Julius Caesar.

C. Iulii Caesaris Commentarii rerum gestarum. Caesar's Commentaries: the Gallic war, books I-Iv, with selections from books V-VII and from the civil war; online

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Plate I Statue of Caesar » Rom

That Julius Caesar was a famous man;

With what his valour did enrich his wit,

His wit set down to make his valour live:

Death makes no conquest of this conqueror;

For now he lives in fame, though not in life. — Richard III.











Boston RTefo gork Chicago

Copyright, 1918, by
] i.'i • • FRANCIS W. KEL8EY



This edition aims to interest the High School pupil in Caesar,
to assist him by notes adapted to his stage of progress, and to
facilitate his accomplishment of the second year of Latin work
with appreciation of and respect for the subject, and with a firm
foundation for further study.

America's entrance into the world conflict has aroused uni-
versal interest in warfare. Viewed in the light of the great
struggle, Caesar's Commentaries take on a new interest. Modern
armies have clashed on the battlefields of the Gallic War ; mod-
ern camps are laid out in a way to suggest the manner of the
Romans. The strategy of Joffre and of Hindenburg finds its
prototype in that of Caesar, and modern armor, especially in
types of helmet and breastplate, strikingly resembles that of
ancient times. In countless ways — even to Caesar's statement,
" Of all these the bravest are the Belgians " — the World War
reproduces on a larger scale the campaigns of Caesar.

Such points as these it has seemed worth while to attempt to
bring out in the Introduction, the Notes, and the Companion to
Caesar. In the Syntax a statement of a rule is accompanied by
specific illustrations from Caesar ; the exercises in Latin Compo-
sition are designed to strengthen the pupil's grasp of the Gram-
mar. The Maps and Plans cannot fail to add definiteness to the
study, and the pictures will aid the student to visualize the scenes
and objects described or referred to in the text.

In preparing the book my obligations have been greatest to the
well-known works of Dr. H. Meusel and Mr. T. Rice Holmes ;
on the side of the illustrations, to the Manuel of Joseph
Dechelette. Mr. George R. Swain allowed the use of his unique



iv Preface

series of photographs, and Mr. G. F. Hill, of the British Museum,
furnished a number of casts of Roman coins. ,

Many teachers have helped me with suggestions, of which I
wish here to make acknowledgment; I am especially indebted
to Miss Frances E. Sabin of the University of Wisconsin.
Messrs. Allen and Phillips, of the Phillips Academy in Andover,
have kindly permitted the use of their Latin Composition, and
Dr. Gilbert H. Taylor rendered assistance in reading a part of
the proof.


Ann Arbor, Michigan.
January 15, 1018.



I. Warfare, Ancient and Modern ix

II. Caesar's Commentaries and the Great War xx

III. The Civilization of the Gauls xxvii

IV. Caesar and the Historical Writers .... xxxiii
V. Caesar in Literature and Myth xxxvii


Book I 1

Book II 129

Book III . 190

Book IV . 232

Book V .287

Book VI, Selections:

The Second Expedition into Germany 338

The Customs of the Gauls and Germans Contrasted . . . 340

The Hercynian Forest and the Wonderful Animals Found in It 358
Book VII, Selections:

Beginning of a General Uprising 364

The Siege and Destruction of Avaricum 374

The Siege of Gergovia .381

The Leadership of Vercingetorix and First Defeat . . . 390

The Siege and Fall of Alesia 396


Book II. The Second Sea-fight off Massilia . ... . .425

Book III. Heroic Endurance of Caesar's Soldiers .... 431

Caesar's Treatment of Two " Grafters " 435

Last Operations about Dyrrachium 438

The Battle of Pharsalus 440


vi Contents



1. The Pig's Last Will and Testament 463

(Petronii Satirae . . . Tertium edidit F. Buecheler, pp. 241-242*

2. Witticisms Attributed to Cicero 467

(M. Tulli Ciceronis Scripta . . . Recognovit C. F. W. Mueller, IV, 3,
1910, pp. 343-347)

3. Legal Maxims 471

4. Fables 472

5. The First Psalm 474

(Biblorum Sacrorum iuxta Vulgatam Clementinam Nova Editio, 1914,
p. 470)

6. The Twenty-third Psalm . . . .' . . . 475

(Biblorum Sacrorum . . . Nova Editio, p. 481)


Essentials of Latin Grammar for the Study of Caesar :

Inflections 479

Word Formation . 525

The Derivation of English Words from the Latin . . . 528

Syntax 531

Figures of Speech . 582

Expressions Relating to Time and Distance .... 584

Gaius Julius Caesar:

Life of Caesar . 587

The Name Caesar 601

The Portraits of Caesar 602

Caesar's Commentaries 603

Caesar as an Orator 606

The Geography of Caesar's Commentaries 607

The Roman Art of War in Caesar's Time 615


Reprinted, by permission, from Latin Composition, by Bernard M.
Allen and John L. Phillips :

Points to be Noted in Writing Latin 641

Exercises 644




The colored plates, and the plates illustrating the bridge across the Rhine,
are from the designs of H. Rheinhard.


I. Statue ' of Caesar in Rome, in the Palazzo dei Conservatori

(From a photograph) Frontispiece


II. Roman Officers, Standard-bearers, and Musicians (Colored) . 70

III. Roman Soldiers, Infantry and Cavalry (Colored) . . . 128

IV. Weapons, Standards, and Roman Camp (Colored) . . .216
V. Caesar's Bridge across the Rhine, Sections . . . . . 256

VI. Caesar's Bridge across the Rhine, View 257

VII. Military Devices (Colored) 286

VIII. Chalk Cliffs near Dover (Photograph by George R. Swain) . 294

IX. Appliances for Siege and Defense (Colored) .... 364

X. Bust of Caesar in the Museum of Naples (From a photograph) 424

XI. An Ancient Sea-fight between Galleys (The English Illustrated

Magazine, 1899, p. 449) 430

XII. Storming of a Besieged City (Colored) 636


The maps are based upon those in the Atlases accompanying the works of
Napoleon III and Stoffel (p. xxxvii), with modifications from many sources,
particularly, G. Veith's Geschichte der Feldz'uge Caesars and, for Pharsalus.
J. Kromayer's Antike Schlachtfelder in Griechenland.

Gallia, General Reference Map, inside back cover.


1. Campaigns of 58 and 57 b.c 1

2. Caesar's Line of Works along the Rhone 20

1 A full List of the Illustrations, with references, will be found on pages 665-674.


viii Maps


3. The Battle with the Helvetians 60

4. The Battle with Ariovistus 120

5. The Battle at the Aisne (Axona) .144

6. The Battle at the Sambre (Sabis), First Phase 164

7. The Battle at the Sambre (Sabis), Second Phase . . . .172

8. Operations against the Stronghold of the Atuatuci . . . .180

9. Operations of the Year 56 b.c 198

10. Sea-fight with the Venetans 208

11. Operations of 55 and 54 b.c . . 232

12. Map of Britain as conceived by Caesar 300

13. Operations of 53 and 52 b.c 338

14. The Siege of Avaricum ... 374

15. The Siege of Gergovia 384

16. Victory of Caesar over Vercingetorix 392

17. The Siege of Alesia 400

18. Second Sea-fight off Massilia . 426

19. Operations of the Year 48 b.c. ...... . 438

20. The Battle of Pharsalus .448


i. Warfare Ancient and Modern

Since the Eoman period the art of war has undergone great
changes. These have resulted from the invention of gunpow-
der and other explosives, from the use of field glasses, from
the utilization of electricity, steam, and gasoline to provide
means of communication and transportation, and finally, from


Figure 1. — Wolf-hcues betore Alesia.

Constructed by Caesar in 52 B.C., and discovered by excavation.

At the left of the wolf-holes are rows of hedge entanglements.

In front of the rampart are double trenches, and above we see the palisade and towers.

the mechanical perfecting of every kind of weapon. Never-
theless the most recent military operations have exemplified
the use of means and methods of warfare devised by the an-
cients and skillfully employed by Caesar in the campaigns of
which he has left a record in the Commentaries.

As a part of his defensive works when he was besieging
Alesia Caesar made many wolf-holes. These are round holes
with sloping sides, in the center of which a strong pointed



stake is firmly implanted. A glanee at the illustration (Fig. 1)
will show how slow and difficult an advance would be, par-
ticularly at night, over ground thus prepared ; for the soldier
picking his way, no matter how carefully, would run the risk
of slipping and impaling himself upon the projecting point.

Precisely such wolf-
holes have been used
in the Great War,
as, for example, along
the German line Dear
Ypres, in Belgium
(Fig. 2). In front
the line is protected
by barb-wire entangle-
ments. Correspond
ing with these are the
hedge entanglements
used by Caesar (sh< > \v 1 1
in Figure 1, behind
the wolf-holes), which
were made by firmly
planting in rows, and
closely interlocking,
branches of trees with
the projecting ends
stripped of bark and
sharpened to a point
The Romans were
the first nation to


" ..<*?

Figure 2. — Wolf-holes near Ypres, in
These wolf-holes were constructed by the German
army in 1914.

On the further side, near the left, the posts carrying
the barb-wire entanglement are visible. (Courtesy of
the Press Illustrating Company.)

make trench-digging an essential part of warfare, but tlu>\
limited it to the fortification of camps and to siege operation*
Since the Roman trenches were not used as passageways, they
uric generally left V-shaped, as those seen in Figure 1 ; but
occasionally trenches were made with perpendicular Bill
the long trench, or moat, 20 feet wide, before Ales; a (Map 17).
In modern warfare trenching has become still more import fit,

Warfare Ancient and Modern xi

and now under many conditions soldiers are taught to " dig
themselves in." But the process of digging is still the same,
as may be seen from the comparison of a Roman trenching
tool (Fig. 3) with the type of spade supplied as a part of the
equipment of a soldier in the United States Army (Fig. 4).

When digging within range of the
enemy's missiles the Roman soldiers pro-
tected themselves by movable shields, plu-
tei (Plate IX, 4-5), and sappers' huts,
vlneae (Plate IX, 9). In trenching close
to the Russian lines near Warsaw in 1914
the Germans used standing steel shields

which were moved forward for the pro- ' .

x trenching tool.

tection of the trenchers. A curious parallel Discovered in lhe re _
to the ancient sapper's hut is the armored mains of the Roman Camp
"one-man tank," designed for exception- *t saaiburg, near Homburg,

7 , ,. Germany.

ally hazardous service in front of the lines The wooden handle has

(Fig. 5). - rotted away.

The packs, sarcinae, of Caesar's legionaries were fully as
heavy as those of modern infantry, perhaps heavier. They
were carried on a forked stick over the left shoulder (Fig. 6),
while the soldier of to-day has his pack strapped on his back
(Fig. 7). The day's march of a small body of United States
Infantry over fair roads will average approximately the same
as that of Caesar's legionaries, about fifteen Roman miles. On
forced marches recently European armies, moving on excellent
roads and utilizing medical science to conserve the soldier's
strength, have -equaled, if they have not surpassed, Caesar's
forced marches in the Gallic War.

In fighting there has been a surprising return to the methods
of Caesar's time.

Caesar's legionaries held their weapons until they were
within close range of the enemy, twelve to twenty yards ; then
they hurled their pikes. To-day in trench fighting the place of
the pike is taken by the hand grenade, thrown often at even
closer range ; and soldiers are trained in the throwing of gre-



nades just as the legionary was in hurling the pike (Fig. 8).
" Rifle tire in this warfare plays small part," wrote Owen John-
Bon from the front in 1915 ; " cartridges are all very well for
machine guns, but for men, hand grenades and the cold steel."
Soon after the first soldiers from the United States arrived in
France, in 1917, it was found that by reason
of skill acquired in playing baseball, they
surpassed the European soldiers in throwing
grenades, in point of range as well as accu-

The "iron" of the Roman pike (Fig. 49,
p. 61) finds a parallel in a late type of French
bayonet (Fig. 9). The length is nearly the
same. The pike iron has a four-grooved point,
barbed ; the bayonet is grooved on the four
sides, so that it makes a wound very similar
in character. But even the spear has not
gone out of use ; in the Great War long lances
have been used by divisions of cavalry on
both sides.

More remarkable still is the return of recent
warfare to the use of the helmet as a protec-
tion for the head, and of a metallic shield to
protect the grenadier when exposing himself
by throwing grenades (Fig. 8). In shape,
however, the French helmet (Fig. 10) has as
much in common with a certain type of ancient
Gallic helmet (Fig. 11) as it has with the hel-
met of the Roman legionary (Fig. 12).
Modern armor seems to have reached its fullest development
in the equipment of the Italian barb-wire cutter. His helmet
(Fig. 13) is supplemented by a metallic veil, and his body is
protected by a cuirass, his legs by greaves. This specialized
armor, well designed for the purpose, is less flexible than the
defensive equipment of the Roman legionary (Fig. '.V.\, p. 19).
The modern helmet has been found serviceable m protecting

Figure 4. — Mod-
ern trenching

This is the trench-
ing tool supplied to
soldiers of the United
States army.

Warfare Ancient and Modern


the head against shrapnel ; hence we may well believe that the
ancient helmet greatly reduced the casualties from the leaden
bullets thrown by means of slings (Fig. 14), as well as those
from blows.

The Gaul, as is noted elsewhere (p. 638), in fighting used a
spear or dart, shield and sword, but his spear (Figs. 40 and 43)
was not so effective as the Roman pike, and his sword was of
an altogether different type (Fig. 39). Oddly enough, recent
fighting in France has
revived the use of
wickerwork shields
somewhat like those
of ancient Gaul (Fig.
48, p. 60). As a pro-
tection against liquid
fire French soldiers
before Verdun in 1916
"carried big oblong
shields of interwoven
osier, covered with clay, against which the flaming liquid fell
harmless," though the men, protected by masks, found " the
smell terrible, almost suffocating."

In the night attack of Caesar's men upon the Helvetian
corral, in 58 B.C., some of the defenders hurled darts from
behind the wheels of the carts (I. 26) ; in 1916 a provision
train of motor trucks, conveying supplies to General Pershing's
force in Mexico, was attacked in a ravine, whereupon "the
truck men and their soldier guard took a position behind the
steel wheels of the cars," and routed the Mexicans by the accu-
racy of their fire.

Though the contending armies are vastly greater than those
of Caesar's time, the Great War affords striking illustrations
of the principles of military formation, tactics, and strategy 1
which he knew and applied.

1 Under "Tactics" military men include the disposing of forces on land
or sea in order of battle, and all manoeuvres in the presence of the enemy ;

Figure 5. — "One-man tank."
Designed for the protection of wire-cutters under fire.



In the battle with the Helvetians, and also in that with the
Germans described in Book I, the more open formation of

the smaller Roman force,
whose soldiers were
trained to fight with in-
itiative, gave it a distinct
advantage over the mass
formation, called by
Caesar phalanx, to which
it was opposed. The mass
formation of the modern
German army is altogether
different from that of an-
cient times ; but again
and again, in the Great
War, German ranks, ad-
vancing with men almost
touching elbows, have suf-
fered much more heavily
than British forces trained
to attack in extended order
and advancing against
equally intensive fire.

When Caesar first came
into contact with the Ger-
mans, he was so impressed
with their arrangement of
cavalry that he made spe-
cial mention of it, and
afterwards he employed
German horsemen as mer-
cenaries. Each horseman, he tells us (I. 48), was accompanied
by a foot-soldier; these foot-soldiers were swift runners, and

" Strategy " refers to the larger operations of war; it Include! th« laying out
and conducting of campaigns as well as the execution of single movements
designed to outwit and thwart the enemy.

Figure 6.

Roman legionary in march-
ing order.

His pack is suspended on a forked stick over
the left shoulder.

Warfare Ancient and Modern


exceedingly brave. In our illustration, which pictures a charge
of the Scots Greys in northern France in the autumn of 1914
(Fig. 15), nimble footmen are seen charging with the cavalry.

The transportation of troops by train and auto truck has
simplified the concentration of reserves to hold a threatened
point ; yet no modern general has surpassed Caesar in insight
and quickness of decision in moving troops
in time of battle in order to forestall or
checkmate the movements of the enemy.
This was well illustrated in the Battle of
Pharsalus, where his quick shift in forming
a fourth line to support his greatly outnum-
bered cavalry (C. III. 89, and Map 20) gained
an initial victory and contributed in no slight
degree to the sweeping success of the day.

A typical stratagem of Caesar was that by
which he accomplished the crossing of the
Elaver (now Allier) in 52 b.c. (VII. 35).
Vercingetorix, on the opposite side of the
river, had broken down all the bridges.
Caesar encamped in a wooded spot near a
place where the piles of a bridge had es-
caped destruction. The next morning he
concealed two legions in the forest and
ordered the rest of his forces to march up
the river, spreading them out so that the The marching-order
marching column seemed as long as usual. SS?m^ ""^
Thereupon Vercingetorix also marched up-
stream, on the opposite side. When he was
far enough away, Caesar brought the two legions out of con-
cealment, quickly rebuilt the bridge, recalled the troops that
had marched up the river, and transferred his entire army
across before Vercingetorix could interfere.

A similar stratagem was successfully employed in 1915. The
German and Austrian commanders wished to cross the Vistula
in Poland at a point northwest of Ivangorod. They moved

Figure 7. — United
States sailor stand-
ing With heavy-
ma r c h i n g-order

States soldiers is the
same, whether in land
or naval service.



their forces upstream in such a way as to lead the Russians to
believe that they intended to force a crossing at some distance

northeast of the city. At
the point previously de-
termined upon, material
for pontoon bridges was
brought to the bank of
the river loaded on wagons
which were covered over
with straw, so that they
were reported by the Rus-
sian aviators merely as
loads of straw ; since the
Russian commander had
no information to the con-
trary, slight attention was
paid to them. The ruse
made it possible for the
pontooners to start built I-
ing the bridges before
their presence or purpose
was suspected. When the
Russians finally brought
their artillery to bear at
the threatened point, it
was too late to check the
work ; the Teutonic forces
completed four brid
over the river and marched

In the naval battles
described in the ( lommen-
taries Caesar did not com
mand his fleel in person,

though in one instance lie
and his army witnessed

Copiirioht by Underwood and Underwood, Xnr York.

Figure 8. — French soldier hurling a
hand grenade.

He is standing in a trench. His head is pro-
tected by a steel helmet- With the left forearm
he holds a shield.

Warfare Ancient and Modern


the engagement from the land (III. 14). The tactics employed
have analogies in modern warfare.

On the Mediterranean Sea from a very early period there
were two types of ships, those propelled by the wind, that is

Figure 9. — French bayonet, with scabbard.

The bayonet can either be fastened at the end of a gun and used for thrusting, or de-
tached'and handled as a long dagger.

by a force outside the ship, and those propelled by a force in-
side the ship, by oarsmen. Since the Mediterranean is rela-
tively narrow and almost tideless, since also ships driven by
oars could be manoeuvred more easily and with much greater
steadiness of movement, the oar ship was developed into a war

Figure 10. — French helmet, type of 1915, front and side views.

This helmet was worn by Richard N. Hall, a graduate of the Ann Arbor high school
and of Dartmouth college, who served in a volunteer ambulance corps in France and was
killed by a shell on Christmas eve, 1915, when driving his ambulance in the Vosges

xviii Introduction

vessel and was highly specialized to this end (Fig. 140, j>. 1-7),
while low-decked sailing vessels were used for freight and ordi-
nary passenger service. It was a freight ship on which St. Paul
and his military escort sailed for Italy, suffering shipwreck
at Malta ; the battleships, or galleys, of Caesar's time (p. 636)
had ordinarily three banks of oars.

The boisterous waves and high tides of the North Atlantic
made impracticable, except under extremely favorable condi-

Figure 11. — Early Gallic helmets, of bronze.

Now in the British Museum. The neck-protector of the helmet at the right is orna-
mented in relief.

tions, the use either of galleys, which had to be built low in
order to enable the oarsmen to dip their oars, or of the type of
sailing vessel employed on the almost land-locked Mediterranean.
Hence before Caesar's time the Venetans in northwestern Gaul
(modern Brittany) had developed a strongly built high-decked
sailing vessel, which, though small when compared with sea-
going ships to-day, was able nevertheless to withstand the buf-
feting of ocean waves and to outride the gales. From < 'aesar's
description (III. 13) it is evident that the Venetan ship was
not like the type of vessel used later by the Vikings, but in
essential features resembled the famous Half-Moon with which

Warfare Ancient and Modern


Henry Hudson in 1609 crossed the Atlantic, discovering the
river which bears his name.

Caesar found that he could not complete the conquest of
northwestern Gaul without destroying the Venetan fleet. In
the naval battle, of which we have a vivid account in Book III
of the Gallic War, the two types of vessel were brought into
hostile contact ; the light and fast Roman galley, adapted for
ramming and boarding, and carrying
legionaries as its fighting men, was pitted
against the Venetan sailer, which was so
strong that it could not be rammed and so
high that boarding was extremely difficult.
Only quick ingenuity (III. 14), and sheer
luck in the dying down of the wind at a
crucial moment, gave to Caesar's men a
complete victory.

Altogether different were the tactics of
the sea-fight off Massilia, described in the
second book of the Civil War (pp. 425-
431). Just as on land at Pharsalus, and
on both land and sea in the Great War,
we find substantially the same military
equipment on both sides, so in the sea-
fight between Brutus and the fleets loyal to Pompey the type
of battleship on both sides was the same, and victory rested
with the side which had superior skill and fighting power.

Long after the nations of western Europe had developed to
a high degree of effectiveness the wooden warship propelled by
sails and armed with cannon, the galley continued to be used
by the pirates of the Barbary States in northern Africa ; " the
vessels employed by the Barbary Corsairs were essentially
rowing-boats," 1 though after the sixteenth century they in-
creasingly used ships like those of the European powers. Mu-

Online LibraryJulius CaesarC. Iulii Caesaris Commentarii rerum gestarum. Caesar's Commentaries: the Gallic war, books I-Iv, with selections from books V-VII and from the civil war; → online text (page 1 of 73)