Tuesday, 1 May 2012



Sabidius has previously translated two other books from Caesar's account of the Gallic Wars: his translation of Book V was published on this blog on 31st August 2010 and that of Book I on 1st January 2011. He has now turned to Book III, which recounts the events of 56 B.C., the third year of Caesar's campaigns in Gaul.. This book, in twenty-nine chapters only, is the shortest of the eight books, of which this great work is composed, and it is also unusual in that Caesar scarcely appears at all as an actor in the events described in it. Most of the victories are the work of his competent subordinates: Galba in the Alps in the autumn of 57 B.C., Decimus Brutus in the naval battle against the Veneti, Sabinus against the Venelli, and Publius Crassus against the tribes of Aquitaine. Caesar himself appears only as leading the land forces that were largely confined to watching Brutus' makeshift fleet triumphantly conquer the naval forces of the Veneti, and at the end of the book in the indecisive campaign against the Morini and Menapii. Nevertheless, it was Caesar who planned the successful strategy and allocation of forces that lay behind these campaigns , and back home in Rome he would still have been seen as responsible for the many successes  achieved, and thus meriting the fame and glory associated with them. 

What was particularly significant about all these campaigns was that the fiction that Caesar was fighting essentially only defensive actions could no longer be sustained. In no case were either the interests of Rome or those of any of its Gallic allies being significantly threatened by any of the tribes with whom Caesar engaged in these campaigns, and thus by this stage it had become clear to all of the Gauls that Caesar's intention was one of long-term conquest. While Caesar was subject to significant criticism for this in the Senate, where Cato the Younger and his 'Optimate' clique attacked him for engaging in unauthorised wars, for which there was no justification, by this point Caesar's record of glorious victories, and the amount of booty in treasure and slaves which he had accumulated thereby, had made him so popular in Rome that he no longer needed to maintain the pretence that his actions were defensive. However, now that their traditional independence was evidently under threat, Caesar was increasingly confronted with widespread resistance within Gaul, which was eventually to blaze into the nationwide rebellion led by Vercingetorix in 52 B.C. It is worthy of note that despite his clear intentions of conquest, Caesar seems to understand, if not, to sympathise with the Gauls' desire for freedom:  in Chapter 8 of this book he refers to the Veneti and their allies urging other tribes "to choose to remain in that freedom which they had received from their ancestors rather than to endure servitude under the Romans"; and in Chapter 10 he talks of Caesar's understanding that  "all men were eager for liberty and hate the condition of slavery". 

In terms of Caesar's grammatical style, the reader is referred to the section on this contained in the introduction to Sabidius' translation of Book V. See in particular the comments on Caesar's regular use of the grammatical construction  known as the "Ablative absolute". In Book III there are some 117 instances of the "Ablative absolute", a device which is highly economical in terms of the number of words employed and thus particularly appropriate to a literary genre involving notes or despatches from the front. The book also contains a number of examples of the use of the gerundive to express, inter alia, obligation or necessity, and of the impersonal passive, a construction which largely defies an exact literal translation. Both of these constructions are also favoured by Caesar. These three constructions are the subject of a systematic analysis at the end of this translation: instances of the ablative absolutes are to be found in a separate article on this blog dated 20th May 2012, and those of gerunds/gerundives and impersonal passives in the appendix below. Despite the occasional difficulty, Sabidius maintains in his rendering of Book III his practice of literal translation of the Latin text. This means undoubtedly that the English can seem at times somewhat laboured; on the other hand the very long sentences which are sometimes involved, despite their apparent clumsiness and the opaqueness of meaning to which such grammatical complexity can lead, also facilitates a build-up, or crescendo, of tension and excitement, only to be released by the main verb at the end of the sentence. One additional practice used in this translation is that all main verbs are shown in italics. Every sentence must of course contain at least one main verb, although compound sentences can contain two or more. Where, within a given piece of text, main verbs are relatively scarce, and thus sentences are lengthy, it is likely that this is an example of that build-up of excitement just referred to. One departure from Sabidius' usual practice of literal translation, however, is that in this translation the regular employment by Caesar of the "historic present" in narrative, i.e. where the past tense is replaced by the present tense for the purpose of vividness, has been ignored, and the present tense has been translated by an English verb in the past or aorist tense. This is because in Sabidius' view the constant repetition of the present tense in a narrative recording past events adds little to the meaning and can become monotonous.    

The text for this translation is taken from "Caesar, Gallic War 3", edited by H.E.Gould, M.A., and J.L. Whiteley, M.A., Ph.D., in "Modern School Classics" series, published by Macmillan, 1954. Attention has been paid to the notes attached both to this edition and to those accompanying the edition of "Caesar's Gallic War", edited by J.B.Greenhough et al., Ginn & Co., 1898.

ALPINE CAMPAIGN (Chapters 1-6)

Chapter 1.

When he was setting out for Italy, Caesar sent Servius (Sulpicius) Galba with the twelfth legion and a detachment of cavalry to (the territory of the Nantuates, Veragri and Seduni, which stretches from Lake Lemannus (i.e. Geneva) and from the river Rhone to the summits of the Alps. The reason for sending (him) was that he wished the route through the Alps, by which merchants were accustomed to go (but only) at great risk and with heavy tolls (being levied), to be opened up. He allowed him, if he thought it was necessary (lit. there was a need), to station the legion in these places for the sake of taking up winter quarters. Several successful engagements having been conducted and several of their forts having been stormed, deputies having been sent to him from all sides, and hostages having been given and peace having been made, he decided to station two cohorts in (the district of) the Nantuates, and to winter himself with the remaining cohorts of this legion in a village of the Veragri, which is called Octodurus; this village, with a small plain close by (lit. not a great plain having been added nearby), is shut in on all sides by very high mountains. Since it was divided into two parts by a river, he granted one part of this village to the Gauls, (and) he assigned the other part, having been evacuated (lit. left empty) by them, to his cohorts. He fortified this place with a rampart and a ditch.  

Chapter 2. 

When several days in winter quarters had passed and he had ordered corn to be conveyed thither, he was suddenly informed (lit. made more sure) through his scouts that everyone had withdrawn during the night from that part of the village which he had granted to the Gauls, and that the mountains, which were overhanging, were occupied by a very great multitude of Seduni and Veragri. It had happened for several reasons, that the Gauls had suddenly formed a plan for the war to be renewed and the legion to be overwhelmed: firstly, because they despised, on account of its small number, a legion, and that not at its  fullest, with two cohorts and several men individually, who had been sent for the sake of provisions, having been drawn off; then also because, on account of the disadvantageousness of its position, they supposed that, when they themselves charged down from the mountains into the valley and hurled their missiles, not even their first attack could be withstood. Besides (lit. It was added that) they were grieving that their children had been taken away from them in the name of hostages, and they were quite convinced (lit. they had [it] persuaded to themselves) that the Romans were attempting to seize the peaks of the Alps and to add those districts to their neighbouring province, not only for the sake of the routes but also (for the sake) of perpetual occupation. 

Chapter 3.

These messages having been received, since neither the construction (lit. work) of the winter-quarters, nor its fortifications had been fully completed, nor had sufficient provision been made (lit. had it been sufficiently provided for) with regard to the corn and the rest of the supplies, because, with the surrender having been made and hostages having been received, he had thought that nothing concerning warfare should (lit. was needing to) be feared, a council having been speedily summoned, Galba proceeded to elicit opinions. Since such a very serious (and) sudden danger had occurred, and by now almost all the higher ground was seen (to have been) packed (lit. filled) with a host of armed men, (and since) neither could anyone come (lit. it be arrived at) to reinforce them (lit. for a reinforcement) nor supplies be brought up, the routes having been blocked (lit. cut off), their safety having now been nearly despaired of, some (lit. not no) opinions of this kind were expressed in this council, (namely) that, the baggage having been abandoned and a sortie having been made, they should strive for safety by the same routes as they had arrived thither. However, it seemed good to the greater part, this plan having been reserved for the final (resort), meanwhile to await the outcome of the situation and to defend the camp.

Chapter 4.

A short interval having intervened, (so short) that time was scarcely given for those matters which they had decided to be arranged and carried out, the enemy, the signal having been given, charged down (and) hurled  stones and javelins against the rampart. At first, our men, their strength unimpaired, resisted bravely, nor did they discharge any missile in vain from their higher position, (and), as any part of the camp, having been stripped of defenders appeared to be hard pressed, thither they ran to meet (the danger) and brought help, but they were overcome in this (respect), that (when) the enemy (soldiers), exhausted by the length of the fighting, withdrew from the battle, others, with their strength unimpaired, took their place; none of these things could be done by our men on account of their small number, and not only was no opportunity given to an exhausted (man) of departing from the battle, but no chance (was given) even to a wounded man of that place where he had been stationed being relinquished and of himself being withdrawn.

Chapter 5.

When the battle had been now been raging (lit. it was being fought) for more than six hours continuously, and not only their strength but also their missiles were failing our men, and the enemy were pressing on more fiercely, our men (being) feebler, (and) were proceeding to pull down the rampart and fill in the ditches, and the situation had now been brought to a desperate plight, Publius Sextius Baculus, the senior centurion (lit. centurion of the first company), whom we have mentioned (as) having been weakened by several wounds in the battle with the Nervii, and also Gaius Volusenus, a military tribune (lit. a tribune of the soldiers), a man of great resourcefulness and courage, ran up to Galba and told (him) that there was (only) one hope of safety, (namely) if, a sally having been made, they were to risk the last resort. Accordingly, the centurions having been speedily called together, he instructed the soldiers to break off the battle for a short time and only to parry the missiles discharged (against them), and to refresh themselves from their labours, (and then) afterwards, the signal having been given, to burst out of their camp and to place all hope of safety in their courage.

Chapter 6.  

They did as they were ordered, and, a sortie having suddenly been made from all the gates, they left the enemy the opportunity neither of learning what was happening nor of themselves being rallied. So, fortune having changed, they surrounded on every side and slew those (lit. they slew those having been surrounded on every side) who had come in the hope of their camp being occupied, and out of more than thirty thousand men, which number of barbarians it was agreed to have come to the camp, more than a third part having been killed, they put (lit. threw) the terrified remnants to (lit. into) flight and did not permit (them) to take up their position even on the higher ground. Thus all the forces of the enemy having been routed and having been stripped of their arms, they withdrew (lit. betook themselves) into their camp and fortifications. This battle having been undertaken, because Galba was unwilling to tempt providence too often, and (because) he remembered that he had come into winter-quarters with one purpose (and) he saw that he had met with different circumstances, (and being) especially disturbed by the scarcity of corn and supplies, on the next day, all the buildings of that village having been burned, he hastened to return to the province, and with no enemy hindering (him) or delaying his march, he brought the legion unscathed into (the territory of) the Nantuates, (and) thence into (that of) the Allobroges, and wintered there.


Chapter 7.

These things having been done, when Caesar thought that Gaul was pacified for all these reasons, the Belgae having been defeated, the Germans having been driven out, (and) the Seduni having been conquered in the Alps, and so had set out for Illyricum at the beginning of winter (lit. winter having been entered), because he wished to visit those tribes and to get to know their territories, a sudden war broke out (lit. arose) in Gaul. The cause of that war was this. The young man Publius (Licinius) Crassus had taken up winter-quarters with the seventh legion among the Andes, near the Oceanic sea (i.e. the Atlantic Ocean). Because there was a scarcity of corn in those places, he despatched (some) cavalry commanders and military tribunes to several of the neighbouring states for the sake of (procuring) corn; among this number Titus Terrasidius was sent to the Esubii, Marcus Trebius Gallus to the Curiosolites, (and) Quintus Velanius with Titus Silius to the Veneti.    

Chapter 8.

The authority of this state is by far the most considerable of all (the tribes) on the sea coast of those regions, because the Veneti have a very great number of ships in which they have been accustomed to sail to Britain and (thus) they surpass the rest in their knowledge and experience of nautical affairs, and in the great and exposed violence of the sea, with (only) a few harbours intervening (lit. placed between), which they themselves hold, they treat almost all (those) who have been accustomed to make use of that sea (as) their tributaries. A beginning (of their revolt) was made by them through (lit. of) Silus and Velanius being detained, because they thought that they should recover through them the hostages which they had given to Crassus. The neighbouring (peoples), having been induced by their influence, as the plans of the Gauls are sudden and hasty, detained Trebius and Terrasidius for the same reason, and, envoys having been speedily sent by means of their leading citizens, they swore an oath among themselves, (saying) that they would do nothing except by a common plan, and would bear the same outcome of fortune; they urged the remaining states to choose to remain in that freedom which they had received from their ancestors (rather) than to endure the servitude of the Romans. The whole maritime coast having been quickly brought round to their opinion, they sent a common embassy to Publius Crassus; (to say that) if he wanted to recover his men he should send their hostages back to them.

Chapter 9.

Caesar, having been informed (lit. made more sure) of these things by Crassus, because he was quite a long  distance away himself, ordered war-ships (lit. long ships) to be built in the meantime on the river Loire, which flows into the Ocean, rowers to be drafted from the province, (and) sailors and helmsmen to be acquired. These matters having been quickly organised, he himself, as soon as he could, considering (lit. by reason of) the time of the year, hastened to the army. The Veneti and the other states also, Caesar's arrival having been learned of, (and) at the same time because they understood how great a crime they had committed (lit. taken upon themselves), (in that) ambassadors, a title which had always been sacred and inviolate in the eyes of (lit. to) all nations, had been detained by themselves and thrown into chains, began to prepare for a war befitting (lit. in proportion to) the greatness of their danger, and especially to provide for those things which pertained to the employment of ships, with the greater hope for this (reason), that they had much confidence in the nature of their position. They knew that land routes were cut off by estuaries,(and) that our navigation (was) hampered on account of our ignorance of the locality and the scarcity of harbours, and they trusted that our armies would not be able to remain for long amongst them on account of the shortage of corn; and, although everything might now turn out contrary to their expectation, yet (they knew) that they were very powerful in ships (and) that the Romans had neither any supply of ships nor had knowledge of the shallows, harbours, (and) islands of those places where they were going to wage the war; and they understood that navigation in an enclosed sea (i.e. the Mediterranean) was very different from (navigation) in a very vast and very open ocean (i.e. the Atlantic). These plans having been adopted (lit. having been entered into), they fortified their towns, conveyed corn from the fields, (and) mustered as many ships as they could in Venetia, where it was agreed that Caesar would first wage the war. They joined to themselves (as) allies for that war the Osismi, the Lexovii, the Namnetes, the Ambiliates, the Morini, the Diablintes (and) the Menapii; (and) they summoned auxiliaries from Britain, which lies (lit. has been placed) opposite those regions.

Chapter 10.

There were these difficulties, which we have shown above, in the war being waged, but many things, nevertheless, urged Caesar to (undertake) that war: the wrongs of Roman knights having been detained, the renewal of hostilities after their surrender, the revolt after hostages had been given (lit. hostages having been given), the conspiracy of so many states, and, especially (lit. in the first place), (the fear) lest, this district having been disregarded, the other tribes might think that the same thing was permitted to them. Therefore, since he understood that almost all the Gauls were eager for revolution (lit. new things) and easily and quickly aroused towards war, while all men were, by nature, eager for liberty and hate the condition of slavery, he thought that his army ought (lit. was needing) to be divided and more widely distributed by him, before more states should join the revolt.

Chapter 11.

He therefore sent his legate Titus (Atius) Labienus with the cavalry to the Treviri who live (lit. are) nearest to the Rhine. He instructed him (to) visit the Remi and the other Belgae and keep (them) in their allegiance, and to hold back the Germans, who were said to have been summoned by the Belgae to their assistance, if they were to attempt to cross the river in force in their boats. He ordered Publius Crassus to set out for Aquitania with twelve legionary cohorts and a large number of cavalry, lest (any) auxiliaries should be sent into Gaul from these nations and such great tribes be united. He sent his legate Titus Titurius Sabinus with three legions to (the territories of) the Venelli, the Curiosolites and the Lexovii in order to see to it that the forces there were kept apart (from the rest). He appointed the young man Decimus (Junius) Brutus as commander of the fleet and those Gallic ships which he had ordered (him) to requisition from the Pictones and the Santoni and the other pacified regions, and he commanded (him) to proceed towards (the territory of) the Veneti as soon as he could. He himself hastened thither with the land forces.

Chapter 12.

The sites of their strongholds were generally of such a kind that, having been placed on the end of tongues (of land)  and on promontories, they had neither access by foot when the tide had rushed in (lit. urged itself on) from the deep (sea), (something) which always occurs twice in the space of twelve hours, neither by ships, because, with the tide ebbing again, the ships would be dashed upon the shoals. Thus by either circumstance the storming of their strongholds was impeded; and, if at any time, having by chance been overcome by the greatness of our siege-works, the sea having been excluded by a mound and moles, and with these having been brought level with the walls of the town, they began to despair of their fortunes, a great number of ships, of (which) thing they had a great supply, having been brought in to land, they used to carry away all their (possessions) and withdrew (lit. betook themselves) to the nearest towns: there they again defended themselves by the same advantages of location. They continued to do this the more easily for the great part of the summer because our ships were held back by the storms, and the difficulty of sailing, with the sea (being) vast and open, the tides (being) strong, (and) harbours (being) scattered and almost none at all, was very great.

Chapter 13.

For indeed their ships had been built and equipped in this manner: their keels (were) somewhat flatter than (those) of our ships, whereby they could the more easily cope with the shallows and the ebbing of the tide; their prows (were) raised very high (out of  the water), and likewise their sterns (were) adapted to the magnitude of the waves and storms; the ships (were built) entirely of oak with the purpose of whatever violence and damage being endured; the thwarts, (made of timber) beams a foot in breadth, (were) fastened with iron bolts with the thickness of a (man's) thumb; their anchors (were) secured by iron chains instead of rope-cables; in place of (canvas) sails (they had) skins and leather hides beaten thin, (and) these (were used) either on account of a want of flax and their ignorance of its application, or for this (reason), which is more like the truth, because they thought that such great storms and blasts of wind (could not) be withstood, and that such a great weight of ships could not be properly enough controlled by (canvas) sails. The encounter of our fleet with these ships was of such a kind that it was superior only in speed and in the propulsion of the oars, (while) everything else was more suitable and more fitting for them, considering the nature of the place, (and) considering the violence of the storms. For neither could our ships damage theirs with beaks (so great was the solidity within them), nor was a missile easily thrust (at them) on account of their height, and for the same reason they were less easily held fast by grapnels. Besides (lit. It was added that), whenever the wind began to rage and they ran before (lit. gave themselves to) the wind, they could both weather the storm more easily, and having been left (aground) by the tide they did not fear the rocks and the reefs at all; (but) the risk of all these things was much to be dreaded by our ships.

Chapter 14.

Several strongholds having been stormed, Caesar, when he realised that so much effort was being spent in vain, and that the flight of the enemy, their strongholds having been taken, could not be stopped, and that no harm could be done to them (lit. that it could not be harmed with regard to them), decided that the fleet should (lit. was needing to) be awaited. When it assembled, and was first seen by the enemy, about two hundred and twenty of their ships, fully prepared and very well equipped with every kind of weapon, having set sail from the harbour, came to anchor opposite our (ships); and it was not at all clear to Brutus, who was in command of the fleet, or to the military tribunes or the centurions, to whom the individual ships had been assigned, what they were to do, or what tactic for battle they should pursue. For they had realised that no damage could be done by their beaks; even with towers having been built (on their decks), yet the height of the sterns of the barbarian ships exceeded these, so that missiles could not be cast up from our lower position effectively enough, and (those) discharged by the Gauls fell more heavily (upon us). One thing provided by our men was of great service, sharp pointed hooks inserted in and bound to long poles, in shape not unlike the wall hooks (used in sieges). Whenever the ropes which fastened the yard-arms to the masts were caught and pulled by these, our vessels having been impelled by oars, they were snapped. These having been severed, the yard-arms fell on (to the deck), so that, since all the hope of the Gallic ships consisted in their sails and rigging, these having been removed, the entire management of the ships was taken away at one time. The rest of the contest depended upon courage, in which our soldiers were easily superior, and the more (so) because the engagement was carried out in the sight of Caesar and the whole army, so that no exploit, a little braver (than usual), could be unobserved; for all the hills and the higher ground, from which there was a close view down upon the sea, were occupied by the army.

Chapter 15.

Their yard-arms having been dismantled, as we have said, although two and (in some cases) three of their ships had surrounded each one (of ours), the soldiers strove with the greatest energy to board the enemy's ships. After the barbarians observed this happening, several of their ships having been stormed, since no remedy at all was discovered, they hastened to seek safety in flight. And their ships having now been steered so as to run before the wind (lit. having now been turned to that quarter towards which the wind bore [them]), so great a calm and lull suddenly prevailed that they could not move themselves out of their position. This circumstance was indeed exceedingly opportune for the business being completed: for our men, having pursued (them), stormed (them) one by one, so that very few out of all their number, (and those) by the intervention of night, reached land, since the battle lasted (lit. it was fought) almost from the fourth hour right up to sunset (lit. the setting of the sun).

Chapter 16.

 With this battle the war against the Veneti and (the tribes of) the whole sea coast was finished. For not only all the men of military age (lit. young men), (and) all too of more serious age, in whom there was something of counsel or position, had mustered there, but also they had assembled what there had been of ships anywhere in that one place; these having been lost, the rest (of the men) had neither (any place) to which they could withdraw (lit. betake themselves) neither any means (lit. [any plan] how)  to defend their strongholds. So, they surrendered themselves and all their possessions to Caesar. Caesar decided that it was necessary that punishment be inflicted (lit. it was needing to be punished) upon them the more severely in order that the rights of ambassadors should be respected more carefully by the barbarians in the future (lit. for the remaining time). Accordingly, the entire senate having been executed, he sold the rest as slaves (lit. under the wreathe).


Chapter 17.

While these things were being done in (the lands of) the Veneti, Quintus Titurius Sabinus, with those forces which he had received from Caesar, arrived at the territories of the Venelli. Viridovix held sway over these people, and held the supreme command (lit. the summit of power) over all those states which had revolted, (and) from which he had mustered an army and large levies; and in those few days the Aulerci, the Eburovices and the Lexovii, their senate having been slain, because they were unwilling to be promoters of the war, closed their gates (to us), and united themselves with Viridovix; and moreover there had assembled from all quarters of Gaul a great multitude of desperate men and brigands, whom the hope of plundering and eagerness for fighting were calling away from the cultivation of the fields and their daily labour. Sabinus kept himself within his camp, his position (being) suitable in all respects, although Viridovix had encamped over against him at a distance of two miles (lit. thousand [paces]), and, his forces having been led out daily, gave (him) an opportunity of fighting, so that Sabinus not only now came into contempt with regard to the enemy but was even censured considerably (lit. not in no way) by the taunts of our soldiers; and he gave so great an impression of cowardice that the enemy now dared to approach up to the (very) rampart of the camp. He did this for the following reason, because he did not think that it was right for a legate to fight (lit. that it was right to be fought by a legate) with so great a multitude of the enemy, especially with him who held the supreme command (lit. the summit of power) being absent, except on advantageous ground or with some (favourable) opportunity having been offered.

Chapter 18.

This impression of cowardice having been established, he chose a certain Gaul, a suitable and cunning man,  out of those whom he had with him as auxiliaries (lit. for the sake of help). He persuaded him by great rewards and promises (of more) to go over to the enemy, and he explained (to him) what he wanted to be done. He, when he came to them as a deserter, emphasised the fear of the Romans, (and) he told (them) with what difficulties Caesar was being harassed by the Veneti, and that it was not further off but that Sabinus would on the next night secretly lead his army out of their camp for the sake of help being brought to Caesar. When this was heard, they all cried out together that the opportunity of their enterprise being successfully conducted ought not to (lit. was not properly to) be lost, (and) that they ought to make a march (lit. it was right for it to be gone) to the camp. Many circumstances encouraged the Gauls to (adopt) this plan: the dithering of Sabinus in previous days, the corrobatory statement of the deserter, the want of provisions, for which thing provision had been made (lit. it had been provided) with insufficient care (lit. too little carefully) by them, the hope concerning the war of the Veneti, and because, in most cases, men freely believe what they wish. Induced by these things, they did not let Viridovix and the other leaders go from the council before it was agreed by them that they should take up arms and hasten to our camp. This permission (lit. thing) having been granted, rejoicing as if victory were (lit. having been) assured, (and) faggots and brushwood having been gathered, with which they could fill the Romans' trenches, they proceeded to the camp.

Chapter 19.

The position of the camp was on high ground (lit. raised) and sloping gently (lit. gradually) from its base for about a mile (lit. a thousand paces). Hither they hastened with great speed in order that the least possible space (of time) might be given to the Romans, and (so) they arrived out of breath. Having encouraged his men, Sabinus gave the signal to (them) desiring (it). The enemy having been encumbered on account of those burdens which they were carrying, he ordered a sally to be made suddenly from the gates. It happened, owing to the advantage of our position, the enemy's lack of skill and fatigue, the valour of our soldiers and their experience in former battles, that they could not withstand even one attack of our men, and they fled (lit. turned their backs) at once. Our soldiers pursuing them, hampered (as they were), with unimpaired vigour, slew a great number of them; the cavalry, pursuing the rest, left few (alive), (namely those) who had escaped from the rout. Thus at one (and the same) time Sabinus was informed (lit. made more sure) of the naval battle and Caesar of Sabinus' victory: and all the states immediately surrendered to Titurius. For as the temper of the Gauls is eager and ready for war to be undertaken, so their mind is weak and not at all (lit. very little) resisting at calamities being endured.

SOUTHERN GAUL (Chapters 20-27)

Chapter 20.

At about the same time, Publius Crassus, when he had arrived in Aquitania, a district which, as has been said before, by reason both of its width of territories and its great number of people, is reckoned to be a third part of Gaul, since he understood that he had to wage war (lit. that war was needing to be be waged by him) in those places, where a few years before the legate Lucius Valerius Praeconinus, his army having been routed, had been killed, and whence the proconsul Lucius Mallius, his baggage having been lost, had fled, realised that he ought to employ no ordinary care (lit. that no ordinary care was needing to be employed by him). Therefore, the corn supply having been provided, auxiliaries and cavalry having been procured, (and) also many brave men having been called up individually (lit. by name) from Tolosa, Carcaso and Narbo, cities of the province of Gaul which are bordering on these regions, he led his army into (the territory of) the Sontiates. His arrival having been learned of, the Sontiates, great forces and (much) cavalry, in which their strength mostly lay, having been assembled, having assailed our column (while) on the march, engaged first in a cavalry battle, then, their cavalry having been routed and with our men pursuing (them), suddenly displayed their infantry forces, which they had positioned in ambush in a valley. These, attacking our men, (while they were) dispersed (lit. disordered), renewed the battle.

Chapter 21.

The battle raged (lit. it was fought) for a long time and vigorously, since the Sontiates, relying on their previous victories, considered that the safety of the whole of Aquitania depended on their valour, but our men were wanting (it) to be seen what they could accomplish, their leader (being) a young man, without their commander-in-chief and without the rest of the legions: however, the enemy, worn out by their wounds, fled  (lit. turned their backs). A great number having been slain, Crassus began to attack the stronghold of the Sontiates (while) on the march. With them resisting bravely, he brought up mantlets and towers. At one time a sally having been tried, at another time mines having been employed up to our rampart and mantlets (at which work the Aquitani are by far the most skilful, on account of the fact that in many places among them there are copper mines and diggings), when they realised that nothing could be achieved by these operations due to the diligence of our men, they sent envoys to Crassus and besought (him) to accept their surrender (lit. them in surrender). This request having been obtained, having been ordered to give up their arms, they did (so).

Chapter 22. 

And, the attention of all our men having been concentrated upon this matter, in another part of the town, Adiatunnus, who held the supreme command (lit. the summit of power), with six hundred devoted followers, whom they call soldurii, whose compact (of association) is this, that they enjoy all the conveniences in life together with those to whose friendship they have committed themselves, (and), if anything violent (lit. through violence) happens to them, that they either endure the same fate or commit suicide (lit. inflict death upon themselves); nor yet in the memory of men has anyone been found of such a kind that, that man to whose friendship he had devoted himself, having been killed, he refused to die: Adiatunnus (as I said), endeavouring to make a sally with these men, when, a shout having been raised from that part of the fortification, our soldiers rushed together to arms, and a battle had been fought (lit. it had been fought) there fiercely, having been driven back into the town, yet he obtained from Crassus (an agreement) that he should enjoy the same conditions of surrender (as the other inhabitants).

Chapter 23.

Their arms and hostages having been received, Crassus set out for (the territories of) the Vocates and the Tarusates. Then indeed the barbarians, having been disturbed because they had learned that a town fortified both by the nature of its position and by the hand (of man) (had been) stormed in the few days within which their arrival thither had occurred (lit. it had come thither), began to send out envoys in every direction, to conspire together, to give hostages between themselves, (and) to equip troops. Ambassadors were also sent to those states which are in (lit. of) Hither Spain bordering upon Aquitania: auxiliaries and leaders are summoned thence. Upon their arrival they endeavoured to wage war with great confidence and with a great host of men. Indeed those who had been together with Quintus Sertorius for all those years and were thought to possess great knowledge of warfare (lit. the military business) were chosen (as) their leaders. These, according to the practice of the Roman people, proceed to take up (advantageous) positions, to fortify camps, (and) to cut off our men from supplies. When Crassus noticed this, (and also) that his forces, on account of their small number, (could) not readily be dispersed, that the enemy were roaming around and blocking the roads, and (yet) they had left a sufficient guard for their camp, that on account of this reason his corn and provisions could not readily be brought up, (while) the number of the enemy was increasing daily, he thought that he ought not (lit. that it was not right) to delay, but that he should decide the issue in battle. This plan having been put to a council-of-war, when he realised that everyone felt the same (as he did), he appointed the following day for the battle.

Chapter 24.

All his forces having been led out at dawn (lit. first light), a double battle-line having been formed, (and) the auxiliaries having been grouped in the centre of the line, he waited (to see) what plan the enemy would adopt. Although, on account of their great number and their ancient reputation in war and the small number of  our men, they thought they would fight safely, yet they considered it to be safer, the roads having been blocked and supplies cut off (from our men), to gain a victory without any damage (lit. wound); and, if the Romans, on account of their lack of a corn supply, should begin to retreat (lit. withdraw themselves), they had it in mind to attack (them), encumbered (as they would be) in column-of-route and with a less resolute (lit. weaker) spirit under their packs. This plan having been approved by their leaders, (and) the Roman forces having been led out, they kept themselves in camp. This measure having been perceived, since by their own hesitation and (seeming) more nervous than their reputation the enemy had rendered our soldiers more eager for fighting, and the voices of all were heard (saying) that they ought not to wait (lit. that it was not right for it to be awaited) any longer but that they should advance against (lit. that it should be gone to) the camp, Crassus, having encouraged his men, (and) with all desiring (this), hastened  to the enemy's camp.

Chapter 25.

There, while some were filling up the ditches (and) others, many missiles having been hurled together, were driving the defenders from the rampart and the fortifications, and the auxiliaries, upon whom Crassus did not much rely in battle, by stones and missiles being supplied, and sods of turf being conveyed for the purpose of a mound (being built) a mound, presented the appearance and (gave) the impression of fighting men, while also the enemy were fighting (lit. it was being fought by the enemy) resolutely and bravely (lit. not timidly) and missiles, discharged from their higher position, were falling with good effect (lit. were not falling in vain), the cavalry, the enemy's camp having been ridden around, reported to Crassus that their camp had not been fortified with the same care on the side of the decuman (i.e. rear) gate, and that it offered an easy approach.

Chapter 26.

Having exhorted the commanders of the cavalry to arouse their men by great rewards and promises (of more), Crassus pointed out (to them) what he wanted to be done. They, as they (lit. it) had been ordered, those cohorts, which, having been left as a guard for the camp, were unwearied by exertion, having been led out, and having been led around by a longer route, so that they could not be seen from the enemy's camp, with the eyes and minds of all (being) intent upon the battle, quickly arrived at those fortifications of which we have spoken, and, these having been demolished, they got a footing in the enemy's camp before (they could) be clearly seen by them or what thing was being done could be realised. Then indeed, a shout from that quarter having been heard, our men, their strength having been renewed, (something) which is usually wont to occur in the expectation of victory, began to fight more vigorously. The enemy having been surrounded on all sides, (and) with all their affairs having been despaired of, endeavoured to cast themselves down (all) along the ramparts and to seek safety in flight. The cavalry, pursuing them over the very open plains, with scarcely a quarter (lit. a fourth part) out of the number of fifty thousand, which had gathered from Aquitania and (the lands of) the Cantabri, having been left (alive), returned (lit. betook themselves) late at night (lit. much of the night [having passed]) to the camp.

Chapter 27.

This battle having been heard of, the greatest part of Aquitania surrendered itself to Crassus and of its own accord sent hostages; among this number were the Tarbelli, the Bigerriones, the Ptianii, the Vocates, the Tarusates, the Elusates, the Gates, the Ausci, the Garumni, the Sibuzates (and) the Cocosates. A few very remote tribes, trusting in the time of year, because winter was at hand, neglected to do this.


Chapter 28.

About the same time, Caesar, although the summer was nearly spent, yet because, the whole of Gaul having been pacified, the Morini and the Menapii remained of such a kind that they were in arms, nor had they ever sent ambassadors to him concerning peace, thinking that that war could be speedily completed, led his army thither; they began to conduct the war by a far different method from the rest of the Gauls. For, because they understood that the greatest tribes which had engaged in the war had been routed and overcome, and (because) they possessed continuous (lit. far stretching) forests and marshes, they conveyed themselves and all their property thither. When Caesar arrived and began to fortify his camp, and no enemy had been seen in the meantime, our men having been dispersed on their duties, they suddenly swooped out of all parts of the forest and made an attack on our men. Our men quickly took up their arms and drove them back into the forests, and many (of the enemy) having been killed, they lost a few of their own men pursuing too far, the ground (being) rather difficult.

Chapter 29.

On the remaining successive days, Caesar began to cut down the forests, and so that any attack could not be made on the flank, our soldiers (being) unarmed and unprepared, he placed fronting the enemy all that timber which had been cut down, and piled (it) up as a rampart on each flank. A great space having been cleared  with incredible speed in a few days, when the cattle and the rear of their baggage were sized by our men, and they themselves sought the thicker (parts of the) forests, storms of such a kind ensued, that the work was of necessity interrupted, and, owing to the continuation of the rains, our soldiers could not keep any longer in their tents (lit. under skins). So, all their fields having been ravaged (and) their villages and buildings having been burned, Caesar led his army back and placed (it) in winter quarters among the Aulerci and the Lexovii, (and) likewise the other states which had made war (upon him) recently.


A.  Ablative Absolutes: (117)

(See article entitled "Ablative Absolutes" on this blog, dated 20 May 2012.)

B.  Gerunds and Gerundives: (38)

(For a detailed analysis of the use of these in Latin literature, see the following articles on Sabidius blog: "Gerund and Gerundives", 6th March 2010; "Nunc est Bibendum", 17th January 2011; and "Gerunds and Gerundives: exemplification", 23rd January 2012.) In the list below each instance is shown first in Latin in italics, with the actual gerunds and gerundives underlined, and secondly in English. In the case of gerundives a more literal translation into English is followed by a colloquial  one which usually has the effect of transferring the voice of the action from passive to active, and, in the case of the gerundive denoting necessity, obligation or propriety, of introducing words such as 'should', 'ought' or 'must' into the translation.

Chapter 1: l.5:  causa (eius) mittendi :  1) lit. the reason for him being sent; 2) colloq. the reason for sending him. (Gerundive as attributive adjective qualifying a supplied pronoun in the objective genitive.) N.B. This can also be read as causa mittendi (eum) in which case mittendi would then be a gerund taking an object, an irregular but occasionally found construction (see Chapter 6 ll.2-3.)

Chapter 1: l.9:  hiemandi causa :  for the sake of taking up winter-quarters. (Gerund in the genitive case following causa to express purpose.)

Chapter 2:  ll.7-8:  belli renovandi legionisque opprimendae consilium :  1) lit. a plan for the war to be  renewed and the legion to be overwhelmed; 2) colloq. a plan for renewing the war and overwhelming the legion. (Two gerundives as attributive adjectives qualifying nouns in the objective genitive.)

Chapter 3:  l.5:  nihil de bello timendum (esse) existimaverat :  1) lit. he had thought that it was not in any way to be feared about warfare; 2) colloq. he had thought he ought to fear nothing about warfare. (Gerundive as predicative adjective used impersonally to express obligation.) N.B. This can also be read with timendum as an attributive adjective qualifying nihil.

Chapter 4:  l.2:  eis rebus quas constituissent collocandis atque administrandis :  1) lit. for those matters which they had decided to be arranged and carried out; 2) colloq. to arrange and carry out those matters which they had decided. (Two gerundives as attributive adjectives qualifying a noun in the dative.)

Chapter 4:  l.13:  (nulla facultas) ex pugna excedendi : no opportunity of departing from the battle. (Gerund as an objective genitive.)

Chapter 4:  l.14:  loci ubi constiterat relinquendi ac sui recipiendi (nulla) facultas: 1) lit. no opportunity of that place where he had been stationed being relinquished or of himself being withdrawn: 2) colloq. no opportunity of him leaving that place where he had been stationed or of withdrawing. (Two gerundives as attributive adjectives qualifying a noun and a pronoun respectively, both in the objective genitive.)

Chapter 6:  ll.2-3:  cognoscendi quid fieret ... (facultatem): the opportunity of learning what was happening. (Gerund as an objective genitive exceptionally taking a noun clause as object.)

Chapter 6:  ll.3:  neque sui colligendi ... facultatem: 1) lit. the opportunity of themselves being rallied; 2) colloq. the chance of rallying themselves. (Gerundive as an attributive adjective qualifying a pronoun in the objective genitive.)

Chapter 10:  l.1:  hae difficultates belli gerendi: 1) these difficulties in the war being waged; 2) colloq. these difficulties in the conduct of the war. (Gerundive as an attributive adjective qualifying a noun in the objective genitive.)

Chapter 10:  ll.11-12:  partiendum sibi ac latius distribuendum (esse) exercitum putavit:  1) lit. he thought that his army was needing to be divided and more widely distributed by him, 2) colloq. he thought that he ought to split up and disperse his army over a wider area. (Two gerundives as predicative adjectives expressing necessity.)

Chapter 11:  l.12:  qui eam manum distinendam curet:  1) lit. who was to cause that force to be kept apart (from the rest); 2) colloq. in order to see to it that the forces there were kept apart from the rest). (Gerundive of obligation as an attributive adjective used in the accusative case after certain verbs to express the purpose of an action.)

Chapter 13:  l.8:  ad quamvis vim et contumeliam perferendam: 1) lit. with the purpose of whatever violence and damage being endured; 2) colloq. so as to withstand any violence and damage that might occur. (Gerundive as an attributive adjective qualifying two nouns in the accusative following ad to express purpose.)

Chapter 13:  l.28:  quarum rerum omnium nostris navibus casus erat extimescendus: 1) lit. the risk of all these things was very greatly to be dreaded by our ships; 2) colloq. our ships had greatly to dread the risk of all these things. (Gerundive as a predicative adjective qualifying a noun in the nominative.)

Chapter 14:  l.4:  Caesar ... statuit classem exspectandam (esse): 1) Caesar decided that the fleet was needing to be awaited; 2) Caesar decided that he should wait for the fleet. (Gerundive as a predicative adjective expressing necessity.)

Chapter 15:  l.10:  ad negotium conficiendum: 1) lit. for the purpose of the business being completed; 2) colloq. for the completion of the business. (Gerundive as an attributive adjective qualifying a noun in the accusative following ad to express purpose.)

Chapter 16:  l.9:  eo gravius Caesar vindicandum (esse) statuit:  1) lit. Caesar decided that it was needing to be punished the more severely; 2) colloq. Caesar decided that punishment must be the more severe. (Gerundive as a predicative adjective used impersonally to express necessity.)

Chapter 17:  ll.11-12:  spes praedandi studiumque bellandi: the hope of plundering and eagerness for fighting. (Two gerunds as objective genitives.)

Chapter 17:  l.16:  pugnandi potestatem: an opportunity of fighting. (Gerund as an objective genitive.)

Chapter 17: ll.24-25:  dimicandum (esse) non existimabat:  1) lit. he did not think that it was right to be fought; 2) colloq. he did not think he should fight. (Gerundive as a predicative adjective used impersonally to express propriety.)

Chapter 18:  ll.11-12:  occasionem negoti bene gerendi:  1) lit. the opportunity of their enterprise being well conducted: 2) colloq. the chance to conduct their enterprise successfully. (Gerundive as an attributive adjective qualifying a noun in the objective genitive.)

Chapter 18:  ll.11-12:  occasionem ... amittendam non esse: 1) lit. that the opportunity was not properly to be lost; 2) colloq. that they ought not to lose the opportunity. (Gerundive as a predicative adjective to express propriety.)

Chapter 19:  ll. 3-4:  ad se colligendos armandosque: 1) lit. for the purpose of themselves being gathered and armed; 2) colloq. to assemble and arm themselves. (Two gerundives as attributive adjectives qualifying a pronoun in the accusative following ad to express purpose.)

Chapter 19:  l.18:  ad bella suspicienda: 1) lit. for the purpose of wars being undertaken; 2) colloq. to undertake wars. (Gerundive as an attributive adjective qualifying a noun in the accusative following ad to express purpose.)

Chapter 19:  l.20:  ad calamitates perferendas: 1) lit. for the purpose of disasters being endured; 2) colloq. to endure disasters. (Gerundive as an attributive adjective qualifying a noun in the accusative following ad to express purpose.)

Chapter 20:  ll 2-4:  quae pars ... ex tertia parte Galliae est aestimanda: 1) lit. which district is to be reckoned as a third part of Gaul; 2) colloq. a district which is considered as a third of the size of Gaul. (Gerundive as an attributive adjective qualifying a noun in the nominative.)

Chapter 20:  l.5:  sibi bellum gerendum (esse): 1) lit. that war was needing to be waged by him; 2) colloq. that he must conduct a war. (Gerundive as a predicative adjective to express necessity.)

Chapter 20:  ll.8-9:  non mediocrem sibi diligentiam adhibendam (esse): 1) lit. that no ordinary care was needing to be employed by him: 2) colloq. that he must employ special care. (Gerundive as a predicative adjective to express necessity.)

Chapter 23:  l.22:  non cunctandum (esse) existimavit:  1) lit. he thought it was not right to delay; 2) colloq. he thought he ought not to delay. (Gerundive as a predicative adjective used impersonally to express propriety.)

Chapter 24:  l.15:  alacrior ad pugnandum:  more eager to fight. (Gerund in the accusative following ad to express purpose.)

Chapter 25:  ll.4-5:  lapidibus telisque summinstrandis et ... caespitibus comportandis: 1) by stones and missiles being supplied and sods of turf being conveyed; 2) by supplying stones and by conveying sods of turf. (Two gerundives as attributive adjectives qualifying nouns in the instrumental ablative.)

C.  Impersonal passives: (12)

Each instance of the impersonal passive construction is shown first in Latin in italics, with the actual passive verb underlined, then in English firstly by a literal translation and secondly by either one or two colloquial ones. In practice, literal translations of impersonal passives involve the use of English which is almost impossibly convoluted.

Chapter 2:  l.20:  sibi persuasum habebant: 1) lit. they had (it) persuaded to themselves; 2) colloq. they were quite convinced.

Chapter 3:  l.10:  neque subsidio veniri (posset): 1) lit. neither could it be arrived at for a reinforcement; 2) colloq. neither could anyone come to reinforce (them).

Chapter 5:  l.1:  pugnaretur: 1) lit. it was being fought; 2a) colloq. there was fighting; 2b) colloq. the battle raged.

Chapter 15:  l.14:  pugnaretur: 1) lit. it was being fought; 2a) colloq. there was fighting; 2b) colloq. the battle lasted.

Chapter 18:  ll.12-13:  ad castra iri oportere: 1) lit. it was right for it to be gone to the camp; 2a) colloq. they ought to make a march on the camp; 2b) colloq. they should march on the camp.

Chapter 18: ll.15-16:  cui rei parum diligenter ab his erat provisum: 1) lit. for which thing it had too carefully been provided by them; 2a) colloq. for which thing provision had been made by them with insufficient care; 2b) colloq. for the provision of which they had not taken sufficient care.

Chapter 21:  l.1:  pugnatum est diu atque acriter: 1) lit. it was fought for a long time and fiercely; 2a) for a long time there was fierce fighting; 2b) colloq. the battle was long and fierce.

Chapter 22:  l.13:  vehementerque ibi pugnatum esset: 1) lit. and it had been fought there fiercely; 2a) colloq. and a fierce battle was fought there; 2b) colloq. and they fought a fierce battle there.

Chapter 23:  ll.4-5:  eo ventum erat:  1) lit. it had been arrived at thither; 2) their arrival there had occurred.

Chapter 24:  l.16:  exspectari diutius non oportere: 1) lit. that it was not right for it to be awaited any longer; 2) colloq. that they ought not to wait any longer.

Chapter 24:  l.17:  ad castra iretur: 1) lit. it should be gone to the camp; 2a) colloq. they should advance against the camp; 2b) colloq. a march should be made against the camp.

Chapter 25: l.7:  ab hostibus constanter non timide pugnaretur: 1) lit. it was being fought by the enemy resolutely and not timidly; 2) colloq. the enemy were fighting with resolve and courage.

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