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Commentaries (Latin Edition) (Latin) Paperback – January 1, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

THE WAR IN GAUL

BOOK I

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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 462 pages
  • Publisher: Nabu Press (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: Latin
  • ISBN-10: 1141948443
  • ISBN-13: 978-1141948444
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,493,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jane on December 26, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this as a gift and found this to be the better edition currently available. Initially I purhcased the Kessinger Publishing Edition. I found the print in that edition to be very muddy and the overall presetation not as clean (huge margins which crowded the text). This edition is clean and easy to read.
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Format: Paperback
This classic is well worth the time of any buff on Roman History. If you are a true buff you already own it! There are eight "books" comprising about 15-25 pages apiece. Each book a reflection on the previous year's effort in Gaul. The style is plain and to the point. Written in order to curry favor in Rome and document his campaigns, Caeser is guilty of inflating enemy numbers according to some historians. Never the less he painstakingly records the relations between the tribes of the time, the Gauls,Celts, and Germanic peoples are all referenced. The final three books regarding the Civil War are longer. Ramon L. Jimenez's "Caesar against the Celts" is a great companion for this one. He has a good bibliography as well since this translation of the "Commentaries" is lacking of one. For fans of HBO's Rome television show, check out Book V chapter XLIV.
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Format: Paperback
In this one volume are the complete commentaries of Julius Caesar. This edition is clean, complete and unabridged.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mostly written by Caesar, this book provides an insightful view of ancient warfare from a general's perspective, including such topics as the siege, infantry/calvary interaction, the value of enemy awareness, military engineering, intelligence, moral building, calculated risk, and so on. It also describes such topics as the ancient use of the defeated providing hostages, the temperament of the Celtic tribes, the competition for the areas west of the Rhine (Gaul), the lifestyles and state of civilization of the Germanic tribes (this may be the first recorded account of the Germans), and political strategies.

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.
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Format: Audible Audio Edition
This audible edition of Julius Caesar's Commentaries is beautifully narrated. The download is broken up into two parts, each about 6 to 7 hours long. The first part covers Books 1 to 7 of the Gallic Wars and the second part covers Book 8 of the Gallic Wars and then the Books of the Civil Wars. The narrator has a wonderful voice and reads the translation in a clear and concise manner.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not learned in Latin but the translation did not flow in English. The tenses changed so suddenly and inappropriately that I suspect the translator of being too literal and the end result was difficult to read in English. It gave the impression of one step above a computer translation. I can't imagine Caesar and his scribes being so crude.I must read another edition before I have an opinion on the book-it was difficult and tedious to read. Maps would have been helpful.
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Format: Paperback
I would strongly recommend getting a higher quality, clearer translation. This version of the classic is near incomprehensible compared to the Penguin or Oxford versions.
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