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TO TEACHERS AND STUDENTS.
"NULLA dies sine linea" was the motto of one of antiquity's greatest artists. None could be more appropriate for the student of Latin. Each day commit to memory some choice line of Latin prose or verse — some thought that is worth remembering. Revolve it in the mind and dwell upon its accents and its delicate shades of meaning until it becomes as familiar as the English equivalent. Associate with it the name of the author, and, as far as possible, the work from which it is taken, acquainting yourself at the same time with the chief characteristics of each.
Preserve a careful watch for passages which have a special charm because of their beauty of thought, expression, or other qualities. These should be carefully transcribed upon the blank leaves reserved for this purpose in the back of the book, taking care to indicate the author and reference.
Teachers should, if possible, see that each pupil is provided with a volume of Gems near the outset of his study, as he will have constant occasion to consult it throughout his course in Latin; and, if the suggestions here made are carefully followed, the volume will soon become one of the student's most valued possessions, and one that will prove a source of constantly increasing value and delight as years go by. A definite time should be set aside as often as once a week for the study and recitation of choice selections. A very good way is to consider one author each week, including any noteworthy facts concerning his life and works, and the study of one or more selections from his writings. This need not necessarily consume the time of an entire recitation, but should be systematically pursued.
The work here suggested is, of course, intended only to supplement and enrich the teaching of Latin. It will be found, however, to enlarge the general horizon. Those who store the mind with the choice gems of thought in which lie concealed the wisdom of the world will enjoy as companions the great of all ages, and as an ever-present teacher, the combined experience of the past.
BORN 100 B.C. — DIED 44 B.C.
CAIUS JULIUS CAESAR, one of the most distinguished men of history, was born of an aristocratic family, and received the ordinary education of a patrician youth. At the age of twenty he left Rome, and spent several years in foreign travel and study, partly at Rhodes and partly in Asia. At the age of twenty-four he returned to Rome, where he was elected successively to the offices of Pontiff, Military Tribune, Quaestor, Curile Aedile, Pontifex Maximus, and Consul, in each of which his administration seems to have been increasingly successful and popular. In the year 58 B.C. he was appointed Proconsul in Gaul, where for eight years he was busily engaged in organizing its discordant tribes. In the meantime Pompey had sought to undermine him at home and usurp the powers of government. Upon hearing of this, Caesar crossed the Rubicon, conquered Pompey at Pharsalus, defeated the senatorial party at Thapsus, and was appointed Dictator for ten years, and afterwards Imperator for life. All are familiar with the story of his tragic death in the senate chamber on the Ides (15th) of March, 44 B.C., at the hands of envious traitors.
The most important writings of Caesar that have come down to us are his famous Commentarii de Bello Gallico, in seven books, to which an eighth was afterwards added, probably by Aulus Hirtius, who accompanied Caesar on his campaigns, and was a close observer of his life and plans. These commentaries of Caesar were doubtless written during the progress of his campaigns, and were perhaps only outlines of what he hoped at some day to elaborate with greater fullness and care. They have very much the appearance of an official communication, and were probably designed by Caesar to convey to the Roman senate and people an accurate account of his campaigns in Gaul. They are faultless in style, lucid in arrangement, and exact in details, but almost wholly wanting in rhetorical ornamentation. So closely does the
author confine himself to the plain narration of facts that little is found that can be said to rise above the level of the commonplace, either in thought or beauty of expression. He is rarely quoted, for he seldom gave expression to a truth of general application.
Caesar also wrote a history of the Civil War, in three books, which is still extant, and several other treatises which are known to us only by their titles. Among these was a book on grammar, another on divination and astronomy, a digest of the Auspices, letters, and speeches. His fame as an orator was second only to that of Cicero, and had he applied himself to literary pursuits and the study of forensic eloquence with the same energy with which he prosecuted other undertakings, it is doubtful whether he would not have excelled in oratory as well.
Punishment. Wickedness. Contrast.
Consuesse enim deos immortales, quo gravius homines ex commutatione rerum doleant, quos pro scelere eorum ulcisci velint, his secundiores interdum res et diuturniorem impunitatem concedere.
"The immortal gods are sometimes accustomed to grant greater prosperity and longer impunity to those whom they wish to punish for their crimes, in order that they may suffer the more acutely from the change of circumstances.". De Bello Gallico, I, 14.
Monet ut in reliquum tempus omnes suspitiones vitet.
"He advises that for the future he should avoid all suspicion." B. G. I, 20. Caesar's advice to Dumnorix is good for all.
Rights of War.
Jus esse belli, ut qui vicissent, iis quos vicissent, quemadmodum vellent, imperarent.
"It is the law of war that those who have conquered may make any demands they wish upon those whom they have conquered.” — B. G.
Ex quo judicari posse, quantum haberet in se boni constantia, propterea quod, quos aliquamdiu inermos sine causa timuissent, hos postea armatos ac victores superassent.
"From this it may be seen how valuable is resolution, since those whom a short time before they feared without cause when unarmed, they afterwards overcame though fully armed and flushed with the courage of victory.” — B. G. I, 40.
Wine. Luxury. Temperance. Mind.
Nihil pati vini reliquarumque rerum ad luxuriam pertinentium inferri, quod iis rebus relanguescere animos et remitti virtutem existimarent.
"They allowed no wine or other luxuries to be imported, because they believed that by these things the mind is enfeebled and the courage impaired." — B. G. II, 15.
Libenter homines id, quod volunt, credunt.
"Men willingly believe that which they desire.” — B. G. III, 18.
Fere plerisque accidit, ut praesidio litterarum diligentiam in perdiscendo ac memoriam remittant.
It happens to people generally, that in their dependence upon writing they relax their diligence in learning thoroughly, and in committing to memory."― B. G. VI, 14.
Danger. Fear. Pity.
In summo periculo timor misericordiam non recipit.
"In extreme peril fear admits of no pity.” — B. G. VII, 26.