Chapter 1.10

Caesarī renūntiātur Helvētiīs esse in animō per agrum Sēquanōrum et Aeduōrum iter in Santonum fīnēs facere, quī nōn longē ā Tolōsātium fīnibus absunt, quae cīvitās est in prōvinciā. Id sī fieret, intellegēbat magnō cum perīculō prōvinciae futūrum ut hominēs bellicōsōs, populī Rōmānī inimīcōs, locīs patentibus maximēque frūmentāriīs fīnitimōs habēret. Ob eās causās eī mūnītiōnī quam fēcerat T. Labiēnum lēgātum praeficit; ipse in Ītaliam magnīs itineribus contendit, duāsque ibi legiōnēs cōnscrībit, et trēs quae circum Aquilēiam hiemābant ex hībernīs ēdūcit et, quā proximum iter in ulteriōrem Galliam per Alpēs erat, cum eīs quinque legiōnibus īre contendit. Ibi Ceutronēs et Grāiocelī et Caturigēs, locīs superiōribus occupātīs, itinere exercitum prohibēre cōnantur. Complūribus eīs proeliīs pulsīs ab Ōcelō, quod est citeriōris prōvinciae extrēmum, in fīnēs Vocontiōrum ulteriōris prōvinciae diē septimō pervēnit; inde in Allobrogum fīnēs, ab Allobrogibus in Segūsiāvōs exercitum dūcit. Hī sunt extrā prōvinciam trāns Rhodanum prīmī.

    Caesar, learning that the Helvetians intend to pass through the country of the Santoni, goes back to Cisalpine Gaul and returns with reinforcements.

    Caesarī renūntiātur: “word is brought back to Caesar,” i.e., by messengers sent to ascertain, as the prefix re- implies (A-G). Caesar kept himself informed of the movements of the Helvetii (L-E), probably through spies whom Caesar had himself sent out (Holmes). Renūntiāre is properly applied to intelligence that is brought to one who had been previously expecting something of the kind; and it is therefore the very term that is required here (Anthon).

    Helvētiīs esse in animō: “that the Helvetians had in mind,” the subject of renūntiātur (L-E). Helvētiīs is dative of possession (AG 373).

    Aeduōrum: across the Arar from the Sequani (Hodges). Their territory lay between the Saône and the Loire. Its stronghold was Bibracte. A society of antiquaries at Autun, calling themselves the Société Eduenne, still celebrate the ancient glories of the Aedui (Stock).

    Santonum: = Santonōrum; Caesar, in talking of the Teutoni and Santoni, uses the older and shorter form of the genitive plural (Walpole). They were a people north of the Garonne, on the Bay of Biscay, and the town of Tolosa was situated on the upper part of the Garonne, and a considerable distance from the Santones (Spencer). This is so far from the borders of the province as to show that Caesar was only searching for a pretext. But the conquest of Gaul was already determined upon, and the warlike Helvetii were too dangerous a people to be allowed to add their strength to that of the present inhabitants (A-G).

    nōn longē absunt: The distance seems to have been greater (really about 130 miles (Walker)), others believe much less, possibly 40 miles (Walpole), and Caesar seems to have understated it on purpose, so as to exaggerate the danger (Moberly). The Helvetii would be more dangerous in the territory of the Santones than in their own country, because they would no longer be hemmed in by natural barriers. Caesar had reason to fear that either the Helvetii or the Gauls whom they should drive from their homes would raid the Province; and since it was his duty to protect the Province he was justified in forcing the Helvetii to remain at home. He does not choose to add, however, that this movement of the Helvetii gave him an excellent opportunity to interfere in the affairs of Gaul, and thereby fitted in with his plans for the conquest of the country (Walker). The indicative mood forms of the verbs absunt and est (AG 157) show that they are not part of the report (indirect discourse), but explanations added by the writer of the narrative for his readers’ sake (M-T).

    Tolosatium: the people of Tolosa, the modern-day “Toulouse” (A-G). The Tolosates were clients of the Romans (L-E).

    quae cīvitās: (= gēns, populus) (L-E), a common idiom for cīvitātis quae, “a state which,” literally “which state,” “a tribe which” (Hodges). The antecedent, which would otherwise be cīvitātis, in apposition with Tolosatium, is inserted as the subject of the relative clause (Harkness).

    sī … fieret: subjunctive in a conditional clause that is part of an indirect discourse after intellegēbat (AG 512) (A-G): “if this should be done” (H-T); “if this should be carried out”; Caesar’s thought was, “if this shall be carried out (future indicative), it will … ” (Walker).

    id: refers to the Helvetii marching into the territory of the Santones (A-G). Its initial placement in the clause is emphatic (Harkness).

    magnō cum perīculō prōvinciae futūrum: sc. esse: “that it would be (attended) with great danger to the province” (L-E). The periphrasis with futūrum [esse] and the subjunctive habēret, instead of the future infinitive sēsē habitūrum, often indicates that the result expected will spring from various causes unspecified. The meaning is therefore “that things would so turn out, that he would find great danger in having … ” (Moberly). Cum is in the favorite place for the preposition when the adjective is at all emphatic: “great was the danger” (H-T). Prōvinciae is objective genitive (AG 348), depending on periculō (Hodges).

    ut hominēs … habēret: substantive result clause used as the subject of futūrum [esse] (AG 568); the subject of habēret is prōvincia (H-T). Caesar’s direct thought would be: Id sī fīet, magnō cum perīculō prōvinciae futūrum est ut populus Rōmānus … habeat (A-G): “that it should have a warlike race of men in its immediate vicinity”; the race alluded to are the Helvetii (Anthon).

    populī Rōmānī inimīcōs: “enemies of the Roman people.” Normally the adjective inimīcus links with dative (AG 384), but here it is used substantively (i.e., as a noun) and therefore a genitive depends on it (Walker).

    locīs patentibus: locīs is dative with the adjective fīnitimōs (AG 384), or sc. in for ablative of place where (AG 429): “in an open tract of country” (Anthon); “in undefended (“exposed” (Hodges)) country,” i.e., with no protection, natural or artificial, against invaders (M-T). The southwest part of Gaul is a broad river valley, giving easy access to the province (A-G). Caesar had no reason to interfere with the passage of the Helvetians through the country of the Sequani unless it was clear that Roman interests would be unfavorably affected by it (Kelsey).

    maximēque frūmentāriīs: “productive” of grain (Kelsey); “very fertile” (Anton). The broad valley of the Garonne was the most fertile part of the Province (L-E).  Adjectives ending in –us preceded by a vowel (like frūmentārius) form their comparison by means of the adverbs magis (comparative degree) and maximē (superlative degree) (AG 128). This form of comparison is especially used with long words: maximē opportūna; rēs magis necessāriās; maximē memorābilem (Stock).

    fīnitimōs: predicate accusative (AG 392, 393): “as neighbors” (A-G).

    ob eās causās: i.e., the several causes of danger which Caesar has enumerated (Spencer).

    eī mūnitiōnī … T. Labiēnum … praeficit: “he put … .T[itus] Labienus in command of the fortification”; praeficiō takes the accusative of the person placed in charge (T. Labiēnum lēgātum) and the dative of the thing over which one is placed in charge (eī mūnitiōnī) (AG 370). Titus Labienus was a very efficient officer, and one in whom Caesar placed great confidence. As tribune in the year 63 B.C. he was very useful to Caesar and was a close confidant of the latter’s political schemes. He basely deserted his patron when the civil war broke out, and was killed at the Battle of Munda in 45 B.C. (L-E). Eī mūnitiōnī refers to the walls that had been constructed between the lake and Mount Jura (Anthon).

    lēgātum: “aide, lieutenant,” i.e., one who has been given a commission; so we also find the diplomatic sense of “ambassador” (H-T). As the word is formed from legāre, its original meaning is that of a deputy or commissioner of any kind. Lēgātī, in the sense in which the word is used here, were generally, if not always, senators, and were as a rule appointed by the senate; but Caesar, perhaps without consulting that assembly, could appoint lēgātī himself; and indeed Cicero did so when he was Governor of Cilicia. Lēgātī were expected to perform any duty with which their chief might entrust them. On Monday a lēgātus might be placed in command of a legion and lead it in battle; on Tuesday he might be sent to raise a fresh levy of troops (Holmes). In the absence of the consul from the army, the lēgātī, or one of them, took his place, and had the insignia as well as the power of his superior (Spencer).

    in Ītaliam: “into Italy,” i.e., into Hither Gaul (Anthon), Gallia citerior, south of the Alps (M-T), an area already regarded as a part of Italy (A-G), and one of the provinces under Caesar’s proconsular charge (L-E). Caesar could not levy troops outside his province (Holmes).

    magnīs itineribus: “making all speed” (M-T); “[by] forced marches” of an army; ablative of means (AG 409). The ordinary day’s march of the Romans was about 15 miles; a magnum iter was from 20 to 25 miles (A-G).

    duāsque legiōnēs cōnscrībit: cōnscrībere is the technical term for levying troops, referring to the making up of the roll of names of the soldiers called out (M-T). The senate had given Caesar four legions: the tenth (mentioned in Chapter 7) and probably the three at Aquileia. The other two, numbered XI and XII (Holmes), he seems to have raised on his own authority (M-T).  This is proved by the fact that it was agreed in the conference which he held with Pompey and Crassus at Luca in 56 B.C. that he should receive a grant for the payment of the legions which he had raised, and that this grant was voted by the Senate (Holmes). By levying these additional troops he increased his army to six legions, perhaps 24,000 men. With these legions and some auxiliary troops he had to oppose 92,000 fighting men, according to the Gallic records given in Chapter 29 (Walker).

    trēs: sc. legiōnēs, the 7th, 8th, and 9th legions (Kelsey).

    circum … hiemābant: “they wintered in the neighborhood of”; winter quarters, hiberna, were generally not “in,” but “near” a town (M-T).

    Aquilēiam: an important Roman colony at the head of the Adriatic. It continued to be the chief port of trade for this region until outgrown by Venice (A-G). It was strongly fortified, and served to protect Cisalpine Gaul against invaders from the east. In imperial times it was a city of great size and enormous wealth (Hodges). As Caesar speaks in Book 3.7 of Illyricum as a region with which he wished to make acquaintance, we may infer that he did not go in person to Aquileia (Stock).

    quā proximum iter: sc. in parte: “where [in which area] the route was nearest,” i.e., shortest (Anthon), past Cremona and Turin and over the Cottian Alps (Hodges). The more direct route by Mont Cenis (the Cottian Alps) began to be used only in Augustus’ time (Moberly). He did not wish to return to Geneva, for by this time the Helvetii had left their country. It is estimated that Caesar spent two months in securing his reinforcements (Walker).

    in ulteriōrem Galliam: = Prōvincia Rōmāna or Gallia Trānsalpīna (L-E).

    cum hīs quīnque legiōnibus: i.e., with the 10th which Caesar found in Gaul on his arrival, this gave him in all six legions, besides the forces just raised in the province. These six legions were the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th (Harkness).

    ibi: i.e. in the Alps (Hodges).

    Ceutronēs et Grāiocelī et Caturigēs: Alpine tribes in the territory of modern Savoy and Provence (L-E). The reading varies between Centronēs and Ceutronēs; but in any case these mountaineers are to be distinguished from the Ceutrones of Book 5.39, a Belgian tribe living just south of the Menapii. Caturigēs, a name based on “cath” in Irish and “cad” in Welsh meaning “war,” or “battle,” is interpreted to mean “battle-kings.” They figure among the tribes enumerated in an inscription on the “Trophy of the Alps,” which celebrated their final subjugation under Augustus (Stock).

    locīs superiōribus occupātīs: “seized commanding heights and … ” (Kelsey).

    itinere: ablative of separation (AG 400, 401).

    complūribus … pulsīs: In these four words appears an ablative absolute (hīs … pulsīs) (AG 419) and an ablative of means (complūribus … proeliīs) (AG 409) limited by an adjective (H-T). When the attribute of one pair of words comes between another word and its attribute (a b A B), the arrangement is called interlocked (“synchysis”). Here the order is made more artificial for reversing the positions of the noun and attribute (a B A b) (L-E): “these having been routed in numerous encounters” (hīs referring to the tribes mentioned above (M-T)); Polyaenus makes mention of a stratagem employed by Caesar against these mountaineers. Under cover of the morning mist, he led a portion of his forces by a circuitous route to a part of the mountain which overhung the enemy’s position. All of a sudden a shout was raised by those with him, and was answered by the rest of his troops below, on which the barbarians, struck with terror, betook themselves to hasty flight. What Polyaenus adds, however, that Caesar crossed the Alps on this occasion, without any fighting, appears from the present passage to be incorrect (Anthon).  

    ab Ōcelō: the preposition is expressed with the name of the town because the departure is “from the neighborhood of” Ocelum (AG 428a) (Walpole); “Usseau,” southwest of Turin (L-E) at the very foot of the Alps (Spencer), and close to Avigliana; therefore in the Italian part of his march Caesar moved up the valley of the Dora Riparia, and of course crossed the Mont Genèvre and passed by Brigantio (Briançon) in the country of the Caturiges. As he was making for that part of the country of the Segusiavi which lies between the Rhône and the Saône near Lyon, it will become evident to anyone who consults a good map that his shortest route would have led past Grenoble, if between Briançon and Grenoble there was then a practicable road: but it is very doubtful whether this route would have led him into the country of the Vocontii; and therefore it seems likely that he took the road which leads past Embrun, Chorges, Gap and Die (Holmes).

    citeriōris prōvinciae: “of the hither province.” By citerior prōvincia the Romans meant Cisalpine Gaul; by ulterior prōvincia they meant Transalpine Gaul (Anthon), separated from each other by the Alps (Harkness).

    extrēmum: sc. oppidum (Anthon): “farthest” (L-E), “the last town” (Harkness); i.e., most westerly (Kelsey).

    Vocontiōrum ulteriōris prōvinciae: “of the Vocontii [a people] of the farther province (Gallia Trānsalpīna) (Hodges). The homeland of the Vocontii extended from the Durance to the Isère (A-G). The ulterior prōvincia is usually called simply “the Province” (Walpole).

    Allobrogum: these people extended as far south as the Isère, and had possessions north of the Rhône in the sharp angle at St. Didier (A-G).

    in Segūsiāvōs: i.e., into that part of their territory which lies between the Rhône and the Arar. He encamped on the heights above the city of Lyon. Labienus must have rejoined him there (Walker). The Segusiavi were clients of the Aedui (Hodges). The position of the Segusiavi is roughly marked by the fact that their capital was afterwards Lugdunum (Lyon) (Stock), west of the Rhône and opposite Vienne. They probably extended across the Saône above Lyon, so that Caesar only crossed the Rhône above its junction with the Saône and did not cross the Saône also. He evidently had his camp in the heights above Lyon in the angle of the two rivers. His army amounted to six legions of nearly 25,000 men and an uncertain number of Gallic cavalry. Caesar evidently went beyond his province without the order of the Senate, hence his explanatory tone (A-G).

    pervenit: “passed through” (Kelsey).

    exercitum: three trained legions from near Aquileia, and two legions of recruits just levied in Cisalpine Gaul with which was joined the tenth legion, released from guarding the fortification below Geneva; for the campaign against the Helvetians Caesar had thus six legions, combining about 22,000 men, besides cavalry. Light-armed troops, used in the campaign of 57 and afterwards, are not mentioned in Book 1 (Kelsey). Caesar was only about two months in going to Cisalpine Gaul, raising two legions there, forcing his way across the Alps through a hostile region and reaching Lyon, ready to confront the Helvetii (L-E).

    extrā prōvinciam: Caesar undoubtedly here overstepped his authority. Outside of the Roman province, the Gallic tribes were independent of Roman rule (Hodges). In going outside of the Province, as in the levying of the troops, Caesar acted under a general commission to defend the frontier of the Province. The situation among the Aedui, Sequani, and other Gallic tribes was such as to compel Caesar to drive back the Helvetii, or the Romans would lose all their influence in Celtic Gaul and Ariovistus, the German king, would become supreme there. The extraordinary efforts of Caesar to hurry forward troops from Italy show how serious he thought the situation was (L-E).

    trāns Rhodanum: i.e., west of the Rhône (Harkness). Caesar probably crossed the Rhône by a pontoon bridge, a short distance above the junction with the Arar (Kelsey).

    renūntiō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : bring news; announce, report.

    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.

    Sēquanī, -ōrum m. : the Sequani, a tribe of eastern Gaul, west of the Jura Mountains

    Aeduus, -a, -um: Aeduan; as subst., m., a Aeduan; pl., the Aedui, a prominent tribe of Gaul, usually friendly to the Romans

    Santonēs, -um, or Santonī, -ōrum, m.: pl., the Santones, or Santoni, a tribe of western Gaul.

    Tolōsātēs, -ium m.: pl., the Tolosates, the people of Tolosa and the surrounding country.

    bellicōsus, -a, -um : warlike, fond of war.

    Rōmānus, -a, -um : Roman; as subst., m., a Roman; pl., Romans, the Romans.

    patēns, -entis : adj., open; accessible, passable.

    frūmentārius, -a, -um : of grain; abounding in grain, fertile; rēs frūmentāria, grain-supply, provisions.

    fīnitimus, -a, -um : bordering, adjacent, neighboring; as subst., m. pl., neighbors, adjoining peoples.

    mūnītiō, -ōnis f.: fortifying, building of defenses; fortifications, ramparts; material for fortifying; defensive strength.

    Titus -ī m.: Titus (name), abbreviated "T."

    Labiēnus, -ī, m.: Labienus, a Roman cognomen; Titus Atius Labienus, Caesar's most trusted legate during the Gallic War. He fought against Caesar in the Civil War.

    praeficiō, -ficere, -fēcī, -fectus : set over, put in command of.

    Italia, -ae, f.: Italy. Caesar sometimes includes Cisalpine Gaul in Italy.

    contendō, -tendere, -tendī, -tentus : strain, exert oneself; strive for, attempt, try; hasten, press forward; contend, vie; join battle, fight, quarrel; insist; demand.

    cōnscrībō, -scrībere, -scrīpsī, -scrīptus : write; enroll, levy, enlist.

    circum : prep. with acc., around, about; near, in the neighborhood of.

    Aquilēia, -ae, f.: Aquileia, a town of Cisalpine Gaul, at the head of the Adriatic.

    hiemō, -āre,- āvī, -ātūrus : spend the winter, winter, be in winter quarters.

    hībernus, -a, -um : of winter, pertaining to winter; as subst., hīberna, -ōrum (sc. castra), n. pl., winter camp, winter quarters; time spent in winter quarters

    Gallia, -ae f.: Gaul

    Alpēs, -ium, f.: pl., the Alps, mountains separating Cisalpine Gaul from Transalpine Gaul and Germany.

    quīnque (v); quīntus, -a, -um : indecl. adj., five; fifth

    Ceutronēs, -um, m.: pl., the Ceutrones: (1) a Gallic tribe among the Alps; (2) a tribe of the Belgae.

    Graiocelī, -ōrum, m.: pl., the Graioceli, a Gallic tribe in the Alps not far from Mt. Cenis.

    Caturīgēs, -um m.: pl., the Caturiges, a Gallic tribe living in the Alps.

    complūrēs, -a or -ia : pl. adj., many, several.

    Ocelum, -ī, n.: Ocelum, a town of Cisalpine Gaul, on the eastern slopes of the Alps.

    citerior, -ius : comp. adj., on this side, nearer, hither; Gallia Citerior is equivalent to Gallia Cisalpīna; Citerior Hispānia, Hither Spain, the eastern part of Spain (nearer Rome).

    (comp.) exterior, -ius; (superl.) extrēmus, -a, -um : (comp.) outer, exterior, on the outside; (superl.) most distant, farthest, last, utmost, extreme; end of; border,  agmen, rear; extrēmae fossae, ends of the trenches; extrēmae rēs, extrēma fortūna, utmost peril; ad extrēmum, finally.

    Vocontiī, -ōrum, m.: pl., the Vocontii, a tribe in the eastern part of the province, west of the Alps.

    septem (vii); septimus, -a, -um : indecl. adj., seven.

    Allobrogēs, -um, m.: pl., the Allobroges, a Gallic tribe in the northeastern part of the Roman province.

    Segusiāvī, -ōrum, m.: pl., the Segusiavi, a Gallic tribe, clients of the Haedui.

    extrā : prep. with acc., outside of, beyond.

    trāns: prep. with acc., across, over, to the further side of; beyond, on the other side of; through. In comp., across, over, through.

    Rhodanus, -ī, m.: the Rhone, a large river of southeastern Gaul.

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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.