Chapter 4.25

Quod ubi Caesar animadvertit, nāvīs longās, quārum et speciēs erat barbarīs inūsitātior et mōtus ad ūsum expedītior, paulum removērī ab onerāriīs nāvibus et rēmīs incitārī et ad latus apertum hostium cōnstituī atque inde fundīs, sagittīs, tormentīs hostēs prōpellī āc submovērī iussit; quae rēs māgnō ūsuī nostrīs fuit. Nam et nāvium figūrā et rēmōrum mōtū et inūsitātō genere tormentōrum permōtī barbarī cōnstitērunt āc paulum modo pedem rettulērunt. Atque nostrīs mīlitibus cunctantibus, māximē propter altitūdinem maris, quī decimae legiōnis aquilam ferēbat, contestātus deōs, ut ea rēs legiōnī fēlīciter ēvenīret, ' Dēsilīte', inquit, ' mīlitēs, nisi vultis aquilam hostibus prōdere; ego certē meum reī pūblicae atque imperātōrī officium praestiterō.' Hoc cum vōce māgnā dīxisset, sē ex nāvī prōiēcit atque in hostēs aquilam ferre coepit. Tum nostrī cohortātī inter sē, nē tantum dēdecus admitterētur, ūniversī ex nāvī dēsiluērunt. Hōs item ex proximīs prīmī nāvibus cum cōnspēxissent, subsecūtī hostibus appropīnquārunt.

Caesar brings his warships into action. A Roman standard bearer sets an example of bravery.

quod: ‘Now…this’ (Kelsey)

inusitatior: 'less familiar' than that of the transports. The latter were more like the trading vessels, with which the Britons were acquainted. (Walker)

ad usum: i.e. ad navigandum : ‘the movement was more easily controlled’ (Kelsey)(A&G 506)

motus…expeditior: lit., ‘whose motion was freer for use’ = ‘which were more easily managed.’ (Walker); 'which were swifter and easier to handle' (Rice Holmes)

ad latus apertum: ‘over against the exposed flank’ (Kelsey). I.e. the right, unprotected by their shields (Allen & Greenough)

inde…summoveri: inde: connect with propelli ac submoveri (Allen & Greenough)

fundis, sagittis, tormentis: it seems a queer combination to join two instruments for throwing (fundis, tormentis) with a class of missiles (sagittis, arrows). Translate the latter, bows (Towle & Jenks). Evidently Cretan and Numidian archers and Balearic slingers (cf. 2.7.1) served on board the galleys. The tormenta, which were mounted in the turrets (3.14.4) of galleys were probably small catapults (scorpiones) which discharged bolts at point blank range (Rice Holmes).

fundis: ‘slings’ (Kelsey)

quae res: ‘and this tactic’ (Kelsey); ‘a movement which’ (Towle and Jenks); ‘this maneuver’ (Allen & Judson) (A&G 308.f)

paulum modo: ‘just a little’ (Kelsey); ‘though only for a short distance,’ ‘just for a little’ (Moberly)

permoti: 'startled' (Allen & Judson)

aquilam: The aquila was the standard of a Roman legion, carried by the aquilifer. (Towle & Jenks)

ea res: his act (Towle & Jenks)

inquit: inquam, -is, -it def. verb. tr., used only with direct quotations and following one or more words of the quotation: 'say'. (Walker)(A&G 206.b, 599.c)

milites: Meusel doubts whether a centurion would have addressed his men as milites, though the general would have done so; and accordingly he prefers commilitones, the reading of manuscript beta. But in our army non-commissioned officers address privates as 'men'; so why not centurions, who enforced strict discipline? Cf. B.C. 3.91.1--sequimini me manipulares mei qui fuistis. (Rice Holmes)

praestitero: note the force of the tense: '(whatever the the result shall be) I at least shall have done my duty' (Walker) (A&G 478).

inter se: 'one another' (Walker)

universi: 'in a body' (Allen & Judson)

proximis primi navibus: 'from the nearest ships' (Allen & Greenough); primi is a conjecture of Madvig's. The manuscript reading proximis primis navibus is nonsense; for it would imply that the ships were ranged in at least two lines, one behind the other; and since the soldiers could only just leap into the sea without being drowned, those who were on board the ships in the imaginary second line could not have done so, for their ships would have been in deeper water. (Rice Holmes)

animadverto, -ere, -ti, -sum: direct the mind or attention to, take heed, consider, remark, perceive, notice

ĭnūsĭtātus, -a, -um: unusual, strange, uncommon

expĕdītior: comp. of expeditus

rĕmŏvĕo, -ēre, -mōvi, -mōtum: move back, withdraw, put away

ŏnĕrārĭus, -a, -um: of or for freight, burden; a merchant or transport ship

rēmus, -i m.: oar

incĭto, -āre: set in rapid motion, hasten, urge forward

funda, -ae f.: a sling

săgitta, -ae f.: arrow, shaft, bolt

tormentum, -i n.: engine for hurling missiles; missile, projectile; torture, anguish

prōpello, -ere, -puli, -pulsum: to drive, push or urge forward, to hurl or propel

summŏvĕo, -ēre, -mōvi, -mōtum: move up from below

figūra, -ae f.: form, shape, figure

permŏvĕo, -ēre, -mōvi, -mōtum: move or stir up thoroughly 

cunctor, -āri, -ātus: delay action, linger, hesitate 

altĭtūdo, altĭtūdĭnis f.: height, depth 

dĕcĭmus, -a, -um: the tenth 

ăquĭla, -ae f.: an eagle

contestor, -āri, -atus sum: call to witness

ēvĕnĭo, -īre, -vēni, -ventum: come out, come forth; turn out, result; befall; happen

dē-sĭlĭo, -īre, -ŭi, -sultum: leap down

cohortor, -āri: encourage, incite exhort

dēdĕcus, -ŏris n.: shame, dishonor, disgrace

admitto, -ĕre, -mīsi, -missum: to send to, admit; left in, give access to; allow

ūnĭversus, -a, -um: all together, all taken collectively, whole entire

conspĭcĭo, -ĕre, -exi, -spectum: catch sight of, behold, perceive

subsĕquor, -ui, -cūtum: follow close after or immediately

apprŏpinquo, -āre: approach, draw near + dat.

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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. http://dcc.dickinson.edu/caesar/book-4/chapter-4-25