Vercingetorix

Vercingetorix was the eminent leader of a rebellion of the Gauls against the occupation of the country by the Roman legions led by Julius Caesar, whose rebellion was courageous but in the end meaningless.

Birth and origin:

Vercingetorix was born about 82 BC, an exact time is unknown. As son Celtillius he belonged to the noble family of the Arverni and was later prince of the Gallic-Celtic Arverner.

 

Vercingetorix

Vercingetorix

 

 

 

Beginning of the rebellion:

Since 58 BC Caesar's legions invaded Gaul and conquered one area after another. 52 BC He already held most of the country under his control, but had since 54 BC. plague with local unrest.

Early 52. BC. The Karnuten (name for members of a Gallic people) killed Roman businessmen in Orléans who were trading there. This news spread like wildfire and also reached the Arven capital Gergovia.
Vercingetorix then called his followers together to rebel openly against the occupiers, but was expelled from the city by his uncle Gobannitio and his followers, who feared revenge by the Romans. Vercingetorix gathered more followers around him and drove out again his uncle from the city, where he was frenetically celebrated.

Vercingetorix then sent his messengers to the various Gallic tribes, among them the Senones, Parisians and Pictons, who then gave him the supreme command of the resistance and each village had to provide a certain number of soldiers.

Startled by this undertaking, Caesar sent his troops into the Arven territory. Vercingetorix then besieged the city Gorgodina, whose tribe was allied with Rome, but broke the project soon, as Caesar's troops on the way to Gorgodina raided several cities and then besieged Noviodunum Biturigum. In this city, it came to the first meeting of the two armies, at the end of Vercingetorix had to defeat and began the retreat.

 

 

 

The defensive strategy:

After the defeat at Noviodunum Biturigum Vercingetorix realized that he is clearly inferior to the Roman legions in a direct encounter with his soldiers. He then began to change his tactics, which resembled a guerrilla war and should supply the legions.

As Caesar besieged the city of Bourges, the resistance troops settled nearby and continued to try to sabotage the supply. Despite the poor supply, Caesar had his troops build heavy siege equipment and storm the city. According to Caesar, the battle survived only 800 of formerly 40,000 inhabitants. This atrocity in turn made other Gallic tribes move to the side of Vercingetorix and he was able to quickly replenish his earlier losses in his army.

Then Vercingetorix retreated to the heavily fortified capital Gergovia. Caesar left the city to besiege, due to the hill position and strong fortifications, but he could not storm the city and besieged them only. Meanwhile, the Haeduer (also a Gallic tribe) changed sides and broke the alliance with Rome to join Vercingetorix troops. Thus, except for the Remer and Lingons, all Gallic tribes were united under Vercingetorix. By encroachments of the Haeduer on Roman supply cities, Caesar had to break off the siege later.

Contrary to the chosen tactics of Vercingetorix more and more troops of his army pushed for an offensive warfare against the Romans, especially the mounted units were displeased with the defensive strategy. So it came that the army drew on the river Armançon against the Roman legions and suffered a bitter defeat.

The remnants of the army withdrew after the defeat in the city of Alesia, where they entrenched themselves against Caesar's troops. This in turn left the city to besiege far-flung, in which he built ramparts, ditches and fortifications, to be on the one hand against escape attempts as well as against a relief army gewadmet.

 

 

 

The end of Vercingetorix:

After several outbreak attempts and attacks of the relieving army failed under heavy losses, Vercingetorix decided to surrender his troops and have him extradited for mercy to the soldiers of Caesar.

Vercingetorix was then imprisoned for six years and Caesar's quadruple triumph in August or September 46 BC. driven by Rome.
Afterwards he was martyred.

 

Vercingetorix legt seine Waffen Caesar zu Füßen (Historiengemälde von Lionel Royer, 1899)

Vercingetorix puts his weapons at Caesar's feet (history painting by Lionel Royer, 1899)

 

 

 

Interesting to know:
Some historians strongly believe that Vercingetorix served as a template for the later novels of René Goscinny on Asterix and Obelix. The time, the resistance against Rome and also the look of Vercingetorix to Asterix indicate strongly.

 

 

 

 

 

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