Question about Caesar, Gallic War, IV.21.9


New Member
I have a question about Caesar’s Commentarii on the Gallic War, IV.21.9.

First the text (Perseus Digital Library):

Volusenus perspectis regionibus omnibus quantum ei facultatis dari potuit, qui navi egredi ac se barbaris committere non auderet, V die ad Caesarem revertitur quaeque ibi perspexisset renuntiat.

Here is the translation on the Perseus Digital Library site:

Volusenus, having viewed the localities as far as means could be afforded one who dared not leave his ship and trust himself to barbarians, returns to Caesar on the fifth day, and reports what he had there observed.


My question: Is it wrong to translate “ei” “to him” instead of “one,” i.e., …. as far as means could be afforded to him who… ?

The translation “to him who” makes it personal and a more direct criticism of Volusenus’ un-Roman lack of courage.


Vemortuicida strenuus
No, you've understood it correctly.


Staff member
Both "one who" and "him who" are correct translations, but it seems to me that you might be under the misapprehension that ei has Volusenus as an antecedent, whence your statement that "him" would make it more personal. Rather than being a personal "him", this ei is a general one, equivalent to "one/someone". It anticipates the qui clause rather than referring back to Volusenus. In this context, common present-day English would more usually have "one who", "someone who", "a person who" or the like, while "him who" is a tad more literary, stylish, even slightly archaic, I guess.

Issacus Divus

It's archaic really. Older things use he for the general.