Chapter 1.47

Bīduō post Ariovistus ad Caesarem lēgātōs mittit: velle sē dē eīs rēbus quae inter eōs agī coeptae neque perfectae essent agere cum eō: utī aut iterum colloquiō diem cōnstitueret aut, sī id minus vellet, e suīs lēgātīs aliquem ad sē mitteret. Colloquendī Caesarī causa vīsa nōn est, et eō magis quod prīdiē eius diēī Germānī retinērī nōn potuerant quīn in nostrōs tēla coicerent. Lēgātum e suīs sēsē magnō cum perīculō ad eum missūrum et hominibus ferīs obiectūrum exīstimābat. Commodissimum vīsum est C. Valerium Procillum, C. Valeriī Cabūrī fīlium, summā virtūte et hūmānitāte adulēscentem, cuius pater ā C. Valeriō Flaccō cīvitāte dōnātus erat, et propter fidem et propter linguae Gallicae scientiam, quā multā iam Ariovistus longinquā cōnsuētūdine ūtēbātur, et quod in eō peccandī Germānīs causa nōn esset, ad eum mittere, et M. Mettium, quī hospitiō Ariovistī ūtēbātur. Hīs mandāvit ut quae dīceret Ariovistus cognōscerent et ad sē referrent. Quōs cum apud sē in castrīs Ariovistus cōnspexisset, exercitū suō praesente conclāmāvit: Quid ad sē venīrent? An speculandī causā? Cōnantēs dīcere prohibuit et in catēnās coniēcit.

    Ariovistus wishes to renew negotiations, but casts into chains envoys whom Caesar sends.

    bīduō post: “two days after,” i.e., “the next day,” literally “afterwards by two days” (Walker), according to the inclusive reckoning of the Romans (Stock). The Romans counted the day from which, as well as the day to which, they reckoned (H-T). Post is used adverbially (Harkness).

    lēgātōs mittit: this expression implies both “to say” and “to ask.” On the former idea depends the following clause with the accusative and infinitive, on the latter idea depends the utī clause (Hodges).

    velle sēmitteret: Ariovistus’ message to Caesar is presented here in indirect discourse. Converted to direct discourse it is as follows, with changes underlined: Volō dē iīs rēbus quae inter nōs agī coeptae neque perfectae sunt tēcum agere:[rogō] utī [Caesar] aut iterum conloquiō diem cōnstitueret aut, sī id minus vellet, ex suīs lēgātīs aliquem ad sē mitteret.

    inter eōs: = inter nōs of direct discourse, and therefore deviating from the strict rule which requires . But the reason is no doubt that the plural would have been awkward after the singular (= Ariovistum) employed before (M-T).

    quae agī coeptae essent: “which had begun to be discussed” (H-T); “which they had begun to discuss” (Walker). Coepī is regularly passive when used, as here, with a passive infinitive (AG 205 a) (A-G).

    neque perfectae essent: “and had not been brought to a conclusion” (Anthon).

    agere cum eō: “to treat with him” (Hodges).

    utī … cōnstitueret: sc. et postulāns (Anthon): “[asking of him] that … ” (Spencer). Substantive purpose clause (AG 563), dependent upon lēgātōs mittit, involving the idea of asking or demanding (Harkness).

    colloquiō: dative of purpose / service (AG 382).

    sī id minus vellet: minus = nōn (Kelsey): “if he hardly wished [to do] that” (Hodges).

    ex suīs lēgātīs aliquem: “one of his legates” (Hodges) (AG 346 c). Suīs refers to Caesar (A-G). Ariovistus wanted Caesar to send not a messenger but one of his highest officers, probably in order to hold him as a hostage (Kelsey).

    sē: refers to Ariovistus (A-G).

    colloquendī Caesarī causa vīsa nōn est: “there did not seem to Caesar [to be any sufficient] reason for a conference” (L-E); “Caesar saw no occasion for a conference” (Walker).

    eō magis: “all the more” (Hodges); “especially,” literally, “and on this account the more,” being explained by the following quod-clause (Kelsey).

    prīdiē eius diēī: “the day before,” only a fuller expression for prīdiē (Walker). Prīdiē may be qualified like any other noun by a genitive (M-T).

    retinērī … quīn … coicerent: “be kept from hurling” (A-G). Quīn introduces a subjunctive clause after expressions of hindrance and refusal (AG 558) (L-E).

    lēgātum ex suīs: sc. lēgātīs: “one of his own [officers] as an envoy” (A-G); “an envoy from his staff,” i.e., one of his officers (Kelsey); “an ambassador from among his men” (Walpole). Lēgātum is the object of missūrum and obiectūrum (Hodges).

    sēsē magnō cum perīculō ad eum missūrum: “it would be exceedingly hazardous for him to send to him [Ariovistus]” (Kelsey). The Latin often puts into one sentence ideas which we are inclined to express (for emphasis) in two (A-G).

    hominibus ferīs: “uncivilized men,” therefore without respect for the rules of civilized warfare, the sanctity of a flag of truce, etc. (M-T). Dative with the compound verb obiectūrum (AG 370).

    commodissimum vīsum est: “it seemed most fitting”; the subject of vīsum est is mittere (Hodges).

    C. Valerium Procillum: mentioned previously in Chapter 19 (Anthon). C. = Gāī (Kelsey).

    summā virtūte: ablative of quality (AG 415) describing adulēscentem.

    hūmānitāte: “culture” (Harkness); “refinement” (Kelsey), referring to his education, not his “humanity” (A-G).

    C. Valeriō Flaccō: governor of the province of Gaul in 83 B.C. (Kelsey).

    cīvitāte dōnātus erat: “he had been presented with the rights of [Roman] citizenship.” Cīvitās is the Roman franchise, literally, “the being a cīvis.” It conferred the political privileges of voting in the assemblies and at elections, and of candidature for public office; and the private rights of intermarriage and trading with Romans, inheriting and holding property according to Roman law, and the like. Cīvēs also were (at this time) exempt from direct taxation (M-T). Roman citizenship was often conferred upon foreigners who had rendered some service to Rome (Kelsey). Those on whom this favor was conferred, prefixed to their own name the praenōmen and nōmen of the individual, through whose influence the privilege in question had been obtained, and regarded that person ever after as their patron. Thus Caburus, the father of Procillus, assumed the name of Gāius Valerius Cabūrus, having taken the first and second names of Gāius Valerius Flaccus, his patron (Anthon). Dōnō may take either the dative of the person and the accusative of the thing (dōnat corōnās suīs, “he presents wreaths to his men”) or the accusative of the person and the ablative of the thing (dōnat suōs corōnīs, “he presents his men with wreaths”) (AG 364).

    propter fidem et propter linguae Gallicae scientiam: the reasons why it seemed best to send Procillus. Procillus was a Gaul, not a Roman, and thus spoke the Celtic language (Hodges).

    quā multā iam Ariovistus longinquā cōnsuētūdine ūtēbātur: “which, with long practice, Ariovistus now spoke freely” (A-G); “of which Ariovistus now, from long habit, made frequent use,” i.e., which he now spoke fluently (Anthon). Quā refers to linguae, and multā agrees with quā (ablative with ūtēbātur (AG 410)), though it may be rendered adverbially (= saepe), “much,” “often,” or “freely” (Harkness). Longinquā cōnsuētūdine, “owing to long familiarity” (Walpole), is ablative of cause (AG 404) (Hodges). Longinquus is normally used of distance, but here of time (M-T).

    in eō: “in him” (A-G); “in his case” (Harkness); “as regards him” (Moberly).

    quod … esset: “because [as he thought] there was not” (Kelsey). The subjunctive verb indicates that this was Caesar’s opinion at the time, not that assigned by him as narrator (Harkness).

    peccandī Germānīs causa nōn esset: “the Germans would have no motive for committing violence”; “the Germans would have no reason for doing wrong” (H-T); “there was no ground of offence for the Germans” (A-G), i.e., by treachery, which Ariovistus was less likely to show to a Gaul than to a Roman (M-T). Germānīs is dative of possession (AG 373).

    hospitiō Ariovistī ūtēbātur: “enjoyed guest-friendship with Ariovistus” (Hodges), i.e., was connected with him by the ties of hospitality. As the ancients did not have proper inns for the accommodation of travellers, the Romans, when they were in foreign countries, or at a distance from home, used to lodge at the houses of certain persons, whom they in return entertained at their houses in Rome. This was considered a very intimate connection, called hospitium, or iūs hospitiī (Anthon). This relationship created a sacred bond far closer than that of simple “hospitality” (A-G), and the violation of the laws of hospitality was considered the greatest impiety (Spencer). Metius may have been received and entertained by Ariovistus in the course of the negotiations which in 59 B.C. culminated in the recognition of the German ruler by the Roman senate (see Chapter 35) (Kelsey). Hospitiō is ablative with ūtēbātur (AG 410).

    quae dīceret Ariovistus: “what Ariovistus might have to say” (Anthon). Indirect question (AG 574).

    cognōscerent: sc. ut: “to ascertain” (Walpole); a substantive purpose clause (AG 563), dependent on mandāvit.

    quōs: = illōs virōs [C. Valerium Procillum et M. Metium].

    cōnspexisset: subjunctive in a cum-circumstantial clause (AG 546).

    exercitū suō praesente: “in the presence of his army”; a circumstantial ablative absolute (AG 419). Ariovistus wished his men to hear him denounce the envoys as spies, and so avoid the charge of bad faith (M-T).

    conclāmāvit: “he called out in a loud tone and demanded” (Anthon); “he cried out for all to hear” (Moberly). The prefix con- serves to intensify the action (Walpole). Ariovistus’s course can be accounted for only on the theory that he had expected Caesar to accede to his suggestion for a second personal interview and was disappointed and angry (L-E).

    quid: = cūr? (M-T); grammatically a cognate accusative (AG 390 c) after venīrent, like quod = “whereas” (M-T).

    venīrent: the imperfect subjunctive standing for venītis in indirect discourse (A-G).

    an speculandī causā: “was it to act as spies?” (Anthon), literally, “or was it for the purpose of spying?” (Hodges). Causā with a genitive case gerund expresses purpose (AG 504). An is frequently used in questions apparently simple, but which may be regarded as really the second member of an alternative question, the first being left to be inferred from the context (M-T).

    cōnantēs dīcere prohibuit sc. eōs with cōnantēs (Harkness): “when they tried to speak he stopped them,” lest they should declare the real purpose of their errand (M-T).

    et in catēnās coniēcit: sc. eōs (Harkness): “he threw them into chains” (Kelsey).

    bīduum, -ī n.: period of two days, two days.

    Ariovistus, -ī, m.: Ariovistus, a German chief, or king.

    perficiō, -ficere, -fēcī, -fectus : make thoroughly, bring about, accomplish; finish, complete; arrange; construct.

    conloquium, -ī n.: conference, conversation, interview.

    conloquor, -loquī, -locūtus : converse, confer, talk.

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

    prīdiē : adv., on the day before.

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

    nostri -orum m. pl.: our men

    coniciō, -icere, -iēcī, -iectus : throw together; throw, hurl; station, put; attribute; in fugam conicere, put to flight, rout; sē conicere, dash, rush.

    obiciō, -icere, -iēcī, -iectus : throw befare, cast in the way; interpose; expose; obiectus, -a, -um, opposite, intervening.

    commodus, -a, -um : complete; suitable, convenient, favorable, easy; serviceable, useful; (adv.) commodē, well, suitably, conveniently; effectively, profitably, easily.

    Gāius -iī m.: Gaius (name), abbreviated "C."

    Valerius, -ī, m.: Valerius, a Roman nomen: (1) Gaius Valerius Flaccus, governor of Gaul in 83 b.c.; (2) Gaius Valerius Caburus, a Gaul who received Roman citizenship from (1); (3) Gaius Valerius Procillus and (4) Gaius Valerius Domnotaurus, sons of (2); (5) Lucius Valerius Praeconinus, a legate who was killed in Aquitania a few years before 56 b.c.; (6) Gaius Valerius Troucillus, a prominent Gaul of the province, friendly to Caesar. See also Messāla.

    Procillus, -ī, m.: Procillus, a Roman cognomen; see Valerius.

    Caburus, -ī, m.: Caburus; see Valerius.

    hūmānitās, -ātis f.: civilization, refinement.

    adulēscēns, -entis : adj., young; as subst., m. and f., young man, young woman; often with proper names, the younger, to distinguish from older persons of the same name.

    Flaccus, -ī, m.: Flaccus, a Roman cognomen; see Valerius.

    Gallicus, -a, -um : Gallic, of Gaul, pertaining to Gaul.

    longinquus, -a, -um : distant, remote; long-continued, protracted.

    ūnā : adv., at the same time, together; ūnā cum, together with.

    M.: the abbreviation for the praenomen Mārcus, Marcus, Mark.

    Mettius, -ī, m.: Mettius, a Roman nomen; Marcus Mettius, a man whom Caesar sent as an envoy to Ariovistus.

    hospitium, -ī n.: tie of hospitality, guest-friendship, hospitality; friendship.

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

    cōnspiciō, -spicere, -spexī, -spectus : get a look at, see, behold; observe.

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

    conclāmō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : cry out, call out, exclaim, shout; call.

    speculor, -ārī, -ātus : observe, watch, spy.

    catēna, -ae, f.: chain, fetter.


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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.