Julius Cæsar had issued orders to all the peasants and inhabitants of the Alps and Piedmont,



Julius Cæsar had issued orders to all the peasants and inhabitants of the Alps and Piedmont,

Original French:  Iule Cæſar auoit faict commendement a tous les manens & habitans des Alpes & Piedmont,

Modern French:  Jule Caesar avoit faict commendement à tous les manens & habitans des Alpes & Piedmont,

Some relationship to Piémont, a recurring allusion in these chapters.

Rabelais here relates a story from the Roman architect and military engineer Vitruvius about a tower of larch that could not be burnt.


Le Gouestre

Le Gouestre. Desprez, Recueil de la diversité des habits (1564)
Si as esté au pays de Piedmont,
Par ce pourtrait tu pourras recognoistre,
Qu’en y allant & traversant les Monts
Tu as peu voir de semblable Gouestre.

[Le Gouestre: homme à goître du Piémont ]

Desprez, François (1525-1580), Recueil de la diversité des habits. qui sont de present en usage, tant es pays d’Europe, Asie, Affrique, & Isles sauvages, Le tout fait apres le naturel. Paris: Richard Breton, 1564. f. 043. Bibliothèque National de France: Gallica

Julius Cæsar

Ozell’s note on Cæsar and Larix: “This is taken from Vitruvius l. ii. c ix. Philander, in his Remarks on this Passage of Vitruvius, Venice edition 1557, says, that Being at Venice he had a mind to try whether the Meleze, supposing it to be the Larix of Vitruvius, would withstand the Force of Fire, but found that this pretended Larix, was consumed by it, tho’ at first this Wood seemed to defy the Flame and make it keep it’s distance. Upon which M. le Clerc who had some of the true incombustible Larix, avers, in Art. ii of T. XII of his Biblioteque Choisie, that the Meleze of Philander was not the true Larix. I believe so too, but yet ‘tis certain, by what goes before in Rabelais that our Author took the Meleze for the Larix or incombustible Wood of Vitruvius. In short, the true Larix is not unknown to the Virtuosi of Rome, one of whom sent some of it, not long ago, to Holland, where it is still kept.

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), The Works of Francis Rabelais, M.D. The Third Book. Now carefully revised, and compared throughout with the late new edition of M. Le du Chat. John Ozell (d. 1743), editor. London: J. Brindley, 1737.

Julius Caesar

This story is told by Vitruvius, ii. 9, § 13.

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), The Five Books and Minor Writings. Volume 1: Books I-III. William Francis Smith (1842–1919), translator. London: Alexader P. Watt, 1893. Internet Archive


Anecdote empruntée à la Vie de César de Plutarch. C’est encore par pédantisme que Rabelais met Larignum à l’ablatif, après dedans.

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), Le Tiers Livre. Edition critique. Michael Andrew Screech (1926-2018), editor. Paris-Genève: Librarie Droz, 1964.


[There is no mention of this episode in Plutarch’s Life of Caesar.]

Plutarch (c. 46–120 AD), Caesar. Bernadotte Perrin, translator. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1919. Life of Caesar. Perseus



Posted 2 February 2013. Modified 8 January 2019.

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