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The War Commentaries of Caesar (Meridian Classics) Paperback – March 1, 1987

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Text: English, Latin (translation)
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Plume (March 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452008506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452008502
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,981,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Leonard J. Wilson on November 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
I recently reread Julius Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic Wars (this time in English), some forty years after first encountering it in Latin. It was a worthwhile exercise in two ways. First, when I read the Commentaries in high school, I was primarily (solely?) concerned with producing a translation that would earn me a passing grade. The content was of only minor interest. Second, having read a bit more Roman history in the last few years, I was able to view Caesar's commentaries in the context of his political career, his contemporaries, allies and opponents, and the events leading to the end of the Roman Republic. (For a great summary of this period, see Tom Holland's book, Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic.)

Upon being appointed governor of the Roman province of Gaul, which consisted of northern Italy and the Mediterranean coast of France, Caesar proceeded to rapidly conquer the rest of Gaul, making all of continental Europe west of the Rhine part of the Roman Empire. He defeated numerous Gallic and Germanic tribes whose armies greatly outnumbered his own legions. How did he do this? Well, if you believe Caesar, who might have been just a bit biased, his devoted legions followed his every command, defeated the Gallic armies, and inspired the Gauls to become his equally devoted subjects. At least, this is what Caesar hoped the Senate and people of Rome would believe after reading his Commentaries. Caesar's political career notwithstanding, his conquest of Gaul was a remarkable accomplishment from which we might learn a few lessons applicable in today's world:

1. Never fight a battle to obtain goals you could achieve by peaceful means.
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Format: Hardcover
THIS BOOK WAS GREAT! IT WAS SO NEAT TO READ SOMETHING WRITTEN BY SUCH A FAMOUS MAN! THESE ARE THINGS CAESAR ACTULLY PUT DOWN ON PAPER.DON'T READ THIS BOOK IF YOU DON'T KNOW LATIN, THATS WHAT IT'S WRITTEN IN. I HIGHLY RECOMENED THIS BOOK.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a simplistic, and perhaps more modern translation of the Gallic, Spanish, and Civil Wars (all allegedly by Caesar, though the latter two probably weren't) that stands out primarily for it's conversion into the 1st person of Caesar's bizarre quirk to write in 3rd.

This one is a handy carry-in-you-pocket type, and I like it especially because it contains all three books. I do not care for this translation as much, though, and my biggest complaint is the weak maps and the total lack of an index to proper names. This would be good for someone who wants to read a slightly easier translation of Caesar's works than the Penguin version (my personal favorite) or for someone seeking the convenience of all of Caesar's/psuedo-Caesar's works in one little book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wellington and Napoleon, both carried a copy of Caesar`s war diaries when ever they went on a campaign. That should give you an idea of the wealth of information contained in Caesar`s wartime correspondence. Julius Caesar graphically details all the aspects of warfare. He seems to understand all the strong points and the weak areas of his own army, and the opposition. He also had a great insight into the psychological make up of his own soldiers, and the Celts. This book is the ultimate example, of know your enemy and know yourself.
You will be reading material that was written over two thousand years ago, and by one of histories greatest commanders. That makes this book worth a lot more then five stars.
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