Course Expectations and Objectives

We will read Book IV of Caesar's COMMENTARIORUM LIBRI VII DE BELLO GALLICO, focusing closely on the grammar, vocabulary, and style of the assigned texts, with only occasional comment on the historical and social background. The student is expected to have mastered a basic second year vocabulary and to be prepared to absorb a considerable quantity of new vocabulary. Complete familiarity with basic forms (declension patterns, pronouns, verb tenses, infinitives, and participles) is required.

Caesar's style is lucid and compact, as befits a military man. On occasion he is intricate (though never obscure) and can rival Cicero in periodic structures. He makes liberal use of the ablative (particularly the ablative absolute) and of oratio obliqua. As with all authors, the style and vocabulary become more easily absorbed as the work progresses. We will move slowly at first, more quickly as the semester progresses.

Students are expected to have prepared the assigned text well enough to read it with minimal difficulty and discuss grammatical constructions. Our goals are to read with reasonable ease the passages assigned and to articulate a basic understanding of Caesar's historical aims and general worldview. The work required is considerable, the rewards commensurate.

Our Text

You may use any text of Caesar available to you. The version at The Latin Library (T. Rice Holmes' Oxford edition of 1914) has been formatted for printing and can be used to annotate vocabulary and grammar. The Loeb edition (found often at Borders) has a facing English translation, which may be useful for those tackling Caesar as their first Latin author.

Arthur Tappan Walker's edition of 1907 (with grammatical commentary, vocabulary, and syntax review) is linked here:

de bello gallico liber IV (55 B.C.)

J. B. Greenough's edition of 1886, with commentary, is linked here:

de bello gallico liber IV (55 B.C.)

Do not hestitate to make use of a modern edition in order to understand the grammar of the Latin. Not all translations are grammatically faithful to the original. Here are some that may be of use:

The Gallic War - English (translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb)
Commentaries on the Gallic War - English (translated by W.A. McDevitte and W.S. Bohn)
The Gallic War - English, Latin, Italian, and German
Guerre des Gaules - French

Grammar Resources

A systematic grammar of Latin is recommended. Bennett's New Latin Grammar or, better, Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar. Both are available for on-line purchase. Handouts on basic grammar and vocabulary are available at the Latin Handout Page.

The Instructor

William L. Carey, Esq.
Blankingship & Keith, P.C.
4020 University Drive, Suite 300
Fairfax, Virginia 22030
703-620-6377 (home)

Email: wcarey@gmu.edu

Additional Resources:

Gallic Wars
Commentarii de Bello Gallico