Chapter 6.16

Nātiō est omnis Gallōrum admodum dēdita religiōnibus, atque ob eam causam quī sunt adfectī graviōribus morbīs quīque in proeliīs perīculīsque versantur aut prō victimīs hominēs immolant aut sē immolātūrōs vovent, administrīsque ad ea sacrificia druidibus ūtuntur; quod, prō vītā hominis nisi hominis vīta reddātur, nōn posse deōrum immortālium nūmen plācārī arbitrantur, pūblicēque ēiusdem generis habent īnstitūta sacrificia. Aliī immānī māgnitūdine simulācra habent, quōrum contexta vīminibus membra vīvīs hominibus complent; quibus succēnsīs circumventī flammā exanimantur hominēs. Supplicia eōrum quī in fūrtō aut in latrōciniō aut aliquā noxiā sint comprehēnsī grātiōra dīs immortālibus esse arbitrantur; sed, cum ēius generis cōpia dēfēcit, etiam ad innocentium supplicia dēscendunt.

Religious observances and human sacrifices.

nātiō omnis: 'the race as a whole'; See 1.1 Gallia omnis.

admodum: adv.: very, very much (Sihler)'.

quī ... quīque: 'those who . . . and those who.'

aut ... aut: 'either ... or'.

homines: object of both immolant and immolaturos. Although Caesar does not say that he saw an instance of human sacrifice, there is no good reason to doubt the truth of his statement. The practice seems to have ceased after the Roman conquest (Walker); the practice of human sacrifice is thought (by Thierry) to have been obsolete at this time in Gaul. Caesar appears not to have known any actual instances of it (Allen & Judson). On the question of the historicity of this and similar reports of human sacrifice by the ancient Celts, see Lisa L. Spangenberg, "Did the Celts or Druids Perform Human Sacrifice?" at Celtic Studies Resources (accessed May 8, 2019).

pro victimis: ‘by way of victims’ (Moberly) ( A&G 221.16)

administrīs: 'as agents'.

quod, prō vītā ... plācārī arbitrantur: quod arbitrantur nūmen deōrum immortālium nōn posse plācārī nisi vīta hominis prō vītā hominis reddātur.

publice: ‘on behalf of the state’ (Walker).

habent instituta: lit. ‘they have…established,’ = ‘they regularly perform.’ (Walker)

nātĭo -ōnis f.: race, people; of different tribes within Gaul

admodum:  very much

dēdō –dere –didī –ditum:  give away, give up; devote (to)

religiō –ōnis f.:  religious obligation, worship

adficiō –ficere –fēcī –fectum:  treat, affect, afflict

morbus -ī m.:  disease

versō –āre:  turn; (in pass.) be involved in

vīctima –ae f.:  sacrificial animal

immŏlo -āre: sacrifice, kill as a sacrificial offering to a deity

vŏvĕo -ēre vōvi vōtum: vow, promise

admĭnister -ri m.: performer, agent

sacrficium –ī n.:  sacrifice

Drŭĭdes, -um m.: Gallic priests, the Druids

reddo, -ere: render, return, give

immortālis –e: immortal

plācō –āre:  soothe, appease

pūblĭcē: adv. on the part of the state; officially; as a matter of public policy

immānis, -e: enormous, vast

sĭmŭlācrum, -i n.: likeness, image, figure, statue

contexō –texere –texuī –textum:  weave, entwine

vīmen, -ĭnis n.: willow, wickerwork

vīvus –a –um:  alive, living

compleō –ēre –ēvī –ētum:  fill up

succendō –cendere –cendī –cēnsum: kindle beneath, set on fire below

circumveniō –venīre –vēnī –ventum:  encircle, surround

exanimō -āre:  kill

supplicium -i n.: punishment, penalty

furtum, -i n.: theft

lātrōcĭnĭum, -ĭi n.: robbery, brigandage

noxia, -ae f.: injury, damage, crime

comprehendō –dere –dī –sum:  capture, apprehend, arrest

deficiō -ficere -fēcī -fectum: run out

innŏcens, -ntis: innocent

 

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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. https://dcc.dickinson.edu/caesar/book-6/chapter-6-16