Chapter 1.13

Hōc proeliō factō, reliquās cōpiās Helvētiōrum ut cōnsequī posset, pontem in Arāre faciendum cūrat atque ita exercitum trādūcit. Helvētiī repentīnō ēius adventū commōtī, cum id quod ipsī diēbus XX aegerrimē cōnfēcerant, ut flūmen trānsīrent, illum ūnō diē fēcisse intellegerent, lēgātōs ad eum mittunt; cuius lēgātiōnis Divicō prīnceps fuit, quī bellō Cassiānō dux Helvētiōrum fuerat. Is ita cum Caesare ēgit: sī pācem populus Rōmānus cum Helvētiīs faceret, in eam partem itūrōs atque ibi futūrōs Helvētiōs ubi eōs Caesar cōnstituisset atque esse voluisset; sīn bellō persequī persevērāret, reminīscerētur et veteris incommodī populī Rōmānī et prīstinae virtūtis Helvētiōrum. Quod imprōvīsō ūnum pāgum adortus esset, cum eī quī flūmen trānsīssent suīs auxilium ferre nōn possent, nē ob eam rem aut suae magnopere virtūtī tribueret aut ipsōs dēspiceret. Sē ita ā patribus māiōribusque suīs didicisse, ut magis virtūte quam dolō contenderent aut īnsidiīs nīterentur. Quārē nē committeret ut is locus ubi cōnstitissent ex calamitāte populī Rōmānī et interneciōne exercitūs nōmen caperet aut memoriam prōderet.

Caesar crosses the Saône (Holmes) and a delegation of Helvetians, headed by Divico, haughtily asks for peace.

hōc proeliō factō: “after this battle” (Walpole).

reliquās: the emphasis on this word displaces the connective ut, which would naturally stand first in its clause (A-G). Such a position before the conjunction ut is called hyperbaton (H-T).

ut cōnsequī posset: “in order to be able to overtake” (hence the frequent meaning “acquire”) (A-G); the purpose of pontem faciendum cūrat (AG 530) (Harkness).

pontem faciendum cūrat: literally, “cares for a bridge to be built,” “cares for the building of a bridge” (H-T); “he has a bridge made” (A-G); “causes a bridge to be constructed,” probably a bridge of boats constructed from the vessels in which he conveyed his provisions up the river (Harkness). Faciendum is a gerundive expressing purpose after a verb, not a preposition (AG 500.4) (L-E).

in Arāre: “over the Arar” (Anthon)Observe the exactness in the use of the Latin preposition in; we can say “Rome is on the Tiber,” but the Romans says, Rōma ad Tiberim sita est (H-T).

exercitum: no doubt all six legions. The battle with the Tigurini had been fought with three (Hodges).

repentīnō: “unexpected” (Kelsey).

commōtī: “alarmed” (Kelsey).

cum id … intellegerent: here cum may be translated “when,” but the clause gives the state of mind of the Helvetii as the main feature of the situation, and really expresses no time at all, but circumstance only, hence the subjunctive (AG 546) (A-G): “when they perceived that he had done in a single day what they themselves had with very great difficulty accomplished in twenty days” (Anthon).  

diēbus XX: ablative of time within which (AG 423), so also ūnō diē: “in the course of twenty days” (A-G). The great numbers of the Helvetii and their allies, and the large amount of baggage which they must have carried, rendered their movements very slow (Hodges).

ut flūmen trānsīrent: “[namely], the crossing of the river” (Walker), literally, “that they might cross the river.” (Anthon). This clause explains id quod confēcerant, and hence takes the usual form of a substantive result clause depending on conficiō (AG 568) (Hodges). A subjunctive after ut, as here, or an infinitive is often added to explain more clearly the reference of a preceding clause (M-T).

cuius lēgātiōnis Divicō prīnceps fuit: “and at the head of this embassy was Divico” (Anthon). Divico was now an old man (between 70 and 80 years old (Kelsey)), since the battle in which he was commander took place forty-nine years before.

prīnceps: i.e., the principal or leading person, = prīmum locum tenēns (Spencer).

dux Helvētiōrum: forty-nine years previous, the Tigurini, under the command of Divico, undertook to invade the territory of the Allobroges by the bridge of Geneva and the fords of the Rhône a little below this city. The rest of the Helvetii, together with their new allies, the Cimbri and Teutones, moved south. This plan of operations compelled the Romans to divide their forces. The consul Cassius hastened to Geneva, while his lieutenant Scaurus advanced against the Cimbri and Teutones. Both commanders were unfortunate. Cassius and his army were cut to pieces by the Helvetii on the borders of Lacus Lemannus (Lake Geneva), while Scaurus was defeated and taken prisoner by those whom he had endeavored to oppose (Anthon).

bellō Cassiānō: Caesar names the war from the general on the Roman side (Hodges): “in their war with Cassius,” i.e., in the war in which Cassius commanded the Roman army, 107 B.C. (Anthon); ablative of time when (AG 423, 424), of words which do not in themselves signify time but used in fixing a date: e.g. M. Messallam, M. Pisōne cōnsulibus, “in the consulships of M. Messalla and M. Piso” (M-T).

ita … cum Caesare ēgit: “he discoursed as follows” (Harkness); “he treated thus with Caesar,” i.e., addresses him thus (Anthon); ēgit serves as the verb of saying (from causam agere, “to carry on a plea at court,” hence the absolute use of agere as “to plead” in a general sense (M-T)) and therefore introduces indirect discourse. The indirect presentation of Divico’s speech extends to the end of the chapter (Hodges). Remember the important facts about indirect discourse, that in every declarative sentence the principal verb will be an infinitive, and that in every subordinate clause the verb will be a subjunctive, following the rule of sequence of tenses. Usually the future infinitive shows that the speaker used a future indicative, a present infinitive shows that he used a present indicative, and a perfect infinitive shows that he used a past tense of the indicative (Walker).

sī pācem populus Rōmānus cum Helvētiīs faceret … (etc.): Divico’s entire speech, as well as Caesar’s response (in Chapter 14), is given in the form of indirect discourse, and it is confused by a partial identification of Caesar and the Roman people. Hence, many of the forms might be either third person as referring to the Roman people, or second or first as addressed to Caesar, or spoken by him. It will be helpful in translating to consider the direct form of this address, with changes from direct to indirect discourse underlined: Sī pācem … faciet, in eam partem ībunt atque ibi erunt Helvētiī, ubi eos tū, Caesar, constitueris atque esse volueris (or Caesar constituerit … voluerit); sīn bellō … persevērābit, reminīscere et veteris incommodī populī Rōmānī et pristīnae virtūtis Helvētiōrum. Quod imprōvīsō ūnum pāgum adortus es, cum eī quī flūmen trānsierant suīs auxilium ferre non possent, nōlī ob eam rem aut tuae magnopere virtūtī tribuere, aut nōs dēspicere; s ita ā patribus māiōribusque nostrīs didicimus ut magis virtūte contenderēmus (or contendāmus) quam dolō aut īnsidiīs nīterēmur (or nītāmur). Quā rē nōlī commitere ut is locus ubi constitimus ex calāmitāte … nōmen capiat aut memoriam prōdat: “[He says that], if the Roman people would make peace … , the Helvetii would go … and remain where Caesar should settle them and desire them to be; but if they [the Roman people] should persist in pursuing them … , let him [Caesar] remember …  As to the fact that he had attacked …, he should not ascribe it to …, or despise them [the Helvetians]. [That] they had [he said] been taught rather to contend …  Let him there not allow that place … to be … ” (A-G).

in eam partem … ubi: “to whatever part,” i.e., of Gaul. They were not, however, to be turned back from their migration (A-G).

atque ibi futūrōs: sc. esse: “and would remain there” (Anthon). Ibi = in quā (Kelsey).

Helvētiōs: the subject of itūrōs and futūrōs [esse] (Walker).

eōs: sc. Helvētiōs; the subject of esse. In the first part of this indirect discourse Divico does not identify himself with the Helvetii, though he does later (M-T).

cōnstituisset, voluisset: “where he should have decided … and would have wanted” (Walker). The pluperfect subjunctive can stand equally well for the perfect, the pluperfect, or the future perfect indicative in indirect discourse (AG 512). The Helvetii do not promise to return to their own country, and Caesar had not yet decided to settle them anywhere else; therefore cōnstituisset must stand for a future perfect, a tense rarely used in English (Walker).

bellō: note the emphatic position as opposed to emphatic pācem (A-G).

sīn … persequī persevērāret: sc. eōs; the subject is Caesar (Harkness): “but if he [Caesar] should continue to assail [them]” (Kelsey); “if, on the contrary” (i.e. not making peace with the Helvetians), he should persist in the war.” Persevērāret stands for a future indicative (Walker). Sīn (probably for sī nē, the negating the former alternative) is regularly used to introduce the second of two conditions opposed to each other (M-T). Notice the doubled per in persequī persevērāret (Hodges).

reminīscerētur: subjunctive for the imperative (reminīscere) in indirect discourse (AG 588), like tribueret (H-T): “he should remember,” or “let him remember” (A-G).

veteris incommodī: “the old overthrow,” alluding to the defeat of Cassius (Anthon); “disaster” (literally, “inconvenience”), a euphemism (A-G); genitive with a verb of remembering (reminīscerētur) (AG 350).

prīstinae: “old-time” (Kelsey).

Helvētiōrum: referring in particular to the Tigurini, who defeated Cassius (Anthon).

quod imprōvīsō ūnum pāgum adortus esset: quod is a conjunction: “with regard to his having attacked” (Walpole); “as to the fact that he had attacked one of their cantons by surprise (Anthon); “as to the surprise attack which he had made,” quod is grammatically an accusative of kindred meaning/cognate accusative (AG 390) after adortus esset (M-T). Divico was unwilling to say fugāsset, because that would have derogated from the glory of the Helvetii, and allowed too much to the skill and bravery of Caesar; hence he uses the language before us (Spencer).

imprōvīsō: “suddenly” (Kelsey); properly a neuter ablative absolute of the participle imprōvīsus, “it having been unforeseen” (M-T).

adortus esset, trānsīssent, possent: subjunctive verbs (secondary sequence) in the subordinate clauses of indirect discourse (AG 583) (Harkness).

cum: “at a time when” (Hodges).

ūnum pāgum: the Tigurini (A-G); see Chapter 12 (Anthon).

suīs: “to their people” (A-G).

nē ob eam rem … tribueret … dēspiceret: sc. quidquam; “he should not, on that account, ascribe anything too highly to his own valor (“prowess” (Walker)), or greatly despise them,” i.e. he should not attribute the defeat of the Helvetii altogether to his own valor, nor look down with contempt on them (Anthon); this is a prohibition expressed indirectly (Hodges), like reminīscerētur above.

suae, ipsōs: i.e., the Helvetii; suae refers to the subject of its own verb tribueret; ipsōs is for sēipsōs, in antithesis to suae, where the refers to the subject of the main verb of the indirect discourse (M-T).

magnopere: “overmuch” (Stock); really two words, magnō opere, used for the lacking adverb of magnus (L-E).

sē … didicisse: the indirect discourse continues; didicisse is the perfect active infinitive of discō: “that they had learned from their fathers and forefathers” (i.e., had been trained (H-T); in direct discourse this would be indicative, didicerat (Harkness).

ut … contenderent,  … nīterentur: result clauses (AG 571) (A-G).

magis … quam … nīterentur: “rather than to contend” (Harkness); “rather than to trust in” (L-E); “rather than to rely on” (Harkness). This is an afterthought, and is governed by quam (AG 407) (Stock).

dolō aut īnsidiīs: “by trickery or treachery”; “by means of stratagem, or of ambush” (Harkness); ablatives of means (AG 409). The character which the Helvetii here give of themselves is borne out by the author of the Bellum Africānum, who may have served under Caesar in Gaul, as he certainly did in Africa: Gallōs, hominēs apertōs minimēque īnsidiōsōs, quī per virtūtem, nōn per dolum dīmicāre consuērunt (Stock): “the Gauls, an open (genuine?) people and not in the least treacherous, who were wont to fight not with trickery but with valor.”

nē committeret: again, subjunctive for the imperative in indirect discourse (AG 588), like nē tribueret above: “that he should not allow” (Hodges); “that he should not bring it to pass” (Anthon); “that he should not cause.” In the direct discourse, for committeret we should have the present imperative, nōlī committe, “do not cause”; instead of cōnstitissent, the future perfect indicative cōnstiterimus, “where we [the Helvetii] shall have taken our stand” (Harkness).

ut is locus … ex calamitāte populī Rōmānī … nōmen caperet.: “that the place … should receive a name from the overthrow of the Roman people, etc.”; a substantive clause, object of committeret (AG 561) (Hodges). The sense of the last sentence is “do not let the spot on which we stand become famous as the scene of your bloody defeat” (Walker).

ubi constitissent: “where they had taken their stand” (M-T), referring to the Helvetii who had not yet crossed the Saône (Spencer).

interneciōne: “extermination,” annihilation,” “utter destruction” (Walker); inter-, like per-, is often used in composition to give or strengthen a meaning of destruction, e.g. perīre, interīre, interimere, etc. (M-T). Divico uses a direct word to convey his threat, though he had used the mild word incommodī to refer to the old disaster (Hodges).

aut memoriam prōderet: sc. calāmitātis interneciōnisque (Hodges): “or should transmit the remembrance [of such an event] (“a record of disaster” (M-T)) to posterity.” The places where great battles have been fought (as Marathon, Salamis, Cannae, etc.) have served to perpetuate the memory of defeat and disgrace to the conquered, and of glory and renown to the conquerors (Spencer). The conclusion of this speech is in full accordance with the boastful and arrogant character ascribed to the Gauls by ancient writers (Anthon).

Helvētius, -a, -um: Helvetian; as subst., m., a Helvetian; pl., the Helvetii, a rich and powerful tribe, whose country was nearly the same as modern Switzerland.

pōns, pontis, m.: bridge.

Arar, -aris, acc. -im, abl. -ī, m.: the Arar river, now the Saône, a branch of the Rhone

trādūcō, -dūcere, -dūxī, -ductus : lead across, bring over; win over; transfer, promote.

repentīnus, -a, -um : sudden, unlooked for; impetuous, hasty.

adventus, -ūs m.: arrival, coming, approach.

commoveō, -movēre, -mōvī, -mōtus : disturb, excite, agitate, impel.

vīgintī (xx); vīcēsimus, -a, -um : indecl. adj., twenty; twentieth

lēgātiō, -ōnis f.: embassy, legation; members of an embassy.

Dīvicō, -ōnis, m.: Divico, a leader among the Helvetii.

Cassiānus, -a, -um : of Cassius, pertaining or belonging to Cassius.

Caesar, -aris, m.: Caesar, a Roman cognomen: (1) Gaius Julius Caesar, the conqueror of Gaul;(2) Lucius Julius Caesar, a distant relative of (1), and his legate in 52 b.c. He is thought to be the same Lucius Caesar who was consul in 64 b.c.

Rōmānus, -a, -um : Roman; as subst., m., a Roman; pl., Romans, the Romans.

sīn : conj., but if, if on the other hand, if however.

persequor, -sequī, -secūtus : follow up, chase, hunt down; press upon, proceed against; resent, avenge.

persevērō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : persist, persevere.

reminīscor, -minīscī : recall to mind, remember.

incommodum, -ī n.: inconvenience, disadvantage, trouble; injury, loss, defeat.

prīstinus, -a, -um : former, previous, preceding; of old, original, pristine.

quod : conj., that, in that, because, since; as to the fact that: the fact that.

imprōvīsō : adv., unexpectedly, on a sudden.

pāgus, -ī, m.: district, canton; people of a canton.

adorior, -orīrī, -ortus : rise, rise against, attack.

magnopere : adv., very much, greatly; earnestly, urgently; particularly.

tribuō, tribuere, tribuī, tribūtus : assign, confer, accord; yield, grant, concede; attribute, ascribe; give credit; distribute.

dēspiciō, -spicere, -spexī, -spectus : look down on; feel contempt for, despise.

contendō, -tendere, -tendī, -tentus : strain, exert oneself; strive for, attempt, try; hasten, press forward; contend, vie; join battle, fight, quarrel; insist; demand.

īnsidiae, -ārum f.: pl., snare, trap, ambush; plot, stratagem; treachery.

nītor, nītī, nīxus or nīsus: strive, struggle, endeavor; rely on, trust to.

calamitās, -ātis, f.: loss, injury, disaster; overthrow, defeat.

interneciō, -ōnis f.: slaughter, annihilation.

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Christopher Francese, Caesar: Selections from the Gallic War. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2011, revised and enlarged 2018. ISBN: 978-1-947822-02-3.