Discussion:
Veni? Vidi? Vici?
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Ralph Hancock
2014-10-05 23:06:24 UTC
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Is there any conclusive evidence that Julius Caesar actually said or wrote
'Veni, vidi, vici'? I can find two accounts, both written a century and a
half after the event. Plutarch says only that the words have the same
pattern of endings; you would have expected him to say also that they began
with the same letter:

Καὶ τῆς μάχης ταύτης τὴν ὀξύτητα καὶ τὸ τάχος ἀναγγέλλων εἰς Ῥώμην πρός
τινα τῶν φίλων Μάτιον ἔγραψε τρεῖς λέξεις· „ἦλθον, εἶδον, ἐνίκησα“.
Ῥωμαϊστὶ δ’ αἱ λέξεις, εἰς ὅμοιον ἀπολήγουσαι σχῆμα ῥήματος, οὐκ ἀπίθανον
τὴν βραχυλογίαν ἔχουσιν.
In announcing the swiftness and fierceness of this battle to one of his
friends at Rome, Amantius, Caesar wrote three words: "Came, saw,
conquered." In Latin, however, the words have the same inflectional ending,
and so a brevity which is most impressive.
--- Julius Caesar, 50

Suetonius mentions the actual words, but says they were on a placard:

Pontico triumpho inter pompae fercula trium uerborum praetulit titulum veni
· vidi · vici non acta belli significantem sicut ceteris, sed celeriter
confecti notam.
Amongst the pageantry of the Pontic triumph, a tablet with this inscription
was carried before him: I CAME, I SAW, I CONQUERED; not signifying, as
other mottos on the like occasion, what was done, so much as the dispatch
with which it was done.
--- Suetonius, Julius Caesar, 37

Assuming that Plutarch's account is to be taken literally, what might
Caesar have said other than 'Veni, vidi, vici'? These famous words are so
ingrained in memory that it is hard to think of others that would be
equ

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