Chapter 1.46

Dum haec in colloquiō geruntur, Caesarī nūntiātum est equitēs Ariovistī propius tumulum accēdere et ad nostrōs adequitāre, lapidēs tēlaque in nostrōs coicere. Caesar loquendī fīnem fēcit sēque ad suōs recēpit suīsque imperāvit nē quod omnīnō tēlum in hostēs reicerent. Nam etsī sine ūllō perīculō legiōnis dēlēctae cum equitātū proelium fore vidēbat, tamen committendum nōn putābat ut, pulsīs hostibus, dīcī posset eōs ab sē per fidem in colloquiō circumventōs. Posteāquam in vulgus mīlitum ēlātum est quā arrogantiā in colloquiō Ariovistus ūsus omnī Galliā Rōmānīs interdīxisset, impetumque in nostrōs eius equitēs fēcissent, eaque rēs colloquium ut dirēmisset, multō maior alacritās studiumque pugnandī maius exercituī iniectum est.

Caesar’s reply is interrupted by a treacherous attack from Ariovistus’s escort, and the conference is broken up.

geruntur: “were going on” (Hodges). The present indicative is generally governed by dum (“while”) (AG 556), even when the principal verb is strongly in a past tense (Moberly).

propius tumulum accēdere: “were approaching nearer the mound.” Tumulum is the accusative with the adverb propius, after the analogy of the preposition prope (H-T). This tumulum was referred to in Chapter 43; the German cavalry were about a thousand Roman feet from the hill, the tenth legion at an equal distance (Kelsey).

ad nostrōs adequitāre: “were riding up to our [men]” (Kelsey). With most of the compound verbs the preposition may be repeated with its proper case. This is often done to impart strength to the expression (Anthon).

in nostrōs: note the repetition of nostrōs, to avoid eōs, referring to a word in the same sentence (Moberly). So also the repetition of suus in ad suōs recēpit suīsque imperāvit (M-T).

loquendī fīnem fēcit: “he stopped talking,” literally, “he made an end of talking.” Loquendī is a gerund used as subjective genitive with fīnem (AG 504). In Chapter 33, fīnem facere appears with dative (Hodges): fīnem iniūriīs factūrum, “that he would put a stop to wrongdoings.”

nē quod omnīnō tēlum … reicerent: “not to throw back any weapon at all” (Hodges); “not to hurl in return … ” (L-E). Quod (“any”) is the indefinite adjective aliquod, which loses its prefix when following . Quid (for aliquid) is generally substantive (Hodges).

perīculō legiōnis dēlēctae: “danger to his picked legion” (Walker). Notice that in Latin the genitive is the regular form of one noun dependent on another, whatever preposition we may use in English to express the relationship (A-G). Legiōnis is objective genitive (AG 348) (Harkness). You will recall from Chapter 42 that Caesar’s favorite, the “chosen” tenth legion, had been mounted on horseback and it accompanied him to this conference.

proelium: sc. legiōnis from perīculō legiōnis (Walpole).

committendum nōn putābat, ut dīcī posset: sc. esse sibi with committendum: “he did not think that he ought to permit it to be said,” literally, “that it could be said” (Harkness); “he thought that occasion ought not to be given for saying” (M-T); “he thought that no ground should be given for saying.” The subject of the impersonal committendum is the ut … posset clause (A-G).

ut … dīcī posset eōs ab sē … circumventōs: “that it could be alleged that they [i.e., the enemy] had been deceived by him” (Hodges). Caesar would have his readers believe that Ariovistus was the aggressor. As the whole expedition was of doubtful legality, the Roman general would naturally put prominently in view the plea of necessity (L-E).

pulsīs hostibus: “by routing the enemy” (Kelsey); “after the enemy were defeated.” As Caesar takes victory for granted, it is better not to regard pulsīs hostibus as conditional (Hodges): “in case of the defeat of the enemy” (L-E).

per fidem: = fidē datā adductōs (Walpole): “though [misplaced] trust” (A-G); “through a pledge of good faith,” used to entrap them (Kelsey); “through their trust in his promise” (M-T); “treacherously”; the phrase per fidem which originally meant “by reliance on” is here on its way to the sense expressed by “perfidy” (Stock); “because of their confidence [in Caesar’s honor]” (Walker); “under cover of plighted faith” (Anthon), i.e., by the plighted word of Caesar, who had invited them to this interview (Harkness). A pledge had been made to abstain from hostilities during the time of the conference (Spencer).

circumventōs: “entrapped” (M-T).

posteāquam in vulgus mīlitum ēlātum est: “after it was spread about / reported among the common soldiers” (Anthon). Vulgus is the rank and file soldier (Kelsey). Observe the regular mood and tense after posteāquam (A-G).

quā arrogantiā … ūsus: “with what arrogance,” literally, “using what arrogance” (Harkness). Ūsus governs the ablative (AG 410). The participle of ūtor may often be translated by the preposition “with” (L-E).

interdīxisset, fēcissent, dirēmisset: subjunctives in indirect questions (AG 574) (Harkness).

omnī Galliā: ablative of separation (AG 401) with interdīxisset (A-G), a verb of prohibiting (M-T) (like in the phrase interdīcere aquā et ignī, “to ban from water and fire”): “had interdicted / banned the Romans from all Gaul” (Anthon); “had forbidden the Romans all Gaul” (Harkness); “had ordered the Romans out of … ” (Hodges); “had denied to the Romans all right to be in Gaul” (Kelsey). Ariovistus had wished to confine the Romans to the Province, and to keep the rest of Gaul tributary to himself (Moberly).

Rōmānīs: interdīxisset governs dative of the person and ablative of the thing (Spencer).

impetum fēcissent: depends upon quā arrogantiā, supplying ūsī to mīlitēs from the preceding sentence (Walpole). There is no relative or conjunction to govern this verb, so that strict sequence would require fēcisse; but it seems to be attracted into the subjunctive by the influence of the surrounding verbs (Stock).

eaque rēs colloquium ut dirēmisset: ut = quōmodo (Anthon) in an indirect question (A-G), and would more naturally precede impetum (Walker): “and how this circumstance had broken off the conference (Anthon). Caesar labors earnestly to make his acts appear justifiable, and in a certain sense they were so. Gaul had to be either Romanized or Germanized, and there can be no doubt which was the better for the country at that time (Hodges).

multō: ablative of degree of difference (AG 414) (Harkess), taken with māior and māius.

studiumque pugnandī: “eagerness for fighting” (Kelsey). Pugnandī is a gerund used as objective genitive (AG 504) with studium.

iniectum est: “was infused” (Anthon).

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

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.

nūntiō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : bring news; announce, report, relate; command.

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

tumulus, -ī m.: mound, hill.

nostri -orum m. pl.: our men

adequitō, -āre, -āvī : ride (towards).

coniciō, -icere, -iēcī, -iectus : throw together; throw, hurl; station, put; attribute; in fugam conicere, put to flight, rout; sē conicere, dash, rush.

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.

omnīnō : adv., wholly, entirely, utterly; in all; only; at all.

rēiciō, -icere, -iēcī, -iectus : throw back, hurl back; drive back, drive away; throw away, throw aside, reject.

etsī : conj., even if, although.

dēligō, -ligere, -lēgī, -lēctus : choose, select, detail.

equitātus, -ūs m.: cavalry, body of horsemen.

circumveniō, -venīre, -vēnī, -ventus : come around, surround, beset; circumvent, deceive.

posteāquam : conj., after; also posteā . . . quam.

efferō, efferre, extulī, ēlātus : carry out, take away; make public, announce, report, tell; lift up, raise; encourage, elate.

adrogantia, -ae f.: presumption, arrogance, insolence.

Gallia, -ae f.: Gaul

Rōmānī Rōmānōrum m.: Romans

interdīcō, -dīcere, -dīxī, -dictus : interpose by an order, forbid, prohibit, interdict, exclude.

dirimō, -imere, -ēmī, -ēmptus: break up, interrupt, end

multō : adv., much, by far.

alacritās, -ātis f.: eagerness, spirit, energy.

iniciō, -icere, -iēcī, -iectus : throw in, throw on; put on; inspire, cause.


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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.