Chapter 1.17

Tum dēmum Liscus ōrātiōne Caesaris adductus, quod anteā tacuerat prōpōnit: esse nōn nūllōs, quōrum auctōritās apud plēbem plūrimum valeat, quī prīvātīm plūs possint quam ipsī magistrātūs. Hōs sēditiōsā atque improbā ōrātiōne multitūdinem dēterrēre nē frūmentum cōnferant quod dēbeant: praestāre, sī iam prīncipātum Galliae obtinēre nōn possent, Gallōrum quam Rōmānōrum imperia perferre; neque dubitāre [dēbeant] quīn, sī Helvētiōs superāverint Rōmānī, ūnā cum reliquā Galliā Aeduīs lībertātem sint ēreptūrī. Ab eīsdem nostra cōnsilia quaeque in castrīs gerantur hostibus ēnūntiārī: hōs ā sē coercērī nōn posse. Quīn etiam, quod necessāriam rem coāctus Caesarī ēnūntiārit, intellegere sēsē quantō id cum perīculō fēcerit, et ob eam causam quam diū potuerit tacuisse.

Liscus tells Caesar that a powerful faction among the Aedui is working against the Romans.

quod anteā tacuerat prōpōnit: sc. id as the object of prōpōnit and antecedent of quod (A-G): “he discloses (“declares,” literally, “brings forward” (Kelsey)) what he had previously concealed (“kept to himself” (Kelsey)). Taceō is one of those intransitive verbs which obtain a transitive force, because an action exerted upon another object is implied though not described in them (Anthon). Quod is accusative of reference, used as if it were the object of tacuerat (Walpole).

esse nōn nūllōs … tacuisse: Liscus’ response to Caesar is entirely in the form of indirect discourse; the corresponding direct discourse is as follows, with changes underlined: Sunt nōn nūllī quōrum auctōritās … valeat, quī prīvātim plūs possint quam ipsī magistrātūs. Hī …  

multitūdinem dēterrent nē frūmentum cōnferant quod dēbent: praestat, sī iam prīncipātum …  obtinēre nōn possent, Gallōrum … imperia … perferre; neque dubitant quīn, sī Helvētiōs superāverint Rōmānī, …  lībertātem sint ēreptūrī. Ab eīsdem vestra (or Rōmānōrum) consilia quaeque in castrīs gerantur (geruntur) hostibus ēnūntiantur; ā coercērī nōn possunt. Quīn etiam, quod necessāriam rem coāctus Caesarī (tibi) ēnūntiāvī, intellegō quantō id cum perīculō fēcerim, et ob eam causam quam diū potuī tacuī (A-G).

esse nōn nūllōs: “that there are some men” (Kelsey).

plūrimum valeat: “carries very great weight” (Kelsey); “is very powerful.” The subjunctive is employed, as indicating the sentiments and conviction of the speaker, not of the historian himself. So also possent, immediately after (Anthon).

quī prīvātī plūs possint: “who have more influence as private individuals” (H-T), i.e., not as holding official authority from the state (M-T). Earlier editions and many of the MSS. have prīvātim, “in their private capacity,” which is not by any means a bad reading (Anthon). Possent stands for possunt in direct discourse (H-T). The state of affairs here depicted arose from the feudal organization of society, which rendered it possible for the great landholders to control multitudes of personal adherents (Kelsey); an unhallowed alliance like that of Ap. Claudius Censor at Rome, between the high aristocrats and the common people against the republican government (Moberly).

quam ipsī magistrātūs: the ablative of comparison without quam might have been used instead of this nominative (AG 407) (Walker).

hōs: sc. prīvātōs (Spencer), referring to nōnnūllōs, these same individuals (Anthon).

sēditiōsā atque improbā ōrātiōne: “by seditious and wicked speech” (Anthon);“ … and reckless talk” (A-G); “ … and shameless propagandism.” Among the Aeduans there was a strong party opposed to the Romans (Kelsey).

dēterrēre: “were holding back” by inspiring fear (Hodges); “were preventing” (Walker).

nē … cōnferant: (or quōminus) with its subjunctive verb after a verb of hindrance (here, dēterrēre) (AG 558) is conveniently translated as “from” with the present participle (L-E); the plural is used because of the idea of plurality inherent in multitūdinem (Harkness).

quod dēbeant: sc. conferre (Walpole).

praestāre, sī iam … imperia perferre: sc. hōs putāre; praestāre is impersonal (L-E), “[they think] that it is better,” “it is preferable” (L-E); parenthetical indirect discourse, summarizing the line of argument (the sēditiōsa ōrātiō mentioned previously) by which the anti-Roman leaders, of whom Liscus speaks, influenced the Aeduan populace (Kelsey): “adding that, if they (the Aedui) cannot hold any longer the sovereignty of Gaul, it is better (for them) to submit to the dominion of Gauls than of Romans,” i.e., it is better for them to obey the Helvetii, Gauls like themselves, than total strangers like the Romans (Anthon).

iam … nōn: “no longer” (Walpole).

obtinēre, perferre: obtinēre = diūtius tenēre, for the Aedui had at one time, as Caesar himself informs us (Chapter 43), enjoyed the dominion over all Gaul (Anthon). Obtinēre and perferre are both subjective infinitives (AG 452), the subjects of praestāre.

neque dubitāre quīn: sc. hōs (L-E) or (Walpole): “and that they ought not to entertain a doubt but that … ” (Anthon); “nor should they doubt that”; dubitāre governs a clause of hesitation with quīn and the subjunctive (AG 558a, 559).

Gallōrum … perferre … neque dubitāre [dēbeant]: sc. : “that they prefer the rule of the Gauls (i.e., of Helvetians (Kelsey)) rather than that of the Romans, and that they ought not to doubt” (Harkness). It seems plain that dēbeant should be omitted, being a copyist repetition from the end of the preceding clause (Moberly).

superāverint: “should have vanquished” (Kelsey); “conquered” (Spencer); perfect subjunctive (A-G) for the future perfect of the direct discourse (H-T).

ūnā: an adverb (A-G).

Aeduīs: dative of separation (AG 381) with ēreptūrī, a verb of taking away. This dative, which occurs with certain compounds of ab-, dē-, ex-, is best explained as the dative of disadvantage, going with the whole idea of the sentence, and not merely with the verb; i.e., “as far as the Aedui were concerned, their freedom would be wrested away from them” (H-T).

sint ēreptūrī: future active periphrastic (AG 195), a strong future subjunctive for which the present subjunctive ēripiant might be substituted in a lighter style (Moberly), emphasizing the future intention of the Romans: “that they are going to take away (A-G); “that they are intending to take away” (Hodges). In direct discourse this would be present subjunctive, the apodosis of a future less vivid condition (AG 516b).

ab eīsdem: “by the same persons,” referring to nōnnūllōs (Harkness).

nostra: i.e., Rōmānōrum (Hodges). Liscus speaks as if he were a Roman (Kelsey).

quaeque … gerantur: “and whatsoever things are done” (Harness), for et quaecumque (Anthon) or et ea quae (Harkness).

ēnūntiārī: “disclosed,” the ordinary word for divulging a secret (M-T).

ā sē: “by himself,” i.e., Liscus in his capacity as chief magistrate (Harkness).

coercērī: “be restrained”; Liscus’s “power of life and death,” which he had as vergobret, was here of no avail (Kelsey).

quīn etiam: “nay even, moreover” (Harkness); “why, even” (Hodges); “nay, even, in fact” (L-E).

quod … ēnūntiārit: = ēnūntiāverit: “as to his having divulged so pressing a matter to Caesar,” a clause in apposition to id (Walpole).

necessāriam rem coāctus: “a matter of urgent importance compelled him” (M-T); equivalent to necessitāte coāctus (Anthon): “compelled by necessity” (Harkness); coāctus, “on compulsion,” literally, “being forced” (A-G).

intellegere sēsē: the subject is sēsē, and the object is quantō … fēcerit (Harkness): “that he well knew” (Spencer).

quantō id cum perīculō fēcerit: “at how much risk he did this” (Anthon); indirect question (AG 574). Notice the emphatic position of id before cum perīculō; it is the object of fēcerit, and refers to the clause quod … ēnūntiārit (Hodges).

quam diū potuerit: “as long as he could” (H-T).

tacuisse: sc. as subject: “he had kept silent” (Kelsey).

dēmum : adv., at last, at length.

Liscus, -ī, m.: Liscus, a Aeduan, who held the chief magistracy of his tribe in 58 b.c.

anteā : adv., before, formerly, previously, earlier, once.

nōnnūllus –a –um: number of (pl.), some; several

multum : adv., much, greatly; much of the time, often; nōn ita multum, not very long.

prīvātim : adv., in private capacity, personally, privately.

magistrātus, -ūs m.: magistracy, public office; municipal officer, magistrate; body of magistrates.

sēditiōsus, -a, -um : full of discord, factious, turbulent, sedıtious.

improbus, -a, -um : wicked, shameless.

dēterreō, -terrēre, -terruī, -territus : frighten off; deter, hinder, prevent.

prīncipātus, -ūs m.: first place; supremacy, leadership.

Gallia, -ae f.: Gaul

obtineō, -tinēre, -tinuī, -tentus : hold against (another), hold fast, hold, possess, keep, occupy; preserve, maintain; get possession of, gain.

Gallus, -a, -um: a Gaul; pl., the Gauls, generally used as synonymous with Celtae, meaning the inhabitants of the central of Caesar's divisions of Transalpine Gaul (see Bk. I, Chap. I); also used as an adj.

Rōmānī Rōmānōrum m.: Romans

perferō, -ferre, -tulī, -lātus : bear through, bear; endure, submit to, suffer; carry, announce, report.

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.

ūnā : adv., at the same time, together; ūnā cum, together with.

Aeduus, -a, -um: Aeduan; as subst., m., an Aeduan; pl., the Aedui, a prominent tribe of Gaul, usually friendly to the Romans

ēnūntiō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : tell in public, announce, disclose.

coërceō, -ercēre, -ercuī, -ercitus : shut in; restrain, hold in check.

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

necessārius, -a, -um : necessary, indispensable, requisite; pressing, urgent; tempus neces-sārium, time of need, critical time; as subst., m., connection, kinsman.

quamdiū: (for) how long; as long as

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