Caesar: Still a marble bust Oct 18, 2007
The author is fully aware that Caesar did not give us his thoughts, emotions, doubts or conscience, neither in his own commentaries to the 9-year campaign in Gaul, The Gallic Wars or "De Bello Gallica", or elsewhere. The first 180 pages of these more than 500 pages is a long list of various main and subordinate characters who gather around the Forum. It is a long yawn. No character is left unnamed despite mentioned only once, and most remain shadows. Their positions in the semi-decaying Roman republic is less clear.
The Gallic Wars is the colorful part. We partipate in battles, skirmishes, sieges, fights against Ariovistus and other Gaulish leaders- campaigns in Britain in between - until Vercingetorix is captured and "All Gaul is conquered".
Caesar's few years in Italy, Spain, Macedinia, Egypt and the East brings little new. Neither do the latest period or the "Ides of March" assasination.
The author keep close to his sources. As a professional historian he tells us what he feels he can do, but nothing more. A little detachment and improvising from the sources would have provided more insight into the person Caesar - the politican, war leader, writer, dictator, womaniser, and gambler.
This is probably the best book abouf Caesar. It is still no living story and more like a sourcebook.