The enemy clearly has the upper-hand ✋ as the Romans disembark and head towards land. The military advantage is initially shown for the Britons 🇬🇧, although Julius Caesar quickly takes control of the situation with his prestige expertise in warfare. Julius Caesar remarks on the impact of his decision unraveling within the following chapters.
Before we dive into breaking down the Latin lines into the text we can more clearly comprehend, we will answer some questions based on the designated skill categories! The skill categories for these lines are Translation and Contextualization so be aware of that when you answer these questions
Chapter 26 Lines 9-18
animadvertisset Caesar, scaphas longarum navium, item
speculatoria navigia militibus compleri iussit, et quos
laborantes conspexerat, his subsidia submittebat.
Nostri, simul in arido constiterunt, suis omnibus
consecutis, in hostes impetum fecerunt atque eos in
fugam dederunt; neque longius prosequi potuerunt,
quod equites cursum tenere atque insulam capere non
potuerant. Hoc unum ad pristinam fortunam Caesari
What main feature of a commentary is shown as depicted by how Caesar observes this situation in lines 1-2?
What literary convention is Julius Caesar conducting in lines 3-4?
Why did Julius Caesar conduct this literary convention in lines 3-4?
Why would the Roman soldiers be so successful on dry land, eventually routing their enemy?
Based on your knowledge of Roman history and previous books of Gallic War, name ONE AND ONLY ONE “wonted success” within the military that he has fulfilled PRIOR to this point?
Answers (Don't peek!👀)
A commentary can be written from the perspective of the individual writing the story. Julius Caesar recalls his events as he writes his books within about the Gallic Wars. He recalls his next course of action after spotting his soldiers being taken advantage of by the Britons. In an epic, such as the Aeneid, it was Vergil as the narrator describing the adventures and heroism from Aeneas.
Julius Caesar is addressing his troops on Roman warships and other vessels.
Caesar orders the Roman warships and other vessels to become manned once more and offers aid and relief to soldiers that attempted to disembark after their relocation to the empty enemy flank that proved to be to the Britons advantage once more.
The Roman army was the most advanced civilization of its time, with the optimum supplies and armor alongside the most skilled and trained soldiers under highly strategic generals, such as Julius Caesar, who is commonly known as one of the greatest military generals of all time. The Romans hand-to-hand and close combat skills were unmatched amongst the enemies and caused such overwhelming victories. This was how the later Rome would build and expand once the Augustus Caesar become emperor and Rome Empire came about
First Trimuvirate or Helvetian campaign of 58 BC or Conquest of Belgae or Battle of Octodurus etc (there’s certainly others, just make sure that they are specifically military-based)
Chapter 28 Lines 5-12
Quae cum adpropinquarent Britanniae et ex castris
viderentur, tanta tempestas subito coorta est ut nulla
earum cursum tenere posset, sed aliae eodem unde
erant profectae referrentur, aliae ad inferiorem partem
insulae, quae est propius solis occasum, magno sui
cum periculo deicerentur; quae tamen ancoris iactis
cum fluctibus complerentur, necessario adversā nocte
in altum provectae continentem petierunt.
Translate these lines as literally as possible
Translation (don’t peek👀!) Remember if you have different words than I did, that’s perfectly acceptable 😀 Just make sure they have the same meaning attached to them.
When they were approaching Britain and were seen from the camp, suddenly so vicious a storm appeared that none of them could contain its course; some were conveyed back to the same port from which they had begun, others were propelled away, to their great peril, to the lower, that is, closer to the west side of the island. Nevertheless, after having cast anchor, but as they started to fill with the water they were compelled to go in a night of stormy weather out to sea, and made for the Continent.
Breakdown of Chapters 26-28
The Roman, under the support of the Tenth Legion and Julius Caesar’s repositioning of the warships, have now neared the enemy troops as they advanced towards the shoreline. Chapter 26 begins with Julius Caesar bluntly stating “The fighting was vigorous 😓 on both sides.”
Although it seems that the Roman soldiers should easily have pressed the Britons towards their defeat, their state of confusion 😕 and disorder prevents this from happening initially. The troops “couldn’t keep their ranks, nor stand firm, nor follow their standards” as the men assembled based on any standard they put their luck 🍀 on.
The enemy, once again, comprehended the Roman’s plan of disembarking in this part of the shallows and acted quickly once they observed the Roman soldiers leaping down from the ships in crowds. The Britons “spurred on their horses and attacked them while in difficulty, in a numbers 🔢 advantage, while others hurled their missiles upon the entire forces on the exposed side of the flank.
Caesar would have to make some rearrangements once more after noticing the assault of Roman soldiers. Caesar ordered the warships and other vessels to be manned with soldiers and sent them on their way to provide assistance to any forces that were seen in distress.
These silver coins represent the success of Julius Caesar's Tenth Legion, commonly recognized to be his most trusted and also played a crucial part in Rome's invasion of Britain. Image Courtesy of Public Domain
The initial moment that the Romans made land fall 🏝️, “they charged with all their comrades close behind” as they put their enemy to flight. The pursuance of their rout was cut short, however, since the cavalry wasn’t able to maintain their course and enter the dry ground. Unfortunately, this was the one thing lacking to complete the accustomed success of Julius Caesar 😢.
The enemy was clearly overcome in the fight and “as soon as they recovered after the rout” they immediately sent forth deputies to negotiate peace ☮️ and not completely dissolve the enemy side. The deputies remarked that they would do whatever Julius Caesar commanded and give hostages as well. This ultimately shows the desperation of the enemy side and the overwhelming military power 💣 of the Romans, crushing their enemies even in times when they have become in unfavorable circumstances.
Julius Caesar sent Commius the Altrebatian, an ally 🤞 of Caesar’s, who Caesar believed would not resist him since he has an influence on the island already. However, once he “disembarked and delivered Caesar’s messages to the Britons” the enemy seized Commius and was thrown into chains, but was released after the fight.
The Britons attempted to “cast the blame of the act upon the multitude” in means of ensuing for peace while they requested a pardon on account of their ignorance of the situation. In rebuttal, Caesar complained that after the Briton’s motioned for peace and as Caesar sent in deputies into Britain for that sole reason, they had ignited 🔥 a war without a logical cause.
As the Britons ask for peace after the Roman soldiers surged up and forced them to ask for peace, the Romans question why they started attacking for no reason. Image Courtesy of Public Domain
In the end, Caesar accepted their request for a pardon 🙇 based on their indiscretion, but still requested hostages, as some hostages were given today while others were requested from other remote sections. The Britons ordered their people back to fields as the “chiefs began to assemble from all quarters” as they “engaged in surrendering 🏳️ themselves and their states to Caesar.” Peace was inevitably established.
Four days after the Romans arrived, the eighteen ships embarked on the cavalry. As the ships were approaching Britain, “seen from the camp” a great storm 🌩️ arose so fierce that the ships couldn’t maintain their course towards Britain. Some ships were taken back to the ports they had previously started with while others were driven, “to their great danger”, towards the western part of the island.
Yet, the ships began to fill with water once they “cast anchor ⚓” and were dangerously put out to sea in means of necessity in aspirations of making it safely to Britain.