Chapter 1.54

Hōc proeliō trāns Rhēnum nūntiātō, Suēbī quī ad rīpās Rhēnī vēnerant domum revertī coepērunt; quōs Ubii quī proximī Rhēnum incolunt perterritōs [sēnsērunt], īnsecūtī magnum ex eīs numerum occīdērunt. Caesar, ūnā aestāte duōbus maximīs bellīs cōnfectīs, mātūrius paulō quam tempus annī postulābat in hīberna in Sēquanōs exercitum dēdūxit; hībernīs Labiēnum praeposuit; ipse in citeriōrem Galliam ad conventūs agendōs profectus est.

    Caesar places his army in winter quarters amongst the Sequani, under his legate Labienus. He himself returns into Cisalpine Gaul.

    Suēbī: see Chapter 37; perhaps the Suebi mentioned in Chapter 41 were a detachment only, the advance-guard of the migration (Hodges).

    domum: accusative of place to which, without a preposition (AG 428.k).

    quōs: = et illōs, i.e., the Suebi (Kelsey).

    Ubiī: these people lived on the right bank of the Rhine (Spencer) near modern Cologne, and were the deadly enemies of the Suevi, and therefore generally in alliance with the Romans (see Book 4, Chapter 3) (A-G). They were ultimately transferred by Agrippa with their own consent to the Gallic side of the Rhine (Stock). The common text has ubi in place of Ubiī, and the advocates for the former insist that Ubiī must be an erroneous reading, because the people of that name were too far removed from the seat of war. A strong argument in favor of the reading Ubiī, however, may be obtained from Chapter 37 of this book, where the Treveri, the immediate neighbors of the Ubii, came to Caesar with the intelligence, that the Suebi were endeavoring to cross the Rhine in their vicinity (Anthon).      

    Rhēnum: sc. ad (Anthon); governed by proximī (A-G): “next to the Rhine,” i.e., on the banks of that river (Anthon).

    perterritōs: sc. esse (Kelsey).

    ūnā aestāte: ablative of time within which (AG 424). The defeat of the Helvetians took place near the end of June, that of Ariovistus the second week in September (Kelsey). Usually only one campaign was conducted each year (L-E).

    duōbus maximīs bellīs: a powerful blow had been struck at free Gaul in the victory of the Helvetii, and the onward march of the Germans had been checked by the victory over Ariovistus. (Hodges). With not more than 35,000 soldiers, including cavalry and light-armed troops, Caesar in two campaigns, completed in a single season (ūnā aestāte), had practically annihilated fighting forces several times as large as his own, and had destroyed, or rendered docile, two hostile populations aggregating several hundred thousand persons. History affords no more striking instance of a victory of military organization, discipline, and generalship over numbers, barbaric courage, and brute force (Kelsey). These victories had been won by a man of middle age, whose previous military experience had been comparatively slight (Hodges).

    mātūrius paulō: “a little earlier”; the decisive battle with Ariovistus was fought somewhere about the 10th of September (A-G). The army needed rest after such arduous labors (L-E). Paulō is ablative of degree of difference (AG 414).

    tempus annī: “the season of the year” (Anthon).

    in hīberna: sc. castra (Hodges): “into winter-quarters.” The winter-quarters of the Romans were strongly fortified, and furnished, particularly under the emperors, with every accommodation for the convenience and comfort of the soldiers, much like a city, with storehouses, workshops, an infirmary, etc. Hence from them many towns in Europe are supposed to have had their origins; in England particularly, those whose names ended in –cester, -chester, or –caster (from castrum) (Anthon).

    in Sēquanōs: the region in which the battle was fought had probably formed a part of the Sequanian territory but had been ceded to Ariovistus (Kelsey). The quartering of the army on Gallic soil signified Caesar’s intention to assume a protectorate over Gaul, and thus brought about the Belgic uprising of the following year (Walker). It is the Latin idiom to repeat the preposition or case implying motion towards in expressions like this. In English we use it only once, i.e., “into winter quarters amongst the Sequani” (M-T). The Latin idiom requires in Sēquanōs, not in Sēquanōs, to designate the place “into which” the army was led (Harkness); accusative of end, or limit, of motion (AG 426.2) (Hodges).

    hībernīs: dative governed by praeposuit (AG 370) (Hodges): “he placed Labienus in charge of the winter-quarters” (Kelsey). This was probably at Vesontio, which possessed great advantages as a military base, as explained in Chapter 38 (Kelsey).

    Labiēnum: he held the rank of prōpraetor (L-E).                                      

    in citeriōrem Galliam: “Hither” or “Nearer Gaul,” i.e., Gaul south of the Alps, or, the northern part of the Italian peninsula, otherwise called Gallia Cisalpīna (Anthon).

    ad conventūs agendōs: “to hold the proconsular courts” which Caesar held each year in Cisalpine Gaul (L-E). The governors of provinces generally devoted the summer to their military operations and the winter to the civil part of their administration, which consisted in presiding over the courts of justice (conventūs), hearing petitions, regulating taxes (Anthon), and exercising a controlling influence over public affairs (Harkness). Caesar wished to be nearer Rome, the better to look after his political interests there (Hodges).

    trāns: prep. with acc., across, over, to the further side of; beyond, on the other side of; through. In comp., across, over, through.

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

    nūntiō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : bring news; announce, report, relate; command.

    Suēbī -ōrum m.: the Suebi. The Suebi lived in Germany, but the exact locality is uncertain. Some think that several different German tribes were included under the name

    revertor, -vertī, -versus, perf. usually act. in form, revertī : turn back, come back, go back, return.

    incolō, -colere, -coluī : inhabit; dwell, live.

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

    īnsequor, -sequī, -secūtus : follow on, follow up, follow closely, pursue, press upon.

    aestās, -ātis f.: heat, summer.

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

    postulō, -āre, -āvī, -ātūs: demand, request, require, call for; make necessary.

    hībernus, -a, -um : of winter, pertaining to winter; as subst., hīberna, -ōrum (sc. castra), n. pl., winter camp, winter quarters; time spent in winter quarters

    Sēquanī, -ōrum m. : the Sequani, a tribe of eastern Gaul, west of the Jura Mountains

    Labiēnus, -ī, m.: Labienus, a Roman cognomen; Titus Atius Labienus, Caesar's most trusted legate during the Gallic War. He fought against Caesar in the Civil War.

    praepōnō, -pōnere, -posuī, -positus : place in front of; set over, put in charge of.

    citerior, -ius : comp. adj., on this side, nearer, hither; Gallia Citerior is equivalent to Gallia Cisalpīna; Citerior Hispānia, Hither Spain, the eastern part of Spain (nearer Rome).

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

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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.