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The Conquest of Gaul

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  9,682 ratings  ·  459 reviews
Paperback, 269 pages
Published December 9th 1982 by Penguin Classics (first published -50)
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Darren the druids are mentioned in the first chapter but not much more than to explain their function in the society of the Gauls

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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 wh
Oct 29, 2011 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


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
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classical, history
The library just purchased the newly published Landmark edition, so I requested it to verify that it is as outstanding as the other volumes in the Landmark series. Definitely yes.

In short, do not accept any substitutes. This volume includes Caesar’s Gallic War and Civil War, as well as all or parts of three relevant works by unknown authors: the Alexandrian War, the African War, and the Spanish War. Also an excellent and substantial introduction that provides: a solid biography, the h
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Between 58 and 50 BCE, Julius Caesar, then proconsul of Cisalpine Gaulle, the roman province situated in modern North of Italy, led a long military campaign in Gaulle, known to us today as modern France, Switzerland, Belgium and reached Germania, the territory beyond the Rhine River. Furthermore, he invaded Britain on two separate occasions. This is his account of those events which was dispatched to Rome, a sort of political propaganda to justify his motives to have gone this far. Those motives ...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.

Nope, the title doesn't mean "beautiful Gaul", you barbari! :-) For all the nerds out there who are into Latin, classical rhetoric, language as a political tool and European history, Caeasar's account of the Gallic war is of course crack. Consisting of eight books (the last one written by Aulus Hirtius, Caesar's secretary), we get the Roman Emperor's viewpoint and interpretation, presented in pristine, crystal-clear sentences - this text doesn't bother with atmosphere and veils its opinions in a ...more
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 03, 2010 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
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sublimely lucid and rich in detail without going off on tangents.
Aug 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: ancient-history
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:

May 16, 2010 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
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
A.J. Campbell
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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.
magnanimous caesar liberates gallia from evil gauls.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Offers great insight into the Roman republic through Caesar's conquests. While the prose was straightforward, it was a little dull. ...more
Dec 01, 2014 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
Barnaby Thieme
Nov 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
May 29, 2010 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
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ancient-rome, history
A must read if you like history.
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
A Very Smart and Amazing anecdote of how Brilliant and Honorable and Wonderful Caesar is. With some impossible to understand battles mixed in. Oh what fun.

Okay, I finished it now. The second half of the book is better than the first half (excluding the last chapter, which is just terrible). I don't deny that it has much value. But with the exclusion of a few choice episodes (the battle of Alesia, the young standard bearer when Britain was attacked, a few interesting generals) it is quite tedious
Aug 18, 2010 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yes
Recommended to Totadigi by: Daughter

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
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. Had a hard time with "Names". ...more
Rytis Ryčiauskas
The diary of a raving warmonger.

Though make no mistake, I appreciate this book for the insights it gives putting things into perspective.

Caesar throughout the book fashions himself in an overly positive light and showers himself with never ending victories and an over-eager army to suffer hardship for him, but makes excuses for the few military failures in between or writing off the blame to his officers, but never his men (who do the fighting). Such a thing pointed out in explanatory notes, wa
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Margaret MacLeod
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the original propaganda memoir. Foe Caesar, everyone who did not support him was a barbarian. This is despite his book detailing routine atrocities by the Roman army - surely barbarous acts in themselves.

I find it strange that many present-day historians are still happy to adopt Caesar's terminology and label groups who fought against the Romans - as barbarians.

However it's fascinating to read something which was written 2,000 years ago, and gives an insight into an otherwise unknown tim
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
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 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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Gaius Julius Caesar (13 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), known as Julius Caesar, was a Roman politician, general, and notable author of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.

In 60 BC, Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey formed a political alliance that dominated Roman politics for several years. Their attempts to am

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