Netlibrary eBook of the month-Caesar in Gaul and Rome

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Winner of the 2006 AAP/PSP Award for Excellence, Classics and Ancient History

Anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with Latin knows “Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres” (“All Gaul is divided into three parts”), the opening line of De Bello Gallico, Julius Caesar’s famous commentary on his campaigns against the Gauls in the 50s BC. But what did Caesar intend to accomplish by writing and publishing his commentaries, how did he go about it, and what potentially unforeseen consequences did his writing have? These are the questions that author Andrew Riggsby pursues in the April eBook of the Month.

Named by the Association of American Publishers as the 2006 Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division (PSP) award winner for Excellence in Classics and Ancient History, Caesar in Gaul and Rome uses contemporary literary methods to examine the historical impact that Caesars commentaries had on the Roman reading public. In the first part of his study, Riggsby considers how Caesar defined Roman identity and its relationship to non-Roman others. He shows how Caesar opens up a possible vision of the political future in which the distinction between Roman and non-Roman becomes less important because of their joint submission to a Caesar-like leader.

In the second part, Riggsby analyzes Caesar’s political self-fashioning and the potential effects of his writing and publishing the Gallic War. He reveals how Caesar presents himself as a subtly new kind of Roman general who deserves credit not only for his own virtues, but for those of his soldiers as well. Riggsby uses case studies of key topics (spatial representation, ethnography, virtus and technology, genre, and the just war), augmented by more synthetic discussions that bring in evidence from other Roman and Greek texts, to offer a broad picture of the themes of national identity and Caesar’s self-presentation.

About the Author

Andrew M. Riggsby is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin.

Link: http://hartness.vsc.edu/hartness/books/netlibrary.php [click on ‘Connect to Netlibrary’

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