JULIUS CAESAR ON THE AISNE
[From The New Yorker Herold (Morgenblatt.)]
It has repeatedly been pointed out that 2000 years ago Julius Caesar fought on the battlegrounds of the Aisne, which are now the location of the fierce fighting between the Germans and the French. It is probably less known, however, that in this present war Caesar’s “Commentarii de Bello Gallico” are used by French officers as a practical text book on strategy. The war correspondent of the Corriere della Serra reports this some what astonishing fact.
A few weeks ago he visited his friend, a commanding Colonel of a French regiment, in his trench, which was furnished with bare necessities only. In a corner on a small table lay the open volume of “Commentarii Caesaris,” which the visitor took into his hand out of curiosity in order to see what passage the Colonel had just been reading. There he found the description of the fight against the Remer, who, at that time, lived in the neighborhood of the present city of Rheims. Principally with the aid of his Numidian troops, Caesar at that time had prevented the Remer from crossing the River Axona, today called the Aisne.
Caesar’s camp was only a few kilometers from Berry-au-Bac, in the vicinity of Pontavert, the headquarters of the division to which the regiment of the Colonel belonged. This Colonel had received the order to cross the River Aisne with Moroccans and Spahis, and for this purpose he had studied the description of Caesar. To the astonished question of the reporter, what made him occupy his mind with the study of Caesar, the Frenchman replied:
“Caesar’s battle descriptions form a book from which even in this present day war a great deal may be learned. Caesar is by no means as obsolete as you seem to think. I ask you to consider, for instance, that the trenches which have gained so much importance in this war date back to Julius Caesar.”
[Illustration: H.M. CHRISTIAN X
King of Denmark
(Photo from Paul Thompson)]
[Illustration: PRESENT AND FUTURE QUEENS OF THE NETHERLANDS
Queen Wilhelmina with Her Little Daughter Juliana, Princess of Orange]
Sir John French’s Own Story
Continuing the Famous Dispatches of the British Commander
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