CAESAR’S ENGAGEMENT OF HIS READERS
had a multi-faceted purpose for his commentaries.
They are historical documents demonstrating the military and
social predisposition of the time; they give us a glimpse of the Roman
army as a social unit and they bring the reader into their literary and
social context while glorifying the writer-general, Caesar.
Caesar did not limit his tactics to the battlefield; his writing
is testament to his strategy. He
inherited the idea that order, tajiw,
was responsible for military success or failure from the Greeks.
The Greeks relied on tight formation and geometrical perspectives
of weight that were the result of logical or mathematical calculations.
The Romans took this calculative estimation of battles, tajiw,
and used its violence, vis,
for their engagements. Thus,
Greek military metaphors were based on stationary forces; Latin military
metaphors were based on movement of those weights.
inheriting this Romano-Greek tradition of engagement, appropriates these
battle tactics and alters them: he employs the force of weight as
movement with its gravity rather than its gravity alone and he makes
these tactics and their description part of his narrative.
This makes him versatile as well as powerful, a potent
combination. The characters
and the action of his narrative become the movements of the mass of his
men. He brings the reader
into the action of battle through speeches and narrative set within
tightly expressive simple Latin. His
commentaries thus possess a manipulative simplicity.
They are themselves the commands and the presence of Caesar as
general who guides the reader into an elevated respect for him, the
writing is part of his arsenal.