Cœsar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War

Date: 1908

Show Summary

Chapter XVIII the Conquest of Gaul, Related by Cæsar



The First Invasion of Germany


Cæsar was determined to cross the Rhine, but he thought it hardly safe to pass over in boats, and considered that to do so would not be consistent with his own dignity or that of the Roman people. Although the construction of a bridge presented great difficulties, on account of the breadth, swiftness, and depth of the stream, he nevertheless thought best to make the attempt, or else not to cross at all. . . .

Within ten days after the collection of the timber began, the whole work was finished, and the army crossed over.1 Cæsar left a strong force at both ends of the bridge, and marched rapidly for the country of the Sugambri. Meanwhile, envoys came in from several tribes; and Cæsar replied graciously to their prayer for peace and friendship and directed them to bring him hostages. But the Sugambri, who from the moment when the construction of the bridge began . . . had prepared for flight, left their country with all their belongings, and hid themselves in the recesses of the forests.

Cæsar remained a few days in their country, burned all their villages and homesteads, cut down their corn, and returned to the territory of the Ubii. Promising to help them in case they were molested by the Suebi, he ascertained from them that the Suebi, on learning from their scouts that the bridge was being made, had called a council according to their custom, and had sent messengers in all directions, bidding the people to abandon the strongholds, convey their wives and children and all their belongings into the forests, and assemble — all of them who could bear arms — at a fixed place. . . . Here they were waiting the arrival of the Romans, and here they had determined to fight a decisive battle. Cæsar had now achieved every object for which he had determined to lead his army across — he had overawed the Germans, punished the Sugambri, and relieved the Ubii from hostile pressure. He felt, therefore, that honor was satisfied and that he had served every useful purpose. Accordingly, when he heard the news about the Suebi, he returned to Gaul, having spent just eighteen days on the further side of the Rhine, and destroyed the bridge.

1 , translated by T. R. Holmes. London, 1908. Macmillan and Co.

2 Cæsar, Commentaries on the Gallic War, iv, 17–19.

1 Cæsar’s passage of the Rhine was probably between Andernach and Coblenz.

Related Resources

None available for this document.

Download Options

Title: Cœsar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options

Title: Cœsar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: T. R. Holmes, trans., Cœsar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War in Readings in Early European History, ed. Webster, Hutton (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1926), 205–206. Original Sources, accessed September 29, 2023, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4X4QRE8J93W787S.

MLA: . Cœsar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War, translted by T. R. Holmes, in Readings in Early European History, edited by Webster, Hutton, Boston, Ginn and Company, 1926, pp. 205–206. Original Sources. 29 Sep. 2023. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4X4QRE8J93W787S.

Harvard: (trans.), Cœsar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War. cited in 1926, Readings in Early European History, ed. , Ginn and Company, Boston, pp.205–206. Original Sources, retrieved 29 September 2023, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4X4QRE8J93W787S.