Caesar, a History of the Art of War among the Romans down to the End of the Roman Empire, with a Detailed Account of the Campaigns of Caius Julius Caesar - Vol. 1

By Theodore Ayrault Dodge | Go to book overview

PREFACE.

THE present volumes have been delayed nearly a year to enable the author to visit the theatre of Cæsar's campaigns and his many battlefields. To do this is almost a prerequisite to writing intelligently on the subject. Familiarity with the topography gives a quite different understanding of the narrative of the ancient historians. Though Cæsar's Commentaries are among the most exact and picturesque of historical writings, it is by patient study alone that they can be understood otherwise than superficially; without suitable maps they cannot be understood at all. From the days of ingenious but far-fetched Guischard and Turpin de Crissé, topographical descriptions and charts have habitually been copied by one author from another, to the lot of neither of whom it has fallen to personally inspect the terrain; and many errors have been thus propagated. The author hopes that these volumes are reasonably free from such.

We owe a great debt to Napoleon III. for patronizing and defraying the expense of the systematic excavations and to pographical and military studies which have culminated in his own and Colonel Stoffel's works on Cæsar. To Colonel Stoffel we are peculiarly indebted for one of the most splendid military histories which exists. The present author has made free use of both these works; and though he has personally passed over all the ground covered by Cæsar's campaigns, it would savor of impertinence to seek to better the

-vii-

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