Key to Reading Unit 16

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Unit Key 17

Unit 16

  1. Although they do not know how to talk, they are not able to be silent.

  2. When vices are silent, they shout.

  3. Fortune is made of glass; it breaks when it is shining (the English break can be transitive or intransitive but the Latin frango is only transitive and so we have frangitur, lit. is broken).

  4. When he was fleeing the enemy Fannius killed himself (lit. Fannius himself killed himself). I ask, isn’t this madness - to die so that you won’t die? (Martial, II, 80)

  5. In the remaining days after that Caesar set about cutting down the woods and, lest any attack could be make from the flank on unarmed and incautious soldiers, he placed all the material which had been felled [in a position] facing the enemy and piled it up on either side as a rampart. When a great space had been cleared (lit. completed) with amazing speed in a few days, [and] when our men were looking for other woods, storms of such a sort followed that the work was necessarily suspended and the soldiers could not be kept under skins (i.e. tents) because of the uninterrupted rains. Consequently, after laying waste all the fields of the Morini [and] burning the villages and buildings Caesar withdrew his army and placed it in winter quarters among the Aulerci and Lexovii, [and] also the remaining communities who had recently made war. (Caesar, de Bello Gallico, III, 29 adapted)

  6. When a strong wind had arisen on the seventh day of the siege the Nervii began to throw red-hot shot with slings and heated javelins into the huts, which were roofed with straw. These quickly caught fire and through the force of the wind spread [the fire] to every part of the camp. The enemy with a mighty shout, as though certain victory had already been won (lit. just as if victory having been gained and assured), began to bring up towers and tortoise-shell formations (a close group of men holding their shields over their heads) and to climb the rampart with ladders. But such was the bravery and presence of mind of the [Roman] soldiers that, although they were being scorched by flame[s] from all sides and pressed by a great quantity of weapons and realised that all their baggage and all their wealth (fortunas) were burning, not only did no-one come down from the rampart but hardly anyone even looked back (lit. anyone at all almost did not even look back) and at the time all fought bravely. This day was difficult for our men but, nevertheless, had the (lit. this) result that on that day a great number of the enemy were wounded and killed because they crowded themselves below the rampart itself and those at the back did not allow (lit. did not give a retreat to) those at the front to withdraw. Indeed, when the fire had abated a little and in a certain place a tower had been brought up and was touching the rampart, the centurions of the third cohort retired from where they stood and pulled back all their men, [and] began to summon the enemy with nodding and shouts; no-one of them (lit. of whom no-one) advanced. Then they (i.e. the enemy) were dislodged by stones thrown from every direction and the tower was set on fire. (Caesar, de Bello Gallico, V, 43 adapted)

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(c) Gavin Betts 2000