Daily Archives: February 18, 2014

Veni, Vidi, "Video" – Some Useful Videos to Supplement the Teaching of Caesar

Today’s feature article is brought to you by Ruth Breindel.

I teach Caesar’s Gallic Wars in both my second year and AP/Latin 4 classes.  Personally, I love teaching Caesar – the prose is quite straightforward, the action can be intense, and there are many things one can bring up in class about Caesar as an anthropologist, general and diplomat.  As I often tell my students, “Caesar alone was more intelligent than all of us put together.”

There are 3 videos which I use with the classes – 2 for Latin 2 and one for the AP.  Here is where to find them and how to use them!

  1. Veni Vidi Vici  


This video is a humorous look at a little Roman who wants to be a soldier.  He has to go up against the strong, burly soldiers, but with intellect, vicit. It lasts 3 ½ minutes, and is perfect to show at the end of a class when you have about 5 minutes left.

  1. Caesar vs. the Helvetians  



This is a film of my students’ reenactment of the battle in chapters 24-28 or so of Book 1 of the Gallic War.  We have small soldiers, carts, horses and a long corridor to use.  John decided to film it, and then we collaborated with putting music in and the words.  It’s quite eye-catching, and might inspire your students, too.  Every year my students reenact this – it’s a crowd pleaser, and other students will come to see what’s going on; nothing like publicity!

  1. Ambiorix and the Romans


This is a much darker film, which I show to the AP/Latin 4 class after we read Book 5 of the Gallic Wars.  It lasts about 2 ½ minutes.  As a reenactment it is extremely effective, and the scenes of battle, while violent, are done quite carefully.  It gives the students a good sense of the confusion of battle and the ominous nature of being a conquering army going through the woods.  This can lead to excellent discussions:

  • The Romans are the conquerors – on whose side do you stand?
  • How do the Belgae compare with the Americans during the Revolutionary War?
  • How do the Belgae compare with the Vietnamese during the Vietnam War?

I find that videos, used sparingly, have a great impact on students.  They certainly remember what they see and hear, when presented in an emotional context.