Chapter 1.16

Interim cotīdiē Caesar Aeduōs frūmentum quod essent pūblicē pollicitī flāgitāre. Nam propter frīgora, quod Gallia sub septentriōnibus, ut ante dictum est, posita est, nōn modo frūmenta in agrīs mātūra nōn erant, sed nē pābulī quidem satis magna cōpia suppetēbat: eō autem frūmentō quod flūmine Arāre nāvibus subvēxerat proptereā ūtī minus poterat quod iter ab Arāre Helvētiī āverterant, ā quibus discēdere nōlēbat. Diem ex diē dūcere Aeduī: cōnferrī, comportārī, adesse dīcere. Ubi sē diūtius dūcī intellēxit et diem īnstāre, quō diē frūmentum mīlitibus mētīrī oportēret, convocātis eōrum prīncipibus quōrum magnam cōpiam in castrīs habēbat, in hīs Dīviciācō et Liscō, quī summō magistrātuī praeerant quem Vergobretum appellant Aeduī, quī creātur annuus et vītae necisque in suōs habet potestātem, graviter eōs accūsat quod, cum neque emī neque ex agrīs sūmī posset, tam necessāriō tempore, tam propinquīs hostibus, ab eīs nōn sublevētur; praesertim cum magnā ex parte eōrum precibus adductus bellum suscēperit, multō etiam gravius quod sit dēstitūtus queritur.

    The Aedui delay furnishing Caesar’s army grain. Caesar calls a council of their chiefs.

    interim: i.e., during the fifteen days of marching (Walker).

    Caesar: the Roman general was in a perilous situation, being far from his own supplies, in the midst of only half-hearted allies, and confronted by a vigilant foe. Caesar was careful of his supplies (L-E).

    Aeduōs frūmentum … flāgitāre: “demanded corn of the Aedui.” Flāgitāre is an historical infinitive, = flāgitābat (AG 463), precisely the verb to be employed here, since it denotes an earnest and reiterated demand, accompanied with reproaches. The historical infinitive serves to impart greater animation to the style than the ordinary imperfect would (Anthon). The double accusative is used with flāgitāre ̶ the thing demanded (frūmentum) and the person of whom the demand is made (Aeduōs).

    quod essent … pollicitī: “which (as Caesar said) they had promised”; in making his demand Caesar reminded them of their promise (Hodges). Caesar the writer presents the statement of Caesar the commander as if it were quoted from someone else, hence the subjunctive (Kelsey). This subordinate clause employs the subjunctive to imply that Caesar made the statement in demanding the grain. It is indirect discourse; but, because there is no verb of saying and the clause does not depend on an accusative and infinitive, it is called “implied indirect discourse” (Walker). The subjunctive may be explained by the fact that the antecedent is indefinite: “whatever grain they had promised” (Harkness). Or the subjunctive may be used because the clause is used to describe or characterize frūmentum as well as to state that they had promised it (the subjunctive of characteristic (AG 534) (H-T).

    pūblicē: “as a state” (M-T); “in the name of the state,” literally, “publicly,” referring to the promise made by the chiefs (Harkness).

    propter frīgora: “because of the cold seasons,” or “spells of cold” (A-G); “on account of the cold climate” (Harkness); the plural is here employed to impart additional emphasis (Anthon) and to show the continued cold (H-T); the singular would refer more to coldness in the abstract (Harkness).  The climate of Gaul in Caesar’s day was much colder than that of France now. The change has come from clearing away the forests and draining the marshes, which then covered much of the country (A-G).

    quod Gallia … posita est: “Gaul lying”; a parenthetic clause (Walpole).

    sub septentriōnibus: literally, “under the northern stars” (Walker), i.e., towards the north. Caesar here speaks of Gaul in its relation to the more southern position of Italy (Anthon).

    ut ante dictum est: see Chapter 1 (Harkness).

    frūmenta mātūra nōn erant: the plural of frūmentum is regularly used of “standing grain” (A-G) as opposed to the singular, which is “harvested grain” (L-E). The crops of grain were not “ripe” (mātūra) because it was too early in the season (A-G). This must have been taking place in late June-early July according to the calendar in use at the time, but as the calendar was in great confusion before Caesar reformed and regulated it (which was 46 B.C., twelve years afterwards), the month of June answered to our April (Spencer).

    nē pabulī quidem: “not even of fodder” required for the pack animals as well as the horses of the cavalry (Kelsey). The emphatic word always stands between the and quidem (H-T). Pabulī is partitive genitive dependent on cōpia (AG 346). ): the green fodder was scarce as well, because Caesar was following in the path of the Helvetians, whose thousands of cattle had swept the country bare (A-G).

    suppetēbat: “was at hand,” equivalent to ad manum erat, or the simple aderat (Anthon).

    eō autem frūmentō … nōlēbat: “besides (autem) he was unable to make use of the corn which he had brought up the river Arar in vessels, for this reason (proptereā), because the Helvetii, from whom he was unwilling to depart, had turned away their line of march from the Arar” (A-G).

    frūmentō: ablative with ūtor (AG 410) (A-G). Besides his pay, each soldier was furnished with clothes, and received a certain allowance (dīmensum) of corn, commonly four bushels a month. For these things a part of his pay was deduced. The soldiers prepared and made bread for themselves out of the grain or corn (Spencer).

    flūmine, nāvibus: ablatives of means (AG 409) (Harkness).

    quod … subvēxerat: “which he had brought up the river Saône in boats” (Hodges). Sub, prefixed with verbs of motion, implies motion to or from below (M-T).

    flūmine: “by way of the river” (L-E); ablative of way by which / route (AG 429a).

    minus poterat: “could not very well”; minus is often a weaker nōn (Hodges).

    iter ab Arārī āverterant: the Helvetians had at first followed the valley of the Arar (Saône) northward, but now “had turned away from the Arar” and passed westward into the valley of the Liger (Loire), avoiding the mountainous country opposite the place where they had crossed the Arar (Kelsey). Caesar, in pursuing the Helvetii, who had turned away from the river, had been obliged to leave his supplies (Harkness).

    diem ex diē dūcere Aeduī: sc. eum: “the Aedui were putting him off from day to day” (H-T), more literally, “protracted the affair (i.e., the bringing of corn) from day to day” (Anthon). Diem is accusative of duration of time (AG 423.2) (A-G) with an adverbial force (Walpole).

    dūcere, dīcere: historical infinitives (AG 463) (A-G). These infinitives are as if the writer did not stop to concern himself about the proper mood and tense, but hurried on, leaving the verb indefinite (H-T).

    cōnferrī, comportārī, adesse dīcere: sc. frūmentum: note the climax, “they kept saying that it (i.e., the grain) was being gathered, it was on the way, it was already at hand” (A-G). They assured him, at one time, that the corn was getting collected by individuals; at another, that these individuals were bringing it in to some place specified by the magistrates, in order to form the requisite supply for the Romans; and, at another time again, they told him it was actually on the road to his army, and near at hand (Anthon). Conferrī, comportārī, and adesse are infinitives in indirect discourse dependent on dīcere (Harkness). By the omission of connectives (asyndeton (AG 323b, 601c) the climax is heightened (Hodges).

    sē diūtius dūcī: “that he was being put off too long” (Walker), “longer than was right” (Hodges).

    diem … quō diē: “the day when” (H-T); “the day on which” (Walker). Note the repetition of the antecedent in the relative clause, but do not translate it (A-G).

    īnstāre: “was near” (Kelsey).

    frūmentum mīlitibus mētīrī oportēret: sc. with oportēret; the object of mētīrī is frūmentum. The clause frūmentum … metīrī is the subject of oportēret (Harkness), which is subjunctive in a subordinate clause in indirect discourse (AG 583) (Walker): “[the day on which] he must serve grain to the soldiers” (A-G), literally, “to measure out the grain” (Kelsey). This is a reference to the distribution of rations of corn and fodder (menstruum, derived from mensis, the distribution having been originally monthly) (M-T) or twice a month (Walker). The monthly allowance to each foot-soldier was four bushels of corn; to the equitēs, 12 of corn and 42 of barley (Walpole).

    convocātis eōrum prīncipibus: “summoning their chiefs” (L-E); ablative absolute (AG 419).

    Dīviciācō et Liscō: sc. convocātīs (L-E); ablative in apposition with prīncipibus (A-G).

    quī summō magistrātuī praeerat: “who was invested with the chief magistracy” (Anthon); “who held the chief office” (A-G), literally, “presided over the highest magistracy” (Harkness). Magistrātuī is dative with the compound verb praesum (AG 370).

    quem … appellant Aeduī: “whom the Aedui call … ” (Harkness). Quem refers not to the magistracy but to the person invested with it (Spencer). Quem and vergobretum are double accusative objects of appellant (AG 393) (Walker).

    vergobretum: the title of their chief magistrate (Harkness). The term is derived, by Celtic scholars, from Fear-go-breith, equivalent to vir ad iūdicium, i.e., “a man for judging” or “trying cases.” In Celtic, fear is “a man,” go “to” or “for,” and breatam, “a judge” (Anthon). Caesar tells us (VII,33) that this officer was not permitted to go beyond the limits of the state during his term; and that no one could be vergobret while one of his family who had held the position was living (L-E). Down to the time of the French Revolution, the magistrate of Autun was called Verg or Vierg. Autun is near the site of the Aeduan town Bibracte (Hodges).

    quī creātur annuus: “who is appointed for one year.” He was elected annually by a council of priests (M-T). Annuus agrees with quī (Harkness), the antecedent of which is verbogretum (Kelsey); it is here a predicate adjective, where English idiom would require an adverb (“annually”) (Hodges).

    vītae necisque … potestātem: “the power of life and death” (Kelsey).

    in suōs: “over his people (“countrymen” (Kelsey))” (A-G).

    eōs accūsat: “he took them to task” (Kelsey); historical present (AG 469).

    possit: sc. frūmentum (A-G); subjunctive in a cum-causal clause (AG 549).

    tam necessāriō tempore: “on so urgent an occasion” (Anthon); “at such a critical time” (Harkness); “at so urgent a crisis (as now)” (M-T).

    tam propinquīs hostibus: “with the enemy [being] so near”; an ablative absolute (AG 419a).

    eōrum precibus adductus: see Chapter 11 (Anthon).

    nōn sublevētur … quod sit dēstitūtus: nōn sublevētur (“is not assisted) is opposed to sit dēstitūtus (“has been abandoned”) (M-T): “because (as he said) he received no help from them,” literally, “was not helped by them” (Kelsey); “of his having been left unaided by them,” i.e., not having been supplied with corn (Anthon). The subjunctive implies that these reasons were assigned by the speaker. In other words, Caesar here quotes his own language in implied indirect discourse (Walker).

    praesertim cum: “especially since” (Kelsey).

    magnā ex parte: “to a great extent” (Hodges); “in great measure” (Kelsey).

    eōrum precibus: “by their entreaties” (Kelsey). Caesar accused the Aedui of ingratitude in not helping him, when he was acting in response to their prayers (Hodges).

    bellum: “campaign” against the Helvetians (Kelsey).

    multō gravius: he complained “much more bitterly” because they had played him false (Hodges). Multō is the ablative of degree of difference (AG 414).

    sit dēstitūtus: translate as if pluperfect, “he had been abandoned, left destitute by them,” i.e., they had not supplied him with the necessary corn (Spencer). The time of this verb (perfect subjunctive) is past relative to that of the main verb queritur, which is a historical present, “he complained” (Kelsey).

    cottīdiē : adv., daily, every day.

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

    polliceor, pollicērī, pollicitus : offer, promise; līberāliter pollicērī, make generous promises.

    flāgitō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus: demand urgently, importune.

    frīgus, -goris, n.: cold, frost, wintry weather; pl., cold seasons, cold.

    quod : conj., that, in that, because, since; as to the fact that: the fact that.

    Gallia, -ae f.: Gaul

    septemtriōnēs, -um m. : pl., seven plow-oxen, the seven stars of the constellation 'Great Bear'; north; sometimes sing. in same sense.

    mātūrus, -a, -um: ripe; early; (adv.) mātūrē, in season; early, soon, quickly.

    pābulum, -ī n.: food for cattle, fodder.

    suppetō, -petere, -petīvī, -petītus : be at hand, be available; be sufficient, hold out.

    Arar, -aris, acc. -im, abl. -ī, m.: the Arar river, now the Saône, a branch of the Rhone

    subvehō, -vehere, -vexī, -vectus : bring up, transport.

    proptereā : adv., therefore, on that account; proptereā quod, for the reason that, because.

    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.

    āvertō, -vertere, -vertī, -versus : turn away, turn aside, avert; alienate.

    comportō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : carry together, collect, bring in.

    īnstō, -stāre, -stitī, -stātūrus : push on, press on; approach, impend, be near.

    mētior, mētīrī, mēnsus: measure, measure out.

    convocō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : call together, summon, assemble.

    Dīviciācus, -ī, m. : Diviciacus: (1) a druid, one of the Aedui. He was brother of Dumnorix, but, unlike the latter, was friendly to the Romans; (2) a king of the Suessiones.

    Liscus, -ī, m.: Liscus, a Aeduan, who held the chief magistracy of his tribe in 58 b.c.

    magistrātus, -ūs m.: magistracy, public office; municipal officer, magistrate; body of magistrates.

    praesum, -esse, -fuī : be before, be set over, be in command of.

    vergobretus, -ī, m.: vergobret, the title of the chief magistrate among the Aedui.

    annuus, -a, -um : belonging to a year, for a year, yearly, annual.

    nex, necis, f.: death, murder, slaughter.

    graviter : adv., heavily; seriously, forcibly; bitterly, severely, vehemently; graviter ferre, be troubled about, feel indignation at, take hard.

    accūsō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : accuse, blame, chide.

    emō, emere, ēmī, ēmptus: buy.

    necessārius, -a, -um : necessary, indispensable, requisite; pressing, urgent; tempus neces-sārium, time of need, critical time; as subst., m., connection, kinsman.

    propinquus, -a, -um : near, neighboring, at hand; related; as subst., m. and f., relative.

    sublevō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : raise up, lift from beneath; hold up, support; lighten, lessen; assist, sustain; sē sublevāre, rise.

    praesertim : adv., especially, chiefly, particularly.

    multō : adv., much, by far.

    dēstituō, -stituere, -stituī, -stitūtus : abandon, desert.

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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.