Chapter 5.44

Erant in eā legiōne fortissimī virī, centuriōnēs, quī prīmīs ōrdinibus appropīnquārent, T. Pullō et L. Vorēnus. Hī perpetuās inter sē contrōversiās habēbant, quīnam anteferrētur, omnibusque annīs dē locīs summīs simultātibus contendēbant. Ex hīs Pullō, cum ācerrimē ad mūnītiōnēs pūgnārētur, 'Quid dubitās,' inquit, 'Vorēne? aut quem locum tuae probandae virtūtis spectās? hīc diēs dē nostrīs contrōversiīs iūdicābit.' Haec cum dīxisset, prōcēdit extrā mūnītiōnēs, quāque pars hostium cōnfertissima est vīsa irrumpit. Nē Vorēnus quidem tum sēsē vāllō continet sed omnium veritus exīstimātiōnem subsequitur. Tum mediocrī spatiō relīctō Pullō pīlum in hostēs immittit, atque ūnum ex multitūdine prōcurrentem trāicit; quō percussō et exanimātō, hunc scūtīs prōtegunt, in hostem tēla ūniversī cōniciunt neque dant regrediendī facultātem. Trānsfīgitur scūtum Pullōnī et verūtum in balteō dēfīgitur. Āvertit hic cāsus vāgīnam et gladium ēdūcere cōnantī dextram morātur manum, impedītumque hostēs circumsistunt. Succurrit inimīcus illī Vorēnus et labōrantī subvenit. Ad hunc sē cōnfestim ā Pullōne omnis multitūdō convertit; illum verūtō arbitrantur occīsum. Gladiō comminus rem gerit Vorēnus, atque ūnō interfectō reliquōs paulum prōpellit: dum cupidius īnstat, in locum dēiectus īnferiōrem concidit. Huic rūrsus circumventō fert subsidium Pullō, atque ambō incolumēs complūribus interfectīs summā cum laude sēsē intrā mūnītiōnēs recipiunt. Sīc fōrtūna in contentiōne et certāmine utrumque versāvit, ut alter alterī inimīcus auxiliō salūtīque esset, neque dīiūdicārī posset, uter utrī virtūte anteferendus vidērētur.

The rivalry of Pullo and Vorenus.

primis ordinibus appropinquarent: i.e., The two centurions each hoped to become centurions of the first cohort, and hence the senior centurions of the legion (Gaisser).

appropinquarent: To bring out the consecutive force of the subjunctive in English is not easy. Here is my attempt:—'In this legion there were two centurions. . . who, by dint of extraordinary courage, were getting close,' &c. (Rice Holmes) (A&G 537)

quinam anteferretur: 'as to which should be preferred to the other'; indirect question.

de locis: 'for promotion or rank'. (Allen & Greenough)(A&G 221.10)

pugnaretur: impersonal passive (Gaisser) (A&G 208.d).

quem locum: 'what opportunity'

pars: logically the antecedent of quae. We would expect it to be in a prepositional phrase (in partem) after irrumpit, 'breaks into,' but it has been 'attracted' into the case of the relative (Gaisser) (A&G 307.b).

Ne Vorenus quidem: Ne..quidem evidently does not mean 'Not even', but 'of course ... not'. One might translate by 'Vorenus of course did not keep inside the rampart' (Rice Holmes).

sese vallo continet: 'remain within the wall' (Allen & Greenough)

quo percusso et exanimato: ablative absolute (A&G 419). quo is connecting relative: '(and) when he' (Gaisser) (A&G 308.f).

scutum: drawing of a scutum (Towle & Jenks)

Pulloni: dative of disadvantage. But translate: 'Pullo’s shield' (Gaisser).

hic casus: etc., i.e. the javelin, piercing his sword belt, twisted the scabbard of his sword out of reach. (Allen & Greenough)

conanti: 'for him as he was trying;' dative of disadvantage (Gaisser) (A&G 376).

inimicus: an excellent illustration of the difference between hostis and inimicus. Vorenus and Pullo are old inimici, both fighting a common hostis (Gaisser).

hunc: Vorenus (Gaisser).

cupidius: 'too eagerly' (Gaisser) (A&G 291.a).

locum: opportunity. (Allen & Judson)

in locum deiectus etc.: 'slipping into a hollow, he fell' (Allen & Greenough). ‘He slipped down a place where there was a slight drop.’ In this whole story we may suspect that Caesar is using a little rhetorical artifice to contrast the vigour of the privates with the slackness of Cotta and Sabinus; and, in particular, to show how personal rivalry spurred the former to deeds of valour, and disabled the latter. (Moberly)

in contentione: 'in their rivalry' (Allen & Greenough)

versavit: How is one to express the meaning—'moved [them] about'—in English? I should say '(Thus Fortune) made them her puppets', &c. (Rice Holmes)

utrumque: 'each' (Hodges)

alter alteri: 'one to the other'; alteri is dative of reference (Gaisser).

auxilio salutique: dative of purpose or predicate dative: '(for) assistance and safety' (Gaisser) (A&G 382).

uter utri: 'which (of the two) ... to the other' (Gaisser).

anteferendus videretur: 'seemed superior (to be preferred)'. (Hodges)

apprǒpinquō, -āre: to come near, approach

contrōversīa, -ae f.: controversy, quarrel, dispute

quisnam, quaenam, quidnam: who, which, what pray

sĭmultas, -ātis f.: feud, quarrel

contendo, -děre, -di, -tum: to stretch, to draw tight, to strain

irrumpo, -ĕre, -rūpi, -ruptum: burst into, dart upon

vĕrūtum, -i n.: javelin

baltĕus, -i m.: belt

āverto, -ĕre, -ti, -sum: to turn away, aside

dīiūdicō, -āre: decide

antĕfĕro, -ferre: prefer

mūnītĭo, -ōnis f.: construction, fortitying

iūdǐco, -āre: to examine judicially, to judge, be a judge

extrā: on the outside, without

confertus, -a, -um: closely pressed, condensed

existĭmātĭo, -ōnis f.: opinion

subsĕquor, -i, -secūtus: follow closely, on the heels

mĕdĭōcris, -e: moderately large, not large, ordinary

pīlum, -i n.: Roman spear

immitto, -mittěre, -mīsi, -missum: to send in, to cause or allow to go in

prōcurro, -currěre, -cǔcurri, -cursum: to run forth, rush forwards

trāǐcǐo, -ire, -iēci, -iectum: to throw across, over, or through; to pierce

percǔtǐo, -ire, -cussi, -cussum: to strike, thrust, or pierce through

exǎnǐmō, -āre: to deprive of breath; to kill

scūtum, -i n.: an oblong shield 

prōtĕgo, -ĕre, -xi, -ctum: cover

cōnǐcǐo, -ire, -iēci, -iectum: to bring together, unite; to hurl

rěgrědǐor, -i, -gressus: to come or go back; retreat

fǎcultas, -ātis f.: capability, means, opportunity

transfīgo, -ĕre, -xi, -xum: pierce

dēfīgo, -ĕre, -xi, -xum: set down firmly, plant firmly, fix

impědǐo, -ire, -īvi, -ītum: to entangle, hamper, hinder

circumsisto, -sistere, -stěti: to place oneself around; to surround

succurro, -ĕre, -curri, -cursum: run to aid, hasten to aid

subvěnǐo, -ire, -vēni, -ventum: to come to one's assistance, to aid, resist

cōnfestim: promptly, with all haste

commĭnus adv.: at close quarters, in hand to hand conflict

prōpello, prōpellěre, -pǔli, -pulsum: to drive, push, urge forward

cǔpǐdus, -a, -um: longing, desiring, eager

instō, instāre, -stǐti, -stǎtum: to stand in or upon a thing; press, press upon, pursue

dēĭcĭo, -ĕre, -iēci, -iectum: throw down from; drive

circumvěnǐo, -ire, -vēni, -ventum: to come around; encircle; surround

subsǐdǐum, -ii n.: help, aid; troops stationed in reserve

ambo: both

incǒlǔmis, -e: unimpaired, in good condition; unharmed, uninjured, safe

complūres, -ia, -ium: quite a number

contentĭo, -ōnis f.: struggle, contest

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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-5/chapter-5-44