Chapter 1.18

Caesar hāc ōrātiōne Liscī Dumnorigem Dīviciācī frātrem dēsignārī sentiēbat; sed, quod plūribus praesentibus eās rēs iactārī nōlēbat, celeriter concilium dīmittit, Liscum retinet. Quaerit ex sōlō ea quae in conventū dīxerat. Dīcit līberius atque audācius. Eadem sēcrētō ab aliīs quaerit; reperit esse vēra: ipsum esse Dumnorigem, summā audāciā, magnā apud plēbem propter līberālitātem grātiā, cupidum rērum novārum. Complūrēs annōs portōria reliquaque omnia Aeduōrum vectīgālia parvō pretiō redempta habēre, proptereā quod illō licente contrā licērī audeat nēmō. Hīs rēbus et suam rem familiārem auxisse et facultātēs ad largiendum magnās comparāsse; magnum numerum equitātūs suō sūmptū semper alere et circum sē habēre; neque sōlum domī sed etiam apud fīnitimās cīvitātēs largiter posse; atque huius potentiae causā mātrem in Biturīgibus hominī illīc nōbilissimō ac potentissimō collocāsse, ipsum ex Helvētiīs uxōrem habēre, sorōrem ex mātre et propinquās suās nūptum in aliās cīvitātēs collocāsse. Favēre et cupere Helvētiīs propter eam adfīnitātem, ōdisse etiam suō nōmine Caesarem et Rōmānōs, quod eōrum adventū potentia eius dēminūta et Dīviciācus frāter in antīquum locum grātiae atque honōris sit restitūtus. Sī quid accidat Rōmānīs, summam in spem per Helvētiōs rēgnī obtinendī venire: imperiō populī Rōmānī nōn modo dē rēgnō sed etiam dē eā quam habeat grātiā dēspērāre. Reperiēbat etiam in quaerendō Caesar, quod proelium equestre adversum paucīs ante diēbus esset factum, initium eius fugae factum ā Dumnorige atque eius equitibus (nam equitātuī quem auxiliō Caesarī Aeduī mīserant Dumnorix praeerat): eōrum fugā reliquum esse equitātum perterritum.

    Liscus tells Caesar of the power of Dumnorix, and that he favors the Helvetii.

    dēsignārī: “was meant,” literally, “was pointed at” (Anthon).

    sed, quod … eās rēs iactārī nōlēbat: “but since he was unwilling that these matters should be disclosed; “ … openly discussed” (Hodges). Eās rēs are what the real reasons were why the state of Aeduans had not made good on its promises (Kelsey).

    iactārī: “to be bandied about”; iactō is the frequentative (AG 263.2) of iaciō (A-G).

    plūribus praesentibus: “in the presence of many” (A-G); “so many being present,” literally, “a larger number [than ordinary] being present” (Anthon); “with too many present” (Hodges). Observe that the ablative absolute (AG 419) will rarely bear a literal translation, but its force must be brought out in various ways (A-G).

    celeriter: “quickly,” so as to shut off further discussion (Kelsey).

    concilium dīmittit: “he dismissed the assembly” of leading Aeduans (prīncipibus, Chapter 16) (Kelsey).

    Liscum retinet: “[but] he keeps Liscus” (A-G); “he detained Liscus” (Kelsey). The omission of the conjunction (asyndeton) is very common in Caesar’s rapid narrative (A-G).

    quaerit … ea quae … dīxerat: “he asks (the meaning of) that which he had said.” Quae here does not question indirectly, but is a relative pronoun (M-T).

    ex sōlō: sc. with sōlō: “from him in private.” Sōlō refers to Liscus (Anthon). Most Latin verbs of asking (like quaerit) may take two accusatives, but the person is more commonly expressed by the ablative with a preposition (Walker).

    dīcit līberius atque audācius: “he (Liscus) thereupon expresses himself with greater freedom and boldness” (Anthon); “ … more freely and confidently” (Spencer). The change of subject is unmarked (M-T).

    sēcrētō: “each by himself” (A-G); “privately” (Kelsey); “apart [from Liscus]”. Sēcrētō is an adverb based on the perfect passive participle from sēcernere, “to separate” (M-T).

    reperit esse vēra: sc. haec: “he found them to be true” (Harkness), i.e., Liscus’s statements (Kelsey); “he learned that this was the truth” (Walker); “he found that the facts were as follows” (Hodges). Vēra agrees with eadem, which is explained by the lengthy indirect discourse which follows (Harkness).

    ipsum esse Dumnorigem: sc. virum; indirect discourse begins: “that it was Dumnorix himself” (Spencer); “that Dumnorix was indeed the man” (M-T); “that in fact it was Dumnorix,” as Caesar had surmised (Kelsey); “that Dumnorix was the very person … ,” i.e., the one whom Liscus meant (Harkness); “that Dumnorix was the particular or exact person meant” (Moberly). The indirect discourse converted to direct discourse, with changes underlined, is as follows: Ipse est Dumnorixcupidus rērum novārum. Complūrēs annōs portōria … redēmpta habet, quod illō licente contrā licērī audet nēmō. Hīs rēbus et suam rem … auxit et facultātēs … comparāvit; magnum numerum equitātūs … alit et circum sē habet, neque sōlum domī sed etiam apud … cīvitātēs largiter potest; atque … mātrem …  collocāvit, ipse … uxōrem habet, sorōrem … collocāvit. Favet et cupit Helvētiīs …  ōdit …  Caesarem … quod …  frāter … est restitūtus. Sī quid accidat Rōmānīs, summam in spem … venit; imperiō populī Rōmānī … dē eā quam habet grātiā, dēspērat (A-G).

    summā audāciā: sc. virum: “[a man] of the greatest daring” (H-T); “ … of the utmost recklessness” (L-E); “ … of the extreme boldness” (Spencer). The general word is rarely, as here, omitted after a proper name with an ablative of quality (AG 415) (A-G).

    līberālitātem: “lavish giving” (Kelsey).

    cupidum rērum novārum: “eager for a revolution” (L-E); rēs novae (literally, “new things”) is the regular expression for a change of government, revolution, or coup d-état. Such overturnings seem to have been frequent in Gaul (A-G). Cupidus takes an objective genitive (AG 349a).

    complūrēs annōs … nēmō: “that he had, for several years, farmed the customs, and all the other public revenues of the Aedui, at a low rate, because, when he bid, no one dared to bid against him.” 

    portōria: “port duties,” “frontier duties,” “tolls” paid for the privilege of importing or exporting goods across a country (L-E). It was customary among the ancients to levy tolls on goods passing through their country along the roads and rivers (Kelsey). The Aedui controlled at least a part of the Saône, which was a water-way into the center of Gaul.

    vectīgālia: derived from vectus, participle of vehō, means that which is “brought in” to the public treasury (Kelsey). It is a name for taxes in general; revenues from any source, as from the public pastures, products of the land, etc. (H-T). The Aeduan revenues were “farmed out” as among the Romans; that is, the privilege of collecting taxes was sold at auction to the highest bidder, who guaranteed to the state a certain sum, did the collecting through his agents, and kept for himself all that he could make above the amount paid into the public treasury and the costs of collection. The “publicans” (pūblicānī or redemtōrēs) of the New Testament were collectors of taxes under this system, which afforded large opportunity for corruption and extortion (Kelsey), as the actual tax gathering was left in the hands of rapacious and irresponsible agents; thus the people were left impoverished and their oppressors were enriched (L-E).

    redēmpta: take with habēre: “he held in contract,” stronger than redēmisse would have been (Walpole); “he had (having been) bought up” (L-E); “he had farmed” Redimō is a technical word meaning “to take a contract for doing a thing”; here, to “contract for the collection of taxes,” “to farm the taxes.” (M-T).

    parvō pretiō: “at a small price”; ablative of price (AG 417) (Harkness). Dumnorix secured these contracts at a low price, because no one dared to bid against him (Harkness), thus defrauding the state (L-E).

    quod … contrā licērī audeat nēmō: “no one dares to bid against him”; the subjunctive audeat in a quod-causal clause in indirect discourse (AG 540.b) (H-T). Dumnorix bought for a lump sum the right to collect the taxes, expecting to recoup himself and make a profit (Hodges).

    illō licente: “when he was bidding” (H-T). Licente is from the personal verb liceor (“to bid at an auction sale”), not from the intransitive verb liceō. Several MSS. have illō dīcente (Anthon).

    contrā: here an adverb (Kelsey).

    nēmō: Since no one dared to bid against Dumnorix, he could obtain the right to collect the taxes on terms most favorable to himself (Kelsey).

    rem familiārem: “private fortune” (Kelsey).

    facultātēs ad largiendum magnās: “extensive means for the exercise of liberality,” i.e. for bestowing presents and rewards (Anthon); “for bribery,” to buy political support (A-G). Ad together with an accusative gerund expresses purpose (AG 506).

    domī: “at home,” i.e., among his own people (Hodges); locative case (AG 93).

    comparāsse: = comparāvisse: “that he had amassed” (Harkness).

    numerum equitātūs: “a body of cavalry.” Numerus in post-Augustan Latin became a technical word for any indefinitely large or small body of troops (M-T).

    suō sūmptū: “at his own expense” (Hodges).

    alere: “maintained” (Kelsey)

    largiter posse: equivalent to esse potentissimum: “had considerable influence” (M-T); “exercised a powerful influence” (Anthon), literally “that he was able greatly” (Harkness). Largiter is a rather rare adverb from largus, for the more common largē (M-T).

    huius potentiae causā: sc. augendae: “to increase this influence” (Kelsey); “for the sake of his power” (A-G); “in order to maintain this influence,” literally, “for the sake of this influence” (Anthon). As always, causā (“for the sake of,” “on account of”) thus following a genitive expresses purpose (AG 359b, 404.c). Potentia is “power,” as an attribute of the person; potestās is the power to do anything; facultās, “opportunity”; imperium, “military authority” (A-G).

    Biturīgibus: near the modern Bourges, west of the Aedui (A-G). The Bituriges were neighbors of the Aedui, from whom they were separated by the river Loire (Harkness). There were two tribes of this name, the Bituriges Cubi, whose capital was Avaricum, and another called by Strabo the Bituriges Iosci (= Vivisci) whose capital was Burdigala (Bordeaux). They were the only Celtic people who dwelt in Aquitania (Stock).

    illīc: “of that country” (Kelsey).

    collocāsse: = collocāvisse; sc. in mātrimōnium or nuptum: “he had given his mother in marriage to a man among the Bituriges, most noble and powerful there” (Hodges). Collocāre in this sense is a legal expression (Anthon).

    ipsum ex Helvētiīs uxōrem habēre: “that he himself (i.e., Dumnorix) had married a wife from the Helvetii” (Harkness); he had married the daughter of Orgetorix (see Chapter 3: eīque fīliam suam in mātrimonium dat (H-T)) (Anthon).

    sorōrem ex mātre: sc. partam: “his sister by [i.e., born of the same] mother“ (Harkness), i.e., his half-sister on his mother’s side (Kelsey).

    propinquās: “his female relatives” (Kelsey)

    nūptum: “to marry”; construe this supine (AG 509) with collocāsse, which implies the notion of “sending” (Spencer) and hence motion. Nūbere is used of women marrying, while dūcere is used of men (Harkness).

    in aliās cīvitātēs: the accusative implies “sent them into other states and caused them to be married there” (Walker).

    favēre et cupere Helvētiīs: “that he favored and wished (success) for the Helvetians” (Kelsey); cupere is here equivalent to bene velle, as voluntās occurs in the next chapter for benevolentia (Anthon). Helvētiīs is dative with favēre (AG 367).

    affīnitātem: “relationship” (Kelsey); “alliance by marriage,” as distinct from propinquitās, relationship by blood (M-T).

    ōdisse etiam suō nōmine: “that he hated also on his own account,” i.e., “personally” (Kelsey), “on individual grounds” (L-E); he cherished a personal hatred towards (Anthon). Suō nōmine, an ablative of cause (AG 404) (Harkness), is an expression derived from mercantile life, where one’s name is written at the top of the ledger and everything under it put to “his account” (H-T).

    eōrum adventū: “by their coming.” Eōrum refers to the Romans, and adventū is the ablative of means (AG 409) (Harkness).

    eius: refers to Dumnorix (Harkness).

    potentia eius dēminūta: sc. sit from the next sentence (Harkness): “his influence had been lessened” (Kelsey). The object of writing eius instead of sua seems to have been to express distinctly that the power of Dumnorix had been really diminished; potentia sua might have meant only that he said it had been diminished (Moberly).

    in antīquum locum … sit restitūtus: “had been restored to his former position,” i.e., had been reinstated in his former influence (Anthon). Diviciacus was restored to his former position, which the rise of Dumnorix had obscured. Diviciacus was a man of some culture; five years previously, in 63 B.C., he had visited Rome (Kelsey).

    grātiae: “influence.” The genitive is definitive; that is to say, expresses the position or condition, which was “influence and honor” (Walpole)

    sī quid accidat Rōmānīs: “if anything should happen to the Romans,” a euphemistic expression for “if any disaster should befall the Romans” (Hodges). While contingere is commonly used of good fortune, and ēvenīre is used in a neutral sense (M-T), accidere tends to be used of something bad or unfavorable; our expression “if anything should happen to him” has a similar underlying suggestion (Kelsey). Future less vivid protasis with venīre as apodosis (AG 516b) (A-G). Quid is the shortened form of aliquid used after sī, nisi, num, and nē.  Rōmānīs is a dative of disadvantage (AG 376).

    summam in spem … venīre: “that he entertained very great hopes” (Anthon), literally, “came into the highest hope” (Harkness).

    per: “with the help of” (Kelsey).

    rēgnī obtinendī: gerundive construction, objective genitive with spem (AG 504, 348): “of holding rule” (Stock); “of gaining sovereignty.”

    imperiō populī Rōmānī: = imperante populō Rōmānō: “if the Roman people held the command” (Spencer) “under the sway (“supremacy” (Kelsey)) of the Roman people,” i.e., as long as the Roman people possessed the chief authority in Gaul (Anthon); imperiō is a variation of the ablative of time (AG 423), called the ablative of attendance circumstance (Walpole). “under the rule” (A-G). Beware of translating imperium as “empire,” a meaning which it did not acquire until very late times (Walpole).

    dē rēgnō: “of the kingship” (Kelsey).                 

    reperiēbat: notice the tense. Caesar kept asking questions, and kept learning something new (Hodges).

    in quaerendō: “on inquiring into” (Anthon); “in the course of his enquiries” (Moberly).

    quod proelium equestre adversum … esset factum: “[in regard to] the fact that an unsuccessful engagement of our cavalry had taken place” (Harkness); “[whereas] a disastrous cavalry skirmish had occurrred” (L-E); proelium is attracted into the relative clause, while its proper place in the antecedent clause is taken by fugae (Kelsey). Quod here can be taken as a conjunction (Harkness), or it can be understood as a relative pronoun (H-T). The subjunctive is used in the report of the answers to Caesar’s questions (reperiēbat in quaerendō) (M-T).

    paucīs ante diēbus: “a few days before"; ante an adverb; diēbus is ablative of degree of difference (AG 414) (L-E), literally, “before by a few days.”

    initium eius fugae factum: sc. esse: “the beginning of that flight occurred,” referring to proelium adversum (Harkness). The implication is that Dumnorix treacherously started with the Aeduan contingent to flee, and that this precipitated a general rout (Kelsey).

    equitātuī, … Dumnorix praeerat: “Dumnorix was in charge of the cavalry”; equitātuī is dative with the compound verb praeerat (AG 370). Some editions have equitātū, an old form for the dative (Anthon).

    auxiliō Caesarī: “as an aid to Caesar” (Kelsey); “to help Caesar”; a double dative construction (AG 382.1), auxiliō being a dative of purpose, and Caesarī, a dative of reference.

    equitātum perterritum: “that the cavalry had been thrown into a panic” (Kelsey). In his account of this skirmish (Chapter 15) Caesar rather diminishes the serious nature of the defeat. It is only here, where he wishes to show the full extent of the treachery of Dumnorix, that we learn that it ended as a panic and complete rout of the four thousand cavalry (M-T).

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

    Dumnorīx, -īgis m.: Dumnorix, a Aeduan, brother of Diviciacus.

    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.

    dēsīgnō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : mark out, describe, designate.

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

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

    iactō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : throw with violence, hurl; toss about, shake; discuss.

    concilium, -ī, n.: assembly, meeting, council.

    conventus, -ūs m.: meeting, assembly; session of a court, assize, court.

    līberē : adv., freely, unrestrictedly; openly, boldly.

    audācter : adv., daringly, boldly, courageously, confidently, recklessly.

    sēcrētō : adv., separately, apart, in private.

    audācia, -ae f.: daring, boldness, recklessness; temerity, insolence.

    līberālitās, -ātis f.: characteristic of a free man; liberality, generosity.

    cupidus, -a, -um : eager, ready, desirous, fond.

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

    portōrium, -ī n.: tariff, toll, tax on traffic, duty.

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

    vectīgal, -ālis n.: payment to the state, tax, tribute; income, revenue.

    redimō, -imere, -ēmī, -ēmptus : buy back, buy up, purchase.

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

    liceor, licērī, licitus: bid.

    familiāris, -e : belonging to a house or family, private; rēs familiāris, private possessions; as subst., m., intimate friend, associate.

    facultās, -ātis f.: ability, power; opportunity, chance, occasion, leave; supply, abundance; pl., resources.

    largior, -īrī, -ītus : give generously; bribe.

    equitātus, -ūs m.: cavalry, body of horsemen.

    sūmptus, -ūs m.: expense, cost.

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

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

    largiter : adv., in abundance; largiter posse, have great authority or influence.

    potentia, -ae f.: power, authority; influence, eminence.

    Biturīgēs, -um, m.: pl., the Bituriges, an important tribe of central Gaul.

    collocō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : place, station, establish, put; place permanently, settle; give in marriage.

    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.

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

    nūbō, nūbere, nūpsī, nūptus: veil oneself, be married (said of the woman); nūptum conlocāre, give in marriage.

    faveō, favēre, fāvī, fautūrus: be well disposed toward, show favor to, favor.

    adfīnitās, -ātis f.: relationship by marriage, alliance.

    Rōmānī Rōmānōrum m.: Romans

    adventus, -ūs m.: arrival, coming, approach.

    dēminuō, -minuere, -minuī, -minūtus : make less, diminish, reduce; impair; take away.

    restituō, -stituere, -stituī, -stitūtus : restore, renew, reinstate; begin again; give back, deliver up, return; rebuild.

    quī, quae or qua, quod: indef. adj., used chiefly after sī, nisi, nē, num, any, some; the form quī is sometimes used as a substantive, any one, some one.

    obtineō, -tinēre, -tinuī, -tentus : hold against (another), hold fast, hold, possess, keep, occupy; preserve, maintain; get possession of, gain.

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

    dēspērō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : be hopeless, despair, give up hope; despair of.

    equester, -tris, -tre : equestrian, of cavalry, cavalry.

    perterreō, -terrēre, -terruī, -territus : frighten thoroughly, fill with terror; perterritus, -a, -um, panic-stricken.

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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.