Chapter 1.27

Helvētiī omnium rērum inopiā adductī lēgātōs dē dēditiōne ad eum mīsērunt. Quī cum eum in itinere convēnissent sēque ad pedēs prōiēcissent suppliciterque locūtī flentēs pācem petīssent, atque eōs in eō locō quō tum essent suum adventum exspectāre iussisset, pāruērunt. Eō postquam Caesar pervēnit, obsidēs, arma, servōs quī ad eōs perfūgissent, poposcit. Dum ea conquīruntur et cōnferuntur, nocte intermissā circiter hominum mīlia sex eius pāgī quī Verbigēnus appellātur, sīve timōre perterritī, nē armīs trāditīs suppliciō adficerentur, sīve spē salūtis inductī, quod in tantā multitūdine dediticiōrum suam fugam aut occultārī aut omnīnō ignōrārī posse exīstimārent, prīmā nocte ē castrīs Helvētiōrum ēgressī ad Rhēnum fīnēsque Germānōrum contendērunt.

    The Helvetii surrender. Six thousand try to escape.

    inopiā adductī: inopiā is ablative of cause (AG 404 b) (Kelsey). After active verbs the cause is seldom expressed by the simple ablative, but either by a preposition like propter or ob with accusative, or by the ablatives causā, grātiā with a genitive. Sometimes, however, as here, the ablative is used with ductus, mōtus, etc. (Spencer).

    quī … pāruērunt: between the main subject quī and its verb paruērunt there intervene four subordinate clauses, in the last of which the subject is suddenly changed (Stock).

    quī: = illī lēgātī. Note that quī stands first in its sentence because it is the word most closely connected with the preceding sentence: “now when these [ambassadors] … ” (L-E); treat it as the equivalent of a demonstrative (Spencer).

    eum … convēnissent: conveniō is usually intransitive in Caesar, but here it is treated as a transitive compound (M-T): “they had met him.”

    sēque … prōiēcissent: “and had prostrated themselves” (Kelsey).

    ad pedēs: “at his feet,” i.e., at the feet of Caesar (Harkness). Observe that the idiom is faithful to the idea of motion in the verb prōiēcissent (H-T).

    suppliciter: adverb, “in suppliant fashion” (Kelsey).

    flentēs: take with petīssent (Walpole).

    petīssent: = petīvissent.

    eōs: = Helvētiōs (A-G), not lēgātōs (Kelsey), i.e., the whole of the Helvetii, who were ordered not to retreat any farther, but to await Caesar’s arrival (Anthon).

    quō tum essent: “where they [the Helvetians] were said to be” (Anthon). Subjunctive of integral part or attraction (AG 593) (A-G): a clause depending upon a subjunctive clause will itself take the subjunctive if regarded as an integral part of that clause. In his original direct discourse Caesar said quō nunc estis, “where you now are” (Walker).

    iussisset: sc. cum Caesar; this change of subject, though unusual in Latin, is justified by the mention of eum earlier in the sentence (A-G).

    eō: “thither,” to that place” (Harkness), referring to the place where the Helvetii were when they sent the ambassadors, and where Caesar had ordered them to remain until he should arrive (Anthon).

    postquam Caesar pervēnit: indicative with the temporal conjunction postquam (AG 543).

    servōs: = fugitīvōs, fugitive slaves from the Roman Army (see Chapter 23) (Walker).

    quī ad eōs perfūgissent: i.e., fugitive slaves, “who (as he said) had fled” (Kelsey). Caesar in his direct demand would say quī perfūgērunt, but the subjunctive is used in the indirect discourse (AG 580) (A-G). Fugiō = “run away,” while perfugiō = “run away / escaped to a distinctly named place” (Walpole).

    ea: “these [things]”; the use of the neuter, when referring to obsidēs and servōs, as well as arma (H-T), shows that they were here regarded as the spoils of victory, rather than as men (Harkness).

    conquīruntur et cōnferuntur: to express the passive it is often better in English to use the active form: “while they were hunting these up and bringing them together.” The present indicative is regularly used with dum meaning “while” (AG 556) (A-G), but best translated into English by a past tense (L-E).

    nocte intermissā: “a night having intervened” (H-T) for the collection of the men and weapons (ea) required (Moberly). A night intervening between the time of their promise and the time when they must give up their arms (Spencer).

    circiter: adverb modifying sex mīlia (Harkness).

    Verbigēnus: from the parts between Berne and Lucerne (A-G). The Helvetii consisted of four divisions, or cantons (pāgī). The Tigurini have already been mentioned in Chapter 12 (Hodges).

    perterritī: sc. erant; agreeing with the persons (hominum) referred to in mīlia (A-G) by a construction according to sense (Harkness). The prefix per- intensifies the force of this compound (H-T): “thoroughly frightened.”

    nē … suppliciō adficerentur … spē salūtis inductī: "[the fear] that they would be visited with punishment  … ,” i.e., put to death (Hodges). They were motivated either by sheer desperation or with the hope of escape. Note that after verbs of fearing (timōre perterritī [erant]) = “that” or “lest” (AG 564) (A-G).

    armīs trāditīs: “after giving up their arms” (Kelsey); “if their weapons were handed over.”

    spē salūtis: salūtis (= lībertātis (Walpole)) is objective genitive (AG 348) with spē: “hope of safety” (Kelsey).

    in tantā multitūdine: the in expresses cause: “since so many where in the surrender” (H-T).

    dediticiōrum: “of those who had surrendered” (Kelsey); partitive genitive (AG 346) with multitūdine. These were persons who had voluntarily surrendered, with the condition of not being reduced to slavery (Spencer).

    fugam: subject of posse (Harkness).

    occultārī aut omnīnō ignōrārī: “be hidden” i.e., from Caesar (for a time at least, until they had a sufficient start (Hodges)) “or remain altogether unknown” i.e., remain wholly unnoticed by anybody (A-G).

    quod … exīstimārent: the supposed reason of the Helvetii, hence the subjunctive (AG 540) (A-G). When the reason is given on the authority of the writer, the indicative is used: “they supposed their flight could either be concealed or be entirely unnoticed” (H-T).

    prīmā nocte: “as soon as it was night,” more literally, “at the beginning of the night” (Anthon); “in the early part of the night” (Harkness). The collection of hostages, etc., was not completed on the first day, and in the night intervening (nocte intermissā) between the first day and the second the six thousand attempted to escape (M-T).

    ad … contendērunt: “made (rapidly) for” (A-G).

    Rhēnum fīnēsque Germānōrum: if the fugitives had reached the Germans, they might have secured sympathy and active help against the Romans (Hodges). Their first step there would have been to induce the Germans to enter the dispeopled Switzerland (Moberly). The conjunction –que is often used to add, not a different thing, but a new aspect of the thing already mentioned: “the Rhine which forms the German frontier” (M-T).

    inopia, -ae f.: lack, need, scarcity; poverty, destitution.

    dēditiō, -ōnis f.: surrender, capitulation; in dēditiōnem accipere, accept the surrender of, receive in surrender; in dēditiōnem venīre, surrender.

    prōiciō, -icere, -iēcī, -iectus: hurl forward, throw, throw down; abandon, reject; sē prōicere, prostrate oneself; hurl oneself, leap.

    suppliciter: adv., suppliantly, humbly.

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

    obses, -sidis m. and f.: hostage.

    perfugiō, -fugere, -fūgī: flee for refuge, go over, escape, desert.

    conquīrō, -quīrere, -quīsīvī, -quīsītus: seek for, hunt up; bring together, procure.

    intermittō, -mittere, -mīsī, -missus: let go between, leave between; omit, stop, leave, leave off; leave vacant; allow to intervene; neglect; interrupt, separate; intermissō spatiō, at a distance, after an interval.

    circiter: (1) adv., about, nearly; (2) prep. with acc., about, around, near.

    sex (vi): indecl. adj., six.

    pāgus, -ī, m.: district, canton; people of a canton.

    Verbigenus, -ī, m.: Verbigenus, the name of a canton of the Helvetii.

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

    indūcō, -dūcere, -dūxī, -ductus: lead in; induce, influence; pellibus indūcere, cover with skins.

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

    dēditīcius, -a, -um: surrendered; as subst., m. pl., prisoners of war, captives.

    occultō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus: hide, conceal.

    omnīnō: adv., wholly, entirely, utterly; in all; only; at all.

    ignōrō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus: not know, be ignorant of, misunderstand; nōn ignōrāns, knowing well.

    Rhēnus, -ī, m.: the Rhine, a large river forming the boundary between Gaul and Germany.

    Germānus, -ī, m.: a German; pl., the Germans; as adj., Germānus, -a, -um, German

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

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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.