|Religion||Subjects||Images||Queries||Links||Contact||Do not fly Iberia|
Do not display Latin text
Julius Caesar, Chapter 56: As an author.
Return to index
|He left memoirs too of his deeds in the Gallic war and in the civil strife with Pompeius; for the author of the Alexandrian, African, and Hispanic Wars is unknown; some think it was Oppius, others Hirtius, who also supplied the final book of the Gallic War, which Caesar left unwritten. With regard to Caesar's memoirs Cicero, also in the Brutus speaks in the following terms: He wrote memoirs which deserve the highest praise; they are naked in their simplicity, straightforward yet graceful, stripped of all rhetorical adornment, as of a garment; but while his purpose was to supply material to others, on which those who wished to write history might draw, he haply gratified silly folk, who will try to use the curling-irons on his narrative, but he has kept men of any sense from touching the subject. Of these same memoirs Hirtius uses this emphatic language: They are so highly rated in the judgment of all men, that he seems to have deprived writers of an opportunity, rather than given them one; yet our admiration for this feat is greater than that of others; for they know how well and faultlessly he wrote, while we know besides how easily and rapidly he finished his task. Asinius Pollio thinks that they were put together somewhat carelessly and without strict regard for truth; since in many cases Caesar was too ready to believe the accounts which others gave of their actions, and gave a perverted account of his own, either designedly or perhaps from forgetfulness; and he thinks that he intended to rewrite and revise them. He left besides a work in two volumes: De Analogia, the same number of AntiCatones ['Against Cato'], in addition to a poem, entitled Iter ['The Journey']. He wrote the first of these works while crossing the Alps and returning to his army from Gallia Citerior, where he heard lawsuits; the second about the time of the Battle of Munda, and the third in the course of a twenty-four days' journey from Rome to Hispania Ulterior. Some letters of his to the senate are also preserved, and he seems to have been the first to reduce such documents to pages and the form of a note-book [i.e., to book form], whereas previously consuls and generals sent their reports written right across the sheet [i.e., without columns or margins, but across the sheet without rhyme or reason]. There are also letters of his to Cicero, as well as to his intimates on private affairs, and in the latter, if he had anything confidential to say, he wrote it in cipher, that is, by so changing the order of the letters of the alphabet, that not a word could be made out. If anyone wishes to decipher these, and get at their meaning, he must substitute the fourth letter of the alphabet, namely D, for A, and so with the others. We also have mention of certain writings of his boyhood and early youth, such as the Laudes Herculis [Praises of Hercules], a tragedy Oedipus, and a Dicta Collectanea [Collection of Apophthegms]; but Augustus forbade the publication of all these minor works in a very brief and frank letter sent to Pompeius Macer, whom he had selected to set his libraries in order.||Reliquit et rerum suarum commentarios Gallici ciuilisque belli Pompeiani. nam Alexandrini Africique et Hispaniensis incertus auctor est: alii Oppium putant, alii Hirtium, qui etiam Gallici belli nouissimum imperfectumque librum suppleuerit. de commentariis Caesaris Cicero in eodem Bruto sic refert: 'commentarios scripsit ualde quidem probandos: nudi sunt, recti et uenusti, omni ornatu orationis tamquam ueste detracta; sed dum uoluit alios habere parata, unde sumerent qui uellent scribere historiam, ineptis gratum fortasse fecit, qui illa uolent calamistris inurere, sanos quidem homines a scribendo deterruit.' de isdem commentariis Hirtius ita praedicat: 'adeo probantur omnium iudicio, ut praerepta, non praebita facultas scriptoribus uideatur. [cuius tamen rei maior nostra quam reliquorum est admiratio; ceteri enim, quam bene atque emendate,] nos etiam, quam facile atque celeriter eos perscripserit, scimus.' Pollio Asinius parum diligenter parumque integra ueritate compositos putat, cum Caesar pleraque et quae per alios erant gesta temere crediderit et quae per se, uel consulto uel etiam memoria lapsus perperam ediderit; existimatque rescripturum et correcturum fuisse. reliquit et 'de analogia' duos libros et 'Anticatones' totidem ac praeterea poema quod inscribitur Iter. quorum librorum primos in transitu Alpium, cum ex citeriore Gallia conuentibus peractis ad exercitum rediret, sequentes sub tempus Mundensis proelii fecit; nouissimum, dum ab urbe in Hispaniam ulteriorem quarto et uicensimo die peruenit. epistulae quoque eius ad senatum extant, quas primum uidetur ad paginas et formam memorialis libelli conuertisse, cum antea consules et duces non nisi transuersa charta scriptas mitterent. extant et ad Ciceronem, item ad familiares domesticis de rebus, in quibus, si qua occultius perferenda erant, per notas scripsit, id est sic structo litterarum ordine, ut nullum uerbum effici posset: quae si qui inuestigare et persequi uelit, quartam elementorum litteram, id est D pro A et perinde reliquas commutet. feruntur [a puero et] ab adulescentulo quaedam scripta, ut 'Laudes Herculis,' tragoedia 'Oedipus,' item 'Dicta collectanea': quos omnis libellos uetuit Augustus publicari in epistula, quam breuem admodum ac simplicem ad Pompeium Macrum, cui ordinandas bibliothecas delegauerat, misit.|