Chapter 1.1

Gallia est omnis dīvīsa in partēs trēs, quārum ūnam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquītānī, tertiam quī ipsōrum linguā Celtae, nostrā Gallī appellantur. Hī omnēs linguā, īnstitūtīs, lēgibus inter sē differunt. Gallōs ab Aquītānīs Garumna flūmen, ā Belgīs Mātrona et Sēquana dīvidit. Hōrum omnium fortissimī sunt Belgae, proptereā quod ā cultū atque hūmānitāte prōvinciae longissimē absunt, minimēque ad eōs mercātōrēs saepe commeant atque ea quae ad effēminandōs animōs pertinent important, proximīque sunt Germānīs, quī trāns Rhēnum incolunt, quibuscum continenter bellum gerunt. Quā dē causā Helvētiī quoque reliquōs Gallōs virtūte praecēdunt, quod ferē cotīdiānīs proeliīs cum Germānīs contendunt, cum aut suīs fīnibus eōs prohibent aut ipsī in eōrum fīnibus bellum gerunt. Eōrum ūna pars, quam Gallōs obtinēre dictum est, initium capit ā flūmine Rhodanō; continētur Garumnā flūmine, Ōceanō, fīnibus Belgārum; attingit etiam ab Sēquanīs et Helvētiīs flūmen Rhēnum; vergit ad septentriōnēs. Belgae ab extrēmīs Galliae fīnibus oriuntur; pertinent ad īnferiōrem partem flūminis Rhēnī; spectant in septentriōnem et orientem sōlem. Aquītānia ā Garumnā flūmine ad Pȳrēnaeōs mōntēs et eam partem Ōceanī quae est ad Hispāniam pertinet; spectat inter occāsum sōlis et septentriōnēs. 

A brief description of the great divisions of Gaul, and of their inhabitants.

Gallia...omnis: ‘Gaul as a whole,’ contrasted with Gaul in the narrower sense, or Celtic Gaul; Celtic Gaul also is often called Gallia. (Kelsey) historical map satellite image

Gallia...divisa: Notice the order of the words. ‘Gaul, taken as a whole, is divided’. (Rice Holmes) 

Belgae: Belgae -arum m., the Belgae or Belgians; Aquitani, -orum m.: the Aquitani, inhabiting southwestern Gaul;Celtae, -arum m: the Celtae or Celts (Walker)

Gallos...dividit: the verb is singular, because the two rivers make one boundary; as we should say, ‘is divided by the line of the Seine and Marne.’ (Allen & Judson; ( AG 317b)

Garumna:  Garumna, -ae m., the river Garumna now the GaronneMatrona, -ae m.: the river Matrona, now the MarneSequana, -ae m.: the river Sequana, now the Seine (Walker)

cultu atque humanitate: cultus indicates the outward characteristics of civilization (dress, habits of life, etc.); humanitas, the moral characteristics (refinement of thought and feeling, education, etc.) (Merryweather & Tancock). humanitate: ‘refinement’ (Kelsey) 

provinciae: the province of Gallia Narbonensis, organized about B. C. 120. Its chief cities were Massilia (Marseilles), an old Greek free city, and the capital, Narbo (Narbonne), a Roman colony. The name Provincia has come down to us in the modern Provence. (Allen & Greenough) historical map satellite image

minime saepe: ‘very seldom’ (Walker)

mercatores: nom. Traders and peddlers from Massilia (Marseilles) and northern Italy brought wine (their most attractive commodity) and other luxuries on pack mules or even on their own backs (Towle & Jenks) 

commeant: ‘make their way to’ (Kelsey); words of motion compounded with cum often contain an idea of ‘hither and thither’ (Walpole). Construe saepe with commeant, minime with both commeant and important; ‘least of all do traders (often resort) make frequent journeys back and forth to them and bring in', etc. (Towle & Jenks)

ad effeminandos animos: ‘to weaken the courage’ (Walker) ( AG 506)

qua de causa: ‘For this reason’ (Kelsey); ‘and for this reason’: referring back to proximi, etc., and further explained by quod…contenduntAG 404c)

quoque: i.e. as well as the Belgians (Towle & Jenks); ‘also,’ always follows the emphatic word, ‘because they (just as the Belgians) dwell near the Germans.’ (Harper & Tolman) ( AG 322)

in eorum finibus: eorum refers to the Germans (Walker)

eorum una pars: Eorum refers back to the Gauls as a whole, not to the Helvetii, who have just been mentioned.

quam Gallos obtinere: quam is the object, Gallos the subject of obtinere; the infinitive clause quam...obtinere is the subject of dictum est. The whole may be freely translated 'which, as has been said, the Gauls occupy'. (Walker)

a flumine: 'at the river' (Walker)

ab Sequanis: ‘on the side of the Sequani.’ (Merryweather & Tancock) ( AG 429.b)

in septentriones…solem: i.e. toward the northeast (Walker). Septentriones -um m.: 'the north,' lit. the constellations of the great and little Bear. The word is used both in the singular (as a compound) and in the plural. (Allen & Judson)

spectat inter etc.: i.e. 'has a northwesterly aspect'. Caesar regards the whole country from the standpoint of 'The Province'. (Walpole)

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

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

in-cŏlo, -ĕre, -lŭi: to inhabit, dwell in + acc.

Belgae -ārum m.: the Belgae or Belgians

Aquitānī -ōrum m.: the Aquitani, inhabiting southwestern Gaul

Celtae -ārum m.: the Celtae or Celts

īnstitutum -i n.: fixed course or principle; habit, institution, custom

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

cultus -ūs m.: training, education, culture

hūmānĭtas -ātis f.: liberal education, elegance of manners or language, refinement

mĭnĭmē: (superl. adv.), least

mercātor -ōris m.: trader, merchant

com-mĕo -āre: go up and down, come and go, visit frequently

ef-fēmĭno -āre: to make womanish, enervate, weaken

importo -āre: bring in, import; introduce

Germanī -ōrum m.: Germani, or Germans

trāns: across, over, beyond (+acc.)

Rhenus, -i m.: the river Rhenus, the Rhine.

contĭnenter: (adv.), continuously, without interruption

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.

prae-cēdo -ĕre -cessī-cessum: surpass, excel

cotīdiānus -a -um: daily

contendo -tendere -tendi, -tentum: fight with, contend against, vie with

ob-tĭnĕo -tinēre -tĭnŭi -tentum: hold, possess, keep possession of

Rhodanus, -i m.: the river Rhodanus, the Rhone 

contineō, -tinēre: contain, hold together; (passive) be bordered by + abl.

Ōceanus -i m.: refers to the ocean

attingo -tingĕre -tĭgi -tactum: to touch

Sēquanī -ōrum m.: a Celtic nation in the upper valley of the Arar or Saône

vergo -ĕre: to bend, turn, incline; lie, be situated

septentrĭōnes -um m. pl.: the north

Hispānia -ae f.: modern day Spain

occāsus -ūs m.: setting (of the heavenly bodies); the west

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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.