Chapter 5.48

Caesar, cōnsiliō ēius probātō, etsī opīniōne trium legiōnum dēiectus ad duās redierat, tamen ūnum commūnis salūtis auxilium in celeritāte pōnēbat. Vēnit māgnīs itineribus in Nerviōrum fīnēs. Ibī ex captīvīs cōgnōscit quae apud Cicerōnem gerantur quantōque in perīculō rēs sit. Tum cuidam ex equitibus Gallīs māgnīs praemiīs persuādet utī ad Cicerōnem epistolam dēferat. Hanc Graecīs cōnscrīptam litterīs mittit, nē interceptā epistolā nostra ab hostibus cōnsilia cōgnōscantur. Sī adīre nōn possit, monet ut trāgulam cum epistolā ad āmmentum dēligātā intrā mūnītiōnem castrōrum abiciat. In litterīs scrībit sē cum legiōnibus profectum celeriter adfore; hortātur ut prīstinam virtūtem retineat. Gallus perīculum veritus, ut erat praeceptum, trāgulam mittit. Haec cāsū ad turrim adhaesit neque ab nostrīs bīduō animadversa tertiō diē ā quōdam mīlite cōnspicitur, dēmpta ad Cicerōnem dēfertur. Ille perlēctam in conventū mīlitum recitat, māximāque omnēs laetitiā adficit. Tum fūmī incendiōrum procul vidēbantur, quae rēs omnem dubitātiōnem adventūs legiōnum expulit.

He sends a dispatch to Cicero.

opinione...deiectus: 'disappointed in his expectation' (Gaisser).

opinione trium legionum deiectus &c.: ‘although he was disappointed in his expectation of three legions, and found himself reduced to only two.’ (Moberly)

duas: Caesar thus had only his own legion and that of Fabius, - a very small force to face the multitude of the enemy. (Allen & Greenough)

magnis itineribus: 'by long marches.' Caesar was in a hurry (Gaisser) ( A&G 409).

Graecis…litteris: we must understand this to mean ‘in the Greek language,’ as we know from Caesar himself (1.29, 6.14) that the Greek characters were well understood in Gaul (Stock); i.e. 'in Greek letters'. The Gauls were well acquainted with the Greek characters. According to Polyaenus (8.23.6) the dispatch contained merely the words, “Caesar to Cicero. Be of good courage. Expect aid.” (Allen & Judson)

intercepta epistola: 'should the letter be intercepted'; the ablative absolute here stands in place of a conditional sentence.[1] ( A&G 420)

tragulam: a heavy Celtic spear (Gaisser).

ammentum: The ammentum was a small strap fastened to the middle of a light spear, in some cases, at any rate, giving it a whirling motion, like the rifle-ball of modern times. By its use the spear could be thrown twice as far and with better aim than without it, as has been proved by experiment. (Allen & Greenough) (Smith)

perlectam...recitat: 'after perusing it he read it aloud in an assembly of the soldiers'. [2]

ŏpīnĭo, -ōnis f.: opinion, supposition, conjecture, imagination

dēiciō, -icere, -iēcī, -iēctus: throw down; deprive; disappoint   

cĕlĕrĭtas, -tātis f.: swiftness, quickness, speed, celerity 

Nervii, -ōrum m.: powerful tribe of Belgae

captīvus, -i m.: captive, prisoner

Galli, -ōrum m.: Gauls, people from Gaul.

per-suādĕo, -suādēre, -suāsi, -suāsum: persuade

Graecus, a, um: belong to the Greeks, Greek

con-scrībo, -scrībere, -scrīpsi, -scrīptum: write together, compose, draw up

trāgŭla, ae, f.: A kind of javelin or dart attached to a strap by which it was swung when thrown

āmentum, -i n.: thong, strap

dēlĭgo , -āre: tie fast, tie to

mūnītĭo, -ōnis, f.: fortification, defense, rampart, entrenchment, walls, bulwark 

ăbĭcĭo, -ere, -iēci, -iectum: cast away, throw away, throw down

pristinus, -a, -um: previous; former; tried, oldtime

turris, -is f.: tower

ădhaeresco, -haerescĕre, -haesi, -haesum: cling to, stick to

dēmo, dēmĕre, dempsi, demptum: take down, off

conventus, -ūs m.: meeting, conference

rĕcĭto, rĕcĭtāre: read out (aloud)

laetĭtĭa, -ae f.: joy, pleasure, delight

fūmus, -i m.: smoke, steam, fume 

incendĭum, -ĭi n.: a burning, fire, conflagration

dŭbĭtātĭo, -ōnis f.: a wavering in opinion or judgment, doubt, uncertainty

adventus, -ūs m.: arrival

ex-pello, -pellere -pŭli, -pulsum: drive out or away, thrust out or away, eject, expel

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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-5-48