« PreviousContinue »
of the fortifications as shown in Napoleon's atlas. The ditches in question started from opposite corners of the encampment; one was a continuation down the north slope of the hill of the ditch flanking the agger on the south-west side of the camp, the other a continuation down the south slope of the hill of the similar ditch flanking the earthwork of the opposite north-east face of the camp. This lower fosse crossed the present bed of the Aisne which used to flow in a tolerably straight line parallel to, and at a regular distance of about one kilomètre from, the hill on which Caesar was encamped, but now bends inward in a half circle just at the foot of that part of the hill on which the Roman camp stood; thus the redoubt at the end of the ditch stood about half-way between the old and new river beds. The object of these fosses was to prevent the enemy from turning the right of the Roman position and getting round between them and the Aisne.
transversam] 'at right angles', i. e. to the line of the hill.
obduxit] obducere is to draw in front', 'draw forward', as a protection or barrier; hence the word often means to cover' or ceal'.
castella] each fosse had a castellum or redoubt at the end of it. tormenta] tormentum is any kind of engine or appliance for throwing missiles.
II si quo] whithersoever': quo is an adverb of direction.
pro castris] on the north-west front of the hill, between it and the little river Miette. The Belgic forces were drawn up on the opposite side of the Miette.
palus] the marshy ground through which flows the above-mentioned stream la Miette.
si.....exspectabant] 'were waiting to see if our men would cross ’.
18 inter duas acies] inter appears to be used in its strictly local sense; if so, Kampen is wrong in marking the locality of the equestrian engagements higher up the stream.
20 secundiore] the cavalry skirmish having resulted favourably for the Romans'.
25 pontem] the bridge at Berry-au-Bac where Titurius Sabinus was stationed with six cohorts; cf. 5.
si minus potuissent] if they should prove unable, above si possent 'if they were able'.
pontem traducit] Caesar's camp, it will be remembered, was on the north bank of the Aisne, about a mile to the eastward of the bridge at Berry-au-Bac, while the enemy were trying to cross from the north to the south bank, a mile or two to the westward of the bridge: Caesar accordingly sends his cavalry over the bridge to the south bank to oppose the enemy on crossing.
4 neque nostros...progredi]=et nostros non progredi.
coepit] four consecutive words here begin with c and three of them with con. I have noticed a similar instance of кaкоpwvía in VII. 29.
13 finibus Bellovacorum] probably they had got as far as the Marne which they would have to cross before reaching the land of the Bellovaci.
neque...ferrent]=et ut suis auxilium non ferrent.
cum...peteret]' each one seeking for himself' etc.
consimilis fugae] fugae may be genitive, see my n. on v. 53 end; yet in v. 12, VI. 27 consimilis is evidently followed by a dative, as Kraner points out.
constituerunt optimum esse...et convenirent] observe the change of construction after constituerunt from acc. and inf. optimum esse to the subjunctive convenirent with ut omitted: 'they determined that it was best...and that they should assemble'.
Caesar] the position of the nom. Caesar in the middle of the abl. abs. should be noticed, cf. v. 49; VII. I, 6.
speculatores] these appear to have been irregular scouts, while the exploratores mentioned afterwards formed in all likelihood regularly organised and mounted detachments. (From Kraner's Einleitung.)
discederent] this must not be translated as if it were discessissent.
ab extremo agmine] 'in the extreme rear'; for this use of ab cf. ab novissimis, a tergo in the rear', etc.
consisterent] the subject of consisterent, viz. ei, must be supplied from the relative quos.
p. 39. I tantam spatium] tantus quantus are used because Caesar implies that the number of men slain was proportioned to the space of time during which the slaughter could go on; they slew as long as there was light; lit. 'they slew so great a multitude as there was space of day'.
priusquam...reciperent] before they should recover': the subjunctive serves to denote the intention of the subject of the principal sentence: 'before they did recover' would require recipiebant. Cf. n. on IV. 4.
magno itinere confecto] the expression is a strange one, considering the context: Kraner brackets confecto. Perhaps, as Vielhaber suggests, this word is to be explained by the consideration that 'we occasionally find ablativi consequentiae formed with the participle perfect to express a circumstance which does not precede but accompanies or follows the main_action' Madvig L. G. § 431 obs. 2: in the present passage the forced march is not prior to his hastening to Noviodunum but synchronous with it. 'Caesar hastened to Noviodunum making a forced.
Noviodunum] two other places of this name are mentioned in the B. G., cf. VII. 12, 55. It is generally supposed that our Noviodunum occupied the site of the town of Soissons though Desjardins hesitates to affirm this: M. Peigné-Delacourt places it at Noyon where there are clear traces of a Gaulish oppidum, but the distance of this place from Berry-au-Bac, between 40 and 50 Roman miles, adds greatly to the difficulties of the narrative; besides, as Desjardins says, Caesar would in that case have mentioned the passage of the Oise. The Suessiones had 12 oppida and it is probable that more than one of these may have been named Noviodunum which appears to be equivalent to the name now so common in this part of France 'Neuf-chateau '; cf. such widespread names as Neapolis, Newtown, Newton, Neuville, Neustadt, etc.
march'. It is suggested by Schneider that Caesar only reached the boundaries of the Suessiones on the first day, and then on the following day hastened (contendit) to Noviodunum, and that the magnum iter refers to the first stage of the journey from Berry to the border line of the Suessiones; but, as Mr Long points out, this interpretation seems scarcely to accord with the words of the text.
ex itinere] ex seems to denote here the immediate sequence of the events; no sooner was the march ended than the siege began. 9 vacuum ab defensoribus] this usage is also found in Cicero and Tacitus, cf. B. C. III. 3 spatium vacuum a bello.
audiebat] he was told', probably on several occasions, hence the imperfect.
latitudinem fossae murique altitudinem] for this inversion of words, called by the grammarians chiasmus from an imaginary resemblance to the introversion of the two lines of the Greek letter X, cf. supra 5 (end).
paucis defendentibus] though it had only a few defenders', a concessive abl. abs.
comparare coepit] Soissons is about 28 miles from Berry-au-Bac. It would appear from Caesar's language that he marched from Berry to Noviodunum in one day and on his arrival found time to begin the construction of his military engines.
castris munitis] 'having made an entrenched camp'.
vineas agere] 'to move up penthouses'; agere = 'to advance', 'push forward'. For the construction of the vineae cf. my n. on VII. 17.
ex fuga] the use of ex is similar to that noticed above in the phrase ex itinere; they stayed their flight and collected at Noviodunum. Göler is no doubt right in saying that the fugitive Suessiones crossed the river and entered the town on the north side which Caesar had not invested.
aggere iacto] an earthwork having been constructed': compare a similar use of iacere in the common phrase iacere fundamenta to lay a foundation'.
conservarentur] conserventur would be more regular, but the other verbs in the sentence being historic, presents are virtually equivalent to past tenses.
impetrant] 'they gain their request'.
passis manibus] cf. I. 51 where some late editions have crinibus, and VII. 48 where Caesar says matres familiae suos obtestari et more Gallico passum capillum ostentare coeperunt and Verg. Aen. I. 480; there is no doubt however about the correctness of manibus; cf. B. C. III. 98 passis palmis, so Lucr. v. 1200, Verg. Aen. III. 263.
primis civitatis] 'the chief men of the state'; so in 3.
Bratuspantium] it is now generally agreed that Bratuspantium was near the modern Breteuil in the department of Oise, perhaps at Montdidier.
fecit verba] 'spoke': distinguish between verbum facere 'to utter a word' (generally in a negative or quasi-negative sentence) and verba facere 'to talk' or 'speak': the difference is clearly marked in Cic. Verr. IV. 147 antequam verbum facerem 'before I should utter a word' and a few lines further on quod ego in senatu Graeco verba fecissem.
accessisset...poneret] observe the change of tense, 'when he had approached the town and was pitching his camp'.
p. 40. 5 Britanniam] even thus early political refugees found a shelter
sua] 'his well-known clemency and compassion': the same expression occurs again in 31.
quod si fecerit] in or. rect. si haec facies, amplificabis.
si qua] 'to support (the burdens of) whatever wars may have occurred'.
consuerint] the infinitive consuesse would have done equally well, only in that case the clause would have been rather less closely connected with the previous clause than it now is, cf. my n. on IV. 7. Cicero's treatment of these subordinate relative clauses exhibits a similar irregularity, cf. Mr Reid's n. on Cic. Lael. 45.
honoris Divitiaci causa] 'out of respect for Divitiacus'. For the common use of honoris causa in mentioning a living person by name cf. Halm on Cic. Phil. 11. 30 (ed. Mayor).
in fidem recepturum] 'receive under his protection'; this is only a polite way of saying that he would receive their submission.
Ambianorum] cf. n. on 4. There can be little doubt but that Caesar passed through Samarobriva (Amiens) the chief stronghold of the Ambiani. Göler places Samarobriva at Bray.
nihil pati vini] with this compare Caesar's account of the Germans IV. 2 vinum ad se omnino importari non sinunt, quod ea re ad laborem ferendum remollescere homines atque effeminari arbitrantur. On the text of this passage see appendix.
Nervii] the Nervii occupied the districts of Bavay, Hainault and Brabant. They were of Germanic origin; cf. Tac. Germ. 28 Treveri et Nervii circa affectationem Germanicae originis ultro ambitiosi sunt, tanquam per hanc gloriam sanguinis a similitudine et inertia Gallorum separentur. Bagacum, now Bavay, was their chief oppidum.
24 confirmare] with this verb se must be supplied; the following sese belongs to missuros.,
qui se dedidissent] 'for having surrendered themselves'; qui is causal. proiecissent flung away'.
triduum] acc. of duration of time; when he had marched for three days'. Caesar might equally well have written tridui depending on iter a march of three days' duration'. Caesar's route probably lay through Camaracum (Cambrai) and Bagacum (Bavay).
Sabim] the Sambre: the m appears in the name as early as the 4th cent. in the adjective Sambricus.
28 trans id flumen] it is generally supposed that the Nervii were encamped on the rising ground at the back of the village of Hautmont about two miles south-west of Maubeuge. The river lay between the Romans and the Nervii.
in eum locum] perhaps near Thuin, where there is still much marshland, a few miles north-east of Hautmont on the right bank of the Sambre. Napoleon says at Mons at the confluence of the Haine and the Trouille about ten miles north of Hautmont.
p. 41. 6 eorum consuetudine] notice the strange accumulation of genitives; eorum dierum and itineris both depend on consuetudine while exercitus nostri is the genitive after itineris; cf. 1. 19 sine eius offensione animi. impedimentorum] 'beasts of burden'.
sarcinis] sarcinae is the baggage carried by the soldiers themselves, while impedimenta is the heavy baggage, tents, machines etc. Each man had to carry, in addition to his weapons and armour, some stakes (valli, cf. Hor. Épod. IX. 13 fert vallum et arma miles) for the construction of ramparts, saw, basket, spade, hatchet, cooking apparatus with provisions, usually for a fortnight. (From Kraner's Einleitung.)
cum...possent] 'since they had no effective mounted force'.
ei rei] 'this branch of the service'.