Saturday, March 19, 2011

incertus auctor, Caesar's War in Alexandria

*attributed to Gaius Julius Caesar [but likely written by an unknown author, incertus auctor]
(uncertain dating)
Trans RMBullard

Bello Alexandrino conflato Caesar Rhodo atque ex Syria Ciliciaque omnem classem arcessit;
[When the war in Alexandria broke out, Caesar summoned his entire naval fleet from Rhodes, Syria, and Cilicia;]

Creta sagittarios, equites ab rege Nabataeorum Malcho evocat;
[He recruited archers from Crete, and horsemen from the Nabataean king Malchus;]

tormenta undique conquiri et frumentum mitti, auxilia adduci iubet.
[He ordered that siege engines be acquired, food supplied, and auxiliaries brought over.]

Interim munitiones cotidie operibus augentur atque omnes oppidi partes, quae minus esse firmae videntur, testudinibus ac musculis +aptantur+;
[At the same time, his war munitions and entire number of allied cities increased by the day, all of which seemed less up-to-strength, and they supplemented with shields and raw strength;]

ex aedificiis autem per foramina in proxima aedificia arietes immittuntur, quantumque aut ruinis deicitur aut per vim recipitur loci, in tantum munitiones proferuntur.
[And still, rams were sent out from their original shrines through the public squares and into the neighboring ones, and however much of the place fell into ruin and was confiscated by brute force, the same amount of munitions were brought in.] 
Nam incendio fere tuta est Alexandrea,
[You see, Alexandria was barely spared from fire,]

 quod sine contignatione ac materia sunt aedificia
[given that the buildings lacked wood, and other natural materials,]

 et structuris
 ac fornicibus continentur
[and that they were fixed by use of framework and baking]

tectaque sunt rudere aut pavimentis.
[and that their roofs were made of rust iron and cement.]

 Caesar maxime studebat
[I was most of all very eager]

 ut, quam angustissimam partem oppidi palus a meridie interiecta efficiebat,
[to make sure that, while a swamp, that intersected since midday, made part of the city most cramped, from noon

hanc operibus vineisque agendis ab reliqua parte urbis excluderet,
[I could section this area off for workers and winemakers, to the exclusion of rest of the city.]

illud spectans primum
[and at first, keeping a watch over this assignment,]