Chapter 1.45

Multa āb Caesare in eam sententiam dicta sunt quārē negōtiō dēsistere nōn posset: neque suam neque populī Rōmānī cōnsuētūdinem patī utī optimē merentēs sociōs dēsereret, neque sē iūdicāre Galliam potius esse Ariovistī quam populī Rōmānī. Bellō superātōs esse Arvernōs et Rutēnōs āb Q. Fabiō Maximō, quibus populus Rōmānus ignōvisset neque in prōvinciam redēgisset neque stīpendium imposuisset. Quod sī antīquissimum quodque tempus spectārī oportēret, populī Rōmānī iūstissimum esse in Galliā imperium; sī iūdicium senātūs observārī oportēret, līberam dēbēre esse Galliam, quam bellō victam suīs lēgibus ūtī voluisset.

Caesar declines to make any concessions, and insists on Roman rights in Gaul.

multa ā Caesare … dicta sunt: “many arguments were urged by Caesar” (Anthon).

in eam sententiam … quārē: “to this effect [to show] why” (A-G); “for the purpose of showing why”; this use of the preposition in is an anticipation of the force it was to have in the post-Ciceronian writers to denote result or purpose, e.g. in lībertātem pugnāre (“to fight for freedom”), Livy xxiv. 2,4; so also the phrase in memoriam makes use of in to denote purpose, but such a notion in the preposition is entirely unclassical (H-T).

quārē … posset: “why, namely, he could not desist from his purpose,” i.e., to show why he could not (etc.) (Anthon); “why it was impossible … ” (M-T). Subjunctive in indirect question (AG 574).

negōtiō: ablative of separation (AG 402) (A-G) with dēsistere.                              

neque … voluisset: starting here Caesar’s response is reported in indirect discourse. Converted to direct discourse it is as follows, with changes underlined: neque mea neque populī Rōmānī cōnsuētūdō patitur utī optimē meritīs sociōs dēseram, neque ego iūdicō Galliam potius esse Ariovistī quam populī Rōmānī. Bellō superātī sunt Arvernī et Rutēnī āb Q. Fabiō Maximō, quibus populus Rōmānus ignōvit neque in prōvinciam redēgit neque stīpendium imposuit. Quod sī antīquissimum quodque tempus spectārī oportet, populī Rōmānī iūstissimum est in Galliā imperium; sī iūdicium senātūs observārī oportet, lībera dēbet esse Gallia, quam bellō victam suīs lēgibus ūtī voluerit.

patī utī dēsereret: “allowed him to abandon” (L-E). The subject of patī is consuētūdinem (Hodges); ut … dēsereret is a substantive clause used as the object of patī (Harkness). In Chapter 43 we saw patī followed by accusative and infinitive: id iīs ēripī quis patī posset? (“who could allow this to be taken away from them?”).

optimē meritōs: “most deserving” (Harkness).

neque sē iūdicāre Galliam potius esse Ariovistī quam populī Rōmānī: “nor could he admit … ” (Moberly); “and he thought Gaul did not belong to Ariovistus rather than to the Roman people.” This was the real question between Caesar and Ariovistus (L-E).

Galliam: = Celticam Galliam (H-T).

Ariovistī, populī Rōmānī: note the possessive force of these predicate genitives with esse (L-E).

bellō superātōs: in the year 121 B.C. they were conquered by Q. Fabius the consul, who killed 120,000 men and carried off the king and his son as captives (L-E). The Allobroges also were subdued in this year, and the Province probably organized. As this occurred fifty years before Ariovistus had entered Gaul, this disposed of the claim (see Chapter 44) that Ariovistus had come into the country before the Roman people (Walker). Notice the emphasis: these peoples had been “conquered,” a fact which gave special rights to the Romans (A-G).

Arvernōs et Rutēnōs: conquered, but not included in the Province excepting a small division of the Ruteni, called Rutēnī prōvinciālēs (Kelsey). The Arverni and Ruteni lay on the other side of the Cèvennes Mountains, which formed a natural frontier for the Roman province (Walker).

āb Q. Fabiō Maximō: consul in 121 B.C. (Spencer). He was nephew to the younger Africanus. With not quite 300,000 men Fabius Maximus cut to pieces an army of 200,000 Gauls at the junction of the Rhône and Isère (Stock).

quibus … ignōvisset: “whom the Roman people had pardoned.” The Romans were said “to pardon” a conquered people when they allowed them to retain their freedom, to enjoy their own laws, and create their own magistrates (Anthon). In fact, their country lay beyond the naturally strong frontier of the Cèvennes, and so could not then be conveniently occupied by the Romans (A-G). Ignoscō governs the dative (quibus) (AG 367).

in prōvinciam redēgisset: sc. quōs, understood with the transitive verb redēgisset (Moberly). A state was said to be “reduced to a Roman province” when it was deprived of its laws, and was subjected to the control of Roman magistrates, and to the payment of a certain tribute (Anthon). The Cévennes lay between these tribes and the Roman province, so that it would have been hard to incorporate them with the latter (Hodges) and the real reason for the forbearance of the Romans.

quod sī antīquissimum quodque tempus spectārī oportēret: “but if the most ancient time should ever be regarded” (Harkness); “if priority of time (literally, “each most ancient time”) ought to be considered” (Hodges); “if in every case claims on the ground of priority ought to be regarded,” or “respect ought to be paid to antiquity” (Walpole); “if, then, the most distant period ought to be regarded,” i.e., if the question was to turn upon the claims of earliest possession (Anthon). Caesar, answering Ariovistus’ claim of priority of conquest, states that the defeat of the Arverni and Ruteni in 121 B.C. gives the Romans the first claim (L-E).

iūstissimum: “most valid” (Hodges).

imperium: “right of rule” (Hodges).

sī iūdicium senātūs observārī oportēret: “if, on the other hand, the decision of the senate ought to be taken into consideration” (Anthon); “ … ought to be regarded” (Kelsey).

līberam: those provinces which used their own laws were called līberae (Spencer).

quam … suīs lēgibus ūtī voluisset: “since they [the senate] had willed / decreed that this [country] should still enjoy its own laws” (Anthon); “ … should live under its own laws” (Moberly), i.e., should remain independent (Hodges). The Romans had conquered two Gallic tribes in 121 B.C., and so had had the right of war to annex them; but they had judged it best to leave the Gauls free, and therefore opposed any attack on their liberty by others (M-T). Suīs, “its own,” refers to Galliam through quam (A-G), which is the subject of ūtī (Hodges).

victam: with concessive force, “though conquered” (Hodges).

voluisset: sc. senātus as subject (A-G): “had allowed” (L-E).

dēsistō, -sistere, -stitī, -stitus : stand away, aesist, give up, leave off, cease.

mereō, merēre, meruī, meritus: deserve, merit, earn; serve in the army; also as dep., mereor, merērī, meritus, merit, deserve, earn, be entitled to; optimē merēns (meritus), most deserving.

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

potius : adv., rather, more, sooner.

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

Arverni –orum m. : the Arverni, a powerful Gallic tribe north of the Roman province. The name remains in the modern Auvergne.

Rutēnī, ōrum, m.: pl., the Ruteni, a Gallic tribe, partly within and partly without the boundaries of the province.

Quintus -ī m.: Quintus (name) abbreviated "Q."

Fabius, -ī, m.: Fabius, a Roman nomen. Caesar mentions three of the name: (1) Gaius Fabius, a legate; (2) Lucius Fabius, a centurion of the eighth legion; (3) Quintus Fabius Maximus, conqueror of the Arverni and Ruteni, 121 b.c. He also conquered the Allobroges, and from this fact received the surname Allobrogicus.

Maximus, -ī, m.: Maximus, a Roman cognomen; see Fabius.

ignōscō, -gnōscere, -gnōvī, -gnōtus : overlook, pardon, excuse.

redigō, -igere, -ēgī, -āctus : drive back; bring down, reduce; cause to be, render.

stīpendium, -ī n.: tax, tribute.

observō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : observe, take note of, watch; respect, regard.


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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.