Great Caesar’s Ghost!

by chuckofish

It’s the Ides of March and since you probably don’t need to worry about Brutus and his cohort knocking you off, you can spend the day enjoying Caesar’s Gallic Wars.

Caesar

It’s a fabulous read once you get a handle on the many, confusing Gallic names and the inter-tribal politics.  Not only does he write with lapidary precision, but Caesar was a genius at subtle self-promotion, political calculation and leadership. And he was also great at logistics. Count how many times he wrote “I secured the corn supply” — you’ll be amazed at how careful he was about food. He makes himself look good (in the 3rd person no less), but he also makes the Gauls and Germans seem like real people, who are smart, if hampered by a certain cultural backwardness (compared to the Romans that is). Caesar’s attention to ethnography suggests that he was really interested in everything new he came across.

If you’re not in the mood for De Bello Gallico, then you could try some of Cicero’s letters. He and Caesar had a deep friendship, albeit they ended up on opposite sides in the Civil War (you can also read Caesar’s account of that, but it’s not quite up to the Gallic Wars). Cicero was a cool guy.

cicero

I remember our brother translating Cicero in Latin class and having deep conversations with our mother about him. It’s no wonder I ended up fascinated by the ancient world. How could I avoid it?

Of course, you can always opt for a more modern treatment like Shakespeare, but however you chose to do it,  remember Gaius Julius Caesar, one of the great, if more ambiguous, characters of western civilization.

Ave atque vale and all that… Have a good week!