Prīmā lūce, cum summus mōns ā [Lūciō] Labiēnō tenērētur, ipse ab hostium castrīs nōn longius mīlle et quīngentīs passibus abesset, neque, ut posteā ex captīvīs comperit, aut ipsīus adventus aut Labiēnī cognitus esset, Considius equō admissō ad eum accurrit, dīcit montem quem ā Labiēnō occupārī voluerit ab hostibus tenērī: id sē ā Gallicīs armīs atque īnsignibus cognōvisse. Caesar suās cōpiās in proximum collem subdūcit, aciem īnstruit. Labiēnus, ut erat eī praeceptum ā Caesare nē proelium committeret, nisi ipsīus cōpiae prope hostium castra vīsae essent, ut undique ūnō tempore in hostēs impetus fieret, monte occupātō nostrōs exspectābat proeliōque abstinēbat. Multō dēnique diē per explōrātōrēs Caesar cognōvit et montem ā suīs tenērī, et Helvētiōs castra mōvisse, et Considium timōre perterritum quod nōn vīdisset prō vīsō sibi renūntiāsse. Eō diē quō cōnsuērat intervāllō hostēs sequitur, et mīlia passuum tria ab eōrum castrīs castra pōnit.

    Caesar’s strategic movement is foiled through a misreport by Considius.

    prīmā lūce: “at daybreak,” literally, “at the first light” (Harkness). As it was now not far from July 1, daybreak was about 4:00 (Kelsey). Ablative of time when (AG 423).

    summus mōns: “the summit of the mountain.” The relation expressed by “of” in English, is frequently denoted in Latin by an adjective. So īmus mōns, “the bottom of the mountain,” timor externus, “the fear of foreign enemies,” etc. (Anthon).

    tenērētur, abesset, cognitus esset: subjunctives, all governed by cum, describing the situation (cum-circumstantial clause) (AG 546) (A-G).

    neque … aut ipsīus adventus aut Labiēnī cognitus esset: sc. adventus with Labiēnī and coordinates with ipsīus (A-G); the force of cum still continues with this clause (Walker): “without his or Labienus’s arrival being known” (H-T).

    ipse: Caesar (A-G): “while he himself … ” Caesar’s rapid and vigorous style omits unnecessary words (Walpole).

    castrīs nōn longius mīlle et quīngentīs passibus abesset: “he was no further than a mile and a half from their camp”; castrīs is ablative of separation (AG 400, 402) with abesset; passibus is ablative of degree of difference with abesset (AG 414) (A-G), or ablative of comparison with longius (AG 406).

    equō admissō: “with his horse at full gallop” (Anthon); “(his) horse having been let go toward (his destination), riding at full speed (H-T). Admittere, in such expressions, means to give loose reins (Harkness). The ablative absolute is here equivalent to an ablative of manner (L-E).

    accurrit, dīcit: “comes up to him [and] says” (H-T). Observe the omission of the conjunction (asyndeton), implying haste. So, also, between subdūcit and instruit, below (Harkness).

    occupārī: occupō, meaning “seize,” “take possession of,” is generally much stronger than its English derivative “occupy” (Kelsey).

    quem … voluerit: sc. Caesar; perfect subjunctive in a subordinate clause appearing in indirect discourse (AG 583), representing voluistī of direct discourse (Walpole).

    ā Gallicīs armīs … cognōvisse: the shields and helmets of the Gauls were distinctly different from those of the Romans (A-G). Cognōscere has a fondness for being joined with ex or the simple ablative; the ā construction used here expresses the source of the information (H-T): “that he knew from the Gallic weaponry.” “Gallic” here is equivalent to “Helvetian” (Moberly).

    īnsignibus: “military standards” (Anthon); “insignia,” “devices” or “decorations” (Harkness) on shields and helmets (A-G). The insignia” on the Roman helmets consisted of crests and feathers; the Gauls wore the horns, plumes, etc. of animals and also various images (Spencer). The inference from this report would be that Labienus and his force had been cut to pieces, and Caesar must expect an attack at once. This accounts for his next movement, which was to fall back and wait in line of battle, while Labienus was vainly awaiting him (A-G).

    in … collem subdūcit: “draws off” (Anthon), “withdraws” (Harkness), or “leads (from below) up the hill (Hodges); here sub gives to the verb the idea of a quiet, noiseless movement (Harkness).

    aciem instruit: “drew up a line of battle” (Kelsey). Caesar awaited the coming of the Helvetii (Hodges), concluding from the report of Considius that Labienus had been defeated, and he expected that the victors would immediately attack him (L-E).

    ut erat eī praeceptum: “as he had been instructed” (Anthon); “as the order had been given to him” (Hodges). The passive of intransitive verbs can only be used impersonally (“it had been commanded to him”), but the English idiom generally requires the personal construction in the translation (“he was commanded”) (L-E). Notice that the verb erat praeceptum is indicative mood, affecting how ut is to be translated.

    nē proelium committeret: expresses purpose (AG 531), the subject of erat praeceptum (A-G): “not to engage in battle.”

    ipsīus cōpiae: “of his own (Caesar’s) forces” (Harkness); antithesis between Labienus’ troops and Caesar’s (M-T).

    nisi … vīsae essent: in the direct discourse the future perfect would be used (future more vivid condition); the pluperfect subjunctive is used in its place in indirect discourse.

    ut undique ūnō tempore in hostēs impetus fieret: “in order that the attack might be made upon the enemy on all sides at once”; purpose clause (AG 531) (A-G).

    monte occupātō: “having seized the height” (A-G).

    nostrōs exspectābat: “he continued to look out for our men” (A-G), i.e., the troops with Caesar (Kelsey). Observe how the imperfects exspectābat and abstinēbat describe the situation (A-G).

    proeliōque abstinēbat: “he refrained from battle”; proeliō is ablative of separation (AG 401).

    multō … diē: = cum multum diēī prōcesserat (Anthon): literally, “when the day was much” (Moberly); “late in the day” (A-G); “when day was well advanced” (Hodges); “after much of the day had passed” (Anthon), though probably only relatively so, implying that much time had been lost since daybreak (prīmā lūce) when they might have surprised the enemy (Harkness); ablative of time when (AG 423).

    dēnique: “not until” (A-G); “at length” (Anthon).

    Considium … quod nōn vīdisset prō vīsō sibi renūntiāsse: “that Considius had brought back to him intelligence of what he had not seen, as if it had actually been seen by him.” Supply id as the antecedent of quod, and as the object of renūntiāvisse (Harkness). Sibi = Caesarī (Anthon). Caesar generously refrains from censuring Considius although the miscarrying of his well-laid plan must have been a great disappointment (L-E).

    timōre perterritum: “terror-stricken” (Hodges), probably due in part to the exaggerated notion of Gallic prowess that prevailed in the Roman army (L-E). Timor is used especially of cowardly fear (Kelsey).

    quod nōn vīdisset: subordinate clause with subjunctive in indirect discourse, being part of the report made to Caesar (M-T).

    prō vīsō: “as if seen,” “for (something actually) seen”; vīsō is used substantively (A-G);

    renūntiāsse: = renūntiāvisse (A-G).

    eō diē: about two weeks had elapsed since Caesar crossed the Saône. It was now the end of June (L-E).

    quō cōnsuērat intervallō: “at what interval he was accustomed,” i.e., at his accustomed interval (Hodges); “at the usual distance” between his own army and theirs” (Anthon), i.e., five or six miles (A-G).  The full expression is (eō) intervallō, quō (intervallō) consuērat (sequī) (Anthon); the relative takes the place of the necessary limiting adjective (L-E). Cōnsuērat = cōnsuēverat.

    mīlia passuum tria: accusative of distance/extent of space (AG 425) (A-G): “at a distance of three miles.” Distance, where no motion over is implied, is expressed by either accusative, ablative, or ablative with ā / ab. Where there is a verb expressing distance Caesar generally uses the accusative, except with intervallō and spatiō. Where there is no verb of distance he uses accusative or ablative indifferently (M-T).

    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.

    quīngentī, -ae, -a (D) : pl. adj., five hundred.

    passus, -ūs m.: step, pace; double step (five Roman feet); mīlle passūs, mile; duo mīlia passuum, two miles. See mīlle.

    captīvus, -a, -um : taken, captured; as subst., m., captive, prisoner.

    comperiō, -perīre, -perī, -pertus : learn, find out about, ascertain, detect.

    adventus, -ūs m.: arrival, coming, approach.

    Cōnsidius, -ī, m.: Considius, a Roman nomen; Publius Considius, an officer in Caesar's army.

    admittō, -mittere, -mīsī, -missus : send to, let in, admit; permit, incur; commit; equō admissō, with horse at full speed.

    accurrō, -currere, -currī or -cucurrī, -cursus : run to; run (towards); ride up.

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

    īnsīgnis, -e n.: mark, emblem, ornament; signal

    Caesar, -aris, m.: Caesar, a Roman cognomen: (1) Gaius Julius Caesar, the conqueror of Gaul;(2) Lucius Julius Caesar, a distant relative of (1), and his legate in 52 b.c. He is thought to be the same Lucius Caesar who was consul in 64 b.c.

    collis, -is, m.: rising ground, hill.

    subdūcō, -dūcere, -dūxī, -ductus : lead up, withdraw; draw up from below, draw up on land, beach.

    īnstruō, -struere, -strūxī, -strūctus : build in; set up, prepare; marshal, draw up; fit out, equip, rig.

    nostri -orum m. pl.: our men

    abstineō, -tinēre, -tinuī, -tentus : hold away, keep away; refrain, abstain; ā mulieribus abstinēre, spare the women.

    explōrātor, -ōris m.: explorer; scout.

    Helvētius, -a, -um: Helvetian; as subst., m., a Helvetian; pl., the Helvetii, a rich and powerful tribe, whose country was nearly the same as modern Switzerland.

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

    renūntiō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus : bring back word, announce, report; declare elected.

    cōnsuēscō, -suēscere, -suēvī, -suētus : become accustomed, form a habit; in perf. system, be accustomed, have the habit, be wont.

    intervāllum, -ī n.: space between palisades; space, distance, interval.

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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.