Caesar Cesar's Work "The Gallic Wars" Abounds Essay

Pages: 3 (985 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Geography


Cesar's work "The Gallic Wars" abounds in characterizations of the two people that he encounters during his campaigns: the Gauls and the Germans. The descriptions for these two people are, however, antithetical: on one hand, Cesar has a positive characterization of the Gauls, while, on the other hand, his description of the Germans is more centered on their negative characteristics that include brigandage, their appetence for destruction and willingness to plunder. The focus of the books is on Gaul, so reference to Germany, both in terms of its geography and of its people is scarce and generally related, in some way or another, to the Gauls.

In this general antithetical approach, Cesar uses an antithesis of the landscape and geographic descriptions as well, both to match the character of the people with the land they live in and to partially explain how a people's character is formed through such a match between geography and human development. This paper will aim to argue that geographical description plays an essential role in the characterization of the Germans that Caesar does in his work and will also provide relevant examples in that sense.

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First of all, Caesar insists on the fact that deserted, unpopulated land is part of the Germans' existence and, in fact, their preference for the land surrounding their territory. This point is emphasized in several places throughout his work. Most notably, he states that "to have a vast desert of unpopulated land lying around their frontiers is to them an object of much complacency" and, further on, "there is no more coveted distinction than to live in the centre of a vast wilderness that has been carved out along each and all their frontiers"

This is a first example of the way that Cesar blends characteristics of the German people with the geography and interconnects them. The relationship is quite clear: their inclination towards violence and towards devastation leads, in fact, to a deserted region bordering German territories. As always in his work, the reality may not necessarily be so, but it helps him show the character of the German and provide useful arguments from the geographical elements surrounding them.

TOPIC: Essay on Caesar Cesar's Work "The Gallic Wars" Abounds Assignment

There are additional mentions about the geography of Germany throughout the book. In book VI, for example, Caesar refers to the "Hercynian forest, (which, I perceive, was known by report to Eratosthenes and some other Greeks, and which they call Orcynia)"

. The respective paragraph appears, however, in relation with the settlement in that region of the Volcae Tectosages.

The subsequent paragraphs (6.24 to 6.29) complete the image of this geographic component of Germany by mentioning the overall location (as in most cases, Caesar relies on the location of some of the other tribes to define the boundaries of the forest: "it begins at the frontiers of the Helvetii, Nemetes, and Rauraci, and extends in a right line along the river Danube to the territories of the Daci and the Anartes"… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Caesar Cesar's Work "The Gallic Wars" Abounds" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Caesar Cesar's Work "The Gallic Wars" Abounds.  (2009, November 3).  Retrieved August 4, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Caesar Cesar's Work "The Gallic Wars" Abounds."  3 November 2009.  Web.  4 August 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Caesar Cesar's Work "The Gallic Wars" Abounds."  November 3, 2009.  Accessed August 4, 2021.