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Unit 4

4.3 Book IV: 55 B.C Chapters 29-31

7 min readseptember 26, 2020

jack94800304

Jack Marso


AP Latin 🏛

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Chapters 29-31

As the problems of disembarking faded away, the Briton’s understanding of their geography proved to be another advantage against the Romans. Once the Romans made access to land, however, the Britons were over-matched in military strength 💪 and thought while the Britons pleaded for peace with the Romans. Peace was ultimately granted and the Roman intervention into their lands became apparent within these chapters.

Chapter 31 Lines 1-10

At Caesar, etsi nondum eorum consilia
cognoverat, tamen et ex eventu navium suarum
et ex eo quod obsides dare intermiserant, fore id
quod accidit suspicabatur. Itaque ad omnes
casūs subsidia comparabat. Nam et frumentum
ex agris cotidie in castra conferebat et, quae
gravissime adflictae erant naves, earum materiā
atque aere ad reliquas reficiendas utebatur, et
quae ad eas res erant usui ex continenti
comportari iubebat
  1. How has Caesar suspected the events to transpire as they do when he “had not learned their measures?”
  2. Identify the meaning of the words “navium” and “obsidesAND identify the case.
  3. Parse the Latin verb suspicabatur.
  4. What two and ONLY TWO materials did Caesar incorporate into repairing the rest of the ships that weren’t severely damaged? What does this tell you about Roman products?
  5. What does the “continent” mean as repeated throughout the chapter and at the end of these lines?

Answers (Don't peek!👀)

  1. We have to remember that Julius Caesar is a mastermind when it comes to military and strategic analysis to always maintain their dominance in warfare and politics. His brilliance spots “the misfortune from the ships” and “the fact the chiefs neglected to give the promised hostages” dwelled in Caesar’s mind. His reaction and eventual plans are taken to maintain his military superiority, which is the recurring theme for Caesar, within the next section of lines.
  2. Navium is a third-declension noun and the genitive plural of navis, navis in the nominative and genitive meaning ship. Therefore, navium means “of the ships” referring to their misfortune when they were destroyed by the tides ocean on the night of the full moon. Obsides is a third-declension noun and the accusative plural of obses, obsidis in the nominative and genitive meaning hostage. Thus, obsides translates to “hostages” which denotes Caesar's demands as the Britons begged for peace once the Roman soldiers routed the enemy.
  3. Third-person singular imperfect active is indicative of suspicor. Suspicor is a first conjugation deponent verb which translates to “I suspect”. As a refresher, a deponent verb is passive in form but active in meaning. “Tur” in the passive typically refers to a third-person singular if it follows “r, ris, tur, mur mini ntur,” but because it includes a “ba” it is an imperfect verb. Lastly, it would have been a passive indicative, but because this verb is a deponent, it could only be an active indicative. To sum it up, suspicabatur translates as “he was suspecting.”
  4. Timber and bronze. Although Rome’s military superiority didn’t include their depth of maritime weapons, they did in fact utilize ships and fleets to engage in land-based combats. Most ancient ships, including the Roman warships, were made of timber. The means of bronze and brass were heavily utilized in military equipment and in making dangerous weapons when Roman fleets rammed into their enemies.
  5. Britain

Chapter 29 Lines 1-9

Eādem nocte accidit ut esset luna plena, qui dies
maritimos aestūs maximos in Oceano efficere
consuevit, nostrisque id erat incognitum. Ita uno
tempore et longas naves, quibus Caesar exercitum
transportandum curaverat, quasque in aridum
subduxerat, aestus complebat, et onerarias, quae ad
ancoras erant deligatae, tempestas adflictabat, neque
ulla nostris facultas aut administrandi aut auxiliandi
dabatur.
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.

That same night happened to be full moon, which often junctures very high tides in the ocean; and that condition was unknown to our men. Thus, simultaneously, the tide began to fill the warships as Caesar had on the condition to bring over his army, and which had drawn up on to dry land; and the storm initiated to toss the transport ships which were mounting at anchor against one another; nor had our troops means afforded them any chance of either managing them or of helping for any service.

Breakdown of Chapters 29-31

  • The Romans boats attempt to make a safe journey towards Britain as they become filled with water, but nightfall is slowly arriving. On the night of the full moon 🌕, as it happened to be, it naturally causes the highest tides 🌊 on the ocean, which on this occasion wasn’t known to his men. This Roman theory about the high tides on the full moon is completely valid, even by modern scientists.
  • The tide filled up the warships now, at the same time this event was transpiring, which had initially been incorporated to transport 🚃 his army, “and which he had drawn upon dry land.” At the same time as well, the “ships of burden” or the transport ships were being struck as well which were rubbing at anchor against one another. The troops simply had no chance of handling the ships or helping them from becoming damaged or even ruined.
  • Several ships were wrecked due to their loss of cables, anchors, and additional tackling 🏈providing no use for sailing. Great dismay fell upon the army since there were no accompanying ships to transport them back to Rome and there were no necessary supplies ✏️at appropriate quantities to repair the ships. In these turn of events, “no corn had been provided in those places for the winter. The army would have to spend the winter ❄️ in Gaul.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-RGULieYpcVxF.png?alt=media&token=7ecdfc78-a84b-4972-a135-7049afccc9a0

A winter storm causes Roman warships to be ruined and damaged. This helps me visualize the scene. Image Courtesy of Full Moon

  • The Britons soon became aware of Roman’s scanty measures and in turn, the British chiefs, who had arrived after fighting to grant Caesar’s conditions after the fighting, counseled. They perceived that the Romans lacked cavalry, ships, and corn 🌽 while perceiving the deficiency of the army around the inadequate camp. This was even more sparse than the norm since his soldiers had been carried over by Caesar without their baggage 🧳.
  • The British chiefs came to their senses and believed that the best way of handling this hierarchical power 🔺 advantage once more over the historically well-known Romans was to rejuvenate the war, cut off their abundant supply of corn and other necessary supplies and hold out their time in Britain into the winter ☃️.
  • The British chiefs were confident that if either the Romans were “conquered or ceased from a return” to Rome 🇮🇹, “no one thereafter would pass over Britain in means of making war upon them.” After again entering into a conspiracy, they departed from the camp little by little so they wouldn’t catch attention from the Romans and instead “secretly call in their people from the fields.”
  • The intelligence and sense of a true mastermind at work when referring to Julius Caesar’s skill in warfare and combat comes to life 🌄 within Chapter 31. Even though Caesar hadn’t learned of Britain’s plans of deceiving the Romans and renewing the fighting, the tragedy 😭 alongside the destruction of his ships from the high tides and “the fact that the chiefs neglected to surrender the hostages” led him to become suspicious of Britain’s true intentions. Caesar suspected the plot that was conspired, and would later be committed based solely on those two signs.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-K2IZxMmdHmwN.png?alt=media&token=3a2b5cf0-5d38-43a1-a9a6-9167c8df58aa

Julius Caesar's military brilliance is being captured within this section of chapters. Image Courtesy of Public Domain

  • Therefore, he prepared means to face any emergency ⚠️ or situation that could suddenly happen. Caesar, himself, “collected corn from nearby fields daily into the camp, and used the timber and brass of such ships which had been most severely damaged for repairing the rest.” He ordered the imperative gear ⛑️ for that mandatory purpose brought to him. This tedious work was performed by the troops and was luckily able to save a few ships from after twelve ships were in the end completely destroyed.

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