Caesar's title for The Gallic Wars is not known for sure. Caesar referred to his writing as res gestae 'deeds/things done' and commentarii 'commentaries', suggesting historical events. In genre it appears to be close to the Anabasis of Xenophon, a hypomnemata 'memory helps' -- like a notebook to be used as reference for later writing. Both Anabasis and the Gallic War commentaries were written in the third person singular, relating historical events, with the intention of sounding objective, and in simple, clear language, so that the Anabasis is often the first continuous prose beginning Greek students face.
In addition to not knowing for sure what Caesar would have considered its proper title, The Gallic Wars is a misleading title. Book 5 has sections on the customs of the British and Book 6 has material on the Germans. There are British expeditions in Books 4 and 6 and German ones in Books 4 and 6.
The downside of the standard reading De bello Gallico during the early years of Latin study is that it is an account of battles, with descriptions of tactics, techniques, and materials that can be hard to understand. There is debate as to whether it is dry. This evaluation depends on whether you can figure out what is going on and visualize the scenes, which in turn depends on your understanding of military tactics in general, and Roman techniques, armies, and weaponry, in particular. The upside is, as Vincent J. Cleary argues in "Caesar's "Commentarii": Writings in Search of a Genre," that Caesar's prose is free of grammatical error, Grecisms, and pedantry, and rarely metaphorical. Cleary also cites Cicero's tribute to Caesar. In his Brutus Cicero says that Caesar's De bello Gallico is the best history ever written.
More on the Gallic Wars
- Winners and Losers and Sequence of the Battles in the Gallic Wars
- De bello Gallico
- Caesar's Gallic Wars Commentaries in English
- Caesar - Life of a Colossus
Battles of the Gallic Wars
- Battle of Bibracte
- Battle of Vosges
- Battle of Sabis (Sambre)
- Gallic Revolts in 54 B.C.
- Revolts Led by Vercingetorix in 52 B.C.
- "Caesar's "Commentarii": Writings in Search of a Genre," by Vincent J. Cleary. The Classical Journal, Vol. 80, No. 4. (Apr. - May, 1985), pp. 345-350.
- "Style in De Bello Civili," by Richard Goldhurst.The Classical Journal, Vol. 49, No. 7. (Apr., 1954), pp. 299-303.
See these resources on Caesar's Gallic War and the Latin AP Exam - Caesar
- AP Latin Prose - Caesar
- De Bello Gallico Overview
- Caesar E-texts
- What Is Gaul?
- Gallic Revolt
- Caesar's Gallic War - The Battles Winners and Losers