Chapter 1.37

Haec eōdem tempore Caesarī mandāta referēbantur, et lēgātī ab Aeduīs et ā Trēverīs veniēbant: Aeduī questum quod Harūdēs, quī nūper in Galliam trānsportātī essent, fīnēs eōrum populārentur: sēsē nē obsidibus quidem datīs pācem Ariovistī redimere potuisse; Trēverī autem, pāgōs centum Suēbōrum ad rīpās Rhēnī cōnsēdisse, quī Rhēnum trānsīre cōnārentur; hīs praeesse Nasuam et Cimbērium frātrēs. Quibus rēbus Caesar vehementer commōtus mātūrandum sibi exīstimāvit, nē, sī nova manus Suēbōrum cum veteribus cōpiīs Ariovistī sēsē coniūnxisset, minus facile resistī posset. Itaque rē frūmentāriā quam celerrimē potuit comparātā, magnīs itineribus ad Ariovistum contendit.

Caesar’s movements are hastened by news that the Suebi are gathering on the Rhine.

haec: put first for emphasis (Hodges).

eōdem tempore … et: the reply of Ariovistus and the complaints of the Gauls reached Caesar at the same time (Walker). In Latin the two actions are made coordinate, but in English we should be more likely to make one subordinate, “at the same time that this message was brought to Caesar, messengers also came from the Aedui” (Moberly). The time was probably about the beginning to middle of August (Hodges).

ab Aeduīs et ā Trēverīs: the repetition of the preposition makes prominent the two separate embassies (H-T) from two separate tribes (M-T). The Treveri were from the region of Trèves in the valley of the Moselle (A-G).

Aeduī: take as an adjective, with lēgātī understood (Stock).

questum: sc. veniēbant: “they were coming to complain” (L-E); accusative supine of queror  expressing purpose with a verb of motion (AG 509).

quod … trānsportātī essent … populārentur: the reason of the complaint is given, stated on the authority of the Aedui, hence subjunctive in indirect discourse when stated by Caesar as it is here (H-T).

Harūdēs quī nūper in Galliam trānsportātī essent: i.e., those who were brought over the Rhine by Ariovistus (see Chapter 31) (M-T). The following passage is a good example of what is called informal indirect discourse (AG 592). The formal indirect discourse introduced by a verb of saying has the main clause in the infinitive and dependent clauses in the subjunctive. But often the verb of saying and the thing said are expressed together in some one word or phrase, as here with questum. In such cases the dependent clauses have the subjunctive just as in formal indirect discourse (A-G).

eōrum, sēsē: both pronouns refer to the Aedui (Harkness). Eōrum is an irregular use referring to the main subject of indirect discourse (M-T); the indirect reflexive suōs would have been more correct, since the Aedui said “our” (Walker).

nē obsidibus quidem datīs: “not even by giving hostages” (H-T); ablative absolute.

pācem Ariovistī redimere potuisse: redimere means “to gain,” literally, “to take back” (in exchange for the hostages) (Walpole): “able to purchase peace / good will (H-T) on the part of Ariovistus” (Hodges). Peace is looked on as belonging to Ariovistus, being in his control (M-T).

Trēverī autem pāgōs centum … : sc. veniēbant questum (A-G): “and further the Treveri [kept coming to complain] that [the people of] a hundred cantons … ” (L-E); “ … that the new levies from the hundred cantons of the Suevi.” Here pāgōs, the name of the districts, is put for their inhabitants (M-T). The Suevi, according to Caesar (see Book 4, Chapter 1), formed a hundred cantons, from each of which a thousand warriors were annually levied, therefore, to 100,000 men. We must not, however, regard it as the entire military strength of the Suevi (Anthon). These words, if taken literally, would include the whole body of the Suevi; but they seem to be used here not of the people at large, but only of the army (Harkness).

Suēbōrum: this is a general name, embracing a number of tribes that lived in the interior of Germany. Their habits and customs are described in the opening chapter of Book 4 (A-G). The name survives in the modern “Swabia” (Hodges). This seems to have been an emigration like that of the Helvetii, not merely a movement in support of Ariovistus (L-E).

ad rīpās: the plural of rīpa is used here not of both banks, but of various places on the east bank in the neighboring country (M-T).

quī … cōnārentur: “who were endeavoring, as they said.” The subjunctive (replacing the imperfect indicative of direct discourse (M-T)) here serves to mark the statement as that of the speaker, not of the writer himself (Anthon).

Rhēnum trānsīre: somewhere north of where Ariovistus was, probably near modern Mayence. The Treveri were a strong people, and it is probable that Ariovistus was marching north to help the Suebi cross when he was interrupted by the news of Caesar’s approach (Walker).

quibus rebus: = propter quās; ablative of cause (AG 404) (Hodges).

vehementer commōtus: “greatly alarmed” (Anthon).

mātūrandum sibi: sc. esse; used impersonally (A-G): “that he must make all haste.”

sī … coniūnxisset: implied indirect discourse for the future perfect indicative of a future more vivid condition. Caesar intended to strike Ariovistus before he could effect a junction with the Suebi (Walker).

nova manus: “this new body / band [of troops]” (Anthon).

veteribus cōpiīs: i.e., the forces already in Gaul (M-T).

minus facile resistī posset: sc. Ariovistō (H-T): “resistance [to Ariovistus] could be less easily offered” (Harkness); “he might be less easily / not very easily withstood” (Anthon). Caesar’s real meaning is that the combined forces would then become irresistible. But to a Roman the use of such an expression would of itself be a bad omen (Moberly). Resistī is the impersonal passive of an intransitive verb (M-T).

rē frūmentāriā quam celerrimē potuit comparātā: “his arrangements for a supply of corn being made as quickly as he could” (Anthon); ablative absolute.

magnīs itineribus: “by forced marches” (Hodges). An ordinary day’s march for soldiers was eight Roman miles (something less than eight English miles) (Spencer).        

ad Ariovistum: “upon Ariovistus”; i.e., directly against him (Moberly).

contendit: the place from which Caesar started is uncertain. After the destruction of the Helvetian force, he appears in the country of the Lingones sixty to eighty miles north of Bibracte. In that vicinity he held a council of the Gallic chiefs (see Chapter 30), but whether he remained there is not stated. He probably came towards the north in the direct of Langres (A-G).  Caesar intended to strike Ariovistus before he could effect a junction with the Suebi (L-E).

mandātum, -ī n.: charge, injunction, order, commission.

Trēver, -erī m.: a Treveran; pl., the Treveri, a Gallic tribe living near the Rhine. The name survives in the modern Trèves

Harūdēs, -um, m.: pl., the Harudes, a German tribe, originally perhaps living in Jutland.

nūper: adv., lately, recently.

trānsportō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus: carry over, take across, transport.

populor, -ārī, -ātus: lay waste, pillage.

obses, -sidis m. and f.: hostage.

redimō, -imere, -ēmī, -ēmptus: buy back, buy up, purchase.

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

Suēbī -ōrum m.: the Suebi. The Suebi lived in Germany, but the exact locality is uncertain. Some think that several different German tribes were included under the name

Rhēnus, -ī, m.: the Rhine, a large river forming the boundary between Gaul and Germany.

cōnsīdō, -sīdere, -sēdī, -sessus: take a seat; settle, make a home; pitch camp; take a position, station oneself; hold a meeting.

praesum, -esse, -fuī: be before, be set over, be in command of.

Nasua, -ae, m.: Nasua, a leader of the Suebi.

Cimberius, -ī, m.: Cimberius, a leader of the Suebi.

vehementer: adv., furiously, eagerly, vigorously; greatly, extremely, exceedingly.

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

mātūrō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus: hurry, make haste.

coniungō, -iungere, -iūnxī, -iūnctus: join together, unite; connect, fasten together; sē coniungere, unite; part., closely joined, allied, associated, connected, having relationship.

facile: adv., easily, without difficulty; safely; unquestionably.

resistō, -sistere, -stitī: stay behind; halt, stop; make a stand, withstand, resist, oppose; resistitur, resistance is offered; resistēns, -entis, (adj.) enduring, firm, resolute.

frūmentārius, -a, -um: of grain; abounding in grain, fertile; rēs frūmentāria, grain-supply, provisions.

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

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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.