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The Three Parts of Gaul

"Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur." (“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 ours Gauls, the third.”)—Julius Caesar, Commentarii de Bello Gallico.

Often the first book in Latin that school children read, Commentaries on the Gallic War and the division of Gaul into three parts is often thought of as common enough knowledge to be used guidebooks without further reference or citation: "A Celtic, then Gallic settlement, Lyon was chosen as a base camp by Julius Caesar for his conquest of Gaul. Under Augustus it became the capital of the Roman Empire's 'Three Gauls' (Aquitaine, Belgium and the province of Lyon) complementing the older province centred [sic] on Narbonne."—Gwen Cannon, ed., The Green Guide France, (London, UK: Michelin Apa Publications Ltd., 2007), p. 299.

How It's Used

"U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has found Microsoft guilty of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act, and will haul the computer company off to the woodshed on May 24 for punishment.

"Speculation is that he may force Microsoft to divulge the source code for its Windows operating software, or order that the corporation be divided, like Gaul, into three parts, or even demand that Bill Gates's gall be divided into three parts. Just as weddings have music playing, this milestone in Microsoft's devolution should have its own theme: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, or Baby, It's Code Outside, or Joust, My Bill."

—unsigned editorial, "You've got maelstrom," The Globe and Mail, April 8, 2000, p. A16.

“For generations of adults, the simple word-series 'amo, amare, amavi, amatus' used to act as a kind of madeleine, calling to mind long classroom hours spent conjugating Latin verbs (including this one, meaning 'love'), then exploring Gaul in its three parts and eventually trying to puzzle out the syntax of the rugged lines that followed 'Arma virumque cano,' the opening phrase of Virgil's 'The Aeneid.’”

—Michael Poliakoff, “The Ne Plus Ultra of Languages,” The Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2007, p. W12.

"Just as Julius Caesar divided Gaul in three parts, film distributors designate cinema releases into three separate schedules for the year.

"The first four months are dominated by movies primed for the awards season. The May-August period is heavy on blockbusters and franchise films. The last four months mix art and commerce with a new round of potential awards contenders and expensively produced entertainments for the holiday season."

—Michael Dwyer, "2008: Déjà vu again," The Irish Times, December 28, 2007.

"Like Caesar's Gaul, North Rhine-Westphalia is divided into three parts: the rich Rhineland, middling Westphalia and the poor, sooty Ruhr. Except that the Ruhr is no longer quite so poor. Nearly a million jobs have gone since the heyday of coal and steel in the 1950s, but the Ruhr is clawing them back in cleaner businesses. Its growth has outpaced the other two parts of the state from 2001 to 2005. It leads in the creation of jobs paying social-security contributions, says Hanns-Ludwig Brauser of metropoleruhr, a development agency."

—no author listed, "A region revived—The Ruhr," The Economist, June 14, 2008.

"Not ever having taken Latin, I somewhere along the line still was clued in to the fact that all Gaul is divided into three parts. For the purposes of school board elections, all Wake County is divided into nine parts. And that's where things get interesting."

—Steve Ford, "Off to the races for Wake schools," The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), August 2, 2009.

Links

Related on eAlmanac
The First Triumvirate

Beyond eAlmanac
Wikipedia article on the Commentarii de Bello Gallico ("Commentaries on the Gallic War")
Wikipedia article on the Gallic Wars
Wikipedia article on Gaul

Product Links
"The Conquest of Gaul" by Julius Caesar
"The Gallic War" by Julius Caesar

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