My 7th-Grade Notes to Julius Caesar’s “Gallic Wars”

August 28, 2017

BOOK I:  “Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres…” All Gaul is divided into three parts, but you would not want to visit two of them after dark. Caesar prepares for a military engagement after learning that the Helvetii, having been denied a patent for their typeface font, have been roused to rebellion by Orgetorix, whose stance against weekly bathing is still fought in parts of France to this day.

BOOK II:  Caesar defeats the Belgae in northern Gaul. He orders their ambassadors, Iccius and Antebrogius, to proclaim their allegiance to Rome by line dancing and singing “The Little Nash Rambler.” Publius Crassus, one of Caesar’s commanders, crosses the maritime states of Gaul. Green with envy and seasickness, his second-in-command, Cicero, argues before the Roman Senate that his legions be rewarded for their bravery and sacrifice by giving them a choice of 30 days’ unpaid furlough or free dance lessons at the YMCA. The Senate responds by proclaiming Cicero “Nitwit of the Month.”

BOOK III:  Caesar sends Servius Galba to open a toll road to the Alps. On the way, Servius is attacked by the Seduni and Veragri tribes after it is learned that a speed limit will be imposed. Meanwhile, under the direction of Titurius Sabinus and Publius Crassus, Caesar’s maritime forces, 4,300 strong, defeat the Venelli twins, who had been sneaking out of class during recess to write obscene messages in the sand.

BOOK IV:  Caesar moves into Germany for the first time, whereupon he exclaims “Nimius!” (translation: Outrageous!) after learning of the rent for a studio apartment. The Germans whisper “Er trägt nicht unterwäsche” (translation: He isn’t wearing underwear), and flee across the English Channel into Britain. Caesar also crosses The Channel—something no Roman had ever before done on foot—and defeats the British who, unbeknownst to him, are really the transplanted Germans. Caesar punishes them by sending them into exile in Germany.

BOOK V:  The Nervi attack a Roman encampment during a musical revival of “Gigi.” Cicero holds off the Nervi by having his troops sit in the last available seat each time the music stops. Caesar arrives with reinforcements, including extra pillows and a tape loop of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.”

BOOK VI:  The shortest of the books in Caesar’s Gallic W–

BOOK VII:  Fourteen Gallic tribes revolt. This comes as a great surprise to Caesar, who heretofore only knew the names of five of them. Under the leadership of Vercingetorix, they battle Caesar at Alesia, where the tribes likely would have defeated the Romans had not the only deli in the area closed for the summer. Caesar returns to Rome where he is approached by his agent to write a book about the war. Caesar learns that his longtime friend Brutus—also known as Bruté, after a heralded stint at Chippendales—had himself been approached to write a similar book, leading to Caesar’s famous exclamation, “Quis sciebant poterat legere et scribere?” (translation: Who knew he could read and write?)

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