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C. Julius Caesar's commentaries on the Gallic war

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  4,069 ratings  ·  208 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
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 his battles against Vercingetorix and the other chieftains) was just too damn compelling ...more
Brian
Jan 14, 2014 Brian rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Caroline
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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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
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
Scott
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 ...more
A.J. Campbell
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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Bruce
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
Zelda
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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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
...more
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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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.
Peregrino
Siendo éste uno de los libros del canon, he de reconocer que no me ha defraudado. Lamento únicamente no saber latín para leerlo en su lengua original, ya que tiene que ser una delicia leer a Julio César tal y como escribió.

"La Galia, en su conjuntto, está dividida en tres partes, de las cuales una la habitan los belgas, otra los aquitanos, ... y otra los galos..."

De esta manera comienza César su crónica en siete libros, además del octavo añadido por Aulo Hircio, que cierra la conquista de la Gal
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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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Rick
Since we no longer are required to take Latin in school, Caesar doesn’t get read like he used to. If you take a course in the Ancient World or The Classical World or, even more specifically, Roman History, you are much more likely to be assigned Suetonius or Tacitus, even Robert Graves, than Caesar. It’s a shame because Juilius could write quite nicely. What’s more he had a soldier’s respect for his opponents, be they Gauls, Britains, or Germans—all of whom fight stubbornly to resist the charms ...more
Totadigi
Sep 03, 2010 Totadigi added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yes
Recommended to Totadigi by: Daughter
CAESAR
THE GALLIC WAR
WITH AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION BY
H.J. EDWARDS, C.B.


This may be the eighth time I have read this book during my life it was sent to me falling apart stamped to be discarded rescued by my daughter who I no doubt talked to about it. More or less translated from the campaign journals of C. JULIUS CEASAR 58 through 51 B.C., it covers nine years of bloody Roman conquest in the land of ancient Gaul (modern day France), Germany and Britain. For Caesar the only path to power lay through
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David
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
Katerina
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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Cicero
This a very engaging set historical reports of Caesar's Conquest of Gaul.

When Caesar was writing this himself he was using it as a propaganda for himself back in Rome with the people and certain members of the Senate. While there are clear elements of propoganda; Caesars reports are fairly balanced with only a few cases of selected reporting (such as his assertion that his entrance of Gaul was a peace-keeping mission).

Caesar himself is a very gifted writer using a very plain and carefully constr
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Arne
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
Andrew
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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Amy
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
Mason
Two quotes from The Simpsons are relevant here. First is the episode with Rodney Dangerfield, when the cops think Homer kidnapped Burns' son, and Mr. Burns shouts through the megaphone, "The negotiations have failed, shoot him!" Caesar engages in constant diplomacy but is pretty quick to bring out the legions when he feels like it. Second is the episode with George H.W. Bush writing in his memoirs: "Since I had achieved all my goals in a single term, there was no need for a second." Politicians' ...more
Mike
Caesar's accounts of the time he spent in Gaul, which won him acclaim with the Roman people and the enmity of those who could see the arc of his influence overtaking theirs, are accessibly translated in this work.

The conquests of modern France, Belgium, and Switzerland, and his forays into what would become the British Isles are legendary for two reasons. Firstly, the Gallic Wars represented Rome's first concrete successes on the other side of the Alps, and so the foundations for empire were set
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Mark
I can't read this without hearing the voice of Ciaran Hinds (who played Caesar on the tv series Rome) narrating this.....(oh and for you Rome fans, I ran across this line in the book: "Among the non-commissioned officers of this legion were two men named T. Pullo and L. Vorenus..")

Although undoubtedly Caesar was writing for both then-current political consumption as well as perhaps for posterity, this is a surprisingly frank and detailed account of the 10 years it took Caesar to conquer Gaul (Fr
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Wes
Damn, I love me some Caesar. Caesar was just one of those humans who comes along and just turns everything on its head. A giant among men who was so incredibly gifted and talented that his exploits and death are still casually studied look at today! Okay, in all seriousness, everyone has heard of Caesar, and everyone knows a little something about him, but I'd be willing to bet my bank account that most of what people know is how he died. Even that, they probably don't know accurately. That bein ...more
Brian
I'm tempted to divide this review into three parts.

There, that's my obligatory "classical Latin" reference. Caesar is considered one of the definitive Latin stylists and is, I'm told, still regularly featured in translation exercises for Classics majors. But there aren't enough of those to field a softball team nowadays, and I don't think even Oxbridge requires a classical language anymore, so this edition's promise to capture "the purity of Caesar's Latin" isn't really a selling point. So long
...more
Marie-aimée
Très utile pour le cours d'histoire ! Vous y trouverez le résumé en détails des campagnes militaires romaines en Gaules, selon César. On est également introduit sur la Gaule et ses habitants, leur mode de fonctionnement, leur religion. Un point de vue Historique et hors du commun à relativiser néanmoins.
Richard Epstein
We are told that Caesar's book is most famous for its opening line, Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, and I believe that's so; but it recently dawned on me that I don't really understand it. What is that "omnia" doing there? All Gaul is divided into 3 parts? As opposed to ... Part of Gaul are divided into 3 parts, but not other parts, which are not divided into 3 parts?

Latin is a language famous for concision, and Caesar's dying declaration* was only 3 words long, so he gets the benefit of
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your favorite history books and why 6 13 Sep 14, 2013 04:09AM  
  • The History of Rome, Books XXI-XXX: The War With Hannibal
  • The Histories
  • The Civil Wars
  • The Jugurthine War and The Conspiracy of Catiline
  • The Rise of the Roman Empire
  • Makers of Rome: Nine Lives
  • The Persian Expedition
  • The Later Roman Empire: A.D. 354-378
  • The Campaigns of Alexander
  • Lives of the Later Caesars
  • Pharsalia: The Civil War
  • The Roman History: The Reign of Augustus
  • The Jewish War
  • The History of Alexander
  • The Letters of the Younger Pliny
  • Scipio Africanus
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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), (13 July 102-100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), 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 th
...more
More about Julius Caesar...
The Civil War Caesar's Commentaries: On the Gallic War/On the Civil War De Bello Gallico I The Gallic War and Other Writings The Complete Works of Julius Caesar

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