Key to Reading Unit 18

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Unit Key 17

Unit Key 19

Unit 18

  1. On the next day, according to his practice, Caesar led out his forces from each of the two camps and after advancing a little he drew up his line of battle and gave the enemy an opportunity of fighting. (Caesar, de Bello Gallico, I, 50, 1 adapted)

  2. When the towers had already come near the wall (appropinquo takes the dative) Caesar learnt from captives that, after the fodder had been used up, Vercingetorix had moved camp, and that he himself with cavalry and light-armed troops had set out for the purpose of ambushing to a place where (lit. to there where) he thought our soldiers would come on the next day to collect fodder (pabulatum is supine). (Caesar, de Bello Gallico, VII, 18, 1 adapted)

  3. Do you think that those tribes are influenced in giving evidence by regard (religio) for an oath and by fear of the immortal gods? They differ so much from the character and nature of the rest of humanity (lit. the other peoples) because the rest undertake wars in accordance with (pro) their religious beliefs, [but] those [tribes] [undertake wars] against the beliefs of all; the former in fighting wars ask for peace and forgiveness from the immortal gods, those have fought wars with the immortal gods themselves. These are the tribes which once travelled so far from their own abodes to Pythian Apollo at Delphi (lit. to Delphi right up to Pythian Apollo) and [they did this] in order to ravage and plunder the oracle of the world (orbis terrae; the Delphic oracle was the most famous in the ancient world); the same tribes, [who are] virtuous and scrupulous in [giving] evidence, besieged the Capitol and that Jupiter (lit. by the same tribes . . . the Capitol and that Jupiter were besieged; in sanctis and religiosis Cicero is indulging in rather heavy-handed sarcasm; on Jupiter see 9.3) by whose name our ancestors wished the reliability of evidence to be secured (lit. bound). Lastly, can anything seem holy and endowed with religious feelings to these who, even if sometimes (quando), induced by some fear, they think that the gods must be placated, pollute the altars and temples of the gods (eorum) with human victims? (Cicero, pro M. Fronteio, 30f.; on Cicero see 17.3)

  4. Every fortune must be overcome by endurance (lit. by bearing [it]).

  5. The oath of a lover involves no penalty (i.e. lovers can break their oaths without fear of punishment).

  6. By doing nothing people learnt to act badly (there is as pun in agere/agendo).

  7. A nail must not be removed by a nail (e.g. a hangover cannot be cured by further drinking).

  8. A drop [of water] hollows a stone not by force but by falling often.

  9. To read and not to understand is to neglect.

  10. What else are we doing in teaching boys except that they do not always have to be taught?

  11. Favours should be given silently.

  12. Kings should refrain from violence.

  13. Those things which cannot in any way be accomplished should not be attempted.

  14. Profit [gained] with an evil reputation must be called loss.

  15. The capacity for daring anything [at all] has always been the same for painters and poets.

  16. We must not deviate from the words of a law (i.e. laws must be interpreted literally).

  17. When the skin of a lion fails, a fox skin should be put on (i.e. if brute force does not succeed in a particular situation, we should resort to the cunning of a fox).

  18. By speaking they learn to speak.

  19. In the presence of a bear (lit. when a bear is present) do not look for its tracks (i.e. in a dangerous situation it is better to get away as quickly as possible rather than to investigate how the situation has arisen).

  20. A drunken man when asleep should not be woken.

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(c) Gavin Betts 2000