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Caesar: Bellum Gallicum Book VII (Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics)

Cambridge University Press

This is the first commentary on Caesar's Bellum Gallicum to approach it as a literary text. It attempts a contextualized reading of the work through the eyes of a contemporary Roman reader, who was trained in rhetoric, versed in Greek and Roman literature, and familiar with the same political and cultural conventions and discourses as its author. In appreciating Caesar as a writer and situating the seventh book of the Bellum Gallicum within its 'horizon of expectations' and especially its historiographical tradition, it reveals much that rewards careful attention, including: a dramatized narrative, sustained intertextual borrowings and allusions (especially from and to Thucydides and Polybius), (in)direct speeches telling of Rome's second-greatest speaker, and word- and sound-play telling of the leading linguist, not to mention artful technical descriptions that lack parallels in the Roman republic. Ultimately, both author and text emerge as quite different from their grossly generalized reputations.