Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic and Civil Wars
With the Supplementary Books attributed to Hirtius
Including the Alexandrian, African and Spanish Wars
Introduction by the Author Vossius
I will now say nothing concerning the absurd opinion of those who assert that the following Commentaries on the Civil War were not written by Caesar himself. Even without the authority of Suetonius, the diction itself would be sufficient to convince the most sceptical that Caesar and no other was the author.
I am of the opinion of those who think that the beginning of these Commentaries is lost. For I can not be convinced that Caesar commenced so abruptly; and History itself gives sufficient evidence that many circumstances require to be previously stated. For which reason we thought that it would be well worth our attention to compile from Plutarch, Appian, and Dion, a narrative of such facts as seemed necessary to fill up the chasm; these facts are as follows:
"When Caesar, after reducing all Transalpine Gaul, had passed into Cisalpine Gaul, he determined for many reasons to send ambassadors to Rome to request for him the consulate, and a prolongation of the command of his province. Pompey, who was estranged from Caesar, although he was not as yet at open enmity with him, determined neither to aid him by his influence nor openly oppose him on this occasion. But the consuls Lentulus and Marcellus, who had previously been on unfriendly terms with Caesar, resolved to use all means in their power to prevent him from gaining his object. Marcellus in particular did not hesitate to offer Caesar other insults.
Caesar had lately planned the colony of Novumcomum in Gaul: Marcellus, not content with taking from it the right of citizenship, ordered the principal man of the colony to be arrested and scourged at Rome, and sent him to make his complaints to Caesar: An insult of this description had never before been offered to a Roman citizen.
While these transactions are taking place, Caius Curio, tribune of the commons, comes to Caesar in his province. Curio had made many and energetic struggles, in behalf of the republic and Caesar's cause: at length when he perceived that all his efforts were vain, he fled through fear of his adversaries, and informed Caesar of all the transactions that had taken place, and of the efforts made by his enemies to crush him. Caesar received Curio with great kindness, as he was a man of the highest rank, and had great claims on himself and the republic, and thanked him warmly for his numerous personal favors. But Curio, as war was being openly prepared against Caesar, advised him to concentrate his troops, and rescue the republic now oppressed by a few daring men. Caesar, although he was not ignorant of the real state of affairs, was however of opinion that particular regard should be paid to the tranquillity of the republic, lest any one should suppose that he was the originator of the war. Therefore, through his friends, he made this one request, that two legions, and the province of Cisalpine Gaul, and Illyricum, should be left him.
All these acts were performed by Caesar, with the hope that his enemies might be induced by the justice of his demands, to preserve the peace of the republic. Even Pompey himself did not dare to oppose them. But when Caesar could not obtain his request from the consuls, he wrote to the senate a letter, in which he briefly stated his exploits and public services, and entreated that he should not be deprived of the favor of the people, who had ordered, that he, although absent, should be considered a candidate at the next elections; and he stated also that he would disband his army, if the senate and people of Rome would pass a resolution to that effect, provided that Pompey would do the same. That, as long as the latter should retain the command of his army, no just reason could exist that he [Caesar] should disband his troops and expose himself to the insults of his enemies. He in trusts this letter to Curio to bear to its destination; the latter traveled one hundred and sixty miles with incredible dispatch, and reached the city in three days' time, before the beginning of January, and before the consuls could pass any decree concerning Caesar's command.Curio, after accomplishing his journey, kept the letter, and did not give it up, until there was a crowded meeting of the senate, and the tribunes of the commons were present; for he was afraid, lest, if he gave it up previously, the consuls should suppress it.