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Caesar's Commentaries: On the Gallic War & On the Civil War

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This complete edition of Caesar's Commentaries contains all eight of Caesar's books on the Gallic War as well as all three of his books on the Civil War masterfully translated into English by W. A. MacDevitt. Caesar's Commentaries are an outstanding account of extraordinary events by one of the most exceptional men in the history of the world. Julius Caesar himself was one This complete edition of Caesar's Commentaries contains all eight of Caesar's books on the Gallic War as well as all three of his books on the Civil War masterfully translated into English by W. A. MacDevitt. Caesar's Commentaries are an outstanding account of extraordinary events by one of the most exceptional men in the history of the world. Julius Caesar himself was one of the most eminent writers of the age in which he lived. His commentaries on the Gallic and Civil Wars are written with a purity, precision, and perspicuity, which command approbation. They are elegant without affectation, and beautiful without ornament. Of the two books which he composed on Analogy, and those under the title of Anti-Cato, scarcely any fragment is preserved; but we may be assured of the justness of the observations on language, which were made by an author so much distinguished by the excellence of his own compositions. His poem entitled The Journey, which was probably an entertaining narrative, is likewise totally lost. All of Caesar's works that remain intact are contained in this edition of his commentaries. It is to the honor of Caesar, that when he had obtained the supreme power, he exercised it with a degree of moderation beyond what was generally expected by those who had fought on the side of the Republic. His time was almost entirely occupied with public affairs, in the management of which, though he employed many agents, he appears to have had none in the character of actual minister. Caesar deprecated a lingering death, and wished that his own might be sudden and speedy. And the day before he died, the conversation at supper, in the house of Marcus Lepidus, turning upon what was the most eligible way of dying, he gave his opinion in favor of a death that is sudden and unexpected. He died in the fifty-sixth year of his age, and was ranked amongst the Gods.


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This complete edition of Caesar's Commentaries contains all eight of Caesar's books on the Gallic War as well as all three of his books on the Civil War masterfully translated into English by W. A. MacDevitt. Caesar's Commentaries are an outstanding account of extraordinary events by one of the most exceptional men in the history of the world. Julius Caesar himself was one This complete edition of Caesar's Commentaries contains all eight of Caesar's books on the Gallic War as well as all three of his books on the Civil War masterfully translated into English by W. A. MacDevitt. Caesar's Commentaries are an outstanding account of extraordinary events by one of the most exceptional men in the history of the world. Julius Caesar himself was one of the most eminent writers of the age in which he lived. His commentaries on the Gallic and Civil Wars are written with a purity, precision, and perspicuity, which command approbation. They are elegant without affectation, and beautiful without ornament. Of the two books which he composed on Analogy, and those under the title of Anti-Cato, scarcely any fragment is preserved; but we may be assured of the justness of the observations on language, which were made by an author so much distinguished by the excellence of his own compositions. His poem entitled The Journey, which was probably an entertaining narrative, is likewise totally lost. All of Caesar's works that remain intact are contained in this edition of his commentaries. It is to the honor of Caesar, that when he had obtained the supreme power, he exercised it with a degree of moderation beyond what was generally expected by those who had fought on the side of the Republic. His time was almost entirely occupied with public affairs, in the management of which, though he employed many agents, he appears to have had none in the character of actual minister. Caesar deprecated a lingering death, and wished that his own might be sudden and speedy. And the day before he died, the conversation at supper, in the house of Marcus Lepidus, turning upon what was the most eligible way of dying, he gave his opinion in favor of a death that is sudden and unexpected. He died in the fifty-sixth year of his age, and was ranked amongst the Gods.

30 review for Caesar's Commentaries: On the Gallic War & On the Civil War

  1. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Griliopoulos

    Fascinating historical document. Very strange to see Caesar's armies crushing so many familiar modern towns. Not great for an overview of the period though - a lot of knowledge is understandably assumed, but it's amazing that the period is so familiar and modern. We really haven't advanced, mentally, in 2000 years. Fascinating historical document. Very strange to see Caesar's armies crushing so many familiar modern towns. Not great for an overview of the period though - a lot of knowledge is understandably assumed, but it's amazing that the period is so familiar and modern. We really haven't advanced, mentally, in 2000 years.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10657 CAESAR'S COMMENTARIES TRANSLATED BY W. A. MACDEVITT WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY THOMAS DE QUINCEY Opening: THE COMMENTARIES OF CAIUS JULIUS CAESAR THE WAR IN GAUL BOOK I I.—All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in ours Gauls, the third. All these differ from each other in language, customs and laws. The river Garonne separates the Gauls from the Aquitani; the Marne an http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10657 CAESAR'S COMMENTARIES TRANSLATED BY W. A. MACDEVITT WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY THOMAS DE QUINCEY Opening: THE COMMENTARIES OF CAIUS JULIUS CAESAR THE WAR IN GAUL BOOK I I.—All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in ours Gauls, the third. All these differ from each other in language, customs and laws. The river Garonne separates the Gauls from the Aquitani; the Marne and the Seine separate them from the Belgae. Of all these, the Belgae are the bravest, because they are farthest from the civilisation and refinement of [our] Province, and merchants least frequently resort to them and import those things which tend to effeminate the mind; and they are the nearest to the Germans, who dwell beyond the Rhine, with whom they are continually waging war; for which reason the Helvetii also surpass the rest of the Gauls in valour, as they contend with the Germans in almost daily battles, when they either repel them from their own territories, or themselves wage war on their frontiers. One part of these, which it has been said that the Gauls occupy, takes its beginning at the river Rhone: it is bounded by the river Garonne, the ocean, and the territories of the Belgae: it borders, too, on the side of the Sequani and the Helvetii, upon the river Rhine, and stretches towards the north. The Belgae rise from the extreme frontier of Gaul, extend to the lower part of the river Rhine; and look towards the north and the rising sun. Aquitania extends from the river Garonne to the Pyrenaean mountains and to that part of the ocean which is near Spain: it looks between the setting of the sun and the north star. CLAVDIA LOOKS SVCH A GVILTY PVSS

  3. 5 out of 5

    An Idler

    Why read Caesar's commentaries? In the original Latin they were a staple text for centuries of school children thanks to Caesar's clear, precise, and muscular grammar. ("All Gaul is divided into three parts...") Some of this force and virtu comes through in translation. I was stunned by the modernity of Caesar's mind. He lived half a century before Christ but speaks to us with a classical voice far more familiar than those of the medieval centuries to come. Additionally, Caesar himself was one of Why read Caesar's commentaries? In the original Latin they were a staple text for centuries of school children thanks to Caesar's clear, precise, and muscular grammar. ("All Gaul is divided into three parts...") Some of this force and virtu comes through in translation. I was stunned by the modernity of Caesar's mind. He lived half a century before Christ but speaks to us with a classical voice far more familiar than those of the medieval centuries to come. Additionally, Caesar himself was one of history's greatest men, perhaps "the most complete man Rome ever produced" according to Will Durant. By a straightforward narrative of his actions on the frontier in Gaul and in the Civil War against Pompey, Caesar reveals himself to be shrewd in strategy, protective of the lives of his troops, gracious in victory, slow to anger, unsparing in his standards for Roman arms, and constantly mindful of the long-term consequence of his decisions on his own reputation and Rome's welfare. To the extent he may have magnified himself, it is still worth reading to see what that tells us of the Roman ideal. The barbarian tribes of Gaul provide a stark contrast. The book is also valuable as military history, revealing that the mundane realities of war-making are not entirely different from our time: supplies, morale, defensive engineering, discipline, etc.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mickey

    My copy of the Gallic Wars unfortunately predates ISBNs, which is unfortunate, as it's a very good translation by John Warrington. In the particular translation, Warrington changes all references to Caesar in the third person (an affectation by Caesar) to the more appropriate first person. This gives the reader a feel of Caesar which is much more intimate. The only complaint I have about this particular translation is that it does not include the engineering sketches made by Caesar of his Rheine My copy of the Gallic Wars unfortunately predates ISBNs, which is unfortunate, as it's a very good translation by John Warrington. In the particular translation, Warrington changes all references to Caesar in the third person (an affectation by Caesar) to the more appropriate first person. This gives the reader a feel of Caesar which is much more intimate. The only complaint I have about this particular translation is that it does not include the engineering sketches made by Caesar of his Rheine bridge.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robert Sheppard

    WHAT EVERY EDUCATED CITIZEN OF THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW IN THE 21ST CENTURY: THE GREAT HISTORIANS OF WORLD HISTORY--HERODOTUS, THUCYDIDES, SIMA QIAN, IBN KHALDUN, THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE MONGOLS, JULIUS CAESAR, PLUTARCH, LIVY, POLYBIUS, TACITUS, GIBBON, MARX, SPENGLER & TOYNBEE----FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM RECOMMENDED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES VIA GOODREADS—-ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." is an apt admonition to us a WHAT EVERY EDUCATED CITIZEN OF THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW IN THE 21ST CENTURY: THE GREAT HISTORIANS OF WORLD HISTORY--HERODOTUS, THUCYDIDES, SIMA QIAN, IBN KHALDUN, THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE MONGOLS, JULIUS CAESAR, PLUTARCH, LIVY, POLYBIUS, TACITUS, GIBBON, MARX, SPENGLER & TOYNBEE----FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM RECOMMENDED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES VIA GOODREADS—-ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." is an apt admonition to us all from George Santayana, who, in his "The Life of Reason," echoed the similar earlier words of the conservative philosopher Edmund Burke. But the great histories and historians of World History bring us far more than events of nations, chronicles of the Rise and Fall of Civilizations, or lessons and precedents from the past; they also constitute a fundamental part of World Literature, bringing us great reading experiences and exciting sagas as in Thucydides' "History of the Peloponesian War," in-depth portraits and readings of the character of great men and shapers of the world as in Plutarch's "Parallel Lives" and China's "Records of the Grand Historian" by Si Ma Chen, and deep philosophical and scientific insights into the workings of human society its environment as revealed in the panoramic visions of great Islamic historian Ibn Khaldun, Karl Marx, Oswald Spengler and Sir Arnold Toynbee. As such, in our modern globalized world of the 21st century, where not only our own history, but also the interrelated histories of all of nations show so clearly that "the past is always present," and therefore every educated citizen of the modern world has an obligation to read the great works of history from all major civilizations to even begin comprehending the living world about us and the ultimate meaning of our own lives. WHAT WAS THE FIRST WORK OF HISTORY IN THE WORLD? If to begin our survey we put the daunting threshold question of what was the firs work of "history" in human experience, like most radical questions we will find that the answer all depends on how we put the question and define its terms. "History" undoubtedly began with the campfire stories of Neolithic man about families, tribes and conflicts far before the invention of writing. Histories were passed down in oral sagas memorized by poets such as Homer's "Iliad and Odyssey," and only centuries later recorded in script. But true history begins with works of systematic analysis and interpretation of human events, and in that light the general consensus is that the first great work of World History was that of the Greek historian Herodotus in the 5th Century BC, "The Histories." HERODOTUS, AUTHOR OF "THE HISTORIES" Herodotus (5th Century BC) is thus often referred to as "The Father of History," a title conferred upon him by Cicero amoung others, but also disparagingly as "The Father of Lies" by some of his critics. He was born in Halicarnassus, a Greek city which had become part of the Persian Empire that enjoyed strong trade relations with Egypt. He travelled widely, spending time in Periclian Athens, Egypt, Persia and Italy and collected histories, tales and historical lore wherever he traveled, noting the customs of the people, the major wars and state events and the religions and lore of the people. He wrote in a "folksy" style and purported to record whatever was told to him, which led to critics deploring some of the "tall tales" or mythical accounts in his work, but which Herodtodus himself said he included without judgment to their ultimate truth to illustrate the historical beliefs of the peoples he encountered. His primary focus was to explain the history and background of the Persian War between the Greeks and the Persian Empire, though he also included cultural observations of other peoples such as the Egyptians. His "Histories" is entertaining and interesting, though somewhat voluminous and scattered for the modern reader unfamiliar with the context. THUCYDIDES, MASTER OF REPORTORIAL AND EYEWITNESS HISTORY Thucydides (460-395 BC) is most remembered for his epic "History of the Peloponnesian War" of Greece which recounts the struggle for supremacy and survival between the enlightened commercial empire of Athens and its reactionary opponent Sparta, which ended in the defeat of the Athenians. His approach and goal in writing was completely different from Herodotus, as he was himself a General in the wars he wrote about and set out to provide "the inside story" of eyewitnesses and personal accounts of the major participants in the great events of their history so that their characters, understanding, strategies and actions could be closely judged, especially for the purpose of educating future statesmen and leaders. This approach was later shared by Polybius in his "The Rise of the Roman Empire." As a more contemporary history it is often more exciting to read, and establishes the tradition followed by Livy and others of including the "key speeches" of the leaders in war council, the "inside story" of their schemes and motivations, and rousing tales of the ups and downs of fast-moving battles. It contains such classics such as Pericles "Funeral Speech" for the ballen war heroes reminiscent of Lincoln's Gettysburg address. It is a must for those seeking to understand Classical Greece and a rich and exciting read. SIMA QIAN, AND THE "RECORDS OF THE GRAND HISTORIAN" OF HAN DYNASTY CHINA Sima Qian (Szu Ma Chien/145-86 BC) is regarded as the greatest historian of China's long and florid history and his personal tragedy is also held up as an example of intellectual martyrdom and integrity in the face of power. He like his father was the chief astrologer/astronomer and historian of the Han Imperial Court under Emperor Wu. His epic history "Records of the Grand Historian" sought to summarize all of Chinese history up to his time when the Han Dynasty Empire was a rival in size and power to that of Imperial Rome. He lived and wrote about the same time as Polybius, author of "The Rise of the Roman Empire," and like him he wrote from the vantage point of a newly united empire having overcome centuries of waring strife to establish a unified and powerful domain. In style, his history has some of the character of Plutarch in his "Lives" in that it often focuses on intimate character portraits of such great men as Qin Shi Huang Di, the unifier and First Emperor of China, and many others. It also contains rich and varied accounts of topic areas such as music, folk arts, literature, economics, calendars, science and others. He was the chief formulator of the primary Chinese theory of the rise and fall of imperial dynasties known as the "Mandate of Heaven." Like the theory of the Divine Right of Kings, its premise was that Emperors and their dynasties were installed on earth by the divine will of heaven and continued so long as the rulers were morally upright and uncorrupted. However, over centuries most dynasties would suffer corruption and decline, finally resulting in Heaven choosing another more virtuous dynasty to displace them when they had forfeited the "Mandate of Heaven," a kind of "Social Contract" with the divine rather than with mankind. Then, this cycle would repeat itself over the millennia. His personal life was occasioned by tragedy due to his intellectual honesty in the "Li Ling Affair." Two Chinese generals were sent to the north to battle the fierce Xiongnu hordes against whom the Great Wall was constructed, Li Ling and the brother-in-law of the Emperor. They met disaster and their armies were annihilated, ending in the capture of both. Everyone at Court blamed the disaster on Li Ling in order to exonerate the Emperor's relative, but Sima Qian, out of respect for Li Ling's honor disagreed publicly and was predictably sentenced to death by Emperor Wu. A noble like Sima Qian could have his death sentence commuted by payment of a large fine or castration but since he was a poor scholar he could not afford the fine. Thus, in 96 BC, on his release from prison, Sima chose to endure castration and live on as a palace eunuch to fulfill his promise to his father to complete his histories, rather than commit suicide as was expected of a gentleman-scholar. As Sima Qian himself explained in his famous "Letter to Ren An:" “If even the lowest slave and scullion maid can bear to commit suicide, why should not one like myself be able to do what has to be done? But the reason I have not refused to bear these ills and have continued to live, dwelling in vileness and disgrace without taking my leave, is that I grieve that I have things in my heart which I have not been able to express fully, and I am shamed to think that after I am gone my writings will not be known to posterity. Too numerous to record are the men of ancient times who were rich and noble and whose names have yet vanished away. It is only those who were masterful and sure, the truly extraordinary men, who are still remembered. ... I too have ventured not to be modest but have entrusted myself to my useless writings. I have gathered up and brought together the old traditions of the world which were scattered and lost. I have examined the deeds and events of the past and investigated the principles behind their success and failure, their rise and decay, in one hundred and thirty chapters. I wished to examine into all that concerns heaven and man, to penetrate the changes of the past and present, completing all as the work of one family. But before I had finished my rough manuscript, I met with this calamity. It is because I regretted that it had not been completed that I submitted to the extreme penalty without rancor. When I have truly completed this work, I shall deposit it in the Famous Mountain. If it may be handed down to men who will appreciate it, and penetrate to the villages and great cities, then though I should suffer a thousand mutilations, what regret should I have?” — Sima Qian JULIUS CAESAR: HISTORY AS AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND AUTOMYTHOLOGY Julius Caesar was famous for writing accounts of his own military campaigns, most notably in his "History of the Gallic Wars." Curiously, he writes of himself in the third person. Though a personal history, his writing contains little introspection or deep analytical thought and is rather the action-drama of the campaign, with special care to show his own personal courage and leadership. Before the 20th century most European schoolboys would read the work as part of their efforts to learn Latin in Grammar School. Later famous leaders such as Winston Churchill also followed in Caesar's tradition in writing history alonside making it, for which he received the Nobel Prize. Caesar's work is worth reading and exciting in parts, though sometimes becoming repetitive in the minutiae of the endless conflicts. THE GREAT ROMAN HISTORIES: LIVY, POLYBIUS, TACITUS, SEUTONIUS AND AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS The thousand-year history of the Roman Republic and Empire can be gleaned from these five great historians in the order presented. For the earliest history of the founding of the Roman Republic from the 6th-4th Centuries BC Livy (59BC-17 AD) in his "Ab Urbe Condita Libri" (From the Founding of the City) is the best source, tracing the saga from the tale of Aeneas fleeing from fallen Troy to the Rape of the Sabine Women, Romulus & Remus, the tyranical Tarquin Kings, the Founding of the Republic, the evolution of the Roman Constitution and up to the sack of the city by the Gauls in the 4th Century BC. Though ancient history is presumed to be boring, I surprisingly found Livy's account surprisingly lively, almost a "can't put down read." Polybius (200-118 BC) then picks up the story in his "The Rise of the Roman Empire" tracing the three Punic Wars with Carthage, Hannibal's campaign over the Alps and Rome's entanglement with the collapsing Greek Empire of Seleucis, Macedon and the Ptolmeys until attaining supremacy over the entire Mediterranean. Polybius is a surprisingly modern historian who saw as his challenge to write a "universal history" similar to that of our age of Globalization in which previously separate national histories became united in a universal field of action with integrated causes and effects. He was a Greek who was arrested and taken to Rome and then became intimate with the highest circles of the Roman Senate and a mentor to the Scipio family of generals. He like Thucydides then attempts to tell the "inside story" of how Rome rose to universal dominance in its region, and how all the parts of his world became interconnected in their power relations. Tacitus (56-117 AD) continues the story after the fall of the Republic and rise of the Roman Empire under the emperors. Along with his contemporary Seutonius who published his "History of the Twelve Caesars" in 121 AD, he tells of the founding of the Empire under Julius Caesar, the Civil Wars of Augustus involving Mark Anthony & Cleopatra, the Augustan "Golden Age" and the descent into unbelievable corruption, degeneration, homicidal and sexual madness and excess under Caligula and Nero, followed by a return to decency under Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius. The endstory of the Roman Empire is reflected in Ammianus Marcellinus (395-391 AD) who wrote in the time of Julian the Apostate who unsuccessfully tried to shake off Christianity and restore the old pagan and rationalist traditions of Classical Greece and Rome. PLUTARCH, THE GREAT HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHER Plutarch (46-120 AD) is most famous for his historical biographies in "Parallel Lives" or simply "Lives." He was, like Polybius, a Greek scholar who wished to open understanding between the Greek and Roman intellectual communities. His "Parallel Lives" consists of character portraits and life histories of matching pairs of great Greeks and great Romans such as Alexander and Caesar, hoping to enhance appreciation of the greatness of each. Much of Shakespeare's knowledge of the classical world reflected in his plays such as "Julius Caesar," "Anthony and Cleopatra" and "Coriolanus" came from reading Plutarch in translation. His character analyses are always insightful and engaging to read. His biographical method was also used by the great near-contemporary Sima Qian of Han Dynasty China. IBN KHALDUN, ISLAMIC PIONEER OF MODERN HISTORY, SOCIOLOGY AND ECONOMICS One of the blind spots in our appreciation of World History is the underappreciation of the contributions of Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) and many other Islamic and non-Western thinkers, including Rashīd al-Dīn Fadhl-allāh Hamadānī (1247–1318), a Persian physician of Jewish origin, polymathic writer and historian, who wrote an enormous Islamic history, the Jami al-Tawarikh, in the Persian language, and Ala'iddin Ata-Malik Juvayni (1226–1283) a Persian historian who wrote an account of the Mongol Empire entitled Ta' rīkh-i jahān-gushā (History of the World Conqueror). Of these Ibn Khaldun was the greatest and a theoretical forerunner of our modern approaches to history, far ahead of his time and little appreciated in either the Western or the Islamic world until recently. His greatest work is the The "Muqaddimah" (known as the Prolegomena) in which he anticipated some of the themes of Marx in tracing the importance of the influence of economics on history, including the conflict between the economic classes of the nomadic pastoral and herding peoples, the settled agriculturalists and the rising urban commercial class. Like Marx he stressed the importance of the "economic surplus" of the agricultural revolution and the "value-added" of manufacture, which allowed the rise of the urban, military and administrative classes and division of labor. He stressed the unity of the social system across culture, religion, economics and tradition. He even anticipated some of the themes of Darwin and evolution, tracing human progress in its First Stage of Man "from the world of the monkeys" towards civilization. Toynbee called the Muqaddimah the greatest work of genius of a single mind relative to its time and place ever produced in world history. THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE MONGOL EMPIRE "The Secret History of the Mongol Empire" was precisely that, a private history written for the family of Ghengis Khan recording its rise and expansion from Ghengis Khan's humble personal origin to an empire stretching from China to Poland and Egypt. Its author is unknown but it contains an engaging account of the Khanate, the royal family and its traditions and the incredible expansion of its domain. While not a theoretical work it provides a useful missing link in our understanding of the Mongol Empire as a beginning stage of modern Globalization and a conduit for sharing between civilizations, East and West, and, unfortunatelyh for the transmission of the Black Plague across the world. THE GREAT MODERNS: GIBBON, MARX, SPENGLER & TOYNBEE The "must read" classics of modern World History include the work of Edward Gibbon "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" which traces its fall to a decline in civic virtue, decayed morals and effeminacy amoung the public and the debilitating effects of Christianity vis-a-vis the rationalism of the Greek-Roman heritage. Marx, of course is central to modern history, not only formulating the laws of social development based on economics, class conflict and the transition from agricultural to capitalist economies, but also formulating the revolutionary program of Communism. Oswald Spengler was a remarkable German amateur historian whose "Decline of the West" traced a theory of "organic civilizations" that have a birth, blossoming, limited lifespan and death like all living creatures. He held this to be a cyclical universal historical process of civilizations now exemplified by the West entering the stage of spiritual exhaustion and collaps in warfare. Arnold Toynbee charted a similar process analyzing 26 civilizaitons across all human history, but differed with Spengler in that he believed moral reform and a return to Christian ethics could revive the West and forestall its decline. SPIRITUS MUNDI AND WORLD HISTORY In my own work, the epic contemporary and futurist novel Spiritus Mundi World History plays a central role as various characters such as Professor Riviera in the Mexico City Chapter and Prof. Verhoven of the Africa chapters discourse on human history, evolution, evolutionary biology and the rise of civilization, culminating with the quest of the protagonists led by Sartorius to establish a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly for global democracy, a globalized version of the EU Parliament as a new organ of the United Nations. World Literature Forum invites you to check out the great historians of World History and World Literature, and also the contemporary epic novel Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard. For a fuller discussion of the concept of World Literature you are invited to look into the extended discussion in the new book Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard, one of the principal themes of which is the emergence and evolution of World Literature: For Discussions on World Literature and n Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi: http://worldliteratureandliterarycrit... Robert Sheppard Editor-in-Chief World Literature Forum Author, Spiritus Mundi Novel Author’s Blog: http://robertalexandersheppard.wordpr... Spiritus Mundi on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17... Spiritus Mundi on Amazon, Book I: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CIGJFGO Spiritus Mundi, Book II: The Romance http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CGM8BZG Copyright Robert Sheppard 2013 All Rights Reserved

  6. 4 out of 5

    Adam Washington

    best book ever written

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    This is a mainstay in the teaching of Latin in School Children as it is simple, direct prose. In discussing this book with my some members of my family, my husband said he read it in Latin when he was in elementary school in Greece. He said when he was young he could read and write Latin as well as he could Greek. My sister remembers reading it and having to translate it in her Latin class in high school. But I do not remember reading it. I only took Latin for one year then we moved and the next This is a mainstay in the teaching of Latin in School Children as it is simple, direct prose. In discussing this book with my some members of my family, my husband said he read it in Latin when he was in elementary school in Greece. He said when he was young he could read and write Latin as well as he could Greek. My sister remembers reading it and having to translate it in her Latin class in high school. But I do not remember reading it. I only took Latin for one year then we moved and the next school did not teach Latin. (The problems of frequent moving as a military brat) The Commentaries is Julius Caesar’s firsthand account of the Gallic Wars. It is written as a third person narrative. Caesar describes the battle and intrigues that took place in the nine years he spent fighting local armies in Gaul. What amazes me is that I am reading something written over two thousand years ago by one of histories greatest military commanders. Needless to say I am reading a translated edition but to have a book survived this long is amazing and it is still being read today. I can just picture Caesar sitting in his tent after a day of battle writing his book. Gaul is what today we know as France, Belgium and part of Switzerland. The Helvetii from Switzerland were feeling constricted in their valley so they started migrating over into what was a northern Roman province. Caesar pushed them back into their traditional land. Then King Ariovistus along with some Germanic mercenaries try to move into Italy and again Caesar ventured out to meet them and so it goes for nine years. The book is interesting in its descriptions of Gaulish customs, religion and the comparison between the Gaul and Germanic peoples. The geography descriptions I found interesting also. Overall I enjoyed the book but even after reading it I still cannot remember if I read it in elementary or high school. I read this as an audio book downloaded from Audible. Charlton Griffin did a good job narrating the book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Amazon: This complete edition of Caesar’s Commentaries contains all eight of Caesar’s books on the Gallic War as well as all three of his books on the Civil War masterfully translated into English by W. A. MacDevitt. Caesar’s Commentaries are an outstanding account of extraordinary events by one of the most exceptional men in the history of the world. Julius Caesar himself was one of the most eminent writers of the age in which he lived. His commentaries on the Gallic and Civil Wars are written wi Amazon: This complete edition of Caesar’s Commentaries contains all eight of Caesar’s books on the Gallic War as well as all three of his books on the Civil War masterfully translated into English by W. A. MacDevitt. Caesar’s Commentaries are an outstanding account of extraordinary events by one of the most exceptional men in the history of the world. Julius Caesar himself was one of the most eminent writers of the age in which he lived. His commentaries on the Gallic and Civil Wars are written with a purity, precision, and perspicuity, which command approbation. They are elegant without affectation, and beautiful without ornament. Of the two books which he composed on Analogy, and those under the title of Anti-Cato, scarcely any fragment is preserved; but we may be assured of the justness of the observations on language, which were made by an author so much distinguished by the excellence of his own compositions. His poem entitled The Journey, which was probably an entertaining narrative, is likewise totally lost. All of Caesar's works that remain intact are contained in this edition of his commentaries. It is to the honor of Caesar, that when he had obtained the supreme power, he exercised it with a degree of moderation beyond what was generally expected by those who had fought on the side of the Republic. His time was almost entirely occupied with public affairs, in the management of which, though he employed many agents, he appears to have had none in the character of actual minister. Caesar deprecated a lingering death, and wished that his own might be sudden and speedy. And the day before he died, the conversation at supper, in the house of Marcus Lepidus, turning upon what was the most eligible way of dying, he gave his opinion in favor of a death that is sudden and unexpected. He died in the fifty-sixth year of his age, and was ranked amongst the Gods.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Conrad

    Well, the version I read was "War Commentaries of Caesar" translated by Rex Warner, and not the one pictured with this review. I bought it in 1970, when I took Second-Year Latin, to use as a crib sheet. It turned out that I didn't need it to help me translate, so it sat on my shelf, unread, for 40 years. I finally started reading it out of guilt, more than anything. It gets 5 stars, but be aware that it is as difficult to read in English as it is in Latin, so don't expect an easy, or easy-to-fol Well, the version I read was "War Commentaries of Caesar" translated by Rex Warner, and not the one pictured with this review. I bought it in 1970, when I took Second-Year Latin, to use as a crib sheet. It turned out that I didn't need it to help me translate, so it sat on my shelf, unread, for 40 years. I finally started reading it out of guilt, more than anything. It gets 5 stars, but be aware that it is as difficult to read in English as it is in Latin, so don't expect an easy, or easy-to-follow, read. Nevertheless, it is fascinating--no, more than fascinating. It makes me hunger for more knowledge of ancient Rome, and, especially, of the Roman engineering that made possible the feats of siege and battle Ceasar describes. Read this book. You will find that, among many other interesting things, Caesar wore a red cloak in battle (to distinguish himself as general, of course, but also, the legend goes, to disguise the blood of the wounds he received in battle), and that Caesar's armies used smoke signals to transmit information when runners could not be sent. Read this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I have nothing to say about what particular version of the Gallic Wars I read. I’ve read several versions, and as none of them were in Latin, and I can make no comparison, I’ll just say they were all good. This is a fascinating account, written first hand, of Caesars invasion of Gaul, of the people’s resistance, and the struggle to hold on to the conquest. If nothing else it makes you appreciate the ability to communicate long distances in modern combat. Its so excellently written, its so informa I have nothing to say about what particular version of the Gallic Wars I read. I’ve read several versions, and as none of them were in Latin, and I can make no comparison, I’ll just say they were all good. This is a fascinating account, written first hand, of Caesars invasion of Gaul, of the people’s resistance, and the struggle to hold on to the conquest. If nothing else it makes you appreciate the ability to communicate long distances in modern combat. Its so excellently written, its so informative, you’ll be floored. I was completely in awe of Caesar the whole time. Absolutely a must for anyone interested in classical antiquity or the history of warfare. This book is provided for free as an audiobook by Librivox.org

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tom Schulte

    Wow those Romans were amazing military engineers! Trenches, pontoons, encircling structures, movable walls, and siege towers. They could build a fleet in thirty days! Julius, in his odd, third-person narrative, was often more declamatory on engineering feats than military victories. Reading this recalled to me detailed histories of the conquistadors: the Gauls and Germans tribes were as diverse and socially developed as the Totonacs, Aztecs, etc. Caesar defeated as much by strategic allies and o Wow those Romans were amazing military engineers! Trenches, pontoons, encircling structures, movable walls, and siege towers. They could build a fleet in thirty days! Julius, in his odd, third-person narrative, was often more declamatory on engineering feats than military victories. Reading this recalled to me detailed histories of the conquistadors: the Gauls and Germans tribes were as diverse and socially developed as the Totonacs, Aztecs, etc. Caesar defeated as much by strategic allies and overwhelming advanced military technology/technique just as Hernán Cortés did in the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. This has an additional commentary about Caesar's Civil War by another author. The end has a long and rich glossary that it is good to know about before reading this.

  12. 4 out of 5

    John Devlin

    Caesar was a genius. The man conquered and re-conquered Africa(carthage), Spain and Germany(Gaul),Britannica, and Egypt. He had an incredible grasp of both the strategy and tactics of war, seemed to sense the mood of his cohorts and centurions, at will could grasp the political dynamics of wherever he was and had a mastery of the logistics of battle from what ground to occupy to where water and victuals could best be had. All that being said, this book is sheer drudgery. Told by Caesar in the 3r Caesar was a genius. The man conquered and re-conquered Africa(carthage), Spain and Germany(Gaul),Britannica, and Egypt. He had an incredible grasp of both the strategy and tactics of war, seemed to sense the mood of his cohorts and centurions, at will could grasp the political dynamics of wherever he was and had a mastery of the logistics of battle from what ground to occupy to where water and victuals could best be had. All that being said, this book is sheer drudgery. Told by Caesar in the 3rd person, the book is a grand enunciation of what he did and how he did it without any of the man shining through.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    After enjoying Adrian Goldsworthy's biography of Caesar I thought that I'd read both books by the man himself. I'm not a fan of military history and one of the things I liked about Goldsworthy's book was that he didn't dwell on the battles for too long - a quick, clear explanation was enough. Caesar of course does dwell on the battles and for me it is quite a dreary read. These are after all battle reports from over 2000 years ago so what did I expect? I've read about 3/4 of Gallic Wars but will After enjoying Adrian Goldsworthy's biography of Caesar I thought that I'd read both books by the man himself. I'm not a fan of military history and one of the things I liked about Goldsworthy's book was that he didn't dwell on the battles for too long - a quick, clear explanation was enough. Caesar of course does dwell on the battles and for me it is quite a dreary read. These are after all battle reports from over 2000 years ago so what did I expect? I've read about 3/4 of Gallic Wars but will add this to my abandoned list. Who knows I may be inspired to read it completely in the future.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ron Perkowski

    One of the great propaganda (or political persuasion pieces) in history, the annihilation of the indigineous barbarians of Caesar says much of the sensibilities of those he was seeking to impress and the craving of humanity for stable political systems. However, it also serves mightily as the first, and best, example of a project plan (adopted with a clear objective in mind-becoming consul) and the brilliant execution of that plan through the development of expertise, the acquisition and deploym One of the great propaganda (or political persuasion pieces) in history, the annihilation of the indigineous barbarians of Caesar says much of the sensibilities of those he was seeking to impress and the craving of humanity for stable political systems. However, it also serves mightily as the first, and best, example of a project plan (adopted with a clear objective in mind-becoming consul) and the brilliant execution of that plan through the development of expertise, the acquisition and deployment of resources and the ability to function brilliantly under stress.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Hite

    I am a student of history, and not a historian. I enjoyed this. I have read a few other histories that included this time period. This one, since it is told from the point of view of Caesar it is obviously slanted in favor of the Romans, but it was still quite interesting to hear it from his point of view. I would recommend this anyone who is interested in this time period, but not as a first book. There is too much context about the time period that is really needed to appreciate this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Anyone who loves world history should read Caesar's works. His words open a window to that time period, allowing us to catch a glimpse of the Gallic and civil wars. I did catch myself wondering throughout whether Caesar was relating his true intentions, or merely trying to put a positive spin on his actions, but I'd suppose this is the case for any such writings. Nevertheless, supposing Caesar's self-portrayal of his leniency during these wars is accurate, his character seems to outweigh many fr Anyone who loves world history should read Caesar's works. His words open a window to that time period, allowing us to catch a glimpse of the Gallic and civil wars. I did catch myself wondering throughout whether Caesar was relating his true intentions, or merely trying to put a positive spin on his actions, but I'd suppose this is the case for any such writings. Nevertheless, supposing Caesar's self-portrayal of his leniency during these wars is accurate, his character seems to outweigh many from that time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Vela

    As for being interested in historical figures such as Julius Caesar, I have found this book intriguing especially as the basis of the book is bound by his writings. Now knowing his strategies and thoughts in his commentaries through famous battles, I have made these one of my favorite researching books when I have to model the Roman environment when needed. This book is fairly good, yet more interesting than it is excellent.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Harlan

    Excellent self-aggrandizing memoir of Caesar's wars in Gaul and his efforts to defeat Pompey during the civil war. Spoiler. He wins. Absolutely not a dispassionate history, but has a wealth of interesting historical detail and presents a strong case for Caesar's assertion of being the "new" Alexander. Excellent self-aggrandizing memoir of Caesar's wars in Gaul and his efforts to defeat Pompey during the civil war. Spoiler. He wins. Absolutely not a dispassionate history, but has a wealth of interesting historical detail and presents a strong case for Caesar's assertion of being the "new" Alexander.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Much like any political aspiring General, Caesar has a quasi-accurate view of the Gallic tribes and their culture. But his insight in their general culture is acute, and his military strategy is accomplished. If, for nothing else, it's a great read. Much like any political aspiring General, Caesar has a quasi-accurate view of the Gallic tribes and their culture. But his insight in their general culture is acute, and his military strategy is accomplished. If, for nothing else, it's a great read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tony Taylor

    This complete edition of Caesar's Commentaries contains all eight of Caesar's books on the Gallic War as well as all three of his books on the Civil War masterfully translated into English by John Warrington(about 1958) This complete edition of Caesar's Commentaries contains all eight of Caesar's books on the Gallic War as well as all three of his books on the Civil War masterfully translated into English by John Warrington(about 1958)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Juan Javier

    The W.A Macdevitt translation's syntax is a bit confusing, so this book requires more focus than your typical read. Extra points if you use the correct Latin pronunciations throughout (KYE-SAR instead of SEE-SIR). The W.A Macdevitt translation's syntax is a bit confusing, so this book requires more focus than your typical read. Extra points if you use the correct Latin pronunciations throughout (KYE-SAR instead of SEE-SIR).

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    I didn't choose this book for light reading and that's a good thing. It was not easy reading. But if you are a history buff or interested in understanding the thinking of people in different ages, it's worth the effort. I didn't choose this book for light reading and that's a good thing. It was not easy reading. But if you are a history buff or interested in understanding the thinking of people in different ages, it's worth the effort.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    I've been told this is all a fabrication on Julius Caesar's part, in that it is greatly embellished; meant for his own gain and to instill fear and awe. So I've been told. . . I've been told this is all a fabrication on Julius Caesar's part, in that it is greatly embellished; meant for his own gain and to instill fear and awe. So I've been told. . .

  24. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Ferguson

    The Librivox edition is well read, and the details about Celtic culture particularly interesting...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Patrick McFarland

    A first hand account of Rome's conquest of Western Europe in the century before Christ, penned by the legendary Julius Caesar. Once begun, this two thousand year old memoir will be hard to put down. A first hand account of Rome's conquest of Western Europe in the century before Christ, penned by the legendary Julius Caesar. Once begun, this two thousand year old memoir will be hard to put down.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mac

    A must read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    John Pattenden

    Now this is what I was hoping to get from that wet wipe Marcus Aurelius, a nice clear account of what the guy got up to, what sort of stuff he thought about and the reasons for the decisions he made. The first and longer section of the book is covering his righteous campaign of k̶i̶l̶l̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶e̶n̶s̶l̶a̶v̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶w̶o̶ ̶m̶i̶l̶l̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶g̶a̶u̶l̶s̶ civilising the french. He starts off by defending roman territory from some gauls, then he goes off and helps some other gauls against the germ Now this is what I was hoping to get from that wet wipe Marcus Aurelius, a nice clear account of what the guy got up to, what sort of stuff he thought about and the reasons for the decisions he made. The first and longer section of the book is covering his righteous campaign of k̶i̶l̶l̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶e̶n̶s̶l̶a̶v̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶w̶o̶ ̶m̶i̶l̶l̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶g̶a̶u̶l̶s̶ civilising the french. He starts off by defending roman territory from some gauls, then he goes off and helps some other gauls against the germans and then continues with more and more tenuous justification until in the end he’s just doing it because he can, he even makes a couple short holidays into Germany and Britain for the lols. The second half is the civil war which isn’t as entertaining and has a lot more people thrown in that I think you are expected to know without being told. But it’s no less well written and interesting seeing the thought process of one of the most famous historical people ever. It really comes across that the guy was a genius and was very good at thinking on his feet. The real takeaway from this book for me is the amount of stuff you can get done with 50000 blokes and some shovels and hammers and stuff. Want an 11 mile long wall built round a town with a walkway along it, a moat and a load of trenches to stop anyone leaving the town? Easy. Want the same thing built facing outwards but this time 14 miles long to stop anyone getting in? Yeah sure, we’ll have that done in a couple weeks (siege of Alesia). An 80 foot ramp made of dirt so you can just walk over the top of the walls of Marseilles? Few days. Divert several rivers to stop people having water? No worries. At one point in the civil war book he and his opponent spend a couple of weeks having a build off, trying to build walls around each other, it's insane. Unfortunately the book stops before the civil war is really over and doesn’t cover his other exploits like Vidi Vichi Veni’ing all over Cleopatra. For both parts of the book you’ll spend a lot of time looking at a map, a lot of place names have changed since then. https://i.redd.it/kgccmlaoz8m41.png

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dave Stone

    Starts out interesting as hell, gets so damn tedious Be warned. This book is a work of political propaganda. Any similarity to fact is a happy accident. There is a lot to be fascinated by in this anthology. Yeah Julius Caesar very likely wrote some of it, but the book itself doesn't pretend he wrote all of it. anyway- One of the many things that I found interesting in this account of the subjugation of Gaul, is what gets left out. Like rape, torture, wholesale murder of civilians, the burning of Starts out interesting as hell, gets so damn tedious Be warned. This book is a work of political propaganda. Any similarity to fact is a happy accident. There is a lot to be fascinated by in this anthology. Yeah Julius Caesar very likely wrote some of it, but the book itself doesn't pretend he wrote all of it. anyway- One of the many things that I found interesting in this account of the subjugation of Gaul, is what gets left out. Like rape, torture, wholesale murder of civilians, the burning of homes and villages, and the enslavement of thousands of people. all of that is casually mentioned at one point or another but never all at once and rarely directly mentioned being done by the Romans apart from foot notes or asides. Another thing is the staggering degree of hypocrisy. There was this one general from Gaul (I forgot his name) who is helping in the defense of Gaul from the Roman invaders. JC calls him a "Brigand". This dude is systematically murdering, looting, and pillaging his way across Europe and calls one of the native defenders a "Brigand". This kind of thing is throughout the book. Another thing that darkly amused me was the term "Thus peace was brought to (such-a-place)". Like if I beat you up and took all your money than gave you $5 back. Thus wealth was restored to Mr. bleedy face. Still, I've heard this book mentioned a hundred times, and I'm not one bit sorry that I've finally gotten off my ass and read it for myself. The early bits written by JC himself are the best bits. Then these other guys take up the pen, the style completely changes and It gets so tedious you could weep. There is a lot more to say about it that others have said better. The bit about the Druids would be hilarious if people weren't still believing it today. Also the many similarities between this and The Art of War by sun su are staggering. The art of war is logistics and the control of information. (and a callous disregard for human life)

  29. 5 out of 5

    James Bailey

    Great storytelling, history told by someone at the center of it, and strategy lessons from a great general. Though to hear Caesar tell it, what he really excelled at was tactics and logistics- how to make his men the best prepared, keep them well supplied, fight on advantageous ground, and use clever engineering of bridges, fortifications, and seige equipment. On the level of strategy, Caesar is sometimes able to bring opponents to his side without a fight. But overall he makes the conquest of Gau Great storytelling, history told by someone at the center of it, and strategy lessons from a great general. Though to hear Caesar tell it, what he really excelled at was tactics and logistics- how to make his men the best prepared, keep them well supplied, fight on advantageous ground, and use clever engineering of bridges, fortifications, and seige equipment. On the level of strategy, Caesar is sometimes able to bring opponents to his side without a fight. But overall he makes the conquest of Gaul and the civil war that made him emperor sound more like unpleasant accidents than a deliberate master plan. He just wants peace, but the Gauls are always threatening to invade Roman provinces, so he needs to go conquer them; then some tribes revolt and start killing Romans, so he needs to pacify them; the revolting tribes are getting support from Britain / Germany, so he needs to go there too. Then the Gauls revolt again, it just gets really annoying how they don't know when they are beat. Then once Gaul is finally really pacified, Pompey and the Senate start messing with him, which kicks off the civil war. Again Caesar makes it sounds like he just wants peace and for the Senate to follow the law, he had no grand plan to take over, but gets gradually forced into it, and succeeds somewhat because many people support him and largely through tactical brilliance. One of "the classics" that is still fun to read as well as enlightening.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pedro

    I actually read the Rex Warner translation, but I couldn't find it here. The prose is simple and elegant, something which I appreciate. It was designed for the Roman Public, many of whom were uneducated. It is also a piece of rhetoric, something which becomes more apparent when Caesar describes the civil war. This work has also given me a tremendous appreciation for the engineering skills of the Roman Legionaries. I have very mixed feelings about Caesar. He had an exceptional military and politica I actually read the Rex Warner translation, but I couldn't find it here. The prose is simple and elegant, something which I appreciate. It was designed for the Roman Public, many of whom were uneducated. It is also a piece of rhetoric, something which becomes more apparent when Caesar describes the civil war. This work has also given me a tremendous appreciation for the engineering skills of the Roman Legionaries. I have very mixed feelings about Caesar. He had an exceptional military and political mind. Nothing demonstrates this as well as his campaign in Gaul, and how he escalated it from an expedition to help allies to a full scale occupation within a decade. He also commits a number of acts which border on genocide. However, wars of conquest are a constant in History. What I find particularly tragic is the role he played in the destruction of the Roman Republic something which could well have evolved into a representative institution. I would love to read some of Cicero to get another perspective on the Civil War and the politics of the time. The collapse of the Republic is still very relevant to our political situation today.

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