Thursday, January 22, 2015


Characteristics and Habits of the Gauls

From Caesar, Gallic War (tr. H.J. Edwards).

The Gauls are sudden and spasmodic in their designs.

Sunt Gallorum subita et repentina consilia.
For while the temper of the Gauls is eager and ready to undertake a campaign, their purpose is feeble and in no way steadfast to endure disasters.

Nam ut ad bella suscipienda Gallorum alacer ac promptus est animus, sic mollis ac minime resistens ad calamitates perferendas mens eorum est.
It is indeed a regular habit of the Gauls to compel travellers to halt, even against their will, and to ascertain what each of them may have heard or learnt upon every subject; and in the towns the common folk surround traders, compelling them to declare from what districts they come and what they have learnt there. Such stories and hearsay often induce them to form plans upon vital questions of which they must forthwith repent; for they are the slaves of uncertain rumours, and most men reply to them in fictions made to their taste.

Est enim hoc Gallicae consuetudinis, uti et viatores etiam invitos consistere cogant et quod quisque eorum de quaque re audierit aut cognoverit quaerant, et mercatores in oppidis vulgus circumsistat quibusque ex regionibus veniant quasque ibi res cognoverint pronuntiare cogant. His rebus atque auditionibus permoti de summis saepe rebus consilia ineunt, quorum eos in vestigio poenitere necesse est, cum incertis rumoribus serviant, et plerique ad voluntatem eorum ficta respondeant.
They left themselves no time to investigate: some were influenced by avarice, others by anger and the recklessness which is specially characteristic of their race, treating frivolous hearsay as assured fact.

Nullum sibi ad cognoscendum spatium relinquunt. Impellit alios avaritia, alios iracundia et temeritas, quae maxime illi hominum generi est innata, ut levem auditionem habeant pro re comperta.

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