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The Civil Wars by Julius Caesar
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The Civil Wars

by Julius Caesar (Author)

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Two of the greatest generals of Rome, Caesar and Pompey, war against each other for life, glory, honor, dominance and, above all, the fate of the Roman Republic.

The Gallic War lasted 8 years (58 BC - 51 BC), but the Civil War, from the very beginning till the decisive Battle of Pharsalus and death of Pompey, a year and a half (49 BC - 48 BC), a rather short period in comparison. Perhaps the outcome of the Civil War was a forgone conclusion, because the Roman Republic had already been in decline for some time. Sixty years earlier, Jugurtha had judged Rome "a city for sale and doomed to quick destruction, if it should find a buyer"(The Jugurthine War). Apparently, it found a buyer in Caesar.

Still, I wondered whether the outcome of the Civil War could have been different, as I read Caesar's firsthand account of the vicissitude of war. It'd be very interesting to view the same events from Pompey's perspective.

In his Commentaries, Caesar makes frequent observations that victory in war does not depend solely on the competence of the generals (military strategies, tactics, and logistics), or the courage and skills of the soldiers, or the support of the people and availability of resources. But Fortune often plays a decisive role in ways that can not be foreseen or expected. The Battle of Pharsalus is a prime example. One might argue that Pompey and Caesar were equally matched in terms of their competence in strategies and tactics, but the latter emerged a victor, because he didn't allow himself to be unduly affected by the effects of luck, and faced both victory and defeat with equanimity and renewed efforts and enthusiasm.

It's a pity that neither Pompey nor Caesar died on the field of battle, or in peace, as they were both assassinated by their "friends", Pompey in 48 BC, and Caesar 44 BC. The former died so as not to suffer the aftermath of defeat, and the latter not to enjoy the fruits of his triumph.

As a side note, the editor included in this volume the anonymous Alexandrian, African and Spanish Wars. I think they are rather superfluous, because they not only add nothing to the Commentaries, but unnecessarily protract the compact structure of Caesar's account, and dilute the effect of his grand finale.
  booksontrial | Feb 3, 2013 |
Edition: // Descr: 340 p. : maps (2) 19 cm. // Series: Call No. { 878 C11 5 } Edited for the Use of Schools, With References to the Latin Grammar of Gildersleeve, Allen and Greenough, and Harkness by B. Perrin Contains Notes, Appendices,and Vocabulary. // //
  ColgateClassics | Oct 26, 2012 |
Edition: // Descr: 340 p. : maps 19 cm. // Series: Call No. { 878 C11 10 } Edited for the Use of Schools, with References to the Latin Grammar of Gildersleeve, Allen and Greenough, and Harkness by B. Perrin. // //
  ColgateClassics | Oct 26, 2012 |
About the Civil War
  MGraysonk12 | Mar 17, 2011 |
One of the best works of propoganda of all time, The Civil War is Caesar's justification for seizing power and assuming the mantle of dictator. Fascinating for its historical value, and for the fact of what was written - and what was *not* written, and by whom. Recommended. ( )
  Meggo | Nov 8, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (41 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Caesar, JuliusAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dorminger, GeorgTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lagerström, IngemarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peskett, A. G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140441875, Paperback)

A military leader of legendary genius, Caesar was also a great writer, recording the events of his life with incomparable immediacy and power. "The Civil War" is a tense and gripping depiction of his struggle with Pompey over the leadership of Republican Rome - a conflict that spanned the entire Roman world, from Gaul and Spain to Asia and Africa. Where Caesar's own account leaves off in 48 BC, his lieutenants take up the history, describing the vital battles of Munda, Spain and Thapsus, and the installation of Cleopatra, later Caesar's mistress, as Queen of Egypt. Together these narratives paint a full picture of the events that brought Caesar supreme power - and paved the way for his assassination only months later.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:17 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The Civil War is Julius Caesar's personal account of his war with Pompey the Great?the war that destroyed the five-hundred-year-old Roman Republic. Caesar the victor became Caesar the dictator. In three short books, Caesar describes how, in order to defend his honor and the freedom of both himself and the Roman people, he marched on Rome and defeated the forces of Pompey and the Senate in Italy, Spain, and Greece. Julius Caesar himself was one of the most eminent writers of the age in which he lived. His ?Commentaries? offer a unique opportunity to read the victor's version of events.… (more)

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