Chapter 1.30

Bellō Helvētiōrum cōnfectō, tōtīus ferē Galliae lēgātī, prīncipēs cīvitātum, ad Caesarem grātulātum convēnērunt: intellegere sēsē, tametsī prō veteribus Helvētiōrum iniūriīs populī Rōmānī ab hīs poenās bellō repetīsset, tamen eam rem nōn minus ex ūsū terrae Galliae quam populī Rōmānī accidisse; proptereā quod eō cōnsiliō flōrentissimīs rēbus domōs suās Helvētiī relīquissent, utī tōtī Galliae bellum īnferrent imperiōque potīrentur, locumque domiciliō ex magnā cōpiā dēligerent quem ex omnī Galliā opportunissimum ac frūctuōsissimum iūdicāssent, reliquāsque cīvitātēs stīpendiāriās habērent. Petiērunt utī sibi concilium tōtīus Galliae in diem certam indīcere idque Caesaris voluntāte facere licēret: sēsē habēre quāsdam rēs quās ex commūnī cōnsēnsū ab eō petere vellent. Eā rē permissā, diem conciliō cōnstituērunt et iūre iūrandō nē quis ēnūntiāret, nisi quibus commūnī cōnsiliō mandātum esset, inter sē sānxērunt.

    The Celtic states send congratulations to Caesar and ask leave to hold a general council to discuss certain matters touching their common interests.

    bellō Helvētiōrum: “the war with the Helvetii,” literally, “of the Helvetii” (Harkness).

    Galliae: used here in its limited sense (Harkness), i.e., the division named Celtica, the third of the three divisions (H-T); Belgica was at this time preparing for war (Anthon).

    prīncipēs: the most influential men, not necessarily the magistrates (L-E).

    ad Caesarem grātulātum: grātulātum is the accusative supine of grātulor, expressing purpose (AG 509): “to congratulate Caesar.” He was with his army in an entrenched camp among the Lingones, probably in the place where he had received the submission of the Helvetii (L-E).

    intellegere: the beginning of indirect discourse dependent on an implied verb of “saying” like dīcentēs: “[saying] that they understood that, although … ” (Kelsey). The indirect discourse is here converted to direct discourse, with changes underlined: intellegimus nōs, tametsī prō veteribus Helvētiōrum iniūriīs populī Rōmānī ab hīs poenās bellō repetiistī (repetierīs), tamen eam rem nōn minus ex ūsū terrae Galliae quam populī Rōmānī accidisse; proptereā quod eō consiliō florentissimīs rēbus domōs suās Helvētiī relīquērunt, utī tōtī Galliae bellum īnferrent imperiōque potīrentur locumque domiciliō ex magnā cōpiā dēligerent, quem ex omnī Galliā opportūnissimum … iūdicāssent, reliquāsque cīvitātis stipendiariās habērent (A-G).

    sēsē: = sē. The envoys said “we.” The reflexive pronoun suī, sibi, sē(sē), sē(sē) or the corre-sponding possessive adjective suus,-a,-um is regularly used in indirect discourse wherever a pronoun of the first person is changed to one of the third. In this use the reflexive is often called the indirect reflexive, in contrast with the direct reflexive, which refers to the subject of the clause in which it stands (Walker).

    tametsī: usually in Caesar (as here) followed by tamen (Walpole).

    Helvētiōrum iniūriīs populī Rōmānī: Helvētiōrum is subjective genitive (AG 343 Note 1) and populī Rōmānī is objective genitive (AG 348), both depending on the same noun, iniūriīs (Stock): “wrongs inflicted upon the Romans by the Helvetians” (H-T). These iniūriae (such as the defeat of Cassius) are discussed in Chapter 12 (Hodges).

    ab hīs poenās … repetīsset: sc. Caesar: “he had inflicted punishment upon them” (A-G); “from these (i.e., the Helvetii) he had sought satisfaction” (Harkness); more literally, “he had claimed the penalty from them” (Hodges). Repetīsset = repetīvisset (Kelsey).

    nōn minus ex ūsū: “as much to the advantage” (Spencer), literally, “from use,” very much like the English “of use to” (Harkness). This was true in a far deeper sense than the Gauls then understood it. The victory of Caesar over the Helvetii was fraught with vast consequences to them (L-E).

    [terrae] Galliae: = terrae Gallicae (Anthon). Terra  is often followed by the name of a country put in apposition with it, instead of an adjective agreeing with it, or the name of the country in the genitive depending on it: “the Gallic country,” or “the country of Gaul” (Andrews).

    accidisse: “it had turned out” (Kelsey).                           

    quod … Helvētiī relīquissent: subjunctive because the presumed cause is reported, and the subordinate clause is part of indirect discourse.

    eō cōnsiliō:  “with this design,” explained by the purpose clause utī … habērent (A-G).

    flōrentissimīs rēbus: translate this ablative absolute with a concessive / adversative clause (A-G): “though their condition was very prosperous” (H-T); “though their affairs were in a most prosperous condition” (Hodges); i.e., with no plea of necessity (A-G). It does not seem probable that the Helvetii were led to emigrate through motives of ambition alone (L-E).

    suās: this is a direct reflexive, since it refers to Helvētiī, the subject of the clause in which it stands (Walker).

    utī tōtī Galliae bellum īnferrent: tōtī Galliae is a dative indirect object with the compound verb īnferrent (AG 370). Note how this purpose clause (AG 531) is anticipated by eō conciliō: “with the purpose of making war on all of Gaul” (H-T).

    imperiōque potīrentur: potior takes an ablative object (AG 410): “to gain control of the sovereignty” (L-E), i.e., over Gaul (Walpole).

    domiciliō: “for habitation”; dative of service / purpose (AG 382, Note 1) (A-G).

    ex magnā cōpiā: sc. locōrum (Kelsey): “from / out of the great abundance,” i.e., of places which they would have in all Gaul (Harkness). All of Gaul lay before them for the choosing (Kelsey).

    opportūnissimum ac frūctuōsissimum: “the most suitable and the most productive” (Kelsey). The Helvetii are credited with having had an eye to the two things which give value to land, convenience of situation and fertility (Stock).

    iūdicāssent: = iūdicāvissent: “they should decide,” literally “they should have decided” (Walker).

    stīpendiāriās: “tributaries”: the word derives from stīpem and pendō, literally, “those paying a sum of money” (M-T). The stīpendiāriae urbēs of the Roman provinces were subject to the payment of a fixed money tribute, stīpendium, in contradistinction to the vectigālēs, who paid a certain portion, as a tenth or twentieth of the produce of the lands, their cattle, or customs (Spencer).  The Gauls already knew what submission to a foreign invader meant (L-E).

    habērent: in the same construction as īnferrent, potīrentur, dēligerent (Hodges).

    petiērunt utī … facere … licēret: sēsē habēre: Note the change from subjunctive in a substantive purpose clause (utī … licēret) to the accusative and infinitive indirect discourse (sēsē habēre) (H-T).

    sibi: construe with licēret (Harkness) which takes dative (AG 455.1): “that they be allowed,” literally, “that it be permitted for them”; “they requested permission to” (Walker).

    concilium tōtīus Galliae: the envoys mentioned at the beginning of this chapter did not constitute this council. They issued a call for representatives from each state of central Gaul (Walker). Such councils were a common device among the Gauls and often used by Caesar for his own purpose   (L-E). Of course Caesar had no authority either to allow or to prohibit a congress of independent Gaul. But, considering his power and ambition, the Gauls thought it best to secure his approval (voluntāte, not auctōritāte) beforehand. They also had business that specially concerned him (A-G).

    in diem certam indīcere: “appoint for a fixed time” (Hodges); “set up for a particular day” (Anthon).

    idque Caesaris voluntāte: that he might not suppose that this meeting meant conspiracy against him (Moberly). The approval of Caesar was sought simply to avoid any misunderstanding on his part of the object of the conference (L-E). The request shows that they were impressed by Caesar’s power, and may fairly be regarded as the first step in their submission to him (Walker).

    sēsē habēre quāsdam rēs … vellent: sc. dīcentēs: “[saying] that they had certain matters which they wished to ask of him” (Anthon). This is the reason for their request (Hodges).

    ex commūnī cōnsēnsū: “in accordance with the general consent / understanding,” i.e., if the general consent of their countrymen could be first obtained (Anthon); “with the common consent,” i.e., of their people; literally, “from the common consent,” implying that the action is to proceed from this, or grow out of it (Harkness). The Gauls asked leave to hold a council in order to obtain the common consent of the Celtic tribes before making their appeal to Caesar (M-T).

    eā rē permissā: ablative absolute: “when this request was granted” (Kelsey).

    conciliō: this assembly was one in which all cities of Gaul, without exception, were represented (Moberly).

    iūre iūrandō … sānxērunt: sc. in eō conciliō: “[in that council] they mutually agreed under oath” (L-E); “they made a compact with one another under oath” (Hodges); “they ordained under oath [of secrecy]”; the object is nē quis ēnūntiāret … (etc.) (A-G). Supply in eō conciliō; i.e., when the council met they bound themselves by taking an oath (Harkness). Iūre iūrandō (literally, “by swearing an oath”) is an ablative gerundive construction (AG 507).

    nē quis ēnūntiāret: “that no one (literally, “not anyone”) should disclose [the results of] their deliberations” (Anthon). Subjunctive in a substantive purpose clause with (AG 563), after sanxērunt used as a verb of commanding (A-G).

    nisi quibus commūnī cōnsiliō mandātum esset: sc. eīs as the antecedent of quibus (Harkness): “except such as their common decision charged with that duty” (M-T); “except to (those) to whom it [the duty of so doing] had been assigned by general agreement” (Hodges); “unless those [disclose it] to whom this duty should be assigned by the common council” (H-T); “except those unto whom this office should be assigned by the assembly at large,” i.e., that the result of their deliberations should be communicated to Caesar by individuals whom the general assembly should authorize so to do, and by no others (Anthon). Quibus is dative with mandātum esset, the impersonal passive of an intransitive verb (AG 372); it is pluperfect subjunctive, replacing the future perfect in direct discourse (A-G).

    sānxērunt: Sanciō itself means “to bind,” and followed by , “to bind a person (by oath or penalty) not to do a thing” (M-T).

    grātulor, -ārī, -ātus: manifest joy; congratulate.

    tametsī: conj., although.

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

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

    flōrēns, -entis: adj., flourishing, prosperous; influential.

    potior, -īrī, -ītus: get possession of, become master of.

    domicilium, -ī n.: home, dwelling-place.

    dēligō, -ligere, -lēgī, -lēctus: choose, select, detail.

    opportūnus, -a, -um: fit, convenient, seasonable, opportune; useful, advantageous, fortunate; (adv.) opportune: seasonably, opportunely.

    frūctuōsus, -a, -um: fruitful, productive.

    stīpendiārius, -a, -um: paying tribute, tributary; as subst., m., payer of tribute, tributary.

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

    indīcō, -dīcere, -dīxī, -dictus: declare publicly, proclaim; appoint.

    cōnsēnsus, -ūs m.: consent, agreement.

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

    iūs iūrandum, gen. iūris iūrandī, n.: oath

    ēnūntiō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus: tell in public, announce, disclose.

    mandō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus: give into one's hands, commit, consign, intrust; command, charge, order; fugae sēsē mandāre, take to flight.

    sanciō, sancīre, sānxī, sānctus: make sacred; establish, ratify, confirm, enact; inter sē sancīre, solemnly agree with one another.

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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.