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About Literature / Hobbyist Official Beta Tester Fisher24/Male/United States Group :iconfreepoetsociety: FreePoetSociety
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popov89
Fisher
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
Most of my stories are silly one off pieces about some magical land influenced by my limited knowledge of Scottish myth.
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Caesar's Conquest of Gaul is an accessible account of personal ambition mixed with political hopes. This is Caesar's account of the events in Gaul written just before the war with Pompey. In it Caesar comes off as a noble leader willing to do the work to secure Rome's borders from the encroaching barbarians. Mix in some conquest of faraway Britain, the machinations of scheming Gauls and Germans, thrilling battles and daring sieges and this is actually a pretty exciting read even though some or most of it is pure propaganda.

Out of all the ancient material that I've read this has by far been the most easy to understand. I don't quite know how the translation works, but most of the old stuff I read, like Herodotus, comes off super clunky. Caesar is easy to read, easy to understand and a joy to experience. It's straightforward and not overly long so just about anyone can read this and enjoy it. The names can be hard to follow seeing how they're all old Gallic, Latin or Germanic and a good deal understanding of the terrain of France, Belgium, south Britain and western Germania is just about required. The version I read came with a map of the various tribes and a glossary of the names and events that helped me keep the narrative straight when the names seemed to be more rambling mass of consonants than something a mother would give her child. 

As a piece of propaganda, this is a highly effective one. Caesar is almost entirely presented as on the defense acting in the interest of Rome and her citizens. The initial reason for his appearance in Gaul is that of the Helvetii located in modern Switzerland being pushed west by the encroaching Germans. These are barbarians and they are on the move. Caesar must act for the benefits of Rome and any prestige, wealth or popularity he gets is merely a byproduct of this campaign against rampaging barbarians who rise up with maddening regularity. Why can't the savages just accept Roman rule? Meting out harsh punishment where needed such as the massacre of the Veneti in south Brittany or clemency to those willing to work with Rome it is easy to see Caesar as the paragon of Roman law and civilization.

The highlight of the text is easily the revolt led by the cunning and charismatic Vercingetorix who manipulates almost the whole of Gaul in rising up against Roman rule. Demanding a guerrilla campaign meant to sap Roman supplies and resolve, Vercingetorix often comes into differing opinions with the other chiefs who want a more traditional battle in open terrain. The Gauls are many, their strength unstoppable and with courage imbued with nationalism the Gauls think themselves invincible. Vercingetorix knows better. He still finds himself stuck in two sieges against Caesar where Roman engineering proves unstoppable. The tragedy of Alesia is indeed a good read of high hopes and close calls.

Conquest of Gaul is a hell of text if only viewed from enjoyment from reading. As a historical piece it offers insights into Caesar and the Gallic chieftains as well as the events that took place. Viewed as propaganda, the piece had me thinking Caesar was king mother fucker of Gaul dispensing justice wherever he went defeating strange and foreign enemies intent on resisting and possibly destroying Roman law and order. Roma Invicta!
  • Listening to: So here we Are by Bloc Party
  • Reading: The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin

Critiques

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:iconnomadicmusic:
NomadicMusic Feb 10, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for the favorite!
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:icondarkness-melody:
Thank you for faving my poem "The Tale of Tamas Lin". If you have an comments or critique, please do share.
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:iconnot-an-emo-girl942:
not-an-emo-girl942 Nov 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the :+fav: and the watch!
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:iconegoariana:
Happy birthday! ^_^
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