Chapter 1.6

Erant omnīnō itinera duo, quibus itineribus domō exīre possent: ūnum per Sēquanōs, angustum et difficile, inter mōntem Iūram et flūmen Rhodanum, vix quā singulī carrī dūcerentur; mōns autem altissimus impendēbat, ut facile perpaucī prohibēre possent: alterum per prōvinciam nostram, multō facilius atque expedītius, proptereā quod inter fīnēs Helvētiōrum et Allobrogum, quī nūper pācātī erant, Rhodanus fluit, isque nōn nūllīs locīs vadō trānsītur. Extrēmum oppidum Allobrogum est proximumque Helvētiōrum fīnibus Genāva. Ex eō oppidō pōns ad Helvētiōs pertinet. Allobrogibus sēsē vel persuāsūrōs, quod nōndum bonō animō in populum Rōmānum vidērentur, exīstimābant vel vī coāctūrōs ut per suōs fīnēs eōs īre paterentur. Omnibus rēbus ad profectiōnem comparātīs, diem dīcunt, quā diē ad rīpam Rhodanī omnēs conveniant. Is diēs erat a. d. V. Kal. April., L. Pīsōne, A. Gabīniō cōnsulibus.

The Helvetii decide to march through the Roman Province.

erant: 'there were' (Stock) (A&G 284.b)

itinera duo: one on each side of the Rhone (Stock) historical map satellite image 

quibus...possent: 'by which they could leave home' a clause of characteritic (Walker) (A&G 535.a). There were other passes, north of the Pas de l'Ecluse (unum...Rhodanum) leading through the Jura; but they were out of the question, either because the Helvetii shrank from encountering Ariovistus, or for some other reason that Caesar ignored. (Rice Holmes) 

possent: the subjunctive is necessary because quibus is equivalent to talia ut iis; and the explanation for ducerentur is similar. (Rice Holmes) (A&G 534)

vix qua: ‘It was with difficulty that here…’ (Harper & Tolman); vix: note its emphatic position before the relative. (Walker)

ducerentur: 'could be drawn', another subjunctive of characteristic. The place referred to is the Pas de l'Ecluse. (Walker)

vado transitur: ‘is fordable,’ lit. ‘is crossed by a ford.’ (Kelsey)

Allobrogum: The country of the Allobroges lay between the Isere and the Rhone, having Vienne as its capital. (Stock) satellite image

Allobrogibus sese vel persuasuros...existimabant: 'they thought they should either persuade the Allobroges'. persuasuros (esse) is the principal verb in indirect discourse. In direct discourse their thought would be persuadebimus 'we shall persuade' (Walker) (A&G 584)

quod viderentur: subordinate clause in indirect discourse (Walker) (A&G 577)

bonō animō: 'of a friendly disposition' or 'well-disposed' (Walker) (A&G 415)

vel coacturos (esse): 'or should compel them'; in the same construction as persuasuros (Walker)

ut paterentur: a noun clause, object of both persuasuros and coacturos (Walker)

is dies erat a. d. V Kal. Apr. L. Pisone, A. Gabinio consulibus: a. d. V. Kal. Apr.: ante diem quintum Kalendas Apriles, ‘the fifth day before the Calends of April,’ March 28 by our calendar. (Kelsey)

Piso, -onis m.: Lucius Calpurnius Piso, Caesar’s father-in-law, consul 58 B. C.

Gabinius, -ni m.: Aulus Gabinius, consul with Lucius Piso, 58 B. C. (Walker)

omnīno: (adv.), entirely, only

Sequani, -orum: the Sequani, a Gallic people who occupied the upper river basin of the Arar (Saône), the valley of the Doubs and the Jura Mountains, their territory corresponding to Franche-Comté and part of Burgundy.

angustus, -a, -um: narrow

Iura, -ae, f.: the Jura mountains, a small mountain range north of the Alps.

carrus, -i m.: wagon

facile: (adv.), easily.

impendĕo, ēre: to hang over any thing, to overhang

perpaucī, -ae, -a: very few

expĕdītus -a -um: unimpeded, unincumbered, free, easy

proptĕrĕā quodfor the reason that, because

fines -ium f. pl.: borders; territory, land

Helvetii, -orum m.: the Helvetii or Helvetians. 

Allobroges, -um, m. pl.: the Allobroges, a Celtic tribe of ancient Gaul, located between the Rhône River and the Lake of Geneva in what later became Savoy, Dauphiné, and Vivarais.

nūper: recently, not long ago

pāco, -āre: pacify, make peaceful

Rhodanus, -i m.: the river Rhodanus, the Rhone

nōn-nūllus or nōn nūllus: (adj.), some, several

vădum, i, n.: a shallow place in water, a shallow, shoal, ford

Genava, -ae f.: Genava, a city of the Allobroges, now Geneva

pons, pontis, f.: bridge

pertineō -ēre: extend, reach to

per-suādĕo, -ēre, -si, -sum: to persuade, convince of a fact; persuade, prevail upon

prŏfectĭo -ōnis f.: a going away, setting out, departure

dīcō dīcere dīxī dictum: appoint

a.d. V. Kal. April. = ante diem quintum Kalendās Aprīlēs: "the fifth (day) before the Kalends of April," i.e. March 28. 

Kalendae, -arum f.: the Calends, the first day of the Roman month

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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.