July 05, 2002

Caesar's Commentaries

It's been a long time since I read this. I want to read it again...

Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic and Civil Wars: with the Supplementary Books attributed to Hirtius. From the UVA Library's Electronic Texts Center.

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 our 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 furthest from the civilization 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 valor, 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 toward the north. The Belgae rises from the extreme frontier of Gaul, extend to the lower part of the river Rhine; and look toward 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...

Posted by DeLong at July 5, 2002 08:39 AM | TrackBack


I think it goes something like:

Gallia est omnis divisa impartes tres.

Quarum unam incolunt Belgea, aliam Aquitani.

Tetriam qui ipsorum lingua Celti,

nostra Galli appellantur.

I can't recall the rest right now and I'm

sure there's some wrong tenseses in the above.

Ave Ceasar, morituri te salutant!

Posted by: radek on July 12, 2002 12:05 AM

Dr. Delong:

Just out of curiousity, what mental path did you follow to get from the current state of the economy (stock market faltering, corporate scandals, etc.) to De Bello Gallico? Or do they have nothing particular in common, but you just felt like bring up Caesar's writings?

Posted by: jw on July 12, 2002 10:37 PM

I recall reading that Caesar was very impressed to learn that the Belgae were fighting naked. When asked about (the absence of) their city walls, they just hit their chest with their fists.

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on July 15, 2002 11:57 AM

I'd recommend another book on good ole Julius which is much more pertinent to the present state of affairs: "The businesses of Mr. Julius Cesar", by Berthold Brecht. It is admittedly not quite as hagiographic, but very probably sticks closer to the facts. And is fun to read.

And anyway, I've come zo seize the berry, not to praise it, as a great comedian once said (was it Lenny Bruce or rather the Monty Python crew?).

Have a nice summer.

Posted by: Gerhard Fritz on July 24, 2002 10:27 AM
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