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.
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 ]
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.
This story is told by Vitruvius, ii. 9, § 13.
Anecdote empruntée à la Vie de César de Plutarch. C’est encore par pédantisme que Rabelais met Larignum à l’ablatif, après dedans.
[There is no mention of this episode in Plutarch’s Life of Caesar.]