The Conquest of Gaul
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First published just before the end of the Roman Republic by that legendary country's most immortalized leader, "The Conquest of Gaul," also called "Commentarii de Bello Gallico," is an account of Julius Caesar's capture of Gaul in the first century. Beginning with the Helvetian War in 58 BC, Caesar uses his exemplary Latin prose to explain how his forces were protecting Provence, and how they were later drawn out in campaigns against the Veneti, the Aquitani, numerous Germanic peoples, the Belgae, the Gauls, and the Bretons. Caesar, perhaps in defense of his expensive and geographically vast wars, explains the methods of his campaigns, from the timing of the seasons to provisioning and defense. This autobiographical work is both a concise reckoning of forces and an informative wartime narrative, consistently revealing the author as a politically brilliant commander and an unrivaled man.
mighty power of Rome, Caesar regarded as a disgrace to himself and his country. Furthermore, if the Germans gradually formed a habit of crossing the Rhine and entering Gaul in large numbers, he saw how dangerous it would be for the Romans. If these fierce barbarians occupied the whole of Gaul, the temptation would be too strong for them: they would cross the frontier into the Province, as the Cimbri and Teutoni had done before them [109–101 B.C.], and march on Italy, for the Roman Province lay
therefore set out in the winter for Illyria, desiring to extend his acquaintance with the countries under his command by visiting the tribes of that district, when war suddenly broke out again in Gaul.18 The occasion of the outbreak was the action of young Publius Crassus, who with the 7th legion occupied the winter camp nearest the Atlantic, in the territory of the Andes. As food was scarce in that region, he sent a number of auxiliary officers and military tribunes to the neighbouring peoples
eastern extremity, even after travelling for two months, or to have heard where it ends. The forest is known to contain many kinds of animals not seen elsewhere, some of which seem worthy of mention because they differ greatly from those found in other countries. 26. There is an ox shaped like a deer, with a single horn in the middle of its forehead between the ears, which sticks up higher and straighter than those of the animals we know, and at the top branches out widely like a man’s hand or a
power. At this the tribal leaders came running to Aristius, saying that the government had no hand in what had occurred. They ordered an inquiry into the robberies, confiscated the property of Litaviccus and his brothers, and sent a deputation to make their excuses to Caesar. The object of these moves was to secure the release of their army. But the number of people involved in the outrages was large. Fascinated by the profits of the plunder, yet at the same time dreading retribution for their
prevent the Romans from getting corn and forage. ‘All you have to do,’ he concluded, ‘is to destroy your corn crops without hesitation and burn your granaries, knowing that this sacrifice will make you free men for ever and rulers over others.’ He then commanded the Aedui and the Segusiavi – a tribe living on the Provincial frontier – to supply ten thousand infantry, which together with eight hundred cavalry were placed under command of Eporedorix’s brother and detailed to attack the