Chapter 1.43

Plānitiēs erat magna et in eā tumulus terrēnus satis grandis. Hic locus aequō ferē spatiō āb castrīs Ariovistī et Caesaris aberat. Eō, ut erat dictum, ad colloquium vēnērunt. Legiōnem Caesar quam equīs vēxerat passibus ducentīs ab eō tumulō cōnstituit. Item equitēs Ariovistī pārī intervāllō cōnstitērunt. Ariovistus ex equīs ut colloquerentur et praeter sē dēnōs ut ad colloquium addūcerent postulāvit. Ubi eō ventum est, Caesar initiō ōrātiōnis sua senātūsque in eum beneficia commemorāvit, quod rēx appellātus esset ā senātū, quod amīcus, quod mūnera amplissimē missa; quam rem et paucīs contigisse et prō magnīs hominum officiīs cōnsuēsse tribuī docēbat. Illum, cum neque aditum neque causam postulandī iūstam habēret, beneficiō ac līberālitāte suā ac senātūs ea praemia cōnsecūtum. Docēbat etiam quam veterēs quamque iūstae causae necessitūdinis ipsīs cum Aeduīs intercēderent; quae senātūs cōnsulta, quotiēns quamque honōrifica in eōs facta essent; ut omnī tempore tōtīus Galliae prīncipātum Aeduī tenuissent, prius etiam quam nostram amīcitiam appetīssent. Populī Rōmānī hanc esse cōnsuētūdinem, ut sociōs atque amīcōs nōn modo suī nihil dēperdere, sed grātiā, dignitāte, honōre auctiōrēs velit esse; quod vērō ad amīcitiam populī Rōmānī attulissent, id eīs ēripī quis patī posset? Postulāvit deinde eadem quae lēgātīs in mandātīs dederat: nē aut Aeduīs aut eōrum sociīs bellum īnferret: obsidēs redderet: sī nūllam partem Germanōrum domum remittere posset, at nē quōs amplius Rhenum transīre pateretur.

A conference is held, in which Caesar makes demands of Ariovistus.

plānitiēs: Caesar made a rapid march from Tonnerre to Besançon (see Chapter 38). Then, avoiding the mountainous and wooded country on the direct line by Montbeliard, he went by a detour of fifty miles by Pennesières and Vallerois le Bois to Arcey. At this place, after four days’ march, he resumed the direct road to the Rhine by Belfort, as far as Cernay. Arriving there on the seventh day he found himself within twenty-four miles of Ariovistus, who was encamped near Colmar. The plain was the one crossed by the rivers Ill and Thur (Moberly). Belfort, some distance southwest of Cernay, is thought by some authorities to be the place near which these negotiations were carried on; but there is no large plain near Belfort (L-E).

tumulus terrēnus: “a rising ground,” literally, “a mound (or hill) of earth” (Anthon), whose sides, free from rocks and ledges, furnished an easy ascent for horsemen. This has been identified with the hill of Plettig, an elevation of oval shape about 24 miles southwest of Strasbourg, between the villages of Epfig and Dambach; it rises in isolation more than 160 feet above the surrounding plain (Kelsey).

satis grandis: “of considerable height” (Anthon); “of a moderate size”; satis means “up to the average” (M-T).

aequō ferē spatiō … aberat: “was nearly an equal distance away” (H-T). Spatiō is ablative of degree of difference (AG 414).

eō: adverb, = ad tumulum (Hodges).

ut erat dictum: = constitūtum (Spencer): “as had been agreed” (Walker).

quam equīs vēxerat: “which he had brought on horseback,” referring to the tenth legion (Harkness). Equīs is ablative of means (AG 409) (A-G), the horses being the means by which the soldiers are brought to the hill (Walker).

passibus ducentīs: about 320 yards; ablative of degree of difference with ab (AG 414) (A-G).

pārī intervāllō: also ablative of degree of difference: “at an equal distance” (Walker).

cōnstitērunt: distinguish carefully between cōnsistō and cōnstituō (Walker).

ex equīs: “on horseback” (Anthon), literally, “from horses” (Harkness). The ex expresses the place from which the action comes (M-T).

ut conloquerentur: “that they should converse” (M-T); subjunctive in a purpose clause (AG 531).

praeter sē: “besides themselves”; is plural (A-G).

dēnōs: a distributive numeral, “ten each” (Harkness); “ten apiece” (Hodges).

postulāvit: Caesar does not say that he made any objection to this request, or demand. Probably he agreed to it at once, being desirous to let nothing prevent a meeting (L-E).

ubi eō ventum est: = vēnērunt (L-E); impersonal passive use of an intransitive verb (AG 208 d) (Harkness).

initiō: ablative of place where without a preposition (M-T).

beneficia: “acts of kindness” (Spencer).

sua … commemorāvit: “reminded him of his own (favors) and the senate’s favors to him” (L-E); “he recounted … ” (Anthon). See Chapter 33 (Moberly).

quod … quod … quod … : these appositional clauses explain what the beneficia were: “how that … ” (Anthon). An example of anaphora, the repetition of a word at the beginning of successive clauses, instead of conjunctions (Spencer).

appellātus esst: subjunctive in a subordinate clause that is part of indirect discourse (AG 583) dependent on commemorāvit.

amīcus: sc. appellātus esset (A-G).                                               

mūnera missa: sc. essent. What these “presents” were, we do not know (Kelsey). It was customary with the Romans to send presents to those whom the senate had honored with the title of king (Anthon). Livy (30.15) tells us that these gifts consisted of a golden crown and cup, an ivory curule chair and scepter, and embroidered robes (Moberly).

amplissimē: “of the most dignified character” (Moberly); “in rich abundance” (Walpole).

quam rem et paucīs contigisse … tribuī: quam rem = et eam rem (M-T): “a mark of respect which had come to few (persons)” (L-E); “and that this recognition … ” (Kelsey); “a tribute which … ” (A-G); “a thing which … ” Quam rem is the subject of contigisse and cōnsuēsse (= cōnsuēvisse) (Hodges). We may add Masinissa to the ranks of those so honored by the Romans; he was also saluted as rex and given triumphal insignia by Scipio Africanus (Stock).

prō magnīs hominum officiīs: “in return for important services on the part of individuals” (Anthon). Hominum is subjective genitive (AG 343, note 1).

docēbat etiam … : “he also stated” (Kelsey); “he then proceeded to inform him” (Moberly); “he tried to make clear to him, furthermore.” On docēbat depend three indirect questions, quam … intercēderent, quae … facta essent, and ut … tenuissent (AG 575) (Hodges).

illum, cum neque aditum neque causam postulandī iūstam habēret: illum, the subject of cōnsecūtum [esse], is emphatic, as opposed to other beneficiaries implied in the preceding (A-G): “that he [Ariovistus], although he had neither the means of deserving them, nor just cause to ask for them” (Anthon). A cum-concessive clause (AG 549) with subjunctive.

aditum: sc. ad senātum (Spencer): “the right of approach” (Hodges); “access,” i.e., to the senate, by whom the honor was conferred (Harkness). In Roman law aditus meant right of way to one’s own field through another’s; so here generally “right of access” (M-T). Aditum nōn habēre implies the absence of any services on the part of Ariovistus towards the Roman people (Anthon);

postulandī: sc. ea praemia (Spencer).

ea praemia cōnsecūtum: sc. esse: “had attained these honors / distinctions,” as if he had eagerly sought them (A-G). The turn of this last phrase, if literally spoken by Caesar, must have been offensive to Ariovistus, as implying that he had obtained this recognition by suing for it (Moberly). No special reason is known why Ariovistus should have sought the recognition of Rome (Kelsey).

quam veterēs quamque iūstae causae necessitūdinis … intercēderent: “how ancient and how reasonable were the occasions for an alliance between them, [the Romans] and the Aedui” (L-E); “what old and just causes of alliance existed between themselves [the Romans] and the Aedui.” The Aedui were said by Strabo to have been the first among the Gauls who embraced the friendship of the Romans (Spencer).

necessitūdinis: “of close relationship” (Kelsey); “of alliance” (Harkness), whether of blood or friendship. So also the adjective necessāriī means “kinsmen” (M-T).

ipsīs: = Rōmānīs (Kelsey), in slight antithesis to Aeduīs (M-T), instead of sibi, which would refer to Caesar alone (A-G).

intercēderent: “existed between”; subjunctive in an indirect question (AG 575) (A-G).

quae senātūs cōnsulta quotiēns quamque honōrifica in eōs facta essent: “what decrees of the senate had been made in their favor (“had been passed on their behalf” (Kelsey)), how often, and how flattering” (Hodges). Senātūs cōnsulta is the technical expression for decrees of the senate, as distinct from a vote of the popular assembly, plebiscītum (M-T).

ut … prīncipātum Aeduī tenuissent: “how [completely] the Aedui had held / enjoyed the leadership” (Anthon). Ut is used here as an interrogative adverb, introducing an indirect question (L-E).

omnī tempore: = semper (M-T).

Galliae: i.e., Celtic Gaul (L-E). But we have learned in Chapter 31 that even there their supremacy had always been disputed (Walker).

prius etiam quam nostram amīcitiam adpetīssent: “even before they had sought our friendship” (Kelsey). Prius … quam is an instance of tmesis: the separation of the two parts of a compound word by other words.The subjunctive is due to the indirect discourse of which this clause is a part (Walker). Nostram = Rōmānōrum (M-T).

appetīssent: = adpetīvissent or adpetiissent. In the direct discourse this might be either perfect indicative or the same as here. If only priority of time is meant, it would be indicative; if there is any internal relation between the main clause and the time clause, it would require the subjunctive. In this case the latter seems more probable (A-G).

populīposset?: converted to direct discourse, with changes underlined: Populī Rōmānī haec est cōnsuētūdō ut sociōs atque amīcōs nōn modo suī nihil dēperdere, sed grātiā … auctiōrēs velit esse; quod vērō ad amīcitiam populī Rōmānī attulērunt, id iīs ēripī quid patī possit?

hanc esse cōnsuētūdinem: “the practice was this, [namely … ]” (L-E).

nōn modo … sed: note that etiam is omitted (Walpole).

suī nihil dēperdere: “should lose nothing of what they had” (Kelsey), literally, “nothing of their own,” i.e., none of their rights, power, influence, resources, etc. (Spencer). Suī is used substantively as a partitive genitive (AG 346) (A-G).

ut … velit: “to wish,” literally, “that they (populus Rōmānus) wish its allies and friends not only to lose nothing of their own” (Hodges).” Velit is subjunctive in a substantive result clause (AG 571), explaining cōnsuētūdinem (Harkness); it is present tense in a general statement (M-T).

grātiā, dignitāte, honōre auctiōrēs … esse: “but even to be still farther advanced (literally, “more increased”) in favor, dignity, [and] honor” (Harkness). Grātiā, dignitāte, honōre are ablatives of specification / respect (AG 418).

quod … ad amīcitiam … attulissent: “what they had indeed brought” to the friendship of the Roman people,” i.e., which they possessed when they became their friends (Harkness); “which they had brought with them when they obtained the friendship of the Roman people” (Anthon); “what they had brought to the alliance” (A-G). Caesar refers to the independence of the Aedui and their influence among the Gauls in former times (Hodges). How far Rome observed this law herself, we see from the fact that in 100 B.C. some lands in Cisalpine Gaul were confiscated on the pretence that they had been conquered by the Cimbri (Moberly).

id eīs ēripī quis patī posset?: “who then could bear to have that taken from them … ?” (Anthon). Id is the antecedent of the preceding quod clause. Eīs is dative of separation (AG 381) with ēripī. The direct form of the question would be quis possit? (Hodges), deliberative subjunctive (AG 444).

postulāvit eadem: “he made the same demands” (A-G).

in mandātīs: = in locō mandātōrum (Walpole): “in his instructions” (Harkness); “by way of instructions,” not “amongst their instructions,” for these were all he gave (M-T).

nē … (etc.): these substantive clauses are in apposition with eadem, and are indirectly quoted from imperative forms of the direct discourse (A-G).

nē bellum inferret: “that he should not make war.” In the direct form this clause would be a prohibition, Nōlī bellum infer! (Hodges).

at: “at least” (Harkness); “at any rate” (Kelsey).

nē quōs amplius Rhēnum trānsīre paterētur: “that he should not allow any more to cross the Rhine” (Hodges).

plānitiēs, -ēī f.: level ground, plain.

tumulus, -ī m.: mound, hill.

terrēnus, -a, -um : of earth.

grandis, -e: large, massive, huge.

Ariovistus, -ī, m.: Ariovistus, a German chief, or king.

conloquium, -ī n.: conference, conversation, interview.

dēvehō, -vehere, -vexī, -vectus : carry down, carry away, convey, bring.

passus, -ūs m.: step, pace; double step (five Roman feet); mīlle passūs, mile; duo mīlia passuum, two miles. See mīlle.

ducentī, -ae, -a (cc) : pl. adj., two hundred.

intervāllum, -ī n.: space between palisades; space, distance, interval.

conloquor, -loquī, -locūtus : converse, confer, talk.

dēnī, -ae, -a : pl. adj., ten at a time, by tens; ten each, ten together.

postulō, -āre, -āvī, -ātūs: demand, request, require, call for; make necessary.

commemorō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : bring to mind; recount, mention.

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

cōnsuēscō, -suēscere, -suēvī, -suētus : become accustomed, form a habit; in perf. system, be accustomed, have the habit, be wont.

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

aditus, -ūs m.: approach, arrival, meeting; way of approach, entrance, access; admittance, privilege of association.

līberālitās, -ātis f.: characteristic of a free man; liberality, generosity.

necessitūdō, -dinis f. : close connection, friendship.

Haeduus, -a, -um: Haeduan; as subst., m., a Haeduan; pl., the Haedui, a prominent tribe of Gaul, usually friendly to the Romans

intercēdō, -cēdere, -cessī, -cessus : come between, be between; intervene, pass; occur, be.

cōnsultum, -ī n.: decree, decision.

honōrificus, -a, -um : conferring honor, honorable.

Gallia, -ae f.: Gaul

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

priusquam : conj., earlier than, sooner than, before; also prius . . . quam.

appetō, -petere, -petīvī, -petītus : seek for, seek to get, aim at, desire; draw near, approach.

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

socius, -ī m.: comrade; confederate, ally.

dēperdō, -perdere, -perdidī, -perditus : lose.

auctus, -a, -um : increased, abundant; rich.

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

obses, -sidis m. and f.: hostage.

Germānus, -ī, m. : a German; pl., the Germans; as adj., Germānus, -a, -um, German

remittō, -mittere, -mīsī, -missus : let go back, send back; release; hurl back; relax, slacken; remit, remove; resign.

quī, quae or qua, quod: indef. adj., used chiefly after sī, nisi, nē, num, any, some; the form quī is sometimes used as a substantive, any one, some one.

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


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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.