My point --- which I would stand by --- is that Caesar, whatever his merits, does not stand on the highest peak of Latin literature. I agree that he is not purely functional, and in fact I am quite keen on him. But I wouldn't put him in the same bracket as Tacitus or Virgil. As it happens I can't be doing with Horace, but I expect I'm too young. The point I was trying to make, perhaps badly, was that one of the things that makes Latin a relatively hard language is that the slope is not only steep, but high: and unlike a modern language where one has many stopping-off points along the way, there is relatively little that is both worthwhile and easy.Say, Ulpianus, do you propose that Caesar's writing is, for the modern Latinist, merely functional?
I'm a fan of him myself. Brilliant, impeccable Latin, and, really, not hardly as boring as some, who've perhaps read the first few lines only, make it out to be. Take, for instance, this passage, wherein Caesar sheds some light on the Gauls' character as he sees it. Certainly, even if lacking complete veracity, it bespeaks a great sensitivity, almost a sense of humour, and, as always, great writership.
His de rebus Caesar certior factus et infirmitatem Gallorum veritus, quod sunt in consiliis capiendis mobiles et novis plerumque rebus student, nihil his committendum existimavit. Est enim hoc Gallicae consuetudinis, uti et viatores etiam invitos consistere cogant et quid quisque eorum de quaque re audierit aut cognoverit quaerant et mercatores in oppidis vulgus circumsistat quibus ex regionibus veniant quas ibi res cognoverint pronuntiare cogat. His rebus atque auditionibus permoti de summis saepe rebus consilia ineunt, quorum eos in vestigio paenitere necesse est, cum incertis rumoribus serviant et pleri ad voluntatem eorum ficta respondeant.
(and I myself don't too much fancy Horace or Vergil. Tacitus though, indeed, was an excellent writer, although, ei Sallustium antepono. )
Caesar's merits seem to me to be those of simplicity, directness, a sense of "being there" (which, of course, he often was), and as you point out occasional wit. But the wit lacks elegance, the psychological insight is minimal, and the simple directness easily and often becomes monotonous. In the long run, the Gilderoy Lockhart self-importance --- which things having been don, Magical Me, went off and scored a fantastic victory by once again grinding my foes to a pulp by force of Genius --- gets trying, though the ubiquitous suspicion of dishonesty (and the need to guess when and how dishonest it all is) is strangely compelling. In a strange way Caesar's virtues are also his vices; he is the authentic voice of the late Republic in all its glorious self-deception and inspired bad faith. But I can't help feeling that he is, in the end, a parochial writer where Catullus, or Tacitus, or Virgil (or, I readily concede, Sallust) aspire to and sometimes achieve the universal.