Commentarii De Bello Gallico * Gaius Julius Caesar (Vincent Hunink, translator) (51 BCE / 1997/2004 athenaeum * isbn 9025306667)

This new (1997) Dutch translation comes in a nice and small hardcover booklet for a more than reasonable price. For a long time I had wanted to read it, just to have read it. When I eventually bought the book it took me relatively long to read it. Not because it is a boring book, but just because I read small parts of it every now and then. This is of course the famous book about Julius Caesar’s wars in Gaul, a book that is often quoted as a source of information on Celts and Teutons. The book (or at least this translation) reads very easily, almost like a novel. Caesar is regarded as a gifted writer and I can only agree with it. Together with information about wars and expeditions, Caesar gives information about Germanic and Celtic tribes, the way they live, their gods (but of course with the famous ‘interpretatio Romana’), how bridges are built, how battles are prepared. A very nice read! Hunink (who also translated Tacitus for us Dutchmen) added the additions by Aulus Hirtius who filled the gap until the end of Caesars book and the end of Caesar’s reign. After this follows a very informative text of the translator of how this book is extremely coloured and not at all a reliable source of information, nor even does it give a good image of the Gaulic campaign of Caesar. With such information, this is a must-read for everybody interested in (Roman) history and prechristian Northern Europe. I am sure (or at least hope) that there is a comparable English (or whatever language is your own) version available. Dutch readers are lucky to be able to buy something like this.

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