I am reading about the history of France and at the beginning of the book it is written the following

" La vie de personnages d'exception revet ici un aspect nouveau,comme celle de Cesar, noble desargente qui decide de conquerir la Gaule pour assurer sa fortune, ou celle de saint Louis, petri de charite chretienne mais imposantle port de la rouelle aux juifs. "

My translation is as following " The life of people except the coated ( I think they refer to people in church) here is new aspect, like Cesar, noble and without money, who decided to conquer Gaulia ( France today) to ensure his fortune, or this to saint Louis, kneading the christianity but imposing the door of the jews."

Not really sure if this is the correct meaning, can someone advise if translation is correct and if possible where to improve?


  • The life of the most familiar figures is depicted here in a strikingly vivid fashion. Such as that of Cesar's, penniless nobleman of better lineage, whose conquest of Gaul was mainly a venture to secure his further wealth against Pompey. Or that of Louis the Saint, at the same time steeped in Christian values and willing to impose the signum on France's Jewish population. Nov 14, 2022 at 5:50
  • The general "vibe" of the text here, is basically: "This is not a boring historians' book, but a meaningful insight in the psychology and intimate motives of remarkable figures" Nov 14, 2022 at 5:54

1 Answer 1

  • aspect : appearance, perspective

  • personnages d'exception : exceptional people

  • revêtir : take on, put on (as clothing)

  • pétri de : full of, puffed up with (i.e. proud of)

  • rouelle : roundel, a piece of fabric in the shape of a gold circle

  • le port de la rouelle : the wearing of the roundel, imposed on Jews by Pope Innocent III to identify them, like the Nazis' yellow Star of David

La vie de personnages d'exception revêt ici un aspect nouveau, comme celle de Cesar, noble désargenté qui décide de conquerir la Gaule pour assurer sa fortune, ou celle de saint Louis, pétri de charité chrétienne mais imposant le port de la rouelle aux juifs.

The lives1 of exceptional people are shown2 here in a new light, like that3 of Caesar, noble yet penniless, who decided to conquer Gaul to assure his fortune, or that of Saint Louis, full of Christian charity yet requiring Jews to wear the roundel.

1 In French you opt for the singular if each person has only one life. In English you opt for the plural if the group as a whole has more than one life.

2 Changed the metaphor for clarity in English. Literally: "take on a new appearance".

3 The syntax of this part is a little awkward in both English and French, because the antecedent of "that" is ambiguous; but at least in French the gender forces you to select la vie.

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