View Full Version : Famous First Lines, chapter 1, Book 1

joseph s crary
10-05-2007, 10:16 PM
This chapter is by far the easiest to translate

Latin Text

Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur. Hi omnes lingua, institutis, legibus inter se differunt. Gallos ab Aquitanis Garumna flumen, a Belgis Matrona et Sequana dividit. Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae, propterea quod a cultu atque humanitate provinciae longissime absunt, minimeque ad eos mercatores saepe commeant atque ea quae ad effeminandos animos pertinent important, proximique sunt Germanis, qui trans Rhenum incolunt, quibuscum continenter bellum gerunt.


All Gaul is divided into three parts, in one dwell the Belgae, in another the Aquitans, and in the third, those that call themselves Kelts, known to us as Gauls. All these differ in language, institution, and law. The Gauls are separated from the Aquitans by the River Garonne, while the Belges by the Marne and Seine rivers. Of all these the most powerful are the Belgae because, for long they have been far-removed from civilized human pursuits, least frequented by merchant imports that effeminate their rational soul, and their proximity to the Germans, living across the Rhine, with whom they are perpetually locked in battle.

Traditional Rendering

All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in our Gauls, the third. All these differ from each other in language, customs and laws. The river Garonne separates the Gauls from the Aquitani; the Marne and the Seine separate them from the Belgae. Of all these, the Belgae are the bravest, because they are furthest from the civilization and refinement of [our] Province, and merchants least frequently resort to them, and import those things which tend to effeminate the mind; and they are the nearest to the Germans, who dwell beyond the Rhine, with whom they are continually waging war.