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

7 min readโ€ขseptember 26, 2020

Jack Marso

Jack Marso


AP Latinย ๐Ÿ›

24ย resources
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Chapters 29-31

As the problems of disembarking faded away, the Britonโ€™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 ๐Ÿ’ช 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
casลซs subsidia comparabat. Nam et frumentum
ex agris cotidie in castra conferebat et, quae
gravissime adflictae erant naves, earum materiฤ
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 โ€œhad not learned their measures?โ€
  2. Identify the meaning of the words โ€œnaviumโ€ and โ€œobsidesโ€ AND 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 werenโ€™t severely damaged? What does this tell you about Roman products?
  5. What does the โ€œcontinentโ€ mean as repeated throughout the chapter and at the end of these lines?

Answers (Don't peek!๐Ÿ‘€)

  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 โ€œthe misfortune from the shipsโ€ and โ€œthe fact the chiefs neglected to give the promised hostagesโ€ dwelled in Caesarโ€™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 โ€œof the shipsโ€ 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 โ€œhostagesโ€ 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 โ€œI suspectโ€. As a refresher, a deponent verb is passive in form but active in meaning. โ€œTurโ€ in the passive typically refers to a third-person singular if it follows โ€œr, ris, tur, mur mini ntur,โ€ but because it includes a โ€œbaโ€ 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 โ€œhe was suspecting.โ€
  4. Timber and bronze. Although Romeโ€™s military superiority didnโ€™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

Eฤdem nocte accidit ut esset luna plena, qui dies
maritimos aestลซs 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 (donโ€™t peek๐Ÿ‘€!) Remember if you have different words than I did, thatโ€™s perfectly acceptable ๐Ÿ˜€ 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 ๐ŸŒ•, as it happened to be, it naturally causes the highest tides ๐ŸŒŠ on the ocean, which on this occasion wasnโ€™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 ๐Ÿšƒ his army, โ€œand which he had drawn upon dry land.โ€ At the same time as well, the โ€œships of burdenโ€ 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 ๐Ÿˆproviding 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 โœ๏ธat appropriate quantities to repair the ships. In these turn of events, โ€œno corn had been provided in those places for the winter. The army would have to spend the winter โ„๏ธ 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 Romanโ€™s scanty measures and in turn, the British chiefs, who had arrived after fighting to grant Caesarโ€™s conditions after the fighting, counseled. They perceived that the Romans lacked cavalry, ships, and corn ๐ŸŒฝ 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 ๐Ÿงณ.
  • The British chiefs came to their senses and believed that the best way of handling this hierarchical power ๐Ÿ”บ 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 โ˜ƒ๏ธ.
  • The British chiefs were confident that if either the Romans were โ€œconquered or ceased from a returnโ€ to Rome ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น, โ€œno one thereafter would pass over Britain in means of making war upon them.โ€ After again entering into a conspiracy, they departed from the camp little by little so they wouldnโ€™t catch attention from the Romans and instead โ€œsecretly call in their people from the fields.โ€
  • The intelligence and sense of a true mastermind at work when referring to Julius Caesarโ€™s skill in warfare and combat comes to life ๐ŸŒ„ within Chapter 31. Even though Caesar hadnโ€™t learned of Britainโ€™s plans of deceiving the Romans and renewing the fighting, the tragedy ๐Ÿ˜ญ alongside the destruction of his ships from the high tides and โ€œthe fact that the chiefs neglected to surrender the hostagesโ€ led him to become suspicious of Britainโ€™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 โš ๏ธ or situation that could suddenly happen. Caesar, himself, โ€œcollected 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.โ€ He ordered the imperative gear โ›‘๏ธ 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.
Browse Study Guides By Unit
๐Ÿ”ฅUnit 3 โ€“ Vergil, Aeneid, Book 2
๐Ÿ‡Unit 4 โ€“ Caesar, Gallic War, Book 4
๐Ÿ‘‘Unit 5 โ€“ Vergil, Aeneid, Book 4
โ˜ ๏ธUnit 8 โ€“ Vergil, Aeneid, Books 6, 8, & 12
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โš”๏ธUnit 1 โ€“ Vergil, Aeneid, Book 1
๐Ÿฅ—Unit 2 โ€“ Caesar, Gallic War, Books 1 & 6
๐ŸฅŠUnit 6 โ€“ Caesar, Gallic War, Book 5, Part I
๐Ÿง„Unit 7 โ€“ Caesar, Gallic War, Book 5, Part II, Book 6, & Book 7

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