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Gaius Iulius Caesar
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C. Julius Caesar's commentaries on the Gallic war

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  6,192 Ratings  ·  283 Reviews
Caesar (C. Iulius, 102-44), statesman & soldier, defied the dictator Sulla; served in the Mithridatic wars & in Spain; pushed his way in Roman politics as a 'democrat' against the senatorial government; was the real leader of the coalition with Pompey & Crassus; conquered all Gaul for Rome; attacked Britain twice; was forced into civil war; became master of the ...more
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Published by D. Appleton (first published -50)
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Jan-Maat
This is what I was brought to by a childhood of reading Asterix.

Unlike Asterix the injuries aren't restricted to black eyes and broken bones, nor is there a big feast at the end. The warfare is savage and at the end Caesar tumbles into the civil war that ends the Roman republic.

The fighting is savage on both sides. One of the Gaulish leaders, Vercingetorix, has the ears cut off or an eye gouged out of his own soldiers "even for a minor fault" (p157), Roman civilians are massacred on occasion whi
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Darwin8u
Oct 29, 2011 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
“In the end, it is impossible not to become what others believe you are.”
― Julius Caesar

description

I kept jumping back and forth between my Loeb Classics version of The Gallic War and my Penguin Classics version of The Conquest of Gaul. Reading Caesar makes me want to go back and learn Latin (the Loeb Classics keep seductively singing to me of the benefits of a Latin education). Anyway, I only meant to start the The Conquest of Gaul today, but the compelling narrative of Caesar's Gallic War (the record of
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Caroline
Feb 23, 2014 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classical, history
A classic for many reasons.

Caesar is, first of all, a masterful writer. As so many other reviewers have said, the pace is cracking. He offers an adept mix of strategy and tactics discussions, actual battle scenes, politics within his own command, and both military and ethnographic descriptions of the Gauls. His timing in switching from one to the other is perfect. Caesar is unbelievably visual in the battle scenes. Just the words paint an easily understood picture of the terrain and the distribu
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Brian
Nov 16, 2013 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brian by: William T. Vollmann
Shelves: ruard_referred
In his excellent intro to his translation of this text, Handford gives the reader a good glimpse of just how exceptional a person Julius Caesar was. Incomparable field general, adept politician, accomplished statesman, a very real care for the advancement of Roman civilization / improvements for its citizens - AND the dude can write? "No other great general of antiquity has left us his own accounts of his campaigns," Handford writes, "and it is doubtful if any other great general, of any age or ...more
J.G. Keely
Nothing better represents Caesar's understanding of how to play upon the hopes and joys of man than the fact that he was able to turn a few hundred pages of troop movements into a thoughtful, engrossing narrative. We read not only Caesar's thoughts and intentions in the work, but also gain an invaluable view of Roman politics. In his own words, Caesar sets the scene for the events which soon overtook the empire and captured the imagination of western literature for thousands of years to come.

If
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Szplug
Mar 03, 2010 Szplug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not only was Caesar a master self-promoter and consummate politician, but he could wield the pen with a stylistic flourish: The Gallic Wars hums along in double time, marching the reader through the entire lengthy invasion and pacification campaign of non-Narbonensis Gaul. Really, Caesar offers it all—a foretaste of the Caesarian Cycle in the story of the migratory horde of the Helvetii and their fiercely contested clash with the Roman will, resulting in a thorough Julian chastisement; then a pe ...more
umberto
I think this book is worth reading and pondering since it's written by one of the famous Roman generals and statesmen in Latin. Long time ago I first read his decisive quote, "I came, I saw, I conquered!" [Veni, vidi, vici!] somewhere with awe and wondered who said this and why. We can still read about him in innumerable biographies nowadays even though he lived 2,000 years ago. From this book, I think Julius Caesar was a leader of genius due to his wit, character and leadership. Some excerpts:

N
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Scott
May 16, 2010 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, war, antiquity, latin
Julius Caesar, the Roman geezer, lays omnis Gallia waste with his customary clemency, celerity, and efficiency. The Gallic War is a startling read, no less for its cracking pace and clear style, than for its shameless brutality and its unblushing depiction of greed and violence on an international scale: entire governments executed, civilian populations enslaved en masse, mass mutilations. You get the feeling sometimes that that you're reading the diaries Hitler would have written, if he had won ...more
Kerrie
Jul 26, 2016 Kerrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How I feel after finishing this: I R SMRT.

I was surprised how readable this was, but the difference between Caesar's style and Hirtius' (who completed the narrative of the final rebellion) was obvious. I positively zinged through the last chapter whereas the part written by Caesar required concentration. You zoned out for a split second and you missed crucial information. That man was really stingy with his words - every single one counted.

Caesar's obvious political tightrope-walking was apparen
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A.J. Campbell
Feb 03, 2012 A.J. Campbell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's nothing like a semi-truthful book by one of history's greatest sleaze-bags, old Julius himself. No doubt he dictated this to his secretary (Strabo?) while on campaign, the style of war that amassed 340,000 dead Germans in one afternoon. Not bad going. If he had a week at his leisure, he could have wiped out the entire race. Then where would we be? No schnaaps! No English language! (quiz: which is more important?)

This is a fun read. You can count the dead as you go along; and the methods
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Katerina
Apr 09, 2013 Katerina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recensioni, classici
Cesare, fonte di salvezza al liceo perchè scrive chiaro, non come Cicerone che gioca con la sintassi come se fosse il lego. Cesare, che tutti ricordiamo più di Ottaviano (universalmente riconosciuto come il politico più geniale della storia del mondo). Cesare, che perdere con onore contro di lui vuol dire che potevi prendere a calci in culo la maggior parte della gente. Cesare, che sotto sotto Asterix ci sta sulle palle perchè lo ridicolizza ma quando studiamo tifiamo per Vercingetorige.

Non si p
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Al
Dec 01, 2014 Al rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a complete Latin edition of Commentarii de Bello Gallico, with no English translation. It contains all seven books, and the eighth book written by Aulus Hirtius, possibly to link the narrative to the De Bello Civilis.

Much has been written on why Caesar composed this work. The word “commentarius” gives a reason, as it indicates a type of writing which is between raw data, such as reports, notes or letters and a more artistic type of composition, such as a history. In some of the secondary
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Barnaby Thieme
In this captivating and eloquent masterpiece, Julius Caeser gives a year-by-year account of his seven years in Gaul, keeping the Celts in line, advancing unsuccessfully across the English channel and the Rhine, and putting down a major rebellion organized by the Arverni king Vercingetorix.

One can see why Roman letters set the high standard of eloquence that European scholars would look to for over a thousand years. The clarity and precision of Caeser's writing are extremely admirable, and have
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Bruce
Dec 24, 2011 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having taken three years of high school Latin, fifty years later, a couple of years ago, I decided to relearn my Latin and begin reading works of classical antiquity in their original languages. I’ve not yet made it to learning Greek, but the Latin is progressing. Most students of Latin will recall having read Caesar’s The Gallic War as their first literary work. I found that what I read then was both abbreviated and heavily edited. Now I’ve read the work in its entirety, and it has been great f ...more
Ξιτσυκα
A very rich text! There are some aspects that caught my eyes but I feel that I'm incapable of elaborating on any of them, so I'll just pose a few question marks in my review.

1. The control of passion.

I kept hearing Carl von Clausewitz's voiceover throughout the book: "Gentlemen, feels are important!"

There are many battles in the book justifying this teaching. There was one time when the Gallic people, under attack and basically overwhelmed by Roman army, tried to perform a "tactical retreat". Bu
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Evan Leach
The Conquest of Gaul is Julius Caesar’s firsthand account of the Gallic Wars, fought between 58 and 50 b.c. Part history and part political propaganda, the book follows Caesar and his legions as they fight their merry way through Belgium, France, Switzerland, and even England. Incidentally, this book used to be much more famous back in the day when everybody had to learn Latin: apparently, Caesar’s no nonsense writing is ideal for learning the language.

It is less well known now, and frankly tha
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Þróndr
There’s much to value in Julius Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War; it is lucidly and elegantly written, and Caesar’s august style makes it a rare reading experience. Being (at least in part) intended as source material for others, the narrative is straightforward and transparent, and there’s not a word too many. This is easily the best account of a military campaign I have ever read. The detailed descriptions of battle tactics, siegeworks, troop movements (on both sides), logistics, etc, g ...more
Fred
The first time that I tried reading this it was painful to get through. I tend to have better luck listening to a lot of the classic works with very antiquated writing styles than I do reading them. Lucky for me this is available from Librivox.org where I listened to it for free.

Caesar's classic work written in the third person about his conquest of Gaul. It's hard to say that he doesn't take advantage of the opportunity (opportunist that he was) and talk himself up. I can't blame him because no
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Zelda
Aug 17, 2008 Zelda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Regarding my earlier notes: I don't think I read this book. I think my husband read this book. I think the notes are his. That's the only thing that makes any sense.

This was a great little book. Caesar isn't one to get wordy. He just tells you what happened and why. He refrains from too much cataloging of arms and armament (unlike Churchill, omg). His observations about the Gauls and the Germans are interesting and devoid of the annoying veil of political correctness. He isn't obscenely bombasti
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David
Sep 15, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A bit of history, propaganda, shameless self promotion. So what else is new when it comes to politicians, especially ones with military support? Julius Caesar was well versed in the effective use of force, of the diplomatic threat of force, the usefulness of hostages, terrain, the economical use of resources in battle. For instance, defeating an opponent from a distance with slings is far more economical than getting up close--rocks are virtually free for the picking and every soldier was well s ...more
Diego
Aug 24, 2015 Diego rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Julio César narra los 8 años de campañas militares para la conquista de las Galias, describe las circunstancias políticas y culturales de los pueblos galos, sus costumbres en la guerra y sus relaciones entre ellos. Es una muestra de la sagaz mente estratégica de César para derrotar naciones enteras que le superaban en hombres y conocían mejor el terreno.

De lectura fácil por una gran traducción al español y por lo buen escritor que era César. Los primeros 7 libros desde el inicio de la campaña ha
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Andrew
Dec 06, 2011 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised at how engaging this actually is. This tells the story of Caesar's wars in Gaul, which led up to his attempt at assuming absolute power over the Roman Empire. It tells how the war began, and provides many details concerning Roman warfare, the legions, and even provides interesting perspectives on the peoples Caesar fought against.

While there is much useful historical information, keep in mind it's written by a politician who had his own interests in mind.

I recommend it for anybo
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Arne
May 19, 2009 Arne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time-travelling with Julius. His account on the Gallian Wars read like they were recorded with a dictaphone on horseback or in his tent. Very precise and absolutely free of humour -which makes it almost funny. The most enjoyable bits are: The beginning, when the Helvetians (all of them!) leave their country (and only scorched earth) behind, wanting to move to the Dordogne in Southwestern France. Julius would not let them. And the part when he tries to invade England for the first time, because h ...more
Amy
May 29, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reads like an episode from Lord of the Rings. The Roman army was the most gallant, courageous, strong, honorable group of heroes ever. As long as you keep in mind the assumed unreliable nature of the narrator and his ulterior motives for writing this piece, the history of the Gallic people is fascinating. There are detailed tidbits like how some tribes would build their ships, how they would lay a siege, or flank a cohort. Being in charge of the army of the largest empire in the world must have ...more
Thomas
Not sure whether I should classify this as nonfiction. A well-written piece of propaganda I read for my AP Latin class - Caesar sure knows how to entertain with his descriptions of battle and debauchery. And by debauchery, I mean bloodshed and weird ritual sacrifices.

Fans of Roman and military history will eat this up.
Sherwood Smith
I found this best read in conjunction with John Keegan, who could supply data in Caesar's lacunae; in spite of this seeming a plain, soldierly account, it is in fact a piece of propaganda, which makes it interesting in a different way than Caesar intended.
Terence
Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres...I first read this remarkable little work in my high school Latin class (in the original Latin). Yes! My high school offered Latin as an elective and it wasn't Catholic.
Sam Burnham
It is wonderful in places and dry in others. I can only guess that it's much better when read in the original language.
Colin Williams
Like Spielberg in "Jaws" Caesar delays his own appearance for some time. Like Bob Dole, he refers to himself in the third person.
Courtney
I have to give Caesar credit, it's a pretty good bunch of propaganda. Ultimately, it allowed him to justify his takeover of Rome, "for the good of the republic."
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your favorite history books and why 6 18 Sep 14, 2013 04:09AM  
  • The History of Rome, Books XXI-XXX: The War With Hannibal
  • The Agricola and The Germania
  • The Jugurthine War and the Conspiracy of Catiline
  • The Civil Wars
  • Makers of Rome: Nine Lives
  • The Persian Expedition
  • The Rise of the Roman Empire
  • The Roman History: The Reign of Augustus
  • The Later Roman Empire (A.D. 354-378)
  • The Campaigns of Alexander
  • Selected Letters
  • The Jewish War
  • Roman Warfare
  • History of Rome
  • Scipio Africanus
  • Lives of the Later Caesars
  • The Letters of the Younger Pliny
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Gaius Julius Caesar (pronounced [ˈɡaː.i.us ˈjuːli.us ˈkaɪsar] in Classical Latin; conventionally /ˈɡaɪ.əs ˈdʒuːli.əs ˈsiːzər/ in English) was a Roman military and political leader. He played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.

As a politician, Caesar made use of popularist tactics. During the late 60s and into the 50s BC, he formed political alliances
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“Cuando lleguemos a ese río, ya hablaremos de ese puente.” 6 likes
“He therefore built a bridge over the Saône and led his army across. Alarmed by his unexpected arrival and seeing that he had effected in one day the crossing which they had the greatest difficulty in accomplishing in twenty days,” 1 likes
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