Caesar's Civil War, the story of the general's contest with the Pompeian party through nineteen months of civil war, is an unfinished masterpiece. The author abandoned it when he found himself living in a different world than that which saw its commencement. The narrative ends after Pompey's death, amidst the preliminaries to the Alexandrian war that initiated the next phase of the fight for primacy of Rome. The work shows the brilliance for which Caesar's oratory, like his generalship, was known: it was a political judgment, not a literary one, that relegated the Civil War to the file drawer. The primary topics covered in this introductory book are the generic background of Caesar's commentarii or notebooks; his selection of material; the contemporary context of the civil war; the literary techniques that carry the story; and the work's characterization and structure. General aids to the reader include maps to accompany the particular narrative events discussed, a timeline of Caesar's life and the civil war, explanations of technical terms of Roman history, and a section on Roman names and prominent persons of Caesar's time.
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