Gaius Iulius Caesar


Gallic Wars, 6:26 Edit

Latin Original Edit

Est bos cervi figura, cuius a media fronte inter aures unum cornu exsistit excelsius magisque directum his, quae nobis nota sunt, cornibus: ab eius summo sicut palmae ramique late divunduntur. Eadem est feminae marisque natura, eadem forma magnitudoque cornuum.

English translation (W.A. McDevitte and W.S. Bohn, 1869) Edit

There is an ox of the shape of a stag, between whose ears a horn rises from the middle of the forehead, higher and straighter than those horns which are known to us. From the top of this, branches, like palms, stretch out a considerable distance. The shape of the female and of the male is the, same; the appearance and the size of the horns is the same.

Analysis Edit

Pay no attention to the word "ox" (Latin: bos). The Romans gave that name to any large animal they could not describe otherwise, for example, the elephant is a "Lucanian ox" (Luca bos), because they first saw it in Lucania in Pyrrhus's army. Aside from an oddity in the shape of a single straight horn on the forehead, Caesar paints an fairly accurate picture of a reindeer.

Bibliography Edit

  • Hyde, Walter Woodburn; The Curious Animals of the Hercynian Forest; 1918