Chapter 1.7

Caesarī cum id nūntiātum esset, eōs per prōvinciam nostram iter facere cōnārī, mātūrat ab urbe proficīscī, et quam māximīs potest itineribus in Galliam ūlteriōrem contendit, et ad Genāvam pervenit. Prōvinciae tōtī quam māximum potest mīlitum numerum imperat (erat omnīnō in Galliā ūlteriōre legiō ūna), pōntem quī erat ad Genāvam iubet rescindī. Ubi dē ēius adventū Helvētiī certiōrēs factī sunt, lēgātōs ad eum mittunt nōbilissimōs cīvitātis, cūius lēgātiōnis Nammēius et Verucloetius prīncipem locum obtinēbant, quī dīcerent sibi esse in animō sine ūllō maleficiō iter per prōvinciam facere, proptereā quod aliud iter habērent nūllum: rogāre ut ēius voluntāte id sibi facere liceat. Caesar, quod memoriā tenēbat L. Cassium cōnsulem occīsum exercitumque ēius ab Helvētiīs pulsum et sub iugum mīssum, concēdendum nōn putābat; neque hominēs inimīcō animō, datā facultāte per prōvinciam itineris faciendī, temperātūrōs ab iniūriā et maleficiō exīstimābat. Tamen, ut spatium intercēdere posset dum mīlitēs quōs imperāverat convenīrent, lēgātīs respondit diem sē ad dēlīberandum sūmptūrum: sī quid vellent, ad Īd. Aprīl. reverterentur.

Caesar hastens to Gaul and delays the Helvetii by a pretext.

Caesari: he had been consul in the year 59, and at the end of his year of office he had immediately become proconsul of Gaul. He was at this time near Rome, preparing to leave for his province. The news merely hastened his movements. (Walker)

id: 'this fact', explained by its appositive, the clause eos...conari, 'that they were planning, etc.' (Walker)

Caesari cum id nuntiatum esset…maturat: Note the position of Caesari. The cum clauses with the subjunctive denote nothing more than a part of a past series of events. Often an English expression can be found much more simple, and conveying the temporal idea much less awkwardly than a heavy sentence introduced by when; e.g. the sentence means, ‘Caesar, on receipt of the news that…hastened.’ (Harper & Tolman)

quam maximis potest itineribus: stronger than quam maximis itineribus; ‘with the utmost possible speed.’ (Kelsey); (by the greatest marches that he is able to make), ‘with all possible speed’…. We learn from Plutarch that he travelled 90 miles a day. (Towle & Jenks)

ulteriorem: = transalpinam, ‘beyond the Alps’ from Rome. (Walker)

provinciae...imperat: 'he levied upon the province.' (Walker) tactical map

certiores facti sunt: ‘were informed,’ lit. ‘were made more certain.’ (Walker)

qui dicerent: ‘in order to say.’ (Kelsey)

L. Cassium: This officer was defeated in 107 B.C. by the Tigurini, one of the four Helvetian tribes. According to the Epitome of Livy (ch. 65, with which cf. Orosius, v, 15, §§ 23-4), the defeat took place in the country of the Nitiobroges, which corresponded with the departments of Lotet-Garonne and Tarn-et-Garonne. (Rice Holmes)

occisum...pulsum...missum: these are perfect passive infinitives in indirect discourse, and depend on memoriā tenebat, which is equivalent to a verb of knowing. The perfect infinitive represents the action as past at the time of tenebat; "that Lucius Cassius had been slain," etc. (Walker) (AG 584)

sub iugum: 'under the yoke.' The ' yoke' was composed of two javelins planted in the ground and crossed above by a third. The troops were disarmed before they defiled under it; and in doing so they were of course obliged to stoop, and were mocked by their enemies. (Rice Holmes)

concedendum non putabat: ‘did not think that the request ought to be granted’ ; less freely, ‘that the concession ought to be made.’ (Kelsey) (AG 500)

data facultate: = si facultas data esset, ‘if opportunity should have been granted.’ (Kelsey) (AG 420)

si quid vellent: quid: ‘anything’ (Kelsey)(AG 310.a); vellent, reverterentur: ‘they want,’ ‘they should return’ (Kelsey) (AG 588)

nuntio, -āre: announce, declare, report

mātūro, -āre: to make haste or hasten to do a thing (+ infinitive)

Gallia, -ae f.: Gaul, roughly equivalent to modern France

quam: (+ superlative), as ... as possible

iter itineris n.: path, route; journey; a day's march

ultĕrĭor, -ĭus: farther, on the farther side, that is beyond

contendo, -ĕre, -tendi, tentum: march or journey hastily to

Genava, -ae f.: Genava, a city of the Allobroges, now Geneva

omnīno: adv., only

lĕgĭo, ōnis, f.: a legion, the largest unit of the Roman army. It consisted in Caesar's day of about 4,800 heavily armed men.

pons, pontis m.: bridge across a river

ad:  near, in the neighborhood of

rēscindo, -ĕre, -scĭdi, -scissum: tear back, tear away again, cut away

adventus, -ūs, m.: arrival

Helvētius, -a, -um: Helvetian; as subst., m., a Helvetian; pl., the Helvetii, a rich and powerful tribe, whose country was nearly the same as modern Switzerland.

certus, -a, -um: certain, sure; certiorem facere aliquem = to inform someone of a thing

lēgātĭo, -ōnis f.: delegation

obtĭnĕo, -ere, -tĭnŭi, -tentum: have, hold, occupy, possess

mălĕfĭcĭum, -ĭi n.: wrongdoing

proptĕrĕā: for that cause, on that account; proptĕrĕā quod, 'for the reason that', 'because'

occīdō -cīdere -cīdī -cīsum: kill, cut down

pellō pellere pepulī pulsum: (in military language), to rout, put to flight, defeat 

iŭgum -i n.: a yoke for oxen; as the symbol of humiliation and defeat, a yoke , consisting of two upright spears, and a third laid transversely upon them, under which vanquished enemies were made to pass

concēdō -cēdere -cessī -cessum: to yeild, assent to, grant, pardon, allow

făcultas , -ātis: f.: feasibility, possibility, opportunity, power, means

tempĕro, -āre: to moderate or restrain one's self; to forbear, abstain

inter-cēdo, -ere, -cessi, -cessum: intervene, pass (of time)

dēlībĕro, -āre: weigh carefully, consult, consider

ad Id. April.: = ad Īdūs Aprilēs, “on or before the Ides of April,” i.e., April 13.

Article Nav
Chinese version
Christopher Francese, Caesar: Selections from the Gallic War. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2011, revised and enlarged 2018. ISBN: 978-1-947822-02-3.