Reading Caesar‘s books on the Gallic Wars, which are focused in “Gaul” – largely France, Belgium, and Switzerland, tides on the Atlantic coast not only surprised him but caused changes in ship design and tactics. You see, tides on the Mediterranean are only a few centimeters compared with 7 meters or more (about 23 feet) on the coast of Britain and with similar variations on the Atlantic coast of France.
What is amazing is how quickly Caesar adapts tactics, redesigns ships in an attempt to deal with this change in sea levels without having the slightest clue what the cause is. He reports a near disaster in his first trip to Britain, but leaves the impression that the Romans were successful at least inasmuch as they didn’t lose very many troops and the enemy fled away from them and offered disingenuous terms. A year later, however, he returned and his redesigned fleet still suffered losses due to the tidal variations and the famous storms of the region.
That which he doesn’t editorialize upon, given that these books were reports to Rome and therefore highly political, is striking. Caesar doesn’t blame others for his miscalculations. True, he minimizes the sting however not the accurate extent of the damage. No, he admits the problems and writes what he did about them.
What an amazing world we could have if people would learn this wise trait, and admit what the problems are while also offering their best solutions. This is what wisdom is all about. It’s also how truth sets us free. The one truth that Rome never understood, and the truth with which we still struggle, the all are created equal.