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Early Indo-European Texts

Latin

Winfred P. Lehmann and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Latin with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Latin Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Latin language and its speakers' culture.

from Caesar's Gallic War, Book 6, Sections 15-20

Alterum genus est equitum. Hi, cum est usus atque aliquod bellum incidit (quod fere ante Caesaris adventum quotannis accidere solebat, uti aut ipsi iniurias inferrent aut illatas propulsarent), omnes in bello versantur. Atque eorum ut quisque est venere copiisque amplissimus, ita plurimos circum se ambactos clientesque habet. Hanc unam gratiam potentiamque noverunt. Natio est omnis Gallorum admodum dedita religionibus. Atque ob eam causam, qui sunt adfecti gravioribus morbis quique in proeliis periculisque versantur, aut pro victimis homines immolant aut se immolaturos vovent, administrisque ad ea sacrificia druidibus utuntur. [Section omitted at this point.] Quae civitates commodius suam rem publicam administrare existimantur, habent legibus sanctum, si quis quid de re publica a finitimis rumore aut fama accepterit, uti ad magistratum deferat neve cum quo alio communicet. Quod saepe homines temerarios atque imperitos falsis rumoribus terreri et ad facinus impelli et de summis rebus consilium capere cognitum est. Magistratus quae visa sunt occultant quaeque esse ex usu iudicaverunt multitudini produnt. De re publica nisi per concilium loqui non conceditur.

Translation

The knights are the other class. When there is an occasion and especially when a war arises (which would happen almost yearly before Caesar's arrival, so that either they themselves would carry out attacks or would repulse such), these are all engaged in war. And as each is most distinguished in esteem and by wealth, he accordingly has the most subordinates and retainers about him. They have recognized this as the single basis of esteem and power.
The entire nation of the Gauls is greatly devoted to religious affairs. And for that reason those who are afflicted with more serious illnesses and those who are involved in battles and dangers either sacrifice people as victims or they vow that they themselves will be sacrificed; and they make use of Druids as administrators for those sacrifices. [Section omitted at this point.]
The states that are considered to administer their public affairs more advantageously have it prescribed by law that, if anyone might learn anything about public affairs from neighbors by rumor or report, he should report it to a magistrate and not communicate with anyone else. For it is known that indiscreet and inexperienced men are often frightened by false rumors, and are driven to crime or to make decisions concerning the general welfare. Magistrates conceal what seems best, and they decide what is of use and provide it for the common people. It is not allowed to speak about public matters except by means of an assembly.