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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 157 pages of information about History of Julius Caesar.

CHAPTER IV.

THE CONQUEST OF GAUL.

[Sidenote:  Caesar aspires to be a soldier.] [Sidenote:  His success and celebrity.]

In attaining to the consulship, Caesar had reached the highest point of elevation which it was possible to reach as a mere citizen of Rome.  His ambition was, however, of course, not satisfied.  The only way to acquire higher distinction and to rise to higher power was to enter upon a career of foreign conquest.  Caesar therefore aspired now to be a soldier.  He accordingly obtained the command of an army, and entered upon a course of military campaigns in the heart of Europe, which he continued for eight years.  These eight years constitute one of the most important and strongly-marked periods of his life.  He was triumphantly successful in his military career, and he made, accordingly, a vast accession to his celebrity and power, in his own day, by the results of his campaigns.  He also wrote, himself, an account of his adventures during this period, in which the events are recorded in so lucid and in so eloquent a manner, that the narrations have continued to be read by every successive generation of scholars down to the present day, and they have had a great influence in extending and perpetuating his fame.

[Sidenote:  Scenes of Caesar’s exploits.] [Sidenote:  Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul.]

The principal scenes of the exploits which Caesar performed during the period of this his first great military career, were the north of Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, and England, a great tract of country, nearly all of which he overran and conquered.  A large portion of this territory was called Gaul in those days; the part on the Italian side of the Alps being named Cisalpine Gaul, while that which lay beyond was designated as Transalpine.  Transalpine Gaul was substantially what is now France.  There was a part of Transalpine Gaul which had been already conquered and reduced to a Roman province.  It was called The Province then, and has retained the name, with a slight change in orthography, to the present day.  It is now known as Provence.

[Sidenote:  Condition of Gaul in Caesar’s day.] [Sidenote:  Singular cavalry.]

The countries which Caesar went to invade were occupied by various nations and tribes, many of which were well organized and war-like, and some of them were considerably civilized and wealthy.  They had extended tracts of cultivated land, the slopes of the hills and the mountain sides being formed into green pasturages, which were covered with flocks of goats, and sheep, and herds of cattle, while the smoother and more level tracts were adorned with smiling vineyards and broadly-extended fields of waving grain.  They had cities, forts, ships, and armies.  Their manners and customs would be considered somewhat rude by modern nations, and some of their usages of war were half barbarian. 

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