صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

We should also not neglect the literary side of Caesar's work. Doubtless many believe the study of style to be beyond the capacity of pupils at this age, and in any detailed way it is, but a proper appreciation of style will have an exhilarating effect upon the teacher, and the obvious effect of style can be brought home to any intelligent pupil. Cicero tells us that Caesar's orations gave the effect of pictures placed in a good light, and it is fair to suppose that this characteristic applies also to his Commentaries. Cicero was a good judge, we must admit, and we ought accordingly to try to find these pictures and to show them to our pupils. I am afraid that to most of us these pictures are shrouded.

The appreciation of pictures is in general an acquired power, just as the habit of seeing pictures is an acquired habit; many a man sees poetry in what to another is the merest prose. It is perfectly true that not one pupil in twenty will, unassisted, see the pictures. I have in another place dwelt on the picturesque element in Caesar's style2, and urged that, in reading, the pupils should be led to visualize and, wherever possible, to see the dramatic possibilities, to identify themselves with the spectator, to work out the scene. To take an example, study the conference in the first book where the various Gallic chieftains come to Caesar to complain of Ariovistus. The high light, of course, is the attitude of the Sequani, who stand with downcast looks and eyes fixed upon the ground, silent, gloomy, but evidently much moved. What a tremendous scene for a stage setting! The mere narrative as I have heard it murdered in the class-room leaves the ordinary pupil cold, but when the class is grouped to represent the various elements, the attitude of the class changes at once, and not only interest supervenes, but the pupils get a lesson in the understanding of what they read that will last them through life. Caesar affords almost limitless opportunity for this kind of interpretation, and those who read ought surely to be able to get some idea of this side of his art, and with it some incentive to the cultivation of vision.

I have now touched upon the economic value of this book, as well as upon its literary interpretation, its picturesque quality. But what I am more immediately concerned with to-day is its value as a human document. We should never lose sight of the fact that both the Gallic War and the Civil War are autobiographic, and that, therefore, properly interpreted, they give us our most authentic evidence for the study of Caesar's own personality. In this day and generation, we are prone to regard historical movement as proceeding from general and often not very evident causes, such as trade routes, national prejudice, overpopulation, disease and the like, and we have inclined to leave more and more out of consideration the human personalities, which have often interpreted, often led, often been produced by these less apparent causes. This is hardly to be

In a paper entitled Imagination in the Study of the Classics, published in the Educational Review, September 1901 (pages 162179).

commended. We may be willing to admit that in the fifteenth century search for the Western Continent was in the air, but we can never disassociate the discovery of America from Columbus, no matter how much the philosophy of history may protest. No, the world's history is very largely the history of individuals, and it is the potentiality of the human spirit which continually holds our keenest attention.

Now, Caesar was preeminently one of the great world figures, one of those men who arise in periods of crisis to guide the world into new paths. Everything about his growth and development is therefore of the deepest interest, and has engaged the profound study of the greatest minds. It must have been under the influence of this feeling that Mommsen wrote to Meusel in 1894:

The noble work deserves all the labor that can be spent upon it. The enormous difference between these Commentaries and everything else that is called Roman History cannot be adequately realized.

Caesar was a politician, a practical politician at a time when politics was the most dangerous pursuit in which a man could engage, and when the odds were all against the politician. He was a solider, and a successful one, in regions untried and formidable. He was a lawgiver and an administrator at a time when law and administration had entirely collapsed. He was the founder of a government when government had ceased to be on the face of the earth, the first of a dynasty in a land where the very name of king had been hated for half a millenium. All these mark out not only a great but one of the infinitely small number of greatest men; no wonder that the study of this personality has always appealed to the strong, whether of arm or of mind. What sort of a man was he, that did "bestride the ancient world like a colossus"? We have the answer, in the main, in these Commentaries, for in these books he has laid himself bare to the gaze of the world, not, to be sure, with the reckless naïvete of Cicero in the sanctity of private correspondence, but with a certain assured irony of fatalistic indifference and pride.

In order to show more clearly what I mean I shall summarize two campaigns included in the first book as being typical of all the rest read in the Schools.

Caesar, on learning of the preparations of the Helvetians to leave their country, hurried from Rome to Geneva. In passing through northern Italy he issued orders for as great a levy of troops as the Province would bear, there being only one legion in Farther Gaul at this time, and ordered the bridge across the Rhone to be destroyed. The Helvetians, learning of his arrival, sent their noblest leaders as envoys to ask his permission to pass through the Province on their way to southwestern France. Caesar, remembering the defeat of the Consul L. Cassius by the Helvetians, had made up his mind to refuse the Helvetians the desired permission, but, realizing that he was then in no position to prevent by force their movement, he told them that he would have to consider their request, and asked them to

return on April 9, it being now towards the close of March. He had accordingly about two weeks to make ready for them. This interval he employed in fortifying the southern bank of the Rhone from Geneva through the narrows for a distance of nineteen miles. When the Helvetians returned at the appointed time, he bluntly told them they could not pass.

The Helvetians seem to have been not so much disheartened as disappointed. They made several ineffective attempts to force a passage across the river, and finally concluded to try to make their way through the country of the Sequani and the Aedui into that of the Santones. On learning this, Caesar left Labienus in charge of his entrenched line while he himself hurried back into Italy, raised two new legions, picked up three that were wintering around Aquileia, returned to his former camp, and then moved down the Rhone to its junction with the Arar, all within the space of two months. He then defeated the rear division of the Helvetians, which had not yet crossed the Arar, crossed the Arar in one day, a passage which had been accomplished only with difficulty by the Helvetians in twenty days, had a fruitless conference with fresh Helvetian envoys, followed the Helvetians in retreat up the Arar, although he was somewhat disturbed by the failure of the Aedui to furnish the supplies which they had engaged to give him. Here follows an interlude, containing the episode of Diviciacus and Dumnorix.

After a conference with the Aeduan chieftains Caesar made an attempt to surprise the Helvetians, but failed, owing to the stupidity of Considius, and, being now in imminent danger by reason of lack of supplies, he relinquished his pursuit of the Helvetians and marched hurriedly towards Bibracte, the chief city of the Aedui. The Helvetians turned back, and an engagement ensued which was long and stubbornly contested but resulted finally in victory for the Romans. The Helvetians fled for three days, steadily pursued by Caesar, and then surrendered. One division, that of the Verbigeni, tried to escape by night, but was followed, overtaken and 'treated as enemies'. found in the Helvetian camp which showed that 368,000 souls, including 92,000 fighting men, had left their homes; of these some 110,000 returned, a loss of 258,000 souls.

Lists were

To return to the interlude. Caesar, when he investigated the causes for the failure of the Aedui to furnish the stipulated supplies, was informed in secret conference by Diviciacus that there were two factions among the Aedui, of one of which, the anti-Roman, his brother Dumnorix was the leader. This faction had prevented the delivery of the grain. Dumnorix, though ostensibly on Caesar's side and actually in charge of the Aeduan cavalry (which, it may be mentioned, had probably proved treacherous in a previous skirmish with the Helvetians), had engineered this passive resistance. Caesar might have settled the matter at once by a summary execution of Dumnorix, to which he tells us he was impelled by various considerations, but he did

not wish to alienate the support of Dumnorix's brother, Diviciacus. So he called both brothers to a conference, showed Dumnorix that he was fully aware of his activities, and, after explaining that he spared him this once for his brother's sake, let him go. But, not trusting him, he had him closely watched to prevent further mischief.

Out of this brief outline what is apparent for the study of Caesar's character? The first and overwhelming characteristic is his remarkable ENERGY. We gather this from his rapid journey north from Rome; he covered ninety miles a day, according to Plutarch. He fortified the nineteen mile stretch of the Rhone in some two weeks with only one legion, a feat which speaks volumes also for his control of his troops. Within two months he enrolled 12,000 men, united them with 18,000 already assembled, equipped the whole number and led them through difficult mountain passes, fighting some part of the way against hostile mountaineers. He also transported this large body of troops over the Arar in one day. The man was a perfect miracle of energy. No wonder the Helvetians in spite of their pride stood aghast. They must have already tasted the bitterness of defeat before they entered the final battle. It would be interesting to compare Caesar's movements with those of his great rival Pompey. Energy and impetuosity often go together, and they were to a certain extent combined in Caesar's character. We sometimes find him involved in serious and even dangerous situations on account of this trait. For example, his defeat at Dyrrhacium, which would have had very serious consequences, if he had had another than Pompey opposed to him, is directly traceable to impetuosity combined with recklessness.

The next point that stands out is his UNSCRUPULOUSNESS. He unblushingly states that he designed to trick the Helvetians while he made preparations to resist them. This could no doubt be defended on the ground of military expediency, as 'a measure of selfdefence', but a people that poured such scorn on the Punica Fides of their ancient enemies ought to have kept its own skirts clear. Even in this connection Caesar lays stress upon Ariovistus's treachery to the envoys sent by Caesar; this treachery was a measure of the same kind. It is noteworthy that we get no intimation that the Helvetians had any suspicion of Caesar's bad faith.

We may also admire Caesar's ASTUTENESS. In dealing with foreign peoples the Roman motto had been, as has been also the motto of the English, divide et impera. This explains the relations of the Aedui to Caesar, and the attitude of Dumnorix. It also shows the cause of Caesar's manner of dealing with Diviciacus and his brother, and prepares us for the dissimulation which Caesar shows in the civil contest, and which, as a matter of fact, he displayed throughout his whole career.

His LACK of MAGNANIMITY is also shown in this same episode. He ostensibly is reconciled with Dumnorix; he tells him that the past is forgotten, and warns

him to be true for the future. But he does not trust him, he does not appeal to his feelings of honor; he lets him go, and keeps him, as we find out afterwards, in his same office, as captain of the Aeduan cavalry, but he surrounds him with spies and keeps himself informed as to his every action. This cannot have escaped the notice of Dumnorix, and must have infuriated him so much as to nullify completely the effect of the reconciliation. This whole attitude of Caesar toward Dumnorix should be contrasted with his treatment of the opposing officers in the Civil War, where he detains no man against his will and trusts to the honor of the released officer not to fight against him, and in most cases is justified. His magnanimity to the defeated Romans after he became sole ruler can also be remarked, a magnanimity which resulted finally in his murder by those whom he had pardoned and restored.

We should not fail to note the CRUELTY of Caesar, as shown by his treatment of the Verbigeni. The phrase 'treated as enemies' can be understood only in one way, that these unfortunates were all put to death. These 6,000 form but a small fraction of the enormous loss of 258,000 which Caesar's cold summary at the end shows to have befallen the Helvetians, but the cold-blooded way in which the circumstance is recorded rouses our indignation much more than the fact of the larger number. We can fully understand and sympathize with Cato's motion that Caesar be surrendered to the Gauls in return for his monstrous inhumanity towards them. Other instances of this cruelty, again defended on the plea of military necessity, can be cited, especially the striking penalty inflicted on the followers of Vercingetorix, who were all sold as slaves, after there had been, as we learn from several places, an enormous slaughter of the Gauls. We can refer to an even worse case in Book 8. After the siege of Uxellodunum, Caesar cut off the hands of the surrendered Gauls but granted them their lives, as Hirtius says, quo testatior esset poena improborum. We may compare all these actions with Caesar's readiness to spare the people of Marseilles after their treacherous attack, and his kind treatment of the surrendered Roman armies in the campaigns of the Civil War.

Passing over for the moment Caesar's negotiations, first with the Gauls, afterwards with Ariovistus, I would draw your attention to the remarkable scenes contained in Chapters 39-41.

A sudden panic seized the troops on hearing of the approaching conflict with the Germans, a panic which came very near mutiny in the case of some soldiers, and which portended complete disaster to the campaign. I will say nothing of the wonderfully picturesque quality of Chapter 39, the thoughts and actions of the men under the influence of this overmastering fear; I am more interested in the speech which Caesar made to the officers when he learned of the state of affairs. This, though couched in the indirect form, displays even in this form the eloquence and the skill which made Caesar such a power among men. The tone at the outset is

one of proud rebuke that the officers should dare to assume the right to judge the actions of the commanderin-chief, or to question his competency. This tone we find characteristic of all of Caesar's utterance. It shows his extraordinary CONFIDENCE IN HIMSELF, the fatalistic pride, about which so many stories are told. In the present case, it has the effect of keeping the control of the meeting within Caesar's own hands, and he never lets the complaints of the men become vocal. After this rebuke, he proceeds to reason with them, to appeal to their common sense and experience, to show them the foolishness of their panic, and from the history of the past to draw not only encouragement but also assurance for the future. He subtly leads them to compare themselves with the Germans and with the Gauls, whom Ariovistus had defeated. Thus, having triumphed over their fears and having aroused their confidence, he puts the finishing touch to his plea by appealing to their spirit of rivalry, by his reference to the tenth legion, which he frankly confesses he had pampered. No more convincing example of Caesar's personal power can be found than this episode. Note again the three stages: (1) his skill in controlling the gathering and in keeping the officers in their proper attitude; (2) his skill in allaying the fears of the men and in inspiring confidence; (3) his skill in arousing enthusiasm and raising their morale. Verily "out of the nettle, danger, he knew how to pluck the flower, safety".

It is almost unnecessary to lay stress upon Caesar's personal BRAVERY. But this campaign contains a conspicuous example of this too. At the beginning of the battle with the Helvetians Caesar had first his own horse then those of all his officers removed in order that, by making the peril of all equal, he might do away with any hope of escape in case of defeat. This act was a confession that the situation was desperate, but it was also an assurance that the general was ready to face every danger that he asked his men to face. This trait has been characteristic of many another great general, and springs not only from scorn of personal risk, but also from the soundest of military principles. Caesar displays his personal courage over and over again, and, whether it proceeded from fatalism or merely from reasons of policy, it did much to endear him to his soldiers.

We now turn our attention to the campaign with Ariovistus. In this we shall see a new side of Caesar's character. After being apprised by the Gauls of the danger to be expected from an increase of the German power in their midst, he decides first to try negotiation. He tells us that he was induced to espouse the side of the Gauls in this contest by several reasons: (1) the prestige of Rome among the Gauls was in danger; (2) there was a serious danger to Rome herself, in the steady encroachments of the Germans; (3) Ariovistus's own arrogance aroused the Roman spirit (we can catch an echo here of Vergil's debellare superbos). These reasons were all such as would appeal to the Roman mob, for

whom the book was written. Nor have we any reason to doubt that they were the actual reasons which influenced Caesar, even if some critics do hold the (to me impossible view that Caesar had in his mind the conquest of Gaul when he first arranged for his Gallic command. He therefore sent envoys to Ariovistus to ask for a conference. The exchange of communications is skillfully narrated so as to produce upon the Roman mind the desired effect. The conference itself, when it was actually brought about, is marked by the same distinctly political touch. Caesar, who is steadily manoeuvering for position, does not allow himself to be betrayed by any consciousness of the futility of the conference into making any false step. His manner is reserved, but not unfriendly; his plea is in the form of an explanation rather than an argument, and is made with an appearance of candor to the good sense and friendship of Ariovistus. The reply of Ariovistus, like the answer he made to Caesar's initial invitation to discuss the situation, enunciates in the baldest terms the right of the stronger to take what he pleases, shows an arrogance and disdain which could not but be resented by the Roman, and at the same time brings a new note into the discussion, which, whether actually struck by Ariovistus or not, is certainly ben trovato. He indicates that the virulence of the political struggle at Rome had progressed so far that Caesar's opponents were actually willing to sacrifice Roman armies, Roman prestige, Roman allies, nay even the existence of the nation itself, if thereby they could get rid of Caesar. As a political disclosure this statement of Ariovistus must have produced a tremendous sensation at Rome. The net result of the conference is to give Caesar an impregnable position both with the Gauls and at home. We see in the whole management of the movement the hand of a politician of the utmost skill.

I hope it will be evident from what I have said that the Commentaries furnish our best material for the study of Caesar's character. Of course it will not do to take every thing that he displays in the course of his work without the proper qualifications. Every thing ancient, as well as every ancient personality, must be interpreted in the light of the ancient conditions and standards. If we do not do this, we are apt to fall into the same mistake that we meet with in W. Waddell's work, Caesar's Character, or in Defense of the Standard of Mankind, where a serious attempt is made to prove that Caesar was "undoubtedly one of the greatest monsters that ever lived". We can not get from the Commentaries much light upon his more human side, his feeling for his friends, and for his family. We can get inklings occasionally of his attitude to his officers, but we must go to other sources, especially Cicero's Letters, to be able to draw a complete portrait of Caesar. This is, however, not necessary at this stage, for it will be quite sufficient for the pupil in the second year to focus his attention upon Caesar's public life. I do not claim to have more than touched the surface of the subject. The discerning teacher will

doubtless be able to get a great deal more than I have indicated. I have tried only to suggest a method of approach which seems to me to promise good results. It seems, as I said at the beginning, a pity that a pupil who spends a year upon the work of a man who left his impress upon the ancient and the modern world should leave that study with so little real appreciation of his high privilege. When we read Cicero's estimate of Caesar, we wonder what we have gotten from our association with Caesar, for Cicero says, and this out of the fulness of a disillusioned despair,

in that man were combined genius, method, memory, literature, prudence, deliberation and industry. He had performed exploits in war which, though calamitous for the Republic, were nevertheless mighty deeds. Having for many years aimed at being a king, he had with great labor, and much personal danger, accomplished what he intended. He had conciliated the ignorant multitude by presents, by monuments, by largesses of food and by banquets; he had bound his own party to him by rewards, his adversaries by the appearance of clemency. Why need I say much on such a subject? He had already brought a free city, partly by fear, partly by patience, into a habit of slavery.

Compare this with the idea that our pupils usually obtain.

Doubtless the criticism will arise in the minds of many of you that this is all very fine, but where can we find the time to do all this? It is well understood that the second year is the most congested of the four, and it would be a mistake to urge the hard-pressed teacher to impose an additional burden upon the class or upon himself. But all that I suggest can be done by the side remark, by the illustration drawn from the pupil's own experience or habits of life. In the time devoted to review, the pupil can be asked to keep his eyes open for what will bear upon Caesar's character, or, when a campaign is treated as a whole by the teacher, these points that I have indicated can be made. Diversion of the pupil's mind from the Latin to the content often may be the best way of turning him with renewed zest to the Latin again. What I have had in mind has been something in the nature of a relief from the tedium of the steady grind, a relief which the appeal to the imagination is almost always sure to bring. It is the same old question, "Understandest thou what thou readest?", and often the same old answer comes back, "How can I unless some one teach me?" But when once the teacher has opened the eyes of an intelligent pupil to the possibilities of study, he has done for him an inestimable favor, he has taken part in his education in the truest sense. We teachers must not only teach our subject, but we must so interpret our subject that it will prove in after years to have been a real formative influence in the lives of those we have had under us3.

GONZALEZ LODGE.

For other papers on Caesar see THE CLASSICAL WEEKLY 2.98100, 100-102, 178-181, 186-188, 194-195; 4.5-6, 6-7, 79, 162-163; 7.77, 78, 96; 8.67-69, 69-70, 96, 136, 168, 208; 9.24, 108-109, 130134, 134-135, 144, 152, 158-160, 167-168.

C. K.

REVIEWS

Roman Ideas of Deity. By W. Warde Fowler: London: Macmillan and Co. (1914). Pp. 167. $1.75.

By the publication of his Roman Festivals (Macmillan, 1899), his The Religious Experience of the Roman People (see THE CLASSICAL WEEKLY 5.221223), and the volume before us Professor Fowler has made a striking contribution to the study of Roman religion. The books are of first importance not merely from the informational point of view, but especially as examples of a method of research that in soundness of technique and attainment of results yields to none. Yet it should not be inferred from this that the author's discussions always lead to positive results. In many problems of Roman religion the data are so meager that conclusions of a definite finality are impossible. The full recognition of this condition is one of the characteristics of Professor Fowler's method, and may be observed in all his writings. Always alive to the precariousness of his subject, he is, in handling the obscurer problems, cautious in accepting the conclusions of others or in advancing positive views of his own. In such cases he marshals the facts so far as they are known, analyzes them, and suggests a possible solution. His conclusions do not invariably appeal to the reader; in more than one case he has himself, in a later publication, revised them; but they are always suggestive.

The present book consists of a series of lectures delivered in Oxford. It is confined to the Roman ideas about deity in the last century before the Christian era. It is an attempt to show how the Italian of that period realized the divine nature. His realization, the author thinks, manifested itself in four ways: (1) in the worship of the domestic deities; (2) in the worship of Jupiter Capitolinus; (3) in the cult of Fortune; and (4) in the development of the man-god. To the discussion of these four ways five of the six chapters of the book are devoted. The last chapter deals with the degradation of the idea of deity in the Augustan Age. The analysis of these four ways is admirable. No one will gainsay the reality of the worship of the numina of the home, and its persistence, especially in the rural districts. Nor has our author overstated the importance of the worship of Jupiter, or of the cult of Fortune. The only question that may be raised is whether Italian ideas of deity at that time can be limited to so small a number of divinities and whether all the other numina of pure Italic provenience had become completely devitalized. While admitting the general truth of the author's contention, we do not feel sure that so narrow a limitation is possible. A more detailed investigation is necessary. In regard to the man-god, the author's skilful and plausible analysis leaves one with the impression that the whole institution of apotheosis was a humanization of deus rather than a deification of homo. UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO.

GORDON J. LAING.

Ancient Civilization. By Arthur Mayer Wolfson. New York: American Book Company (1916). Pp. iv + 127. Illustrated. 60 cents. This is a brief account of ancient civilization from the first men who lived on earth to the time of Charlemagne. There are five chapters: The Time before History Began, The History of the Ancient East, Greek Contributions to Civilization, The Spread of Ancient Civilization into the West, and The Transition from Ancient to Modern Civilization. The book is written for those who can devote only a brief amount of time to the study of ancient history before taking up medieval and modern history. The purpose is to give only such details of the political history of antiquity as are necessary for an understanding of ancient civilization; but a good idea is given of the achievements of ancient nations, and especially of the life of the people of antiquity. Many interesting parallels are drawn with American life and history. The story of the past, especially as it relates to a comprehension of the history of Western Europe in modern times, is well told. Although unfortunately the book is based on very secondary sources, such as the books of Davis, Botsford, Gulick, Tucker, Mahaffy, Johnston, Ferrero, Emerton, etc., it is well adapted to the elementary High School student and to the person who wants to realize in an elementary way the conditions of life in ancient times. The book appeared too late to include among the references on page 7, Osborn's Men of the Old Stone Age. But on page 60 Hall's Aegean Archaeology and Miss Thallon's Readings in Greek History at least should have been added to the references. There are some errors, which are worth pointing out, as the layman and the elementary teacher often still have such erroneous ideas. On page 31 we are told that the earliest civilization in the Aegean region was developed in Crete. But excavations in Thessaly have revealed a civilization equally old. On the same page there is an error in a reference to Hawthorne. Hawthorne says, in the Tanglewood Tales, that Theseus was sent with six (not "eight") other youths and seven (not "nine") maidens as a sacrifice to the Minotaur. On page 34 we are told that no one any longer thinks of the early legends, such as that of the Trojan War, as history, but some scholars even go so far as to consider Helen and Hector real historical characters, and in his recent interesting books, Troy, A Study in Homeric Geography, and Homer and History, Dr. Leaf sees much actual history in Homer, and holds that a struggle for trade lies behind the poems.

It may be that the quarrel of Agamemnon and Achilles was a real quarrel which took place in the Achaian camp, and had serious effects upon the campaign. I am not sure that we need even be too incredulous about Helen.

So writes Leaf, Troy, 328. There were more than sixty Greek cities on the shores of the Black Sea (41). Miletus alone had ninety colonies there. On page 42, Thermopylae is called a narrow mountain pass, but it

« السابقةمتابعة »