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Excerpt from Caesar: Episodes From the Gallic and the Civil Wars, With an Introduction, Notes, and Vocabulary

A book of selections from Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic and the Civil Wars will be welcomed by many teachers. In most schools the reading of the whole of Caesar's extant writings is quite out of the question. A selection must be made, and the method of selection which is most likely to produce the best results with the pupil is to take from the different books those episodes which are of greatest interest and importance.

It is still customary in many schools to limit the study of Caesar to the Gallic War, or even to the first four books of this work. Some of the most interesting portions of Caesar's writings are thus entirely neglected. The description of Britain and the Britons in the Fifth Book of the Gallic War and the comparison of the Gauls and the Germans in the Sixth Book are not only instructive, as the earliest sources of information on these peoples, but entertaining as well. No more amusing fairy tale can be found in any Latin serviceable for schools than Caesar's sober account of some of the animals in the Hercynian Forest. The failure at Gergovia - the only repulse suffered by Caesar's army in Gaul when led by him in person - and the successful siege of Alesia against an overwhelming force from without and a strong army from within, commanded by the intrepid Vercingetorix, greatest of all the Gauls, are episodes of the utmost interest.

The Civil War is often altogether unknown to pupils. And yet no work of antiquity is of greater historical importance or merit, and few narratives are more interesting than the story in the Third Book of the struggle between Caesar and Pompey.

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