Book 6 (13.4-17.5)

Gaius Julius Caesar, Gallic Wars, Book 6: 13.4-17.5

De Bello Gallico: 14.1-14.6 (Latin)

(14.1) Druides a bello abesse consuerunt (should be 'consueverunt), neque tributa una cum reliquis pendunt; militiae vacationem omniumque rerum habent immunitatem.

(14.2) Tantis excitati praemiis et sua sponte multi in disciplinam conveniunt et a parentibus propinquisque mittuntur.

(14.3) Magnum ibi numerum versuum ediscere dicuntur. Itaque annos non nulli XX in disciplina permanent. Neque fas esse existimant ea litteris mandare, cum in reliquis fere rebus, publicis privatisque rationibus, Graecis litteris utantur.

(14.4) Id mihi duabus de causis instituisse videntur, quod neque in vulgum diciplinam efferri velint neque eos qui discunt litteris confisos minus memoriae studere; quod fere plerisque accidit ut praesidio litterarum diligentiam in perdiscendo ac memoriam remittant.

(14.5) In primis hoc volunt persuadere, non interire animas sed ab aliis post mortem transire ad alios, atque hoc maxime ad virtutem excitari putant, metu mortis neglecto.

(14.6) Multa praeterea de sideribus atque eorum motu, de mundi ac terrarum magnitudine, de rerum natura, de deorum immortalium vi ac potestate disputant et iuventuti tradunt.

Gallic Wars: 14.1-14.6 (English Translation)

(14.1) Druids are accustomed to abstain from war, nor do they pay taxes together with the rest; they have exemption from military service and immunity from all business.

(14.2) Many men enticed by such great rewards both come together voluntarily for learning and are sent by their parents and relatives.

(14.3) There they are said to learn by heart a large number of verses. For this reason some remain in training for 20 years. They think it isn't right to entrust these things to writing although in public and private matters, they use Greek writings.

(14.4) They seem to me to have instituted that for two reasons, because they neither wanted to have their learning published among the common people, nor do they want those who are learning to devote themselves less to memory, because generally to most people it happens that they slacken their diligence and their memory in learning by heart by the support of writing.

(14.5) Firstly they want to persuade them this, that the souls do not perish but after death go across from some to others, and by this they judge them (Gauls) to be excited to virtue by this to the greatest degree having disregarded the fear of death.

(14.6) Besides, they discuss many things about the stars and their movement, the world and the earth, the nature of things, the power and strength of the immortal gods and they pass these things on to the young men.

De Bello Gallico: 15.1-15.2 (Latin)

(15.1) Alterum genus est equitum. Hi, cum usus atque aliquod bellum incidit (quod fere ante Caesaris adventum quot annis accidere solebat, uti aut ipsi iniurias inferrent aut inlatas propulsarent), omnes in bello versantur;

(15.2) atque eorum ut quisque est genere copiisque amplissimus, ita plurimos circum se ambactos clientisque habet. Hanc unam gratiam potentiamque noverunt.

Gallic Wars: 15.1-15.2 (English Translation)

(15.1) The other kind is the knights. These men when it is necessary and some war happens (which before Caesar's arrival was generally accustomed to happen every year, so that either they themselves inflicted injuries on others or drove off the injuries that were inflicted on them, everybody is occupied in war;

(15.2) as each on of them is very well off in wealth and resources, so each one has very many dependent clients around him. They know this single influence and power.

De Bello Gallico: 16.1-16.5 (Latin)

(16.1) Natio est omnium Gallorum admodum dedita religionibus,

(16.2) atque ob eam causam qui sunt adfecti gravioribus morbis quique in proeliis periculisque versantur aut pro victimis homines immolant aut se immolaturos vovent, administrisque ad ea sacrificia druidibus utuntur;

(16.3) quod, pro vita hominis nisi hominis vita reddatur, non posse deorum immortalium numen placari arbitrantur, publiceque eiusdem generis habent instituta sacrificia.

(16.4) Alii immani magnitudine simulacra habent, quorum contexta viminibus membra vivis hominibus complent; quibus succensis circumbenti flamma exanimantur homines.

(16.5) Supplicia eorum qui in furto aut in latrcinio aut aliqua noxia sint comprehensi gratiora dis immortalibus esse arbitrantur, sed, cum eius generis copia deficit, etiam ad innocentium supplicia descendunt.

Gallic Wars: 16.1-16.5 (English Translation)

(16.1) The nation is of all Gaul greatly devoted to religion,

(16.2) and for the sake of this cause those who are affected rather severely by whatever diseases around and are around in battles and dangers, they either sacrifice men instead of animals or they vow that they will sacrifice, and they enjoy the friendship of the assistants (and) at these sacrifices;

(16.3) because, unless a life of a person is given back for a life of a person, they believe that the power the immortal gods cannot be placated and publicly they have institutions of the same kind with sacrifices.

(16.4) All men have images (in the shape of men) of huge size, limbs, woven of twigs, which they fill with living people, which having been set on fire, surrounded by flames the men are killed.

(16.5) They think that suffering of those who are guilty of theft, either in robbery or in some crime is more pleasing to the immortal gods, but, when the supply of this kind of men runs short they even descend to suffering of the innocent.

De Bello Gallico: 17.1-17.5 (Latin)

(17.1) Deum maxime Mercurium colunt. Huius sunt plurima simulacra, hunc omnium inventorem artium ferunt, hunc viarum atque itinerum ducem, hunc ad quaestus pecuniae mercaturasque habere vim maximam arbitrantur.

(17.2) Post hunc Apollinem et Martem et Iovem et Minervam. De his eandem fere quam reliquae gentes habent opinionem: Apollinem morbos depellere, Minervam operum atque artificiorum initia tradere, Iovem imperium caelestium tenere, Martem bella regere.

(17.3) Huic, cum proelio dimicare constituerunt, ea quae bello ceperint plerumque devovent: quae superaverint, animalia capta immolant, reliquasque res in unum locum conferunt.

(17.4) Multis in civitatibus harum rerum exstructos tumulos locis consecratis conspicari licet,

(17.5) neque saepe accidit ut neglecta quispiam religione aut capta apud se occultare aut posita tollere auderet, gravissimumque ei rei supplicium cum cruciatu constitutum est.

Gallic Wars: 17.1-17.5 (English Translation)

(17.1) They worship god Mercurius the most. Of him there are very many images, they consider him (Mercurius) to be the inventor of arts, they think that he (Mercurius) has the greatest power by profit of money and trade.

(17.2) After this/him they worship Apollo, and Mars, and Jove, and Miverva. About these they have the same opinions the rest of people: that Apollo repels illnesses, that Minerva gives beginning to works and crafts(manship), that Jove possesses the heavenly empire, that Mars wages war.

(17.3) When they have decided to fight a war, they generally vow those objects that they will have taken to him (Mars): that they sacrifice the captured animals that have survivied, and that they gather the remaining things into one place.

(17.4) In many cities in consecrated places one may see heaps built of these things (booty)

(17.5) nor does it often happen that anyone dares either to hide at home goods captured or take goods laid down in somebody else's home, a very severe punishment with torture has been determined for this thing.