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Julius CaesarThe People's Dictator$
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Luciano Canfora

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748619368

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748619368.001.0001

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The Conquest of Gaul (58–51 bc)

The Conquest of Gaul (58–51 bc)

Chapter:
(p.98) Chapter 14 The Conquest of Gaul (58–51 BC)
Source:
Julius Caesar
Author(s):
Luciano Canfora, Julian Stringer
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748619368.003.0014

When he departed for Gaul in the spring of 58 bc, Caesar had a clear idea of the movements of the peoples and their tensions; in particular, the German pressure on Gaul. He conceived a long-term strategic plan using up-to-date ethnographic knowledge to which he himself contributed with his Commentaries. This is but one example of the way he combined scientific study with imperialism. The Gallic campaign was conducted on two levels: Caesar's own favourable assessment of sometimes dubious victories; and the reality of an extremely difficult war with an outcome that was uncertain, given the threat constantly posed by the fiercely independent Celtic tribes. The dichotomy (especially in the first two years, 58–57 bc) shows clearly in the disparity between the political and military position and the reactions in Rome to Caesar's skilled reporting of them.

Keywords:   Julius Caesar, Gaul, imperialism, Germans, war, Celtic tribes

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