Jean Duchesne, Les commentaires de César


De Bello Gallico (On the Gallic Wars) and De Bellum Civilii (On the Civil War) are two Latin commentaries written by the Roman dictator and general Julius Caesar (d. 44 BC). They provide an account of his military campaigns in Gaul (a region covering modern day France) and subsequent conflict with his rival Pompey (d. 48 BC) to assert control over the Roman Republic.

During the Middle Ages, there was a sustained interest in the Classical past and the works of Classical authors, poets and historians continued to be read and copied. Caesar’s commentaries were particularly popular, surviving in almost 100 manuscripts from this period. They were also translated into a number of vernacular languages.

This illuminated manuscript is one of nine surviving copies of a French translation of the text written by the scribe Jean Duchesne working in Bruges in the 1480s.  This copy is illustrated with scenes from the text at the beginning of each of the ten books, or chapters into which it was divided. One of these books describes the campaign in Martigny (in modern-day Switzerland), here shown preparing for the arrival of the Roman legions and the evacuation of its people on boats (f. 116v; image no. 1).

Full title:
Jean Duchesne (translator), Les commentaires de César
c. 1480, Bruges
Jean Duchesne
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Egerton MS 1065

Full catalogue details

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