by lust of sovereignty, formed a conspiracy among the nobility, and persuaded the people to go forth from their territories with all their possessions, [saying] that it would be very easy, since they excelled all in valour, to acquire the supremacy of the whole of Gaul. To this he the more easily persuaded them, because the Helvetii are confined on every side by the nature of their situation; on one side by the Rhine, a very broad and deep river, which separates the Helvetian territory from the Germans; on a second side by the Jura, a very high mountain which is [situated] between the Sequani and the Helvetii; on a third by the Lake of Geneva, and by the river Rhone, which separates our Province from the Helvetii.
From these circumstances it resulted that they could range less widely, and could less easily make war upon their neighbours; for which reason men fond of war [as they were] were affected with great regret. They thought, that considering the extent of their population, and their renown for warfare and bravery, they had but narrow limits, although they extended in length 240, and in breadth 180 [Roman] miles. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
This is one of those books that belongs on everyone's private bookshelf; to be read and re-read from time to time. To have the observations and thoughts of one of the greatest generals of all time at your fingertips is one of the true joys of literacy.
If you haven't read Caesar's Commentaries, you have missed something of real value. It's never too late. Do yourself a favor.
Note that Caesar writes in the third person, which almost makes it seem like it was written by an impartial historian (which is obviously not the case... Hence, its accuracy must be questioned to some degree).
The only downside of this book is its translation, which I compare to reading an old version of the bible. Sentences run very long, paragraphs cover entire pages, verbs are placed in odd parts of sentences,.. etc. It takes a while to get through it. It is, however, worth the effort, and is a interesting window into the past.
My only complaint is the difficulty to keep your place. Also, this edition comes with a short biography of Julius Caesar at the beginning. That in itself is fine, but it was a bit of a hassle to actually pin point where book one picked up. Again, it is a truly minor gripe to a really excellent product.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The copy of Caesar's Commentaries was in first rate condition as advertised. I was quite pleased with the quality of my purchase.Published 11 months ago by Steven J. Burke
Writing was like a legal document. He was a very intelligent and courageous man but after a while the battles wear thin.Published 14 months ago by wayne
Caesar's Commentaries are an essential read for anyone who aspires to a good education. For several centuries, English public schools (meaning private) required their students to... Read morePublished on June 20, 2010 by Richard York
I liked the translation--it brought Caesar's style to life. It also seemed to me that the section completed by Caesar's associate was distinct in style, which again made Caesar's... Read morePublished on September 13, 2009 by Ann Krueger
Caesar might have been a good general but he's a uniquely boring writer with leaden descriptions of intensely exciting campaigns. Read morePublished on July 5, 2007 by John Coffey