Quotes from The Conquest of Gaul

Gaius Julius Caesar ·  269 pages

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“Cuando lleguemos a ese río, ya hablaremos de ese puente.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“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,”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“The Romans formed a line of mantlets and constructed a siege terrace. When they began to erect a siege tower at some distance, the defenders on the wall at first made abusive remarks and ridiculed the idea of setting up such a huge apparatus so far away. Did those pygmy Romans, they asked, with their feeble hands and muscles, imagine that they could mount such a heavy tower on top of a wall? (All the Gauls are inclined to be contemptuous of our short stature, contrasting it with their own great height.) 31. But when they saw the tower in motion and approaching the fortress walls, the strange, unfamiliar spectacle frightened them into sending envoys to ask Caesar for peace. The envoys said they were forced to the conclusion that the Romans had divine aid in their warlike operations, since they could move up apparatus of such height at such a speed.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“He therefore proceeded to build a bridge a little above the place where he had crossed before. As the method of construction was familiar to the soldiers from the previous occasion, they were able by energetic efforts to complete the task in a few days.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“Postremo quid esse levius aut turpius, quam auctore hoste de summis rebus capere consilium?”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“pues que suelen los dioses inmortales, cuando quieren descargar su ira sobre los hombres en venganza de sus maldades concederles tal vez prosperidad con impunidad más prolongada, para que después les cause mayor tormento el trastorno de su fortuna.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“Labienus first tried, under cover of a line of mantlets, to make a causeway across the marsh on a foundation of fascines and other material. Finding this too difficult, he silently quitted his camp some time after midnight and retraced his steps to Metlosedum, a town of the Senones situated like Lutetia on an island in the river. He seized some fifty boats, quickly lashed them together to form a bridge, and sent troops across to the island.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“Accordingly tree trunks or very stout boughs were cut and their tops stripped of bark and sharpened; they were then fixed in long trenches dug five feet deep, with their lower ends made fast to one another to prevent their being pulled up and the branches projecting. There were five rows in each trench, touching one another and interlaced, and anyone who went among them was likely to impale himself on the sharp points. The soldiers called them boundary posts. In front of them, arranged in diagonal rows forming quincunxes, were pits three feet deep, tapering gradually towards the bottom, in which were embedded smooth logs as thick as a man’s thigh, with the ends sharpened and charred, and projecting only three inches above ground. To keep the logs firmly in position, earth was thrown into the pits and trodden down to a depth of one foot, the rest of the cavity being filled with twigs and brushwood to hide the trap. These were planted in groups, each containing eight rows three feet apart, and they were nicknamed lilies from their resemblance to that flower. In front of these again were blocks of wood a foot long with iron hooks fixed in them, called goads by the soldiers. These were sunk right into the ground and strewn thickly everywhere.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“fortify the bank of the Rhône for a distance of eighteen miles between the Lake of Geneva and the Jura, the frontier between the Helvetii and the Sequani. This was effected by means of a rampart sixteen feet high with a trench running parallel. He then placed redoubts at intervals along the fortification and garrisoned them with pickets,”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“The ground in front of his camp was ideal for deploying the army for action. The low hill on which the camp stood was of just the right width, on the side facing the enemy, for the legions to occupy in battle formation; on each flank it descended steeply to the plain, while in front it formed a slight ridge and then sloped gently down. On either side of the hill Caesar had a trench dug, running for about six hundred and fifty yards at right angles to the line along which the troops would be drawn up, and placed redoubts and artillery at both ends of each trench, to prevent the enemy from using their numerical superiority to envelop his men from the flanks while they were fighting. He left the two newly enrolled legions in camp, to be used as reinforcements wherever they were needed, and drew up the other six in front in line of battle. The enemy also had marched out and deployed for action.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“Being informed that it was not garrisoned, he tried to storm it directly he arrived, but the width of the moat and the height of the wall enabled the few defenders to repel his assault. After constructing a camp, therefore, he formed a line of mantlets and set about the usual preparations for a siege. But the next night, before his preparations were completed, the whole fugitive army of the Suessiones came crowding into the place. When they saw the mantlets rushed up to the wall, earth shovelled into the moat, and siege towers erected, they were alarmed by the impressive size of this apparatus, which had never before been seen or heard of in Gaul, and by the speed with which the Romans worked.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“The Gauls’ own ships were built and rigged in a different manner from ours. They were made with much flatter bottoms, to help them to ride shallow water caused by shoals or ebb-tides. Exceptionally high bows and sterns fitted them for use in heavy seas and violent gales, and the hulls were made entirely of oak, to enable them to stand any amount of shocks and rough usage. The cross-timbers, which consisted of beams a foot wide, were fastened with iron bolts as thick as a man’s thumb. The anchors were secured with iron chains instead of ropes. They used sails made of raw hides or thin leather, either because they had no flax and were ignorant of its use, or more probably because they thought that ordinary sails would not stand the violent storms and squalls of the Atlantic and were not suitable for such heavy vessels. In meeting them the only advantage our ships possessed was that they were faster and could be propelled by oars; in other respects the enemy’s were much better adapted for sailing such treacherous and stormy waters. We could not injure them by ramming because they were so solidly built, and their height made it difficult to reach them with missiles or board them with grappling-irons. Moreover, when it began to blow hard and they were running before the wind, they weathered the storm more easily; they could bring in to shallow water with greater safety, and when left aground by the tide had nothing to fear from reefs or pointed rocks – whereas to our ships all these risks were formidable.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“One device, however, that our men had prepared proved very useful – pointed hooks fixed into the ends of long poles, not unlike the grappling-hooks used in sieges. With these the halyards were grasped and pulled taut, and then snapped by rowing hard away. This of course brought the yards down, and since the Gallic ships depended wholly on their sails and rigging, when stripped of these they were at once immobilized.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“The method he adopted in building the bridge was as follows. He took a pair of piles a foot and a half thick, slightly pointed at the lower ends and of a length adapted to the varying depth of the river, and fastened them together two feet apart. These he lowered into the river with appropriate tackle, placed them in position at right angles to the bank, and drove them home with pile-drivers, not vertically, as piles are generally fixed, but obliquely, inclined in the direction of the current. Opposite these, forty feet lower down the river, another pair of piles was planted, similarly fixed together, and inclined in the opposite direction to the current. The two pairs were then joined by a beam two feet wide, whose ends fitted exactly into the spaces between the two piles forming each pair. The upper pair was kept at the right distance from the lower pair by means of iron braces, one of which was used to fasten each pile to the end of the beam. The pairs of piles being thus held apart, and each pair individually strengthened by a diagonal tie between the two piles, the whole structure was so rigid, that, in accordance with the laws of physics, the greater the force of the current, the more tightly were the piles held in position. A series of these piles and transverse beams was carried right across the stream and connected by lengths of timber running in the direction of the bridge; on these were laid poles and bundles of sticks. In spite of the strength of the structure, additional piles were fixed obliquely to each pair of the original piles along the whole length of the downstream side of the bridge, holding them up like a buttress and opposing the force of the current. Others were fixed also a little above the bridge, so that if the natives tried to demolish it by floating down tree-trunks or beams, these buffers would break the force of the impact and preserve the bridge from injury.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“Gallic walls are always built more or less on the following plan. Balks of timber are laid on the ground at regular intervals of two feet along the whole line on which the wall is to be built, at right angles to it. These are made fast to one another by long beams running across them at their centre points, and are covered with a quantity of rubble; and the two-foot intervals between them are faced with large stones fitted tightly in. When this first course has been placed in position and fastened together, another course is laid on top. The same interval of two feet is kept between the balks of the second course, but they are not in contact with those of the first course, being separated from them by a course of stones two feet high; thus every balk is separated from each of its neighbours by one large stone, and so held firmly in position. By the addition of further courses the fabric is raised to the required height. This style of building presents a diversified appearance that is not unsightly, with its alternation of balks and stones each preserving their own straight lines. It is also very serviceable and well adapted for defending a town: the masonry protects it from fire, the timber from destruction by the battering-ram, which cannot either pierce or knock to pieces a structure braced internally by beams running generally to a length of forty feet in one piece.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“Brutus, a young man, over the fleet and those Gallic vessels which he had ordered to be furnished by the Pictones and the Santoni, and the other provinces which remained at peace; and commands him to proceed towards the Veneti, as soon as he could. He himself hastens thither with the land forces.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“for in history there is nothing more pleasing than clear and brilliant brevity.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“the Gauls must all do the same thing that the Helvetii had done, [viz.] emigrate from their country, and seek another dwelling place, other settlements remote from the Germans, and try whatever fortune may fall to their lot.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“Ariovistus did not come to an engagement, he discovered this to be the reason--that among the Germans it was the custom for their matrons to pronounce from lots and divination whether it were expedient that the battle should be engaged in or not; that they had said, "that it was not the will of heaven that the Germans should conquer, if they engaged in battle before the new moon.”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

“... nam quae volumus ea credimus libenter et quae sentimus ipsi reliquos sentire speramus...
... perchè crediamo volentieri ciò che desideriamo e speriamo che gli altri provino ciò che noi stessi proviamo...”
― Gaius Julius Caesar, quote from The Conquest of Gaul

About the author

Gaius Julius Caesar
Born place: in Rome, Italy
Born date July 19, 0017
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