Voices of the enemy
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According to his contemporaries and critics, Julius Caesar was an eminent orator. Despite the lack of any extant orations written by Caesar, however, one may gain insight into CaesarÕs rhetorical ability in his highly literary commentaries, especially the De Bello Gallico. Throughout this work, Caesar employs oratio obliqua (and less frequently oratio recta) to animate his characters and give them Òvoices.Ó Moreover, the individuals to whom he most frequently assigns such vivid speeches are his opponents. By endowing his adversaries in his Commentarii with the power of speech (with exquisite rhetorical form, no less), Caesar develops consistent characterizations throughout the work. Consequently, the portrait of self-assured, unification-minded Gauls emerges. Serving as foils to CaesarÕs own character, these Gauls sharpen the contrast between themselves and Caesar and therefore serve to elevate CaesarÕs status in the minds of his reader.