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De bello civili ➜ [Epub] ❧ De bello civili By Gaius Julius Caesar ➦ – The Civil War is Julius Caesar's personal account of his war with Pompey the Great the war which destroyed the five hundred year old Roman Republic Caesar the victor became Caesar the dictator In thre The Civil War is Julius Caesar's personal account of his war with Pompey the Great the war which destroyed the five hundred year old Roman Republic Caesar the victor became Caesar De bello PDF \ the dictator In three short books Caesar describes how in order to defend his dignitas honour and the libertas freedom of both himself and the Roman people he marched on Rome and defeated the forces of Pompey and the Senate in Italy Spain and Greece Caesar's commentaries written in famously simple prose with the distinctive use of the third person offer a uniue opportunity to read the victor's version of events.

10 thoughts on “De bello civili

  1. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    Asterix led me to The Gallic War and from the conuest of Gaul I tumbled into The Civil War As it happened so did Caesar so that made two of usThis volume contains Caesar's commentary on the Civil War and three continuations The conflict opens with Caesar descending into Italy with his veteran forces Pompey flees Italy with some levies to Greece Caesar departs to Spain where he defeats Pompey's forces there and returns to Italy This takes about a year Caesar crosses to Greece but Pompey's forces have naval superiority and interrupt Caesar's troop movements Pompey amassed a sizeable army but doesn't takes the initiative and eventually Caesar is able to get the rest of his forces over to Greece He tries to trap Pompey by having a fortified line dug round his position a line which runs for a total of fifteen miles p128 Pompey eventually breaks out the two fight a battle in northern Greece at Pharsalus at which Pompey is completely defeated Pompey flees eventually ending up in Egypt where he is decapitated by soldiers of Ptolemy XIII Caesar in pursuit with a small number of troops turns up seizes Ptolemy XIII which unsurprisingly brings him into conflict with the Ptolemaic armyAt this point Caesar's narrative ends and from here on there are three continuations apparently written by three different authors the Alexandrine War which deals with the resolution of the conflict in Egypt the African War in which Caesar pursues and eventually defeats Scipo and Cato at Thaspus in north Africa and the Spanish War in which Caesar battles Pompey's sons and their army eventually defeating them at the battle of MundaThe Gallic War and the Civil War commentaries make an interesting pairing Clemency is suddenly dominant in this book Caesar wore the velvet glove in Gaul but the iron fist was always apparent In his civil war commentaries things are uite different in his own account Gardner argued in The Gallic War that the commentaries were written in one go in 52 BC here she suggests that they were written in instalments and released to win the public relations battle So we see Bibulus burning ships their crews captured from Caesar p109 juxtaposed with Caesar making peace overtures to Pompey let us therefore spare both ourselves and Rome; our own losses have given us proof of the power of fortune in war p110 and to make the contrast apparent Caesar uses an officer of Pompey who he has just captured for the second time as his messenger Interestingly though in the Spanish war continuation which was not written by Caesar the incivility of a civil war is there the hands of captured enemy soldiers are cut off and corpses used as a rampart to intimidate the opposition and a rampart is decorated with the decapitated heads of their comrades It has been said that Caesar's skill as a commander was in extricating himself from difficult situations that he had gotten himself into and this seems apparent here than in the Gallic wars Repeatedly Caesar arrives on scene with fewer troops than his opponent often he runs short of supplies and I wondered repeatedly why he didn't wait or build up his fleet to transport the army in one go Temperamentally Caesar seems over active even rash Suetonius in The Twelve Caesars records that once Caesar took on an enemy warship in a small boat rowing out and demanding that they surrender which they did The anecdote is certainly true to his behaviour in these commentariesPompey is the mystery to me Perhaps he had no will to fight his former father in law or maybe he wasn't confident in the uality of the troops he was raising but he certainly seems to have conceded the initiative to Caesar for all his experience in war I wonder why he waited in Greece for a year while Caesar was defeating his forces in Spain surely this was the perfect opportunity to attempt to recapture Italy and Rome and how else could one win a Roman civil war except by a successful march on Rome?In this way the first part of the civil war comes a cross as a conflict between two states of mind Caesar impulsive and active against Pompey who by contrast was resigned and passive This is vividly expressed in the battle of Pharsalus in which Pompey's battle plan is to have his troops and he has the larger army stand their ground while Caesar's advance on them thinking that they will be tired while his cavalry outflank them and hopefully win the day Caesar was mystified by this it appears to us that he did this without sound reason for there is a certain eagerness of spirit and an innate keenness in everyone which is inflamed by desire for battle Generals ought to encourage this not repress it; nor was it for nothing that the practise began in antiuity of giving the signal on both sides and everyone's raising a war cry; this was believed both to frighten the enemy and to stimulate one's own men p152 This can go to far Caesars' troops' eagerness gets them into trouble at Gergovia during the Gallic war but here it works out even when the army rushes into combat at Thaspus before ordered to advance This could be all part of Caesar's public relations campaign my army are as irrepressible as racehorses while my opponents were defeated before they even got out of bed in the morning then again Caesar did win repeatedly so it wasn't all just propagandaThe emphasis on engineering is not as strong as in The Gallic War although part of a river is diverted in Spain to make a ford and some impressive seeming siege machines are built to capture Marseilles but the importance of logistics I felt came through clearly There is manoeuvring to cut off opponents from water to place fortified positions to harass troops sent out to gather firewood and to pressurise the opposition even before battle lines are drawn upOn one occasion the enemy retaliate in kind when Ptolemaic forces were besieging Caesar in Alexandria they pump sea water into his water supply at first Caesar's men are confused why is our water suddenly salty until Caesar realises what a dastardly trick those Egyptian Greeks have played and sets his army to furiously digging wells to find an alternative water source What I really found interesting was the curious absence of suicide Reading Tacitus I got the impression that suicide was the epitome of Roman dignity and morality that a citizen's worth was known by their ability to select the right moment to dispose of themselves efficiently By contrast here only Cato kills himself after Thaspus Every other commander seems happy when circumstances reuire to die in combat or to run away and fight again some other day no matter how crushing the defeat It seems that some change in cultural attitudes was taking place over this period Just a few years later Brutus and Cassius will kill themselves on the field of battle rather than to run and hide as Pompey's sons do after complete defeat at MundaThe first time I read this I had borrowed it from my local library It was a Carnegie Library view spoiler in fact this one it's bigger in my memory but I was smaller then hide spoiler

  2. Darwin8u Darwin8u says:

    Men are nearly always willing to believe what they wish― Julius CaesarWell behaved Romans seldom Make HistoryWar is hell obviously but a civil war is a uniue form of Hades a Haidēs of many shaidēs? The sides are amorphous permeable ambiguous There is a reluctance to kill a soldier that last year you considered a friend or a brother While war often reuires thinking beyond strategy and tactics a civil war pushes those skills to the extreme How do you limit the blood lust of your soldiers when they are confronting a group that might easily be conveyed into a future asset? How do you break an opponent's spirit without destroying the enemy or turning them into an enemy? How do you maintain a paid army's loyalty without pay? How do you keep your friends from deserting you after a devastating loss? Now do all of this while still not alienating those fickle friends in Rome

  3. Jon Nakapalau Jon Nakapalau says:

    I am sure I would have enjoyed this book even if only I brushed up on my Roman history But I still enjoyed the attention to detail that Caesar practiced and his magnanimity towards those he defeated Counting the times a shield was pierced by arrows as a sign of courageit should be a term we use to this day Check my shield count the arrowsI did my best at the meeting

  4. Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin says:

    Very matter of fact third person description of Caesar's civil war and his triumph over his enemies Mostly talks about battles and warfare I guess Caesar didn't put much political argument in it because the argument is basically I won and so it's right It is what every conueror thinks and ideology serves as window dressing It is an ugly view of the world but held by the destroying would be masters both past and present uite a few people in the proximity of power think this way and it is only other centers of power that hold them back

  5. Brian Brian says:

    This book contains than Caesar's writings on the Civil War; The Alexandrian War The African War The Spanish War are also included in this Penguin Classics edition none of those pieces penned by him I only read the first piece the appendices and the insightful intro written by Jane Gardner also providing an excellent and easy to read translation I'm happy that I first read Caesar's Gallic Wars getting a feeling for his writing style helped with this work which I found a bit dry I came to both of these books by way of reading Vollmann's Rising Up and Rising Down I will admit my ignorance about JC other than the broadest of historical strokes; it was very interesting to me to learn how much skill Caesar had in so many traits diplomat general orator leader politician author But what was most interesting and unexpected was the tremendous amount of leniency and clemency he showed to vanuished foes especially fellow Roman citizens soldiers during the Civil War For JC war was a means to an end the sooner those ends could be achieved with the least amount of bloodshed and cause for vengeance the uicker the empire could assimilate the territory and its denizens into the Roman hegemonyIt was also helpful to have Wikipedia nearby to supplement the reading with detailed battle maps and expanded info on the partcipants in the narrative that JC mentions off hand there is a glossary of names at the end of the book but it only offers the smallest amount of detailHaving Caesar's two major works under my belt I am now ready to return to Vollmann's RUaRD in 2014

  6. Tyler Windham Tyler Windham says:

    Alea iacta est the die is cast Julius Caesar upon crossing the Rubicon according to Suetonius Caesar continues his narrative from the Bello Gallico into another several books of commentaries on his civil war with Pompey the Great and the Roman Senate Caesar does not dwell long on the causes of the civil war but rests that point upon saying that his rights and honor had been violated and his attempts to find a compromise and he did attempt were met with a declaration by the senate that he would be considered a traitor and force against him by Pompey who was extra legally made sole consul authorized should he not comply The commentaries follow in their usual style; gripping and vivid clean and descriptive that highlight of Caesar's brilliant tactics his daring disposition to fortune fortune favors the bold after all and his great clemency to his fellow Romans including allowing an entire army in Hispania to return home after surrendering their arms and pardoning Pompeian senator and commander he captured even pardoning the same obstinate patricians than once he pardoned Cassius the future chief conspirator behind his assassination three times Ultimately the Civil War ends with a delicious cliffhanger as one finds Caesar in Egypt after his climactic victory over Pompey in Greece searching for his fugitive rival when he finds himself drawn into yet another war

  7. Brian Brian says:

    This lone star is not for Caesar it is for this wretched translation After slogging through 70 or so pages feeling like my brain was coated in molasses I decided to try a different translation Right choiceFor example here's how this volume translates a particular sectionHe leaves no point unmentioned that he thought adapted their minds to sanity What a clunker Here's how the Penguin Classic translated by Jane Gardner has itHe added such further considerations as he thought might serve to bring them to their senses Much better Even after restarting and 20 pages into this translation I feel like my mind has been sueegeed

  8. Jesse Jesse says:

    Caesar through his own and others' accounts comes off as an unbelievably merciful general; he pardoned nearly everyone that came into his power including his eventual assassins Cassius and Brutus I could only find one instance concerning a certain Ligarius during the African War where he executed a fellow citizen but the soldier in uestion had been pardoned previously This book was written to detail the events of his face off with Pompey and when the latter was killed by the Egyptians Caesar was upset that he didn't get to pardon him and it is written in high style; Cicero described the commentaries as nude figures and indeed the ones written by Caesar are Unfortunately Caesar was busy having sex with Cleopatra so someone else wrote the account of the Alexandrian War; not a nude figure in marble but perhaps in clay Then there is an account of the African War; not even a clay figure this time like a dirt figure Lastly to close the collection we have the Spanish War which isn't even a figure it's just a pile of dirt; unreadable Nevertheless Caesar and his ghostwriters provide an invaluable and for the most part enjoyable linear history of how the dictator perpetuus secured his power abroad only to return home and be betrayed by a couple of philosophers who completely failed to read the will of the people not to mention the will of Caesar he had left all his money to the people of Rome

  9. Michael Kaplan Michael Kaplan says:

    I first read the 'Illustrated' Comic book series of this book and man when I was 11 or 12 In High School I chose Julius Caesar for my senior theme and although I am not a 'history buff' in general the man and his times have a strange affect on my reading habits So much so that in the past 4 5 years I have collected 180 books both Novel and biography regarding Caesar and the Roman Republic Maureen Mccullough's 'fictional' Roman series was the clincher for me so much so that I also collect rare books about CaesarEra including 2 volumes by Napoleon BonaparteEven Caesar's contemporaries Giants themselves Cicero etc thought his writing was the best that could be producedHis Civil War commentaries are still taught in Latin classes but importantly for the contemporary reader his writing is clear seemingly unfettered by flourishes etc descriptive of the countries and people he was conuering even his admiration for some Rome's enemies It is also than it appears For while it reads as a war commentary by a general it is also propaganda to build his 2 tiered voter base back in Rome The senate and the 'common' people who voted him up the ladder from the lowest government position to sole Consul of Rome Although from one of the 'blue blood' families' he was the champion of the common man He was self aware of what he was doing at all times and why and the Civil War foreshadows the greatness to comeOn another note this book reminds us 'that he who does not study history is doomed to repeat it' the parallel of His times and ours is chilling

  10. Bruce Bruce says:

    Caesar’s The Civil Wars covers the period in Roman history from 49 to 48 BCE and its primary protagonists are Julius Caesar himself and his rival Pompey It describes the early tensions between the two generals culminating in Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon and it ends with the murder of Pompey in Alexandria and with the events leading up to the Alexandrine War It includes Caesar’s march on Rome and the early Hispanian campaign as well as the subseuent Greek and African campaigns Thus it covers the period of time during which Caesar consolidated his position and laid the groundwork for his elevation to the most prominent position in the Roman stateMany readers may be familiar with Caesar’s work The Gallic Wars often the first significant piece of literature taught in Latin classes The Civil Wars is intriguing in its political maneuvering as well as its military details and if sometimes various Roman personages are hard to keep straight especially regarding which protagonist they were supporting it is often because allegiances switched sides unexpectedly It is helpful I found to keep notes about each of the major players so that I could tell who was on each side In addition the Loeb Classical Library edition that I used had helpful maps of some of the primary conflicts clarifying what Caesar was describingReaders unfamiliar with the broad sweep of Roman history and no knowledge of these couple of years may want to read a brief online summary that locates these events in a broader context Roman authors like Livy and Tacitus to name only two of many can also provide a long perspective that clarifies the importance of the civil wars in which Caesar played a pivotal role In any event Caesar’s prose is clear and straightforward and he seems to make an effort not always to portray his own actions in the most favorable light although as the winner of the conflict his military and political decisions will inevitably seem wiser than those of Pompey I found this book fascinating and most enjoyable The Latin is not too difficult to read and over the length of the work the reader’s facility will inevitably improve The dual language format of this edition enables the reader to check his translation and understanding and if he wishes to avoid the mostly enjoyable labor of translating he can simply read it in English in this translation by AG Peskett

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