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The role of battle narrative in the Bellum Gallicum


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Nolan, DJ 2014 , 'The role of battle narrative in the Bellum Gallicum', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis examines the role of battle narrative in the Bellum Gallicum, to show that these
passages, including contextual information, are fundamentally persuasive in nature as they are
integrated into Caesarʼs various self-promotional aims. To date a comprehensive analysis has
not been undertaken of battle, and where it has been examined by military historians,
investigations have often relied on the idea that these passages are primarily designed to
reconstruct the details of the historical event. The thesis instead uses case studies to show
these passages are not merely an attempt to describe historical events, but are fundamentally
influenced by the desire to influence the audience. This can be a simple matter of reception,
whether through the building of tension in the narrative, or the creation of a compelling
account of a particular battle. More often however battle is used in conjunction with the
campaign narrative to create an impression, or support an argument regarding Caesarʼs
interpretation of the episode, as battles are part of the interpretive structure of the text, where
information conveys his self-promotional objectives. Furthermore, a major objective of these
accounts is to support Caesarʼs view of the various characters portrayed, and the narrative is
used to create or encourage views of the individuals and peoples involved. Unsurprisingly, the
most important figure represented in battle is Caesar, and self-aggrandisement or the
deflection of criticism shapes the structure and content of these narratives at a fundamental
level. A detailed analysis of these passages, and their relationship to the book in which they
appear shows how Caesar structures battle narrative for self-promotion in various ways. Not
only does such an examination reflect on the way that battle and other military information is
presented, but it enables insight into the purposes that he had while writing these passages,
and the extent to which he was willing to utilise battle narrative in the pursuit of the self promotional
objectives of the work.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Nolan, DJ
Keywords: Caesar, Battle, Gaul, Gallic Wars, Rome, Warfare, War
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2014 the author

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