COMMENTARII DE BELLO GALLICO (English: Commentaries on the Gallic War
), also simply BELLUM GALLICUM (English: Gallic War), is Julius Caesar
's firsthand account of the
Gallic Wars , written as a third-person
narrative . In it Caesar describes the battles and intrigues that took
place in the nine years he spent fighting the
Germanic peoples and
Celtic peoples in
Gaul that opposed Roman conquest.
The "Gaul" that Caesar refers to is ambiguous, as the term had
various connotations in Roman writing and discourse during Caesar's
Gaul included all of the regions that Romans had not
conquered or administer or which were primarily inhabited by
except for the Roman province of
Gallia Narbonensis (modern-day
Languedoc-Roussillon ), which had already been conquered
in Caesar's time, therefore encompassing the rest of modern
Belgium and parts of
Switzerland . As the
Roman Republic made inroads
deeper into Celtic territory and conquered more land, the definition
of "Gaul" shifted. Concurrently, "Gaul" was also used in common
parlance as a synonym for "uncouth" or "unsophisticated" as Romans saw
Celtic peoples as uncivilized compared with Rome.
The work has been a mainstay in
Latin instruction because of its
simple, direct prose. It begins with the frequently quoted phrase
"Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres", meaning "
Gaul is a whole
divided into three parts". The full work is split into eight
sections, Book 1 to Book 8, varying in size from approximately 5,000
to 15,000 words. Book 8 was written by
Aulus Hirtius , after Caesar's
* 1 Title
* 2 Motivations
* 3 Modern influence
* 3.1 Educational use
* 3.2 Astérix
* 3.3 Vorenus and Pullo
* 3.4 Vincent d\'Indy
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 6 External links
Latin title, literally Commentaries on the Gallic War, is often
retained in English translations of the book, and the title is also
translated to About the Gallic War, Of the Gallic War, On the Gallic
War, The Conquest of Gaul, and The Gallic War.
The victories in
Gaul won by Caesar had increased the alarm and
hostility of his enemies at Rome , and his aristocratic enemies, the
boni , were spreading rumors about his intentions once he returned
from Gaul. The boni intended to prosecute Caesar for abuse of his
authority upon his return, when he would lay down his imperium. Such
prosecution would not only see Caesar stripped of his wealth and
citizenship, but also negate all of the laws he enacted during his
term as Consul and his dispositions as pro-consul of Gaul. To defend
himself against these threats, Caesar knew he needed the support of
the plebeians , particularly the Tribunes of the Plebs, on whom he
chiefly relied for help in carrying out his agenda. The Commentaries
were an effort by Caesar to directly communicate with the plebeians -
thereby circumventing the usual channels of communication that passed
through the Senate - to propagandize his activities as efforts to
increase the glory and influence of Rome. By winning the support of
the people, Caesar sought to make himself unassailable from the boni.
The work is a paradigm of proper reporting and stylistic clarity.
It is often lauded for its polished, clear
Latin . This book is
traditionally the first authentic text assigned to students of Latin,
Xenophon 's Anabasis is for students of Ancient Greek ; they are
both autobiographical tales of military adventure told in the third
person. It contains many details and employs many stylistic devices to
promote Caesar's political interests.
The books are valuable for the many geographical and historical
claims that can be retrieved from the work. Notable chapters describe
Gaulish custom (VI, 13), their religion (VI, 17), and a comparison
between Gauls and
Germanic peoples (VI, 24).
Since Caesar is one of the characters in the Astérix and Obélix
René Goscinny included gags for French schoolchildren who had
the Commentarii as a textbook. One example is having Caesar talk about
himself in the third person as in the book.
Some English editions state that Astérix's village of indomitable
Gauls is the "fourth part" of Gaul, not yet having been conquered by
Caesar. In the 36th book of the Asterix series, Asterix and the
Missing Scroll , a fictitious and supposedly censored chapter from
Caesar's Commentaries on the
Gallic War forms the basis for the story.
VORENUS AND PULLO
In Book 5, Chapter 44 the
Commentarii de Bello Gallico
Commentarii de Bello Gallico notably
Lucius Vorenus and
Titus Pullo , two Roman centurions of the
11th Legion . The 2005 television series Rome gives a fictionalized
account of Caesar's rise and fall, featuring
Kevin McKidd as the
Lucius Vorenus and Ray Stevenson as the character of
Titus Pullo of the 13th Legion .
World War I
World War I the French composer Vincent d\'Indy wrote his
Third Symphony, which bears the title De Bello Gallico. D'Indy was
adapting Caesar's title to the situation of the current struggle in
France against the German army, in which he had a son and nephew
fighting, and which the music illustrates to some extent.
Commentarii de Bello Civili
De Bello Alexandrino
De Bello Africo
De Bello Hispaniensi
* ^ As translated by H.J. Edwards in the Loeb Classical Library
* ^ Peck, Harry Thurston , ed. (1963) . "Caesar, Gaius Iulius".
Harper\'s Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities . New
York: Cooper Square Publishers, Inc. p. 248.
* ^ Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Cæsar\'s Commentaries".
Encyclopedia Americana .
* ^ Caesar. In Hans Herzfeld (1960): Geschichte in Gestalten
History in figures), vol. 1: A-E. Das Fischer Lexikon 37, Frankfurt
1963, p. 214. "Hauptquellen : Caesars eigene, wenn auch leicht
tendenziöse Darstellungen des Gallischen und des Bürgerkrieges, die
Musterbeispiele sachgemäßer Berichterstattung und stilistischer
Klarheit sind" ("Main sources : Caesar's own, even though slightly
tendentious depictions of the Gallic and the Civil Wars, which are
paradigms of pertinent information and stylistic clarity")
* ^ cf. Albrecht, Michael v.: Geschichte der römischen Literatur
Band 1 (
History of Roman Literature, Volume 1). Munich 1994, 2nd ed.,
* ^ Prior to its demobilization and subsequent remobilization by
Augustus —see also Republican and Imperatorial legions . Julius
Commentarii de Bello Gallico
Commentarii de Bello Gallico 5.44