THE SEVENTH YEAR OF THE WAR: 52 B.C: THE WAR WITH VERCINGETORIX
Book VII of Caesar's "Gallic War", which has ninety chapters, is by far the longest of the eight books of which this work is composed. At the same time, because it includes the record of the pan-Gallic uprising led by Vercingetorix, which for a time appeared to put at risk all Caesar's previous conquests, it provides an exciting account of the most critical campaign during his years as proconsul in Gaul. The final part of the book - Chapters 69-89 - deals with the decisive battle around the hill-town of Alesia, in which a heavily outnumbered Roman army of 70,000, although caught between a Gallic army of 80,000 besieged in Alesia and an army of up to 260,000 coming to their relief, eventually triumphs and completely defeats and breaks Vercingetorix and his rebels. Although some mopping up operations are necessary in the following year, 52. B.C. is thus the decisive date in the process by which the Celtic tribes of Gaul became Romanised. Yet, if Caesar and his army had been defeated at Alesia, which at one stage in the battle appeared to be a likely outcome, it is possible that this could have been one of most disastrous defeats in the history of the Roman Republic, and Caesar's reputation as an invincible general, on which his future career was based, would have been damaged, probably irreparably.
Book VII is also significant in that it highlights both Caesar's strengths and weaknesses as a general. To look at his weaknesses first, the most striking thing is Caesar's almost total lack of interest in careful prior planning for the campaigns which he fought. One might think that his constant references in his works to the "res frumentaria", i.e. the commissariat or corn supply, implies that Caesar gave a high priority to the organisation of this key aspect of campaigning. The truth is in fact quite the opposite. Caesar's armies were rarely adequately fed. In Gaul Caesar left the commissariat largely in the hands of allied tribes, especially the Aedui, despite the fact that their commitment to such support was often lukewarm. In Chapter 17 Caesar specifically mentions the Aedui's negligence in supplying the army with corn, and offers to discontinue the siege of Avaricum if the troops were suffering too much from the resulting scarcity. Another weakness was his total failure to train cavalry. For cavalry, Caesar was mainly dependent on his Gallic allies, the quality of which was not high, and the number of these, rarely more than 4,000, was scarcely adequate. At times these deficiences placed his army at serious risk. His near defeat by the Nervii at the River Sambre in 57 B.C. had been the result of his cavalry's failure to discover the whereabouts of the enemy. The same happened again in 52 B.C. when Caesar's army on column of route to Alesia was surprised near Dijon by Vercingetorix's cavalry, and if the latter had been more resolute themselves the consequences could have been dire for the Romans. After the Aedui and the Arverni had joined the insurrection, Caesar's ability to rely on Gallic cavalry effectively ceased and he had to resort to the desperate expedient of sending for cavalry reinforcements from those German tribes beyond the Rhine whom he had successfully pacified in previous campaigns (see Chapter 65 below). Fortunately for Caesar, these German horsemen proved very effective. Their successful skirmishes against Gallic cavalry in the early stages of the siege of Alesia was no doubt a contributory factor in Vercingetorix's decision to send away all his cavalry from Alesia before the ring of contravallation was closed. This decision proved disastrous for Vercingetorix and the Gauls, as it enabled the Romans to conduct foraging expeditions unchallenged, and thus maintain the blockade of Alesia for longer than would otherwise have been possible. However, if Caesar had been unable to recruit these German cavalry auxiliaries, the consequences could have been very serious indeed, and his effective dependence on foreign horsemen at all stages of his Gallic campaign was undoubtedly a serious weakness. Another weakness of Caesar was his tendency to divide his army and then to seek to achieve strategic targets for which he was inadequately equipped with men. His decision to detach four legions under the command of Labienus for operations against the Senones and the Parisii (see Chapter 57) was a significant factor behind Caesar's set back at Gergovia, when 750 men were lost. The presence of these four legions in addition to the seven already there, could have led to a different outcome at Gergovia. Furthermore, Labienus' force of four legions was itself at considerable risk, as Caesar himself acknowledges (see Chapter 56), and but for the tactical acumen of Labienus could have got into serious difficulties in the circumstances of a general insurrection. The only other serious defeat suffered by Caesar during his military career, that at Dyrrachium in 48 B.C. during the Civil War, also resulted from his prior detachment of two legions and 500 cavalry under Domitius Calvinus to operate against Metellus Scipio. Once again the presence of these troops might have led to defeat being avoided.
However, despite these serious weaknesses in his profile as a general, Caesar's record of almost unbroken success in Gaul from 58 to 51 and later during the Civil War from 49 to 45 testifies to his remarkable qualities as a military leader. Two tributes to him are quoted below. The first is from the introduction to "Caesar: The Conquest of Gaul", translated by S.A. Handford, Penguin Classics, 1951: "Caesar's own contribution was that of a superb tactician and military leader. No man ever knew better how to surprise and baffle his opponents by speed of movement, or how to snatch victory out of a battle that was very nearly a defeat by throwing in reserves at just the right place and the right time. No man ever won greater respect or more affectionate loyalty from his troops. For eight years of hard fighting, hard digging, and hard living, they gave him everything he asked of them" (p. 22). The second quotation comes from "Julius Caesar, man, soldier, and tyrant", by Major-General J.F.C. Fuller, Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1965: "As a leader of men Caesar stood head and shoulders above the generals of his day, and it is more as a fighting than as a thinking soldier that his generalship has been judged ... First, it must be borne in mind that normally the battles of his day were parallel engagements in which the aim was to exhaust and then to penetrate the enemy's front. They were methodical operations in which, when both sides were similarly trained and organized, success depended largely on superiority of numbers. Caesar modified these tactics by basing his campaigns, not on superiority of numbers and meticulous preparations but on celerity and audacity. By surprising his opponent he caught him off-guard, and got him so thoroughly rattled that either he refused his challenge to fight and in consequence lost his prestige, or, should he respond, was morally half-beaten before the engagement took place" (p. 321). Another cause of his success was the confidence which his men had in him. This is demonstrated in the aftermath of the defeat at Gergovia, when Caesar lectures his soldiers for disobeying his orders (See Chapter 52 below). The implicit message of Caesar's speech was that the Roman army might not always be victorious, but that Caesar himself was invincible. This was certainly the message which Caesar wished to convey in his despatches to Rome, and his soldiers believed it.
In Book VII, it is at the siege of Alesia, that these extraordinary qualities of Caesar are best exemplified. His plan to build two parallel lines of entrenchment around Alesia, the eleven mile line of contravallation to blockade Alesia and the fourteen mile line of circumvallation to defend the besieging Roman army from the vast Gallic relief force that had been raised, was in itself almost unprecedented and the execution of the plan by Caesar's legionaries equally remarkable. While the loving detail with which Caesar describes the diabolical refinements with which these entrenchments were equipped, viz. the lily, the pit, the spurs, the staghorn, the boundary markers (see Chapters 72-73), reflect the Romans' delight in the practical skills of their engineers, there can be no doubt that these defensive techniques were crucial in allowing an army of around 70,000 to hold successfully at bay opposing forces totalling around 340,000. But, in the end the sheer determination and courage of Caesar's eleven veteran legions, their skills honed to perfection by seven years of hard campaigning, were decisive. As at the battle of the Sambre, Caesar's personal appearance in the battle at the moment of crisis on the upper fortifications inspires his men to almost superhuman effort, and his masterly ploy in sending his cavalry force to take the Gauls in the rear is the decisive factor in breaking the resolve of the Gauls to maintain the struggle.
Book VII also contains a number of features which raise questions in the minds of the reader, which are not easy to resolve. Throughout the book Caesar treats Vercingetorix with considerable respect and portrays him as a worthy protagonist. Whether this respect is genuine or is manufactured in order to increase the credit of his final victory, is not, however, clear. At the same time he appears to know a great deal about both Vercingetorix's motivation, as well as about his actions and decisions. But it is not clear whether this knowledge stems from the direct evidence of witnesses, including perhaps that of Vercingetorix himself after his capture, or whether it is conjecture. Nor does Caesar mention his ultimate fate. Tradition has it that Vercingetorix was required to march in Caesar's Gallic War triumph in 46 B.C., after which he was strangled in the Tullianum, the customary treatment of such prisoners of war at the culmination of a triumph. Admirers of Caesar, aware of his much vaunted policy of clemency during the Civil War, struggle to reconcile this brutal treatment of Vercingetorix with his apparent respect for him as displayed in Book VII. It has been pointed out that the only source we actually have for Vercingetorix's execution is Cassius Dio, writing at the beginning of the Third Century A.D., and that a number of his other charges of cruelty against Caesar, where these can be compared with the statements of others, appear to be untrue. Perhaps, then, Caesar may have spared Vercingetorix's life, as the Emperor Claudius was to do in 51 A.D. in the case of the British leader Caractacus. Another related issue is the apparent understanding that Caesar shows for the desire of the Gauls to maintain or recover their former independence, and his readiness to put into the mouths of barbarian speech-makers some sharp criticisms of the Romans and their tyrannical intentions. This motif is evident in a number of passages in the "Gallic Wars", and indeed is a familiar one in later Roman historians. The most renowned example of this is perhaps the speech, which Tacitus, prior to the battle of Mons Graupius in Perthshire in 83 A.D. puts into the mouth of the Caledonian chief Calgacus, who famously declared of the Romans, "Robbery, butchery, rapine, the liars call Empire; they create a desolation and call it peace" (Tacitus' "Agricola", Ch. 30). In Book VII such sentiments are also reflected in the long speech of Critognatus (see Chapter 77 below), who after advocating cannibalism as preferable to the surrender of Alesia, asks, "But what else do the Romans seek or what else do they want, except, induced by envy, to settle in the lands and states of those whom they know by reputation to be noble and powerful in war?" It is not clear how far, if at all, Caesar's apparent understanding of, and sympathy with the desire of his antagonists for freedom is genuine, or whether such sentiments are included simply to magnify respect for his opponents, and thus to magnify the credit for their eventual defeat, or alternatively are included to entertain the reader through the pathos which such statements may engender. Another question which arises is the amount of text Caesar devotes to cataloguing the treachery of his former allies, the Aedui, in Chapters 5, 17, 37-40, 42-43 and 54-55. In view of Caesar's previous reaction to disloyalty or treachery- for instance he had flogged Acco, the Senonian chieftain, to death in 53 B.C. - one might have expected condign punishment to have been meted out to the Aedui, particularly in view of their massacre of the garrison at the Romans' baggage depot of Noviodunum, (see Chapter 55). The disloyalty of their leaders Convictolitavis, Litaviccus, Eporedorix and Viridomarus was flagrant, and in the context of the extremely favourable treatment which this tribe had received from Caesar (see Chapter 54), and the trouble which he takes to spell out the extent of their deceit and ingratitude in the chapters just mentioned, it is perhaps surprising that he treats them and their main co-conspirators, Vercingetorix's own tribe, the Arverni, with such mildness after the end of the action at Alesia (see Chapters 89-90), especially when the men from the other tribes, who had owed less to the Romans in the first place, should have been enslaved at once. Perhaps Caesar had realised that his merciless treatment of Acco had been counter-productive, and it is possible that his famous policy of clemency stems from this moment. Certainly he was to find that his generous treatment of both the Bituriges and the Bellovaci (see Book VIII) was to lead to substantial dividends in respect of pacification.
Sabidius has written of Caesar's qualities as a writer in the introductions to other books of this work which he has translated. No repetition is required here. Having said that, Book VII is full of instances of the ablative absolute (these are all underlined in the translation below), gerundives and impersonal passives, which are the constructions most difficult to translate in a literal form into English. It is interesting that, while in Book II Caesar uses a period of 118 words, with a gradually rising crescendo of tension, when he is describing the action at the battle of the Sambre, he adopts a very different approach in Book VII when describing the engagement at Alesia (see Chapters 84-88 in particular). Note the vividness and power of the descriptive passages, the short quick sentences, the freshness and vigour created by the absence of connective conjunctions, and the rapidity of the whole composition. Please note too that in his translation below Sabidius indicates Latin main verbs in the narrative by the use of italics.
The text used for this translation is "Caesar: Gallic War VII", edited by the Rev. John Bond, M.A. and Arthur S. Walpole, M.A., in the Elementary Classics series, Macmillan & Co., 1887. In his translation Sabidius has taken account of the notes attached to this text, and also those of J.B. Greenhough et al., to their edition of "Caesar's Gallic War", Ginn & Company, 1898.
Chapter 1. A new rising planned.
Gaul (being) at peace, Caesar sets out for Italy, as he had determined, in order to hold the provincial assizes (lit. for the purpose of the provincial assizes being held). There he learns about the killing of (Publius) Clodius (Pulcher) and, having been informed of the decree of the Senate (to the effect) that all the men of military age in (lit. all the younger men of) Italy should take the military oath together, he began to hold a levy throughout the (lit. in the whole) province. These events are rapidly reported to Transalpine Gaul. On their own account, the Gauls add to the rumours and invent what the situation seemed to require, (namely) that Caesar was detained by the disturbance in the City and that amidst such great discords he could not come to his army. Urged on by this opportunity, inasmuch as they were already lamenting that they (had been) subjected to the sovereignty of the Roman people before (these events had occurred), they begin to hatch (lit. form) plots more freely and more daringly. The chieftains of Gaul, meetings having been arranged between themselves in woods and in remote spots, complain about the death of Acco; they point out that this fate could fall upon themselves, and they bewail the common plight (lit. fortune) of Gaul; by all kinds of promises and rewards they demand that some (tribe) should commence hostilities (lit. make a beginning of war) and even at the risk of their own lives that they should champion the freedom of Gaul. In the first place they say that means had (lit. were needing) to be devised so that Caesar should be cut off from his army before their secret plans were divulged. (They said) that this was easy because neither would the legions dare, in the absence of their general (lit. their general [being] absent), to leave their winter-quarters, nor could the general reach the legions without a guard. Finally, (they said) that it was better to be slain on the battle-field than not to recover that ancient renown in war which they had received from their ancestors.
Chapter 2. The Carnutes offer to begin the uprising.
These matters having been deliberated, the Carnutes declare that they would decline no danger for the sake of the common safety, and promise that they would be the first of all to make war, and, since they cannot in the present (circumstances) take precautions by means of hostages between themselves, in order that the affair should not be divulged, they ask that there there should be an assurance (lit. that it be assured) by oath and pledged word, their military standards having been brought together, by which custom their most solemn rituals are made binding, that, when they commenced hostilities (lit. the beginning of the war having been made), they should not be deserted by the rest (of the Gauls). Then, the Carnutes having been applauded, the oath having been given by all who were present, (and) a date for their enterprise having been agreed, they depart (lit. it is departed) from the council.
Chapter 3. The Carnutes massacre some Romans at Cenabum.
When that day came, the Carnutes with Gutruatus and Conconnetodumnus (as) leaders, (both) desperate men, at a given signal (lit. the signal having been given), rush at Cenabum (i.e. Orlearns) and kill the Roman citizens who had settled there for the purpose of trading, among them Gaius Fufius Cita, an honourable Roman knight, who by order of Caesar was in charge of the corn supply, and plunder their property. The news (of this) is speedily conveyed to all the states of Gaul. For, whenever quite an important or quite a remarkable event has occurred, they indicate (this) through their fields and districts by a shout; the others take this up in turn and pass (it) on to their neighbours, as happened on this occasion. For, although these things had been done at Cenabum at sunrise (lit. with the sun rising), they were heard about before the first watch had been (lit. having been) completed (i.e. between 9.00 and 10.00 p.m.) in the lands of the Arverni (i.e. Auvergne), which is a distance of around a hundred and sixty miles (lit. thousand paces).
Chapter 4. Vercingetorix the Arvernian.
There (i.e. in Auvergne) in like manner Vercingetorix, the son of Celtillus, a young men of the highest influence, whose father had held the chieftainship of the whole of Gaul and had been put to death by his state on account of this reason, because he had aimed at the kingship, his dependants having been called together, easily fired (them) up. His design having been made known, there is a rush (lit. it is rushed) to arms. He is hindered by his uncle Gobannitio and the other chiefs who were not of the opinion that this course of action (lit. fortune) should be attempted, (and) he is expelled from Gergovia; however he does not give up (lit. desist) but in the fields he holds a levy of the destitute and the desperate. This band (of men) having been gathered together, he brings over to his way of thinking whomsoever he approaches from his state; he exhorts (them) to take up arms on behalf of the general freedom, and, large forces having been assembled, he drives out of the state his opponents, by whom he had been expelled a short time before. He is called king by his (followers). He sends out ambassadors in every direction; he entreats (them) to remain in their loyalty (to him). He quickly attaches to himself the Senones, the Parisii, the Pictones, the Cadurci, the Turoni, the Aulerci, the Lemovices, the Andi, and all the other (tribes) who border on the Ocean. The supreme command is bestowed upon him with the consent of all. This authority having been conferred (on him), he demands hostages from all these states, he orders a fixed number of soldiers to be sent to him quickly, he determines how many arms each state should furnish at home, and by when (lit. before what time); he pays especial attention to the cavalry. To the utmost diligence, he adds the utmost severity of authority; he compels the wavering by the magnitude of his punishment. For, a greater crime having been committed, he kills (the perpetrators) by fire and every kind of torture, (and) for a slighter cause he sends (them) home with their ears cut off or with one of their eyes gouged out, so that they may be an example to the rest, and terrify the others by the magnitude of their punishment.
Chapter 5. Doubtful conduct of the Aedui. The Bituriges join the Arverni.
An army having been speedily gathered by these punishments, he sends Lucterius of the Cadurci, a man of the utmost daring, with part of his forces into (the territories of) the Ruteni; he himself sets out for (the lands of) the Bituriges. On his arrival, the Bituriges send envoys to the Aedui, under whose protection they were, to ask for help, so that (lit. whereby) they could the more easily withstand the forces of the enemy. The Aedui (acting) on the advice of the deputies, whom Caesar had left with the army, send forces of cavalry and infantry in aid to the Bituriges. When they came to the river Loire, which separates the Bituriges from the Aedui, having delayed for a few days and not daring to cross the river, they return home and report to our deputies that they had returned, because they feared (lit. fearing) the treachery of the Bituriges, whom they had learned had this plan (lit. to whom they had learned that there was this plan), that, if they should cross the river, they themselves on the one side, and the Arverni on the other, would surround them. Because it is not at all clear to us whether they did this for the reason which they gave out to our deputies, or having been induced by treachery, it does not seem proper that it should (lit. that it was needing to) be definitely stated as certain. On their departure, the Bituriges join themselves at once with the Arverni.
Chapter 6. Caesar is perplexed.
These events having been reported to Caesar in Italy, at a time when he understood that matters in the City had arrived at a more advantageous state through the vigour of Gnaeus Pompeius (Magnus), he sets out for Transalpine Gaul. When he arrived there, he was greatly at a loss (lit. he was affected by a great difficulty) (as to) by what means he could reach his army. For, if he should summon the legions into the province, he realised that they would have to fight battles on the journey in his absence (lit. with him [being] absent); if he himself should strive to (reach) the army, he saw that his own safety would not be properly entrusted, even to those who, at that time, seemed (to be) at peace (lit. pacified).
Chapter 7. Caesar goes to Narbo.
In the meantime, Lucterius of the Cadurci, having been sent into (the territories of) the Ruteni, wins over that state to the Arverni. Advancing into (the lands of) the Nitiobriges and the Gabali, he receives hostages from both (tribes) and, a great band (of men) having been gathered together, he endeavours to make a sally into the Province in the direction of Narbo. This circumstance having been reported (to him), Caesar deemed that to set out for Narbo should take precedence over (lit. was needing to be put in front of) all of his plans. When he arrives there, he encourages the fearful, he stations garrisons in the (lands of) Ruteni of the Province, the Volscae, the Arecomici, (and) the Tolosates, and around Narbo, which places were adjacent to the enemy, (and) he orders part of the forces from the Province and the supplementary levy, which he had brought from Italy, to come together in (the lands of) the Helvii, which border upon the territories of the Arverni.
Chapter 8. Caesar crosses the Cevennes. Vercingetorix moves southwards.
These things having been arranged, Lucterius having now been checked and kept at a distance, because he thought (it) dangerous to enter within (the line of) the garrisons, he (i.e. Caesar) sets out for (the lands of) the Helvii. Although Mount Cevenna (i.e. the Cevennes range), which separates the Arverni from the Helvii, was blocking their route with very deep snow at this most severe time of year, yet the snow six feet in depth having been cleared and the roads thus opened up by the utmost exertion of his soldiers, he reached (the territories of) the Arverni. These people having been caught off their guard, because they thought themselves fortified by (Mount) Cevenna, as by a wall, and that the paths had not ever been open at this time of year even to a solitary wayfarer (lit. man), he (i.e. Caesar) orders the cavalry to patrol as widely as they can and to inflict as much terror as possible on the enemy. These (tidings) are speedily conveyed to Vercingetorix by rumour and by messengers; panic-stricken, all the Arverni surround him and beseech (him) to take care of their property and not to allow themselves to be plundered by the enemy, especially when he can see that the whole war has been transferred in their direction (lit. against them). Influenced by their entreaties, he moves his camp from (the territory) of the Bituriges (and) in the direction of (lit. turned towards) the Arverni.
Chapter 9. Vercingetorix besieges Gorgobina.
But Caesar, having delayed in this location for two days, because he had anticipated that these things would turn out (so) in practice for Vercingetorix, leaves the army on the pretext of the supplementary levy and the cavalry being assembled, and puts the young (Decimus Junius) Brutus in command of these forces; he instructs him that the cavalry should deploy in all directions as widely as possible: (he says) that he would endeavour (lit. would give [himself] the task) not to be absent from the camp for longer than three days. These matters having been arranged, he reaches Vienna (i.e. Vienne) by the longest marches which he can (manage), with his (men) not expecting (him). Obtaining there fresh cavalry, which he had sent on to that place several days previously, his march having been interrupted neither by day nor by night, he hastens through (the territories of) the Aedui into (the lands of) the Lingones, where two legions were in winter-quarters, so that, if even any plan concerning his own safety had been formed by the Aedui, he would forestall (it) by the rapidity (of his movements). When he arrived there, he sends (word) to the rest of the legions and gathers (them) all into one place, before the news of his arrival could be reported to the Arverni (lit. before it could be reported to the Arverni about his arrival). This circumstance having been learned of, Vercingetorix leads his army back again into (the lands of) the Bituriges and, setting out thence for Gorgobina, a town of the Boii, whom, after they had (lit. having) been defeated in the Helvetian War, Caesar had settled there and made tributary to the Aedui, he began to attack (it).
Chapter 10. Caesar determines to relieve Gorgobina.
This action brought great difficulty to Caesar in the way of a plan (of campaign) being adopted, (as he was afraid) that, if he should confine his legions in one place, during the remaining part of the winter, the whole of Gaul should revolt, when the tributaries of the Aedui were reduced (lit. the tributaries of the Aedui having been reduced; (on the other hand he was afraid) that, if he were to withdraw (them) from their winter-quarters too early, he should be troubled by difficult conveyancing (arrangements) in respect of the corn supply. Nonetheless, it seemed (to him) preferable to endure to the end every hardship than to alienate the good-will of all of his (friends), so great a disgrace having been accepted. So, exhorting the Aedui with regard to provisions being supplied, he sends (word) to the Boii to inform (them) of his coming and to encourage (them) to remain (firm) in their allegiance, and to withstand the enemy's attack with great resolution. Two legions and the baggage of the whole army having been left at Agedincum (i.e. Sens), he sets out for (the territories) of the Boii.
Chapter 11. On the way he besieges Vellaunodunum.
On the next day, when he came to Vellaunodunum, a town of the Senones, he began to attack (it), in order that he should not leave any of the enemy behind him, (and) so that (lit. whereby) he might the more readily make use of his corn supply, and in two days he had surrounded (it) with a rampart; on the third day, envoys having been sent from the town (to talk) about surrender, he orders their arms to be collected, their pack animals to be brought forth, (and) six hundred hostages to be given. To complete these (matters), he leaves Gaius Trebonius. He himself, in order to make his march as soon as possible, sets out for Cenabum, (a town) of the Carnutes; they, the news about the siege of Vellaunodunum having then been brought (to them) for the first time, as they thought that this business would turn out to be conducted over a longer time, were preparing a garrison to (lit. which they would) send there with the purpose of Cenabum being defended. He arrives here in two days. His camp having been pitched before the town, (but) having been prevented by the time of day, he defers his attack to the next (day), he orders whatever was of use for that enterprise (to be prepared), and, fearing that, because the bridge over the river Loire extended to (lit. touched) the town of Cenabum, they might escape from the town at night, he orders two legions to keep watch under arms. The people of Cenabum, coming out from the town in silence a little before midnight, began to cross the river. This occurrence having been reported (to him) by his scouts, Caesar, the gates having been set on fire, sends in the legions which he had ordered to be at the ready, and gains possession of the town, (and) all but a very few in the number of the enemy having escaped (lit. having been missed), were captured, because the narrowness of the bridge and the roads had prevented (lit. cut off) the multitude's escape. He plunders and burns the town, and gives the booty to his soldiers, and he leads his army over the Loire and so arrives in the territory of the Bituriges.
Chapter 12. Vercingetorix leaves Gorgobina and delays the capitulation of Noviodunum.
Vercingetorix, when he had he had learned of Caesar's arrival, abandoned (lit. desisted from) the siege and sets out to meet Caesar. He (i. e. Caesar) had begun to attack Noviodunum, a stronghold of the Bituriges, located on his route. When envoys came to him from this town to beg (him) to pardon them and to spare (lit. take care of) their lives, he, in order that he might complete the rest of his designs with that rapidity with which he had accomplished (lit. followed up) most of them, orders their arms to be collected, their pack-horses to be brought forth, (and) hostages to be given. A part of the hostages having now been given up, when the rest (of the terms) were being carried out, some centurions and a few soldiers having been sent inside to look for the arms and the pack-horses, the enemy's cavalry, which had outstripped Vercingetorix's main column, was seen in the distance. As soon as the townspeople beheld this, and so entertained (lit. came into) the hope of assistance, a shout having been raised, they began to take up arms, to shut the gates and to man the wall. When the centurions in the town realised from the signalling of the Gauls that some new design was being formed, their swords having been drawn, they seized the gates and withdrew all their men safely.
Chapter 13. Noviodunum yields a little later. Then Caesar starts for Avaricum.
Caesar orders the cavalry to be drawn out of the camp, (and) engages in a cavalry battle; his men being now in trouble, he sends in their support about four hundred German horsemen, whom he had resolved at the beginning to keep with himself. The Gauls could not withstand their charge, and, having been put to flight, retreated (lit. betook themselves) to their main column, many men having been lost, These men having been utterly routed, the townspeople, panic-stricken once more, brought to Caesar those men by whose efforts they considered the common people had been aroused, (and whom they had) seized, and they surrendered themselves to him. These things having been accomplished, Caesar set out for the town of Avaricum (i.e. Bourges), which was the largest and most highly fortified (stronghold) in the territories of the Bituriges, and in a most fertile area of the country, because he felt sure that, this town having been recovered, he would bring the state of the Bituriges back into his power.
Chapter 14. Vercingetorix's speech to his men.
So many successive setbacks having been received at Vellaunodunum, at Cenabum, (and) at Noviodunum, Vercingetorix summoned his men to a council. He tells (them) that the war should (lit. was needing to) be prosecuted in a manner very different from (what) had been adopted previously. By all means it was necessary for this matter to be attended to (lit. it was needing to be attended to in respect of this matter), (that is) that the Romans should be prevented from foraging and (getting) supplies. That this was easy, because they themselves were well supplied with cavalry and because they were assisted by the time of year. That the forage could not be cut; that the enemy, having been scattered by necessity, would look for (it) in storehouses; that all these (enemy detachments) could be daily destroyed by their cavalry. Furthermore, the interests of private property must be sacrificed (lit. neglected) for the sake of the (common) good (lit. safety): that it was necessary that the villages and storehouses should be burned in every direction to such a distance from the route as they (i.e. the Romans) seemed able to penetrate (lit. get to) for the sake of foraging. That an abundance of these things could be supplied to themselves, because they would be assisted by the resources of those in whose territories the war would be waged; that the Romans either would not endure the shortage, or would advance further from the camp (only) with considerable danger; and that it did not matter whether they slew them or stripped (them) of their baggage, (as) if this were lost (lit. this having been lost, the war could not be waged. Moreover, that it was necessary for their towns to be burned, which were not secure from every danger by fortification and by the nature of their position, lest they should be a refuge for their own men for the purpose of military service being shirked, or they should be exposed to the Romans for the purpose of an abundance of supplies and booty being seized. That, if these (sacrifices) should seem too heavy or too bitter, they should consider it much more grievous that their children and their wives should be dragged off into slavery (and) themselves slain, (something) which would inevitably happen to the conquered.
Chapter 15. The Gauls decide not to burn, but to defend, Avaricum.
This view having been approved by the consent of all, more than twenty towns of the Bituriges are burned in one day. This same thing happens in the other states. Fires were to be seen in all directions; though everyone endured these with great regret, yet they offered themselves this consolation, that they felt sure that they would speedily recover all they had lost (lit. the things having been lost) by a well-nigh assured victory. There is a debate (lit. it is deliberated) about Avaricum in the general council, (whether) it was right for it to be burned or defended. The Bituriges throw themselves at the feet of all the Gauls, (begging) that they should not be compelled to set fire with their own hands to the most beautiful city in almost the whole of Gaul, which was a protection and an ornament to the state; they say that they could easily defend (it) owing to the nature of its position, inasmuch as, having been surrounded on every side by a river and a marsh, it has one entrance, and a very narrow (one at that). Leave was granted to (those who were) requesting (it), Vercingetorix at first dissuading (them), (but) afterwards conceding, owing both to their prayers and to compassion for the multitude. Suitable defenders are chosen for the town.
Chapter 16. Vercingetorix encamps sixteen miles away.
Vercingetorix follows Caesar by shorter marches, and selects for his camp a location, defended by marshes and woods, sixteen miles (lit. thousand paces) distant from Avaricum. There he learned through his regular scouts what was going on at Avaricum from hour to hour (lit. in respect of [every] single hour of the day), and (then) he ordered what he wished to be done. He kept under observation all our foraging and corn-supplying (expeditions), and, whenever they were obliged to advance (lit. they advanced of necessity) too far, he attacked (them when they were thus) dispersed and caused them great losses (lit. and affected [them] with great inconvenience), although in so far as skilful planning could provide (against this danger) (lit. as it could be provided [against] by strategy), it was met by our men in such a way that they went (lit. it was gone) at uncertain times and by different routes.
Chapter 17. Difficulty about supplies, and distress of the Romans.
His camp having been pitched at that side of the town, which, having been left free by the river and by the marsh, had a narrow approach, as we have said above, Caesar begins to prepare a rampart, to bring up mantlets, and to construct two towers; for, the nature of of the place prevented circumvallation. He did not cease to urge on the Boii and the Aedui concerning the corn-supply; of these, one (i.e. the Aedui), because they were acting with no zeal, did not help (him) much, the other (i.e. the Boii), their resources not (being) great, because their state was small and weak, swiftly consumed what they had. The army having been embarrassed by (lit. having been affected with the utmost difficulty in) its corn-supply, through the indigence of the Boii, the slackness of the Aedui, and the burning of the store-houses to such a point that the soldiers lacked corn for several days and satisfied (lit. supported) their extreme hunger with cattle driven from the more remote villages, yet no voice was heard unworthy of the majesty of the Roman people and their previous victories. Moreover, when Caesar addressed each of the legions at work, and said that he would raise (lit. give up) the siege, if they were suffering from the scarcity too bitterly, they unanimously begged him not to do that: (they said) that they had served for several years under his command (lit. with him commanding), that they had not received any failure (lit. disgrace), and had, in no instance, departed with the task unaccomplished (lit. having been begun); that they would regard it in the light (lit. place) of a disgrace, if they were to abandon the siege (once it had been) begun; that it was better to endure every hardship than not (to) avenge the Roman citizens who had perished at Cenabum owing to the treachery of the Gauls. They entrusted these same (opinions) to the centurions and military tribunes, so that they might be communicated to Caesar.
Chapter 18. A battle imminent.
When the towers had now approached the wall, Caesar discovered from captives that Vercingetorix, his forage having been exhausted, had pitched his camp nearer to Avaricum, and that he himself with his cavalry and the lightly-armed men who were accustomed to fight among the horsemen, had set out for the purpose of (laying) an ambush in that place whither he thought that our men would come the next day to forage. These things having been learned about, (and) having set out in silence in the middle of the night, he reached the enemy's camp (early) in the morning. They, Caesar's arrival having been quickly learned about through scouts, hid their wagons and baggage in the thickest (parts of) the woods, (and) drew up all their forces in a high and open position. This action having been reported (to him), Caesar quickly ordered their packs to be piled together, and their arms to be got ready (for action).
Chapter 19. Strong position of the Gauls.
There was a hill, sloping gently upwards from the bottom. A marsh, difficult (to cross) and awkward, (but) not broader than fifty feet, surrounded it on almost every side. The Gauls, the causeways having been broken down, established themselves on this hill, trusting in the strength of the position (lit. with a trust in the position), and, having been drawn up by tribes [in accordance with their states], they held all the fords and wooded passages [of that marsh], so resolved (lit. ready in mind) that, if the Romans should try to break through that marsh, they would overwhelm (them) from their higher position (while they were) struggling (lit. sticking) (in the morass), so that whoever saw the nearness of the position would imagine (them) ready for fighting almost on an equal footing (lit. in almost equal battle), (but) whoever carefully observed the inequality of the conditions would realise that they were making a display of an empty pretence. Caesar points out to his soldiers, indignant that the enemy could endure the sight of them with so small a space lying (lit. having been put) between (them), with what great loss and how many deaths of gallant men it would be necessary for the victory to cost; (and) when he saw them so determined (lit. ready in mind) to decline no danger on behalf of his renown, (he tells them) that he ought to be condemned of the utmost unjustice if he did not hold their lives dearer than his own welfare. Having thus pacified (lit. consoled) his soldiers, he leads (them) back to camp on the same day, and begins to prepare the other things which are necessary for (lit. pertaining to) the siege of the town.
Chapter 20. Vercingetorix accused of treachery. He defends himself.
When he returned to his men, Vercingetorix (was) accused of treachery, in that he had moved his camp too near the Romans, in that he had gone off with all the cavalry, in that he had left such great forces without any person in command (lit. without a command), (and) in that, on his departure, the Romans had come at such a favourable opportunity and with such great speed; that all things could not have happened by chance or without design; that he preferred to hold the sovereignty of Gaul by the permission of Caesar than by the favour of themselves: having been accused in such a manner, he replied (as follows) to these (charges): - that he had (as they said) moved the camp (had been) done owing to the shortage of forage (and) even with them encouraging (this), he had advanced nearer to the Romans (had been) urged (on him) by the favourable nature of the ground, which could defend itself on its own account without any fortification; that, in truth, the employment of the cavalry ought not to have been missed on marshy ground and had been of use in that place whither it had marched. That he, (while) departing, had handed the supreme command to no one, lest he should be impelled by the eagerness of the multitude towards fighting, inasmuch as he saw that all (of them) were zealous for this action on account of the weakness (lit. softness) of their spirit, because they could not endure hardship any longer. That, if the Romans by chance appeared, thanks were due (lit. needing to be felt) to fortune, (and) if, having been summoned by the information of someone, to that person, because they were able both to discern from their higher ground their paucity (of numbers) and to despise the courage (of those) who, not having dared to fight, withdrew (lit. betook themselves) shamefully to their camp. That he was desiring (lit. feeling the want of) no power from Caesar through treachery, because he could have (it) by a victory which was already assured to him and to all the Gauls; moreover, he is ready to resign (his command) to them, if they think that they are assigning (lit. seem [to themselves] to be assigning) honour to him rather than receiving (lit. to be receiving) security from him. "So that you may understand," he says, "that these things were said by me truthfully, listen to these Roman soldiers." He (then) produces some slaves whom he had taken prisoner on a foraging (expedition) a few days before, and (whom) he had tortured by hunger and by (confinement in) chains. They, having already been told beforehand what to say (when) questioned, say that they are Roman legionary soldiers; that, having been induced by hunger and want, they went out of the camp (to see) if they could find any corn or cattle in the fields; (they say) that the whole army was oppressed by a similar scarcity, and that the strength of anyone was not now sufficient nor could they bear the labour of the work; and therefore that the general had now decided that, if he had achieved nothing in the siege, he would withdraw (lit. draw off) his army in three days. "You have these benefits," says Vercingetorix, "from me; (me) by whose efforts you see so great (and) victorious an army exhausted by famine without your blood (being shed); it has been arranged by me that no (lit. not any) state shall receive within its territories this (army) (while it is) withdrawing (lit. betaking itself) shamefully in flight."
21. The Gauls accept his defence, and resolve to send ten thousand men to Avaricum.
The whole multitude shouts out and clash their arms together, in accordance with their custom, which they were used to doing in the case of a man whose speech they approved; (they declare) that Vercingetorix was a great general and that his good faith should not be doubted (lit. that it [was] not needing to be doubted with regard to his good faith), nor could the war be conducted with a better strategy. They decide that ten thousand men, having been picked from all their forces, should be sent into the town, and they resolve that the common safety should not (lit. that it [was] not appropriate to) be entrusted to the Bituriges alone, because they realised that the crown (lit. the ultimate [issue]) of victory rested (lit. stood) almost upon that (one point), (namely) if they were to hold that town.
22. Details of the siege.
To the remarkable valour of our soldiers devices of every kind were opposed on the part of the Gauls, as their race was (possessed) of the utmost ingenuity and was most apt at all things being copied and made which had been suggested (lit. handed over) by someone (else). For, they both turned aside the grappling-hooks by means of nooses, which, when they had caught hold of (them), they drew back inside (the town) by windlasses, and they undermined the mound by mines, (which they did) the more skilfully, because they are in their territories (lit. among them) extensive iron-workings, and so every kind of mining operation is known and practised (by them). Moreover, they had furnished the whole wall with storied towers on every side, and had covered these over with hides. Then, in frequent sallies, by day and by night, they either tried to set fire to the mound or attack the soldiers engaged in the (siege) work, and, as fast as the ramp had raised these (towers), they equalled the height of our towers by fresh scaffolding (lit. by poles having been joined together) on their own towers, and they obstructed the open gangways by means of timbers burnt and sharpened at the end, and by boiling pitch, and by stones of very great weight, and (so) prevented (our men) from approaching the walls.
Chapter 23. The Gallic walls.
But Gallic walls are almost all of the following type (lit. shape). Wooden beams (or balks) are placed on the ground at right angles (lit. perpendicular) (to the line of the wall) continuously along its (entire) length, standing apart at equal intervals with two feet each between them. These are mortised (lit. bound tightly) on the inside and covered with plenty of (lit. much) earth, and those intervals, which we have mentioned, are filled up (lit. stuffed) in front with stones. These having been laid and cemented together, another row is added in such a manner that that same interval can be kept and the beams cannot touch one another (lit. extend between themselves) but, kept apart by equal spaces, each (row) is kept firmly in its place, with single stones having been placed between (them). So, the whole structure is knit together stage by stage (lit. successively), until the proper height of the wall is attained. This work is both not unsightly with regard to appearance and variety, with alternate beams and stones, which keep their order in straight lines, and it possesses in particular very considerable opportunities for utility and the defence of the cities, both because the stone protects (it) from fire, and (because) the timber (protects it) from the battering-ram, as this, having been mortised (lit. bound tightly) in the inside with continuous beams, mostly forty feet each (in length), can neither be broken through nor torn asunder.
Chapter 24. The mound is fired by the Gauls.
The siege having been hindered by so many of these things, yet the soldiers, although they had been delayed during the whole of the time by the cold and the constant showers, overcame all these (difficulties) by their continuous effort (lit. labour), and in twenty-five days constructed a mound three hundred and thirty feet broad (and) eighty feet high. When this almost touched the enemy's wall, and Caesar, in accordance with his custom, kept watch (lit. slept out) near the work, and encouraged his soldiers that no (lit. not any) time at all should be lost (lit. should be omitted) from the work, shortly before the third watch they noticed (lit. it was noticed) that the mound was emitting smoke, as the enemy had set it on fire, and, at the same time, a shout having been raised along the entire wall, a sally was made from two gates on each side of (our) towers. Some (of the enemy) were hurling from long range torches and dry wood from the wall on to the ramp, and were pouring (on to it) pitch and other things by which fire can be aroused, with the result that a plan could scarcely be formed (lit. entered into) (as) to where one should run (lit. it should be run) first, or to what point help should be brought. However, as two legions were always keeping watch (lit. sleeping out) in front of the camp, in accordance with Caesar's practice, and (several) more were at work in turns (lit. the times having been distributed), it was quickly arranged that some should oppose the sallies, (that) others should drag back the towers and cut a gap in the ramp (lit. cut the ramp asunder), but (that) the whole host should rush from the camp to extinguish (the fire) (lit. for the purpose of [the fire] being extinguished).
Chapter 25. The Romans are successful in extinguishing the fire.
When the battle (lit. it) was being fought in every spot, the remaining part of the night having been spent, and the hope of victory was all the time being renewed on the part of the enemy, (all) the more (so) because they saw that the breastworks of our towers (had been) burnt away, and observed that (our men) having been exposed did not come forward for the purpose of bringing assistance, and that, for their part, fresh men were always replacing weary ones, and that the safety of the whole of Gaul depended (lit. [was] based) on that instant of time, (an incident) happened before our eyes (lit. with us looking on), which, having seemed worthy of record, we thought ought not to be omitted (lit. that it was right that it was not omitted). A certain Gaul, (standing) before the gate of the town, was hurling into the fire in the direction of a tower lumps of grease and pitch passed (to him) by hand; (he was) pierced by (a dart from) a cross-bow, and fell dead (lit. lifeless). One of those nearest (to him), stepping over (him) as he lay (lit. lying) (there), performed that same duty; the second man having been killed in the same way by a shot from a cross-bow, a third man succeeded (him) and a fourth man (succeeded) the third, nor was this spot left vacant by the defenders, until (lit. before), (the fire on) the mound having been extinguished, and the enemy having been cleared away on every side, an end to the fighting was made.
The Gauls, having tried every (expedient), as nothing had succeeded, on the next day adopted a plan to escape from the town, with Vercingetorix encouraging and ordering (this). (By) attempting it in the silence of the night, they hoped that they would effect (it) with no great loss (lit. throwing away) of their men, on account of the fact that the camp of Vercingetorix was not far distant from the town, and a marsh, which came between without a break, must hinder the Romans from pursuing (them). And they were now preparing to do this by night, when their matrons suddenly rushed into a public (place), and, throwing (themselves) weeping at the feet of their (husbands), besought (them) with every prayer not to abandon to the enemy for punishment themselves and their shared children, whom the weakness of their nature and of their physical strength prevented from taking to flight (lit. from flight being adopted). When they saw that they were persisting in their resolution, as fear does not usually admit compassion, they begin to cry out and make signals to the Romans about the flight. The Gauls, panic-stricken by the fear of this, (namely) lest the roads might be seized beforehand by the Romans, gave up (lit. desisted from) their plan.
Chapter 27. The Romans prepare to storm the town.
On the next day Caesar, a tower having been moved forward and the siege works, which he had been preparing to do, having been completed (lit. arranged), when a heavy shower arose (lit. a heavy shower having arisen), thought this (was) not an unsuitable time for his plan being executed, because he saw that the guards on the wall had been deployed somewhat (lit. a little) too carelessly, and he ordered his own men to go about their work in a more leisurely fashion, and showed (them) what he wished to be done. And, the legionaries having been put in fighting order (lit. got ready) in secret within the camp and (under the cover of) the mantlets, he, exhorting (them) to reap now at last the fruits of victory in return for their very great exertions, proposed rewards for those who should scale the wall first, and gave the signal to the soldiers. They suddenly flew out from all directions and swiftly occupied the wall.
Chapter 28. The town of Avaricum is taken.
The enemy, greatly alarmed by this sudden attack (lit. recent happening), (and) having been dislodged from the wall and towers, stood fast in a wedge-shaped formation in the market-place and the more open places, with this intention, that, if an attack came (lit. it was come) against (them) from any direction, the battle-line having been drawn up, they would fight to the finish. When they saw that no one was descending (lit. letting himself down) to the level ground, but that (all of the Romans) were flowing (lit. were being poured around) around the entire wall on every side, fearing lest the hope of escape was being removed altogether, their arms having been cast down, they made for the most remote parts of the town in a continuous rush, and there some were slain by the (foot) soldiers, since they blocked (lit. overwhelmed) themselves on their own account, owing to the narrow outlet of the gates, (and) others, having got through the gates already, (were slain) by the cavalry. Nor was there anyone who was concerned about booty. Thus aroused by the massacre at (lit. of) Cenabum and by the fatigue of the siege works, they spared neither those worn out (lit. brought to an end) by old age, nor women nor children. In short, out of all that number, which was about forty thousand, scarcely eight hundred, who fled from (lit. flung themselves out of) the town, the first cry having been heard, reached Vercingetorix unharmed. He, now late at night (lit. the night now [being] far [spent]), received them from their flight in silence, fearing lest some mutiny might arise in the camp on account of their gathering together and the compassion of the crowd, so that, his friends and the chiefs of the states having been stationed at intervals for some distance along the road, caused (them) to be separated and conducted to their own people at that part of the camp which had been assigned to each state from the beginning.
Chapter 29. Vercingetorix not discouraged. His new plans.
An assembly having been summoned on the next day, he consoled and encouraged (his men) that they should not lose heart (lit. be let down in spirit) unduly nor be disturbed by the disaster. (He said) that the Romans had conquered (them) neither by valour nor in battle (lit. on the battle-line), but by a particular stratagem and by knowledge of siege (works), with which matter they were unacquainted themselves. That, if anyone should expect every outcome in war (to be) successful, he erred. That it had never seemed right to him that Avaricum was defended, to which circumstance he had themselves (as) his witnesses; but, through the imprudence of the Bituriges and the too ready compliance of the rest (of them), (it had) happened that the disaster was sustained (lit. received); but that he would, however, swiftly remedy this by greater advantages. For that he would unite to (them), by his exertions (lit. diligence), those states which had differed from the rest of the Gauls, and that he would bring about one plan (of action) for the whole of Gaul, the unanimous resolve of which not even (the whole) world (lit. orbit of the earth) could withstand; and that he had this already almost effected. That, in the meantime, it was reasonable that agreement should be obtained from them for the sake of the common security, so that (lit. whereby) they might withstand the more easily the sudden attacks of the enemy.
Chapter 30. By his vigorous speech and action, Vercingetorix rouses the Gauls.
This speech was not unwelcome to the Gauls, above all (lit. and especially) because he himself had not been disheartened (wanting in spirit), so great a disaster having been sustained (lit. received), and that he had not concealed himself in a secret (spot) and fled from the gaze of the multitude; and it was believed that he had more foresight (lit. to foresee more in his mind) and (more) forethought (lit. to perceive more in advance), because, before anything had happened (lit. the situation [being] unimpaired), he had at first thought that Avaricum should (lit. was needing to) be burned and afterwards (lit. was needing to) be abandoned. Therefore, (just) as adverse circumstances diminish the authority of other generals, so, on the contrary, his prestige was daily enhanced, (despite) a disaster having been sustained. At the same time, they began to entertain (lit. to come into) the hope, by reason of his assurance, of the other states being united to (their side); and on this occasion the Gauls, for the first time, began to fortify their camp, and were so strengthened in spirit that, (although being) men unaccustomed to toil, they considered that all things should be suffered by them which should be commanded (by him).
Chapter 31. Vercingetorix's vigorous efforts to win over the other states, and to recruit more men.
Nor did Vercingetorix endeavour (lit. toil in his mind) any less than he had promised, to unite (to their side) the other states, and (to) try to entice them by gifts and promises. For this task he chose suitable men, each of whom, either by guileful speech or by friendliness, should be able easily to win (them) over (lit. captivate [them]). (Those) who had escaped, Avaricum having been stormed, he causes to be armed and clothed; at the same time, in order that his diminished forces should be reinforced (lit. renewed), he levies a fixed quota of soldiers from the states, (saying) what (number) and before what day he wishes (them) to be brought to his camp, and he orders all the archers, of whom there was a very large number in Gaul, to be collected and sent to him. By these means, that (number of men) which had perished at Avaricum is speedily made good. In the meantime, Teutomatus, the son of Ollovico, king of the Nitiobroges, whose father had been called friend by our senate, came to him with a great number of his own cavalry and (those) whom he had hired from Aquitania.
Chapter 32. Caesar is asked to arbitrate on the chief magistracy of the Aedui.
Caesar, staying at Avaricum for several days and there obtaining a most plentiful supply of corn and other provisions, refreshed his army from its exertion and its privation. The winter being now almost finished (lit. completed), since he was invited (lit. summoned) by the very time of the year for war to be waged, and he had determined to set out towards the enemy, (to see) whether he could entice (them) from the marshes and woods or put pressure (on them) by means of a blockade, some chieftains of the Aedui come to him (as) ambassadors to entreat (him) to help their state at a time of extreme emergency: (they said) that their affairs were in the utmost danger, because, while single magistrates had of old been accustomed to be appointed to hold the sovereign power (i.e. the office of Vergobret) for a year, two (men) were (now) exercising this office and both of them were saying that they had been appointed in accordance with their laws. That one of them was Convictolitavis, a flourishing and illustrious young man, (and) the other (was) Cotus, born of a most ancient family and himself a man of the greatest influence and of extensive connections, whose brother Valetiacus had exercised the same office in the previous year. That the whole state was (up) in arms; that their senate (was) divided, the people (were) divided, (and) belonging to each of them (were) their own adherents. That if the dispute was fomented any longer, (the result) would be that one part of the state would come into collision with the other; that it depended upon his activity and authority that this did not happen.
Chapter 33. Caesar's decision.
Although Caesar considered that it was ruinous to leave (lit. depart from) the war and the enemy, yet not (being) unaware of what great disasters have been accustomed to arise from (internal) disputes, (and fearing) lest a state so large and so (closely) connected to the Roman people, which he himself had always fostered and honoured in every respect, should have recourse (lit. descend) to violence and arms, and (lest) that party which felt less sure (of itself) should summon assistance from Vercingetorix, he considered that this matter ought to be prioritised (lit. that it was needing to be prioritised in respect of this matter), and, because, under the laws of the Aedui, those who held the highest magistracy were not allowed (lit. it was not permitted to those who held the highest magistracy) to go out of its territories, he decided to set out for (the lands of) the Aedui himself lest he seemed to be belittling any (aspect) of their rights and laws, and he summoned the whole of their senate and (those) between whom the dispute was to (meet) him at Decetia (i.e. Decize). When almost all the state had assembled there and he was told that (one) brother (had been) appointed by (another) brother, a few (people) having been secretly gathered together at a different place (lit. a place other [than]) and at a different time from (lit. at a time other than) (what) was due, when their laws not only forbade two (men) from one family from being appointed (as) magistrates, but even from being in the senate (together), he compelled Cotus to lay down his authority (and) ordered Convictolitavis, who had been elected by priests in accordance with the practice of the state in the absence of any magistrates (lit. the [succession of] magistrates having been interrupted), to hold the power.
Chapter 34. Caesar marches upon Gergovia.
This decree having been put between (them), (and) exhorting the Aedui to put behind them (lit. forget) their disputes and disagreements, and, all these issues having been set aside, to devote (themselves) to this war and expect from him, Gaul having been subdued, those rewards which they should have earned, and to send swiftly to him all their cavalry and ten thousand infantry, in order that he might place them in garrisons to protect (lit. for the sake of) the corn supply, he divided his army into two parts: he gave four legions to (Titus Atius) Labienus to be led against the Senones and the Parisii, (and) he himself led six (legions) into (the lands of) the Arverni, along the river Allier towards the town of Gergovia; he assigned part of the cavalry to him, (and) part for himself. This circumstance having been learned about, Vercingetorix, all the bridges of this river having been broken up, begins to make a march along the other bank of the river.
Chapter 35. Caesar's stratagem.
When each army was in sight of the other, and was pitching camp almost opposite (lit. in a straight line to) the (other) camp, scouts having been posted in different places, lest the Romans, a bridge having been built anywhere, should lead their forces over (it), Caesar's situation was in great difficulties, lest he should be hindered by the river for the greater part of the summer, because the Allier is not generally to be crossed by ford as a rule before the autumn. Therefore, in order that this might not happen, his camp having been pitched in a wooded spot, exactly opposite (lit. in a straight line to) one of those bridges which Vercingetorix had caused to be cut down, on the next day he stopped with two legions in a secret (place); he sent (on) the rest of his forces with all the baggage, as usual (lit. as he had been accustomed [to do]), certain cohorts having been kept back (lit. taken), so that the number of legions should appear to remain constant. These having been ordered to go forward as far as they could, when now from the time of day he had conjectured (lit. had formed an idea) that they had arrived (lit. it had been arrived) at an encampment, he began to rebuild a bridge on the same piles, the lower part of which remained unimpaired. The work having been quickly effected and the legions having been led across, and a suitable place for a camp having been chosen, he recalled the rest of his troops. This action having been ascertained, Vercingetorix preceded (him) by forced (lit. long) marches, in order that he should not be compelled to fight a pitched battle against his will.
Chapter 36. Caesar reconnoitres Gergovia and occupies rising ground.
From that position Caesar reached Gergovia at the end of the fifth day's march (lit. at the fifth encampment), and a light cavalry battle having occurred on that day, the situation of the city, which, having been located on a very high mountain, had difficult approaches on all sides, (and this) having been reconnoitred, he despaired of taking it by storm (and) determined not to deal (with it) by means of a blockade before he had arranged a corn supply. But Vercingetorix, his camp having been pitched near the town, had placed the forces of each state separately around himself, and all the hills of that ridge having been occupied, where it could be viewed from above, it afforded a formidable appearance, and he ordered the chiefs of those states, whom he had chosen for the purpose of an (action) plan to be adopted by him, to come to him daily at dawn (lit at first light), (to see) whether anything seemed necessary to be communicated or (anything seemed) necessary to be arranged, nor did he let almost any day pass but that it would be observed in an equestrian skirmish with archers taking part (lit. having been put amongst [them]) what spirit and (what) courage there was in each one of his (followers). There was a hill opposite (lit. in a straight line to) the town at the very foot of that mountain, excellently fortified and precipitous (lit. cut away all round) on every side, which, if our men could get control (of it) the enemy appeared likely to be excluded both from a great part of their water (supply) and from free foraging. But that place was held by them with a garrison, albeit not a too strong one. Caesar, setting out from the camp in the silence of the night, (and) gaining possession of the place, the garrison having been dislodged before any help could be brought (lit. it could be arrived for the purpose of help) from the town, he stationed two legions there, and caused to be dug (lit. drew across) from the larger camp to the lesser (one) a double trench, twelve feet (broad) in each case, so that even individual (soldiers) could come and go safe from any sudden assault of the enemy.
Chapter 37. Conspiracy of Convictolitavis and Litaviccus.
While these things are being done at Gergovia, Convictolitavis the Aeduuan, to whom we have pointed out that the magistracy (had been) awarded by Caesar, having been bribed (lit. solicited by money) by the Arverni, confers with certain young men, the chief of whom were Litaviccus and his brothers, youths born of a most distinguished family. He shares the bribe with them and exhorts (them) to remember that they were free and born for command. (He said) that the state of the Aedui was the (only) thing which was delaying the most certain victory of Gaul; (and) that the other (states) were kept in check by its authority; that, this (state) having been won over (lit. carried across), the Romans would have no foothold (lit. there would be for the Romans no place for standing) in Gaul. That he had been treated with some kindness by Caesar, yet (only) to the extent that he had won the entirely just case (which had been) before him; but he assigned more (weight) to the general freedom. For why should the Aedui come to Caesar (as) an arbitrator concerning their rights and their laws, rather than the Romans (coming) to the Aedui? The young men having been speedily persuaded by the magistrate's speech and by the bribe, when they declared that they would be the very first men in his plot, a means of executing (it) was sought, because they were not sure that the state could be induced to undertake war (lit. towards war being undertaken) rashly. It was agreed (lit. it seemed good [to them]) that Litaviccus should be put in command of those ten thousand (men) that were being sent to Caesar for the war and should see to them being led (there), and that his brothers should go before (him) to Caesar. They determined by what means it should be decided (lit. it should seem good [to them]) that the other things were carried out.
Chapter 38. Stratagem of Litaviccus.
Litaviccus, (the command of) the army having been received, when he was about thirty miles away from Gergovia, the soldiers having suddenly been called together, says, with tears in his eyes (lit. weeping), "Whither are we marching? All our cavalry and all our nobility have perished; the chief men of our state, Eporedorix and Viridomarus, having been accused of treason, have been put to death by the Romans, their case unheard. Learn about these things from the very men who have escaped from the actual massacre; for I, my brothers and all my relations having been slain, am prevented by grief from declaring what has been done." Those men are brought forward whom he had told what he wished to be said, and expound the same things as Livaticcus had asserted to the host: (they said) that the horsemen of the Aedui (had been) killed because they were said to have conversed with the Arverni; that they had concealed themselves among the multitude of the soldiers and had (thus) escaped from the midst of the slaughter. The Aedui shout out and implore Litaviccus to provide for their interests (lit. look after them). "As if in truth," says he, "it is a matter for deliberation, and it is not necessary, rather, for us to hasten to Gergovia and join ourselves together with the Averni. Or do we doubt that (lit. but that) the Romans, this abominable crime having been committed, are now rushing to slay us (lit. for the purpose of us being slain)? Therefore, if there is any spirit in us, let us avenge (lit. follow up) the death of those who have perished in a most unworthy manner, and so let us slay these brigands." He points to those Roman citizens who were together (with him) in reliance upon his protection; he seizes a large quantity of corn and provisions, (and) he kills the very same men, (whom he had) cruelly tortured. He sends messengers throughout the whole state of the Aedui, and rouses (them) thoroughly by the same falsehoods about the slaughter of the horsemen and the chieftains; he exhorts (them) to avenge (lit. follow up) their wrongs in the same manner as he has done.
Chapter 39. Eporedorix informs Caesar of these events.
Eporedorix, the Aeduan, a young man of the highest rank (lit. position) and of very great influence in his own state (lit. at home), and together (with him) Viridomarus, of equal age and influence, but of lower birth, whom, having been commended (lit. introduced) to him by Divitiacus, Caesar had advanced from a humble position to the highest rank, had come along together in the troop of cavalry, having been summoned by him by name. They had (lit. there was to them) a struggle themselves concerning precedence (lit. chieftainship), and in that dispute about the magistrates one had contended with the utmost of his resources on behalf of Convictolitavis, and the other on behalf of Cotus. Of these (two), Eporedorix, Litaviccus' plot having been learned about, reports the matter to Caesar at about mid-night; he entreats (him) not to allow their state to defect from its alliance (lit. friendship) with the Roman people, (something) which he foresees would happen if so many thousands of men joined themselves with the enemy, (as) neither could their relatives neglect their safety nor (could) the state reckon (it) of slight account.
Chapter 40. Caesar advances to meet the conspirators and exposes their deceit.
Caesar, having been affected with great anxiety owing to this news, because he had always especially indulged the state of the Aedui, with no hesitation having been allowed to elapse (lit. having been interposed),
leads out from the camp four legions in light-armed array and all his cavalry, and there was no opportunity (lit. space) at such a (critical) time for the camp to be contracted, because the situation seemed to be dependent on speed; he leaves his legate, Gaius Fabius (Maximus) in the camp with two legions as a garrison. When he ordered that the brothers of Litaviccus should be seized, he discovers that they had fled to the enemy shortly before. Encouraging his soldiers not to be disheartened (lit. perturbed) by the fatigue of a march at this critical moment (lit. time), (and) advancing twenty-five miles, all (of his men being) most eager, (and) catching sight of the column of the Aedui, the cavalry having been sent against (them), he checks and hampers their march, and commands all (his men) that they should not kill anyone. He orders Eporedorix and Viridomarus, whom they were thinking (had been) killed, to move about amongst their horsemen and to address their (friends). These (two) having been recognised, and Litaviccus' deception having been perceived, the Aedui begin to stretch out their hands, to indicate their surrender, and, their arms having been cast away, to beg for mercy (lit. to pray that their death be averted). Litaviccus with his attendants, for whom, in accordance with the customs of the Gauls, it is wrong to desert one's patrons, even in the most dire misfortunes, escapes to Gergovia.
Chapter 41. Caesar returns to Gergovia.
Caesar, messengers having been sent to the state of the Aedui, to tell (them) that (they) whom he could have put to death by the right of war, had been spared (lit. saved) by his kindness, and three hours of the night having been granted to his army for rest, he struck camp for Gergovia. Almost in the middle of the journey, horsemen sent by Fabius explain (to him) that in what great danger there their situation was. They pointed out that their camp (had been) attacked by a very large force, while fresh men were frequently relieving weary ones and exhausting, owing to their incessant toil, our men, who had to remain constantly on the rampart unrelieved (lit. in whose case it was constantly needing to be endured on the rampart [as] the same men), on account of the size of the camp. (They said) that many men (had been) wounded by a swarm (lit. multitude) of arrows and of every kind of missile; that the artillery engines were of great use for the purpose of these things being withstood. That Fabius, on the departure of the (enemy), two gates having been left (for use), is blocking up the rest and is adding breastworks to the ramparts, and is preparing himself for the next day and a similar eventuality. These things having been ascertained, Caesar reached the camp before sunrise owing to the very great zeal of his soldiers.
Chapter 42. Violent conduct of the Aedui.
While these things were being done near Gergovia, the Aedui, the first messages from Litaviccus having been received, leave no time (lit. interval [of time]) for (the truth) to be ascertained. Greed impels some (of them), anger and the rashness which is inborn in that race of men, such that they treat an idle rumour as a certain fact, (impels) others. They plunder the goods of Roman citizens, they perform massacres (of some), (others) they drag away into slavery. Convictolitavis encourages the action (which has) started (lit. [which has been] inclining forwards), and goads the people to fury, so that, crime having been committed, they may be ashamed (lit. it may shame [them]) to return to good sense. They entice (lit. draw) out of the town of Cabillonum, a pledge (of safety) having been given, the military tribune Marcus Aristius, (while) making the journey to his legion; they compel those who had settled there for the sake of trading to do the same thing. Immediately attacking (them) on their journey, they strip (them) of all their baggage; they blockade (those) resisting for a day and a night; many having been slain on both sides, they rouse a (still) greater host of armed men.
Chapter 43. The Aedui send deputies to Caesar who receives them mildly.
In the meantime, the news having been brought that all their soldiers were being kept in Caesar's power, they rush in a body to Aristius, (and) they point out to Aristius that nothing had been done by public design, they decree an enquiry about the plundered property, they confiscate the property of Litaviccus and his brothers, and they send deputies to Caesar with the purpose of themselves being cleared. They do these things for the sake of their men being recovered, but, tainted by the crime and captivated by the profits (arising) from the plundered property, as that business involved (lit. pertained to) many, (and) panic-stricken by fear of punishment, they begin to form (lit. enter into) secret plans for war, and they sound out (lit. sollicit) the other states by means of deputations. Although Caesar was aware of these things, yet he addresses the deputies as mildly as he can: (he says) that he thought none the worse of the state (lit. that he was not judging anything concerning the state more severely) on account of the ignorance and fickleness of the mob, nor was his own good-will lessening (lit. nor was [anything] lessening concerning his own good-will) towards the Aedui. He himself, anticipating a greater uprising in Gaul, (and) so that he might not be surrounded by all the states, began to form (lit. enter into) plans as to the manner in which he might depart from (the neigbourhood of) Gergovia, and again concentrate all his army, in order that his departure, arising from fear of a revolt, should not seem like flight.
CHAPTERS 44-53. SIEGE OF GERGOVIA.
Chapter 44. Operations at Gergovia.
To (him) considering these things, an opportunity of an action being successfully conducted seemed to occur. For, when he had come to the lesser camp for the sake of the works being inspected, he noticed that a hill, which was held by the enemy, (and) which on previous days could scarcely be seen because of the crowd (standing upon it), (was) stripped of men. Astonished (by this), he asks the reason (for it) from deserters, a great number of whom were flocking to him daily. It was agreed amongst (them) all what Caesar had already ascertained himself through his scouts, that the crest of that ridge was almost flat, but that this (was) wooded and narrow (at the point) where there was access to the other side of the town; that they were extremely anxious about this spot, and were not now of any other opinion, but that, with one hill having been occupied by the Romans, if they were to lose the other, they would appear (to be) almost surrounded and cut off from all egress and from foraging: that all (of them) had been summoned (lit. called out) by Vercingetorix to fortify this (place) (lit. for the purpose of this [place] being fortified).
Chapter 45. Operations at Gergovia (continued).
This circumstance having been ascertained, Caesar sends (out) several squadrons of cavalry; he orders these to patrol around at about midnight in every direction a little more noisily (than usual). At dawn (lit. first light) he orders a large number of pack-horses and baggage mules to be brought forth from the camp and the pack-saddles to be taken off them, and the muleteers, with helmets (on their heads) to ride around the hills with the appearance and in the guise of cavalry. To these he adds a few horsemen (with instructions) to roam around more widely for the sake of a show. He orders (them) all to seek the same destinations. These (proceedings) were seen from the town at a distance, as there was a view down into the camp from Gergovia, but, at so great a distance, it could not be discovered for certain what was their real (meaning). He sends one legion to the same ridge, and, (it) having advanced a little (way), he stations (it) on lower ground and conceals (it) in the woods. Suspicion is increased in (the minds of) the Gauls, and all their troops are led across to that (spot) to defend it (lit. for the purpose of fortification). Caesar, seeing that the enemy's camp (is) unoccupied, the insignia of his men having been covered and their military standards concealed, transfers the soldiers from the greater camp to the lesser (one) in scattered groups, and shows the legates, whom he had put in command of each of the legions, what he wishes to be done; first and foremost he advises (them) to restrain their soldiers, lest through zeal for fighting and in the hope of booty they should advance too far; he sets out what disadvantage the unfavourable nature of the ground has, and he emphasises that this can be remedied by quickness only; that it was a question of a surprise (attack), not of a pitched battle. These matters having been explained, he gives the signal (for action), and at the same time sends the Aedui by another ascent (route) on the right-hand side.
Chapter 46. Teutomatus is surprised.
The town's wall was a thousand and twenty paces distant from the plain and the foot (lit. beginning) of the ascent in a straight line, if no bend intervened; whatever deviation had been added to this (amount) for the purpose of the climb being mitigated, that increased the distance of the route. Almost in the middle of the hill, the Gauls had constructed (lit. drawn forward) a six foot wall, (built) out of large stones, (extending) in length as the nature of the hill allowed, in order to retard the attack of our men, and, all the lower space having been left unoccupied, they had left the higher part of the hill right up to the wall of the town with camps crowded together. The signal (for action) having been given, the soldiers quickly arrive at this fortification, and, passing across it, take possession of three camps; and so great was their speed in these camps being taken that Teutomatus, the king of the Nitiobroges, having been suddenly surprised in his tent, as he had gone to rest at midday, scarcely escaped (lit. saved himself) from the hands of the plundering soldiers.
Chapter 47. Alarm of the garrison. Valour of L. Fabius, centurion.
Having obtained that object which he had envisaged in his mind, Caesar ordered the withdrawal to be sounded, and he, at once, halted (lit. halted the standards of) the tenth legion, with which he was (located). But the soldiers of the other legions, the sound of the trumpet not having been heard, because rather a large valley lay between, were, however, subject to efforts by the military tribunes and the legates to hold (them) back, as it had been ordered by Caesar, but, elated by the hope of a swift victory and by the flight of the enemy and the favourable battles of previous periods, they thought that nothing was so difficult for them that they could not attain (it) by their valour, nor did they make an end of the pursuit until they came up to the wall of the town and its gates. But then, a clamour having arisen from every part of the city, (those) who were further away, panic-stricken by the sudden tumult, since they thought that the enemy were within the gates, fled from (lit. flung themselves out of) the town. Matrons began to hurl their clothes and silver from the wall, and, hanging (over it) with bare breasts and with hands outstretched, besought the Romans to spare them, and not to fail to refrain from (killing) (lit. and not to keep their hands not even from) women and children, just as they had done at Avaricum; some, having descended (lit. having let themselves down) from the wall by their hands, surrendered to our soldiers. Lucius Fabius, a centurion of the tenth legion, whom it was known had said among his men that day that he was aroused by the plunder of Avaricum and that he would not permit that anyone should climb the wall before (him), getting hold of three members of his company and, having been raised up by them, scaled the wall; he himself, taking hold of each of them in turn, lifted (them) up on to the wall.
Chapter 48. Reaction of the garrison.
In the meantime, those who had gathered at the other end of the town in order to defend it (lit. for the sake of fortification), having been aroused in the first place by the clamour (which had been) heard, then also by the frequent messages that the town was held by the Romans, their cavalry having been sent forward, hastened thither in a great concourse. As each of them came first, he took up his position under the wall and swelled the number of their fighting men. When a great host of them had assembled, the matrons, who shortly before were stretching out their hands to the Romans from the wall, began to entreat their own men and, in accordance with Gallic custom, to show their dishevelled hair and to bring forward their children into view. To the Romans the contest was equal neither in ground nor in number; at the same time, exhausted both by running and by the duration of the battle, they could not withstand (men who were) fresh and uninjured.
Chapter 49. Caesar takes precautionary steps to limit his losses.
When he saw that the battle (lit. that it) was being fought on unfavourable ground and that the enemy's forces
were increasing, Caesar, fearing for his men, sent (word) to Titus Sextius, the legate whom he had left on guard in the lesser camp, to lead out his cohorts quickly from the camp and station (them) at the bottom of the hill on the right-hand side of the enemy, so that, if he should see that our men (had been) driven from their position, he might deter the enemy from pursuing (them) freely. He himself, proceeding with his legion a little (distance) from that place where he had taken up position, awaited the outcome of the battle.
Chapter 50. The centurion M. Petronius saves his men.
While the battle (lit. it) was being fought most fiercely hand-to-hand, (and) the enemy was trusting in their position and in their numbers (and) our men in their courage, the Aedui were suddenly seen on the exposed flank of our men, (those same Aedui) whom Caesar had sent by another ascent (route) for the sake of the (enemy's) forces being diverted. Through the similarity of their arms these men very greatly alarmed our men, and, although they were seen with their right shoulders bare, which was usually (taken) to be the token of pacified men, yet the soldiers imagined that this very thing (had been) done by the enemy with the purpose of them being deceived. At the same time, the centurion Lucius Fabius and (those) who had climbed the wall together (with him), having been surrounded and slain, were hurled off the wall. Marcus Petronius, a centurion of the same legion, when he had tried to cut down the gates, being overwhelmed by the multitude of the enemy and despairing of himself, many wounds now having been received (by him), says to the members of his company who had followed (him), "Since I cannot save you together with myself, I shall at least indeed provide for your lives, (you) whom I, induced by the desire for glory, have led into this danger. The chance having been given to you, make sure that you (lit. do you) take care of yourselves." At the same time he rushed into the midst of the enemy, and two (men) having been slain, he drives the others a little (distance) from the gate. With his men attempting to support (him), he says, "You are trying to help (save) my life in vain, as my blood and strength are now deserting (me). Therefore go away, while you (still) have the opportunity (lit. while the opportunity is (still) there to you, and retreat (lit. betake yourself) to the legion." So, shortly afterwards he fell fighting, and was the means of salvation to his men.
Chapter 51. Reserves check the Gauls' advance, but forty-six centurions and almost seven hundred Roman soldiers are lost.
Our men, since they were being hard pressed on every side, were dislodged from their position, forty-six centurions having been lost. But the tenth legion, which had taken up position as a reserve on ground a little more level, checked those Gauls pursuing too eagerly. Cohorts of the thirteenth legion, which, having been led out from the lesser camp (together) with the legate Titus Sextius, had taken the higher ground, had supported it in turn. As soon as they had reached (lit. touched) the plain, they halted, their standards turned with determination against the enemy. Vercingetorix led his men back from the foot (lit. the roots of) the hill within the fortifications. On that day little less than seven hundred soldiers were missing.
Chapter 52. Caesar rebukes his soldiers.
On the next day Caesar, a parade having been called, rebuked the rashness and desire (for battle) of his soldiers, in that they had decided for themselves whither it seemed good that they should advance (lit. it was needing to be advanced) and what (it seemed good) that they should do (lit. that it was needing to be done), and they had not halted, the signal for retreat (lit. for [themselves] being withdrawn) having been given, nor had it been possible for them to be held back by the military tribunes and legates. He explained what the disadvantage of ground could (effect), (something) which he had (well) understood at Avaricum, when, the enemy having been surprised without a general and without cavalry, he had foregone a certain victory, in order that not even a slight loss (of men) should occur on account of disadvantage of ground. (He said) that as much as he admired the intensity of valour (lit. greatness of mind) of those whom no camp fortifications, no mountain's height, no town's wall had been able to check, he reproached (them) as much for their indiscipline and presumption, because they thought that they knew more than their commander-in-chief about victory and the outcome of actions; that he required from a soldier forbearance and self-restraint no less than courage and determination (lit. greatness of mind).
Chapter 53. After taking steps to raise the morale of his troops, Caesar withdraws to the lands of the Aedui.
This parade having been held, and the soldiers having been encouraged at the end of his speech that they should not be dispirited (lit. perturbed in spirit) on account of this reason, nor should they attribute to the valour of the enemy something which disadvantage of ground had brought about, (and) devising the same (plans) for marching away which he had contemplated before, he led the legions out of the camp and formed a battle-line at a suitable location. When Vercingetorix would in no way the more (readily) descend to level ground, a cavalry skirmish (lit. slight cavalry battle), and above all a favourable (one), having occurred, he led the army back into camp. When he had performed this same thing on the next day, (and) thinking that enough had been done for the bravado of the Gauls to be reduced and the spirits of the soldiers to be strengthened, he struck camp in the direction of the (territories of the) Aedui. The enemy not even then pursuing (them), on the third day he repairs the bridge at the river Allier and led his army across by means of it.
Chapter 54. The defection of the Aedui.
Having been greeted there by the Aeduans, Viridomarus and Eporedorix, he learns that Litaviccus with all his cavalry (has) set out with the purpose of the Aedui being solicited (to rebel); (they said) that it was necessary that they themselves should precede (him) with the purpose of the state being confirmed (in its allegiance). Although he now regarded the treachery of the Aedui (to have been) detected in many matters, and he considered that the revolt was likely to be precipitated by their departure, yet he did not determine that they should (lit. [were] needing to) be detained, (for fear) lest he should appear either to inflict a wrong (on them) or betray (lit. give) any suspicion of fear. He expounded briefly to them (when) departing his services to the Aedui; what kind of people and how humbled he had found (them), driven into their towns, deprived of (lit. punished in respect of) their fields, all their resources plundered, a tribute imposed (on them), hostages extorted (from them) with the utmost insult, and to what prosperity and to what power he had led (them) that they had not only returned to their former position, but seemed to have surpassed the dignity and influence of all (previous) eras. These admonitions (lit. commissions) having been given (to them), he dismissed them from his presence (lit. from himself).
Chapter 55. The Aedui massacre the garrison of Noviodunum.
Noviodunum (i.e. Nevers) was a town of the Aedui situated in an advantageous position on the banks of the Loire. Hither Caesar had conveyed all the hostages of Gaul, the corn, the public money, (and) a great part of his own and the army's baggage; hither he had sent a great number of horses, purchased in Italy and Spain on account of this war. When Eporedorix and Viridomarus had come to this (place) and had learned about the disposition of the state, that Litaviccus had been received by the Aedui at Bibracte, which is a town of very great influence amongst them, that the magistrate Convictolitavis and a great part of the Senate had gone to meet him, that ambassadors had been publicly sent to Vercingetorix about peace and an alliance being secured, they thought that so great an opportunity should not be lost (lit. neglected). Therefore, the garrison of Noviodunum and (those) who had gathered thither for the sake of trading having been put to death, they divided the money and the horses amongst themselves, (and) arranged for the hostages of the states to be conducted to the magistrate at Bibracte; the town they burned, in order that it could not be of any use to the Romans, as they were of the view that it could not be held by themselves; they carried away in boats what corn they could hurriedly (take), (and) they destroyed (lit. ruined) the remainder with river (water) and fire. They themselves began to collect forces from neighbouring districts, to place garrisons and piquets on the banks of the Loire, to display cavalry in all places for the sake of terror being inspired, (and to see) if they could cut the Romans off from their corn supply [or to expel (them), having been reduced by want, into the province]. In this hope it assisted them much that the Loire had swollen on account of the snows, so that it appeared that it could not be crossed by ford at all.
Chapter 56. Caesar hurries to the rescue.
These developments having been discovered, Caesar concluded that he should make haste (lit. it was needing to be hastened by him), (even) if a risk should (lit. were needing to) be taken in the bridges being completed, in order that he might engage decisively, before a greater (enemy) force should be gathered there. For, both the dishonour and the disgrace of doing so (lit. of the thing) and the barrier of (lit. the opposing) Mount Cevenna and the difficulty of the roads, and, in particular, (the fact) that he was extremely anxious for Labienus, (whom he had) detached, and those legions which he had sent together (with him), (all these things) prevented (him), his plan having been altered, diverting his route to the Province, when many people (lit. not no one) even then considered that it should (lit. it was needing to) be done of necessity. And so, very long marches having been performed by day and by night, against the expectation (lit. opinion) of everyone he came to the Loire, and, a ford having been found through the cavalry, a suitable (one) considering the emergency (lit. the necessity of the situation), such that just their arms and shoulders could be free of the water for the purpose of their weapons being held up, the cavalry having been positioned in different lines in order to break the force of the current (lit. water), and the enemy having been confounded by the first sight (of him), he led his army across unharmed, and, having obtained corn and a supply of cattle from the fields, (and) his army having been replenished by these things, he started to make a march into (the territories of) the Senones.
Chapter 57. Labienus' campaign near Lutetia.
While these things are being done in the presence of Caesar, Labienus, that new levy, which had lately come from Italy having been left at Agedincum (i.e. Sens) to be a guard for the baggage, marches with four legions to Lutetia (i.e. Paris). This is a town of the Parisii, which is situated on an island in the river Seine. His arrival having been discovered by the enemy, a large force gathered from the neighbouring states. The supreme command was entrusted to Camulogenus of the Aulerci, who, (while) almost worn out with age, was yet called to that distinction on account of his exceptional knowledge of military strategy. When he noticed that there was a continuous marsh, which flowed into the Seine and greatly impeded (the conditions in) that area, he determined to prevent our men from crossing.
Chapter 58. Labienus takes Metiosedum.
At first, Labienus tried to move up mantlets to fill up the marsh with hurdles and waste material and to build (lit. fortify) a road. After he had perceived that this (was) too difficult, issuing in silence from the camp at the third watch, he reached Metiosedum (i.e. Melun) by the same way by which he had come. This is a town of the Senones, situated on an island in the Seine, as we have said a little before with regard to Lutetia. Around fifty boats having been seized and quickly joined together and soldiers having been put in these and the townspeople, of which a great number had been called out to the war, having been terrified by the suddenness of the action, he takes possession of the town without a struggle. The bridge, which the enemy had cut down in previous days, having been repaired, he leads his army across (it) and began to march (lit. make a march) down stream to Lutetia. The enemy, the situation having been learned of from those who had escaped from Metiosedum, order Lutetia to be set on fire and the bridges of that town to be cut down; they themselves, marching from the marsh to the banks of the Seine, take up position right opposite (lit. in a straight line to) Lutetia (and) over and against Labienus' camp.
Chapter 59. Labienus surrounded.
Caesar was now reported (lit. heard) to have departed from Gergovia, and rumours began to be brought concerning the revolt of the Aedui and the successful uprising in Gaul, and in conversations the Gauls kept asserting that Caesar, having been excluded from his march and from (the crossing of) the Loire, and having been compelled by the lack of corn, had hastened to the Province. But the Bellovaci, who had been previously disloyal on their own account (lit. by themselves), the revolt of the Aedui having been learned about, began to gather forces and openly to prepare for war. Then, Labienus, the change of circumstances (being) so very great (lit. very great by far), realised that he must adopt a plan (lit. that a plan was needing to be adopted by him) (which was) different from (lit. other than) what he had previously deemed right, and he no longer thought to devise means (lit. planned) to acquire any (territory) and to provoke the enemy to battle, but (only) to lead his army back to Agedincum in safety (lit. unharmed). For indeed, on one side the Bellovaci, the state which has the greatest reputation for valour in Gaul, was pressing (upon him), (and) Camulogenus with an army ready (for action) and well armed, was holding the other. Furthermore, a very great river kept the legions cut off (lit. shut off) from the garrison and the baggage. Such great difficulties having been suddenly put in his path, he saw that he must seek help (lit. that help was needing to be sought) by the strength of his own resolve.
Chapter 60. Labienus' stratagem begins.
A council-of-war having been called together a little before evening, exhorting (his soldiers) to execute with care and with energy those things which he had ordered, he assigns the ships which he had brought down from Metiosedum individually to Roman knights, and orders (them), the first watch having been completed, to sail (lit. proceed) down river in silence for four miles (lit. thousand paces), and to wait for him there. He leaves the five cohorts which he considered to be the least firm in action (lit. for the purpose of fighting) in the camp as a guard; he orders the five remaining (cohorts) of the same legion to set out at around midnight up river with all their baggage with a great uproar. He looks around for some small boats also; he sends these in the same direction, urged on by the great noise of their oars. He himself a little after, marching out in silence with three legions, seeks that place whither he had ordered the ships to be summoned.
Chapter 61. The next steps in Labienus' stratagem.
When he had come (lit. it had been arrived), the enemy's scouts, as they were stationed at every part of the river, (being) off guard, because a great storm had suddenly arisen, are overwhelmed by our men; the infantry (lit. army) and the cavalry, with the Roman knights, whom he had put in charge of the business, supervising (them), are sent across. At almost one (and the same) time a little before daylight, the enemy learned (lit. it was announced to the enemy) that there was an unusual uproar (lit. an uproar beyond custom) in the Romans' camp, and that a large column was coming up river and the sound of oars was to be heard in the same quarter, and that soldiers were being taken across in ships a little below (that point). These things having been heard, because they thought that the legions were crossing in three places, and that they all, having been alarmed by the revolt of the Aedui, were preparing for flight, they divided their own force also into three parts. For, a guard having been left opposite the camp, and a small band (of men) having been sent in the direction of Metiosedum, (with orders) to advance as far as the ships should have proceeded, they led the rest of their force against Labienus.
Chapter 62. Camulogenus slain. Labienus is victorious.
At daybreak (lit. first light), all our men had been taken across and the enemy's battle-line began to be visible. Labienus, exhorting his soldiers to keep in their memory their previous courage and their very successful battles and (to) imagine that Caesar himself, under whose leadership they had so often conquered their enemies, was present in person, gives the signal for battle. At the first encounter on the right wing, where the seventh legion had taken its position, the enemy are driven back and thrown into flight: on the left (wing), which position the twelfth legion held, although the front (lit. first) ranks had fallen, transfixed by javelins, still the rest resisted most keenly, and no one gave any indication (lit. suspicion) of flight. Camulogenus, the leader of the enemy, was present with his men in person (lit. himself) and was urging them on. The outcome of victory (being) still uncertain, when what was happening (lit. been done) on the left wing had been reported to the tribunes of the seventh legion, they displayed the legion to the enemy's rear (lit. behind the enemy's back), and attacked (lit. moved forward their standards). Not even then did any one of them depart from that spot, but all (of them) were surrounded and slain. But those who had been left on guard over and against Labienus' camp, when battle (had been) joined, went to the support of their (comrades) and took possession of a hill, but they could not sustain the attack of our victorious soldiers. Thus, intermingled with their own fugitives, (those) whom the woods and the mountains did not hide, were slain by our cavalry. This business having been completed, Labienus returns to Agedincum, where the baggage of the whole army had been left; from there he reaches Caesar with all his force in tree days (lit. on the third day).
Chapter 63. General council of Gauls at Bibracte.
The revolt of the Aedui having been learned about, the war is enhanced. Embassies are sent around in all directions; in so far as they can prevail by influence, authority (or) money, they strive towards the states being incited (to rebel); having got possession of the hostages whom Caesar had lodged among them, they terrify waverers (lit. the hesitant) by the execution of (some of) them. The Aedui ask Vercingetorix to come to them and share his strategies for war being waged. Their request having been obtained, they urge that the supreme command should be entrusted to themselves, and, the matter having been reduced into a dispute, a council of the whole of Gaul is convened at Bibracte. They come together in great numbers from all quarters at the same place. The question is consigned to the votes of the multitude; all to a man (lit. to one [man]), approve Vercingetorix (as) their commander. The Remi, the Lingones and the Treviri were absent from this meeting, the (two) former because they were pursuing their alliance with the Romans, the Treviri because they were too far distant and were being hard pressed by the Germans, which was the reason why they were absent from the whole of the war and sent auxiliary troops to neither side. The Aedui bear with great indignation that they (have been) disappointed of the chief position, they lament the change in their fortune, and miss Caesar's indulgence towards them, and yet, war having been undertaken, they do not dare to part their counsel from the rest. Eporedorix and Viridomarus, young men of the highest expectations, obey Vercingetorix reluctantly.
Chapter 64. Orders from Vercingetorix.
He, for his part, demands hostages from the other states and he fixes a day for this (proceeding); he orders all the cavalry, fifteen thousand in number, to assemble quickly. He says that he would be content with the infantry which he had had before, and that he would not tempt fortune or fight a pitched battle (lit. fight on the battle-line), but that, since he had an abundance of (lit. he was overflowing with) cavalry, it would be very easy to prevent the Romans from obtaining corn supplies and forage. Only let them, with their own hands (lit. themselves) and without complaint (lit. with an even mind) destroy (lit. spoil) their corn and set fire to their buildings, by which sacrifice (lit. throwing away) of private property let them see that they will obtain perpetual dominion and freedom. These matters having been settled, he levies ten thousand infantry from the Aedui and the Segusiavi, who are neighbours of the Province; to this he adds eight hundred horsemen. He puts the brother of Eporedorix in command of these, and orders war to be waged on the Allobroges. In the other direction, he sends the Gabali and the nearest cantons of the Arverni against the Helvii, (and) likewise (he sends) the Ruteni and the Cadurci against the Volcae Arecomici for the purpose of their territories being laid waste. Notwithstanding (this), by secret messages and embassies he tries the temper of the Allobroges, whose minds he hopes have not yet settled down from their earlier war. To their chiefs he promises money, but to the state (he promises) the rule of the whole of the Province.
Chapter 65. Caesar summons reinforcements from Germany.
A guard of twenty-two cohorts had been provided to meet all these contingencies, and this (lit. which), (raised) from the Province itself by the legate Lucius (Julius) Caesar, was opposed (to the enemy) at all points. The Helvii, engaging in battle with their neighbours of their own accord, are repulsed, and Gaius Valerius Donnotaurus, son of Caburus, the chief man of the state, and several others having been slain, are forced (to withdraw) within their towns and walls. The Allobroges, numerous garrisons having been stationed in different places along the Rhine, defend their borders with great care and energy. Caesar, because he realised that the enemy were superior in cavalry, and (because), the roads having been blocked, he could in no respect be relieved from the Province and Italy, sends (word) across the Rhine into Germany to those states which he had pacified in earlier years and summons from them cavalry and lightly armed infantry who were accustomed to fight amongst them. On their arrival, because they were using less than suitable horses, he takes horses from the military tribunes and the rest of the Roman knights and re-enlisted veterans, and distributes (them) among the Germans.
Chapter 66. Speech of Vercingetorix.
In the meantime, while these things are being done, the contingent of the enemy from the Arverni and the cavalry, which had been levied for the whole of Gaul, come together. A great number of these having been collected, when Caesar was marching (lit. making a march) into (the territories of) the Sequani through the outermost borders of the Lingones, so that (lit. whereby) help for the Province could be brought the more easily, Vercingetorix encamped in three camps about ten miles (lit. thousand paces) from the Romans, and the commanders of his cavalry having been summoned to a meeting, he points out that the time of victory had come: that the Romans were fleeing into the Province and leaving Gaul. That this is enough for the purpose of their immediate liberty to be secured; (but) that too little (advantage) was gained with regard to peace and tranquillity for the rest of time: for, a greater force having been assembled, they would come back, and they would not make an end of waging war. Therefore, they must attack (them while) encumbered (with baggage) on column (of route). If the infantry should be obliged to bring help to their (comrades) and should be delayed in so doing (lit. in this [action]), the march could not be accomplished; if, their baggage having been abandoned, they were to look to their own security, something which he felt sure (was) more likely to happen, they would be stripped both of the enjoyment of necessary things and of their dignity. For, with regard to the enemy's cavalry, they themselves ought not indeed to doubt that none of them would venture to advance even beyond their main column. So that (lit. whereby) they might do this with the greater spirit, he would draw up all his force in front of the camp, and they would be a means of terror to the enemy. The cavalry shout out together that they should be bound by a most solemn oath, that he should not be received under a roof, (and) that he should not have access to his children, nor to his parents, (and) to his wife, if he had not ridden twice through the main column of the enemy.
Chapter 67. Caesar defeats their cavalry.
The proposal having been approved and all having been bound by an oath, on the next day, the cavalry having been divided into three parts, two (of them) showed themselves in battle array on two flanks, (and) one began to hinder our march at the front (lit. in the first [part]) of the column. This circumstance having been reported, Caesar orders his cavalry, having also been divided into three sections, to advance (lit. go) against the enemy. The action (lit. it) is fought simultaneously (lit. together) in every quarter. The main column halts; the baggage is received within (the ranks of) the legions. If, at any point, our men appear to be distressed or too hard pressed, Caesar ordered the men to advance (lit. the standards to be moved forward) and a battle-line to be formed; this action both obstructed the enemy in their pursuit, and encouraged our men by the hope of support, At length, the Germans on the right flank, having gained the top of the ridge, dislodge the enemy from their position; they pursue (those) fleeing as far as the river, where Vercingetorix had encamped with his foot soldiers, and slay several (of them). The rest, this action having been observed, fearing lest they should be surrounded, entrust themselves to flight. Carnage occurs in every place. Three of the noblest of the Aedui are brought to Caesar: Cotus, the commander of the cavalry, who had had that dispute with Convictolitavis at the last election, and Cavarillus, who had been in command of the infantry troops after the revolt of Litaviccus, and Eporedorix, under whom (as) leader the Aedui had contended in war with the Sequani before Caesar's arrival.
Chapter 68. They march to Alesia.
All his cavalry having been routed, Vercingetorix led his troops back (in the same order) as he had arranged (them) in front of the camp, and immediately began to march (lit. make a march) to Alesia, a town which belongs to (lit. which is of) the Mandubii, and he orders the baggage to be speedily brought out of the camp and to follow after him. Caesar, his baggage having been taken to the nearest hill (and) two legions having been left as its guard, pursuing (them) as far as the time of day permitted, about three thousand of the enemy's rearguard (lit. of the last [part] of the enemy's column) having been killed, pitched camp at Alesia on the next day. The city's site having been reconnoitred and the enemy (being) greatly alarmed, because they had been repulsed by cavalry, on which section of their army they had been especially confident, (and) urging his soldiers to (endure) their toil, he began to surround (the town) with a rampart.
Chapter 69. The position of Alesia.
The town of Alesia itself was (situated) on the summit of a hill in a very lofty (lit. raised) position, so that it appeared that it could not be taken except by a siege; two rivers washed the bases of this hill on two (different) sides. Before this town lay a plain about three miles in length; hills, a moderate distance lying in between (lit. having been interposed), (and) with an equal degree of height, surrounded the town on all the other sides. The army of the Gauls had filled all this space under the part of the hill which looked towards the rising sun, and had marked out a trench and a wall six feet in height. The circuit of that fortification which was begun by the Romans stretched (lit. held on) for eleven miles. The camp was pitched in a suitable location and twenty-three forts (were) constructed on it (lit. there), (and) in these forts piquets were stationed during the day, lest any sally should occur; by night these same (forts) were occupied by sentinels and by strong garrisons.
Chapter 70. The Germans successfully harass the Gauls.
The work having been begun, a cavalry battle occurs in that plain, which we have described (lit. pointed out) above (as) broken by hills (and) extending (lit. lying open) for three miles in length. The contest is maintained (lit. it is contended) with the utmost vigour. Our men being distressed, Caesar despatches the Germans and draws up the legions in front of the camps [lest any sally should suddenly be made by the enemy's infantry]. Our men's courage is enhanced by the additional support (lit. protection) of the legions; the enemy, having been put to (lit. thrown into) flight, impede themselves by their very large number and, the gates having been left too narrow, they are crowded together in a huddle. The Germans pursue (them) with (all) the more vigour right up to the fortifications. A great slaughter occurs; some, their horses having been abandoned, endeavour to cross the trench and climb over the wall. Caesar orders the legions, which he had stationed in front of the rampart, to be moved forward a little (distance). The Gauls who were within the fortifications were no less alarmed, (and,) thinking that an attack was to be made upon (lit. it was to be incurred towards) them immediately, shout out in unison (the call) to arms; panic-stricken, some rush into the town. Vercingetorix orders the gates to be shut, lest the camp be undefended. Many men having been slain, (and) several horses having been taken, the Germans retire (lit. withdraw themselves).
Chapter 71. Policy of Vercingetorix.
Vercingetorix adopts the plan to send away from him all his cavalry by night. He gives the commission to those departing that each of them should go to his own state and compel to (join) the war all (those) who in accordance with their age could bear arms. He declares to them his own merits and entreats (them) to have regard for his own safety, and not to surrender him (who had) deserved very well with regard to the general freedom to the enemy for torture. He points out (to them) that, if they should be too remiss, eighty thousand chosen men would perish. That, a calculation having been made (lit. entered into), he had barely (enough) corn for thirty days, but that he could hold out (lit. it could be endured) for just a little longer through economising. These commissions having been given, he sends the cavalry (away) in silence in the second watch (at a point) where our work was uncompleted (lit. had been interrupted). He orders all the corn to be brought to him; he ordains capital punishment for those who should not obey (him): he distributes man by man the cattle, a great supply of which had been brought there by the Mandubii; he began to measure out the corn sparingly and little by little. He accepted into the town all the troops whom he had stationed in front of the town. By these measures he prepares to await the reinforcements (lit. auxiliary troops) of Gaul and to carry on the war.
Chapter 72. Caesar's works.
These proceedings having been ascertained from deserters and captives, Caesar devised the following kinds of fortifications. He dug (lit. drew) a trench forty feet (wide) with perpendicular sides, such that the bottom of this trench should extend (lit. lie open) as far as the edges of the trench were apart at the top of the trench. He set back all the other fortifications four hundred feet from that trench; this (he did) with this intention, lest, since he had, of necessity, embraced so extensive an area, and the whole body (of the works) could not easily be surrounded by a ring of soldiers, a large number of the enemy should, suddenly or at night, make a dash (lit. fly) at the fortifications, or should be able to cast their javelins against our men (who had been) engaged on the works. This interval lying between (lit. having been interposed), he dug (lit. drew) two trenches fifteen feet broad (and) of the same depth; the inner (one) of these, (being) on flat and low-lying ground, he filled with water diverted from the river. Behind these he constructed a rampart and a palisade twelve feet (high). To this he attached a parapet and battlements with large stags' horn (stakes) projecting out at the junction of the breastworks and the rampart, to check the enemy's ascent, and he put towers around the whole of the works, which were situated at a distance of eighty feet between them.
Chapter 73. Caesar's works (continued).
It was necessary, at the same time, both to collect timber and to forage and for very great fortifications to be constructed, with our troops who were used to advancing some distance from camp having been reduced in number; and sometimes (lit. not never) the Gauls tried to attack (lit. make an attempt on) our works, and to make a sally in considerable force from the town by several gates. For this reason Caesar thought that he should add (lit. that it was needing to be added) further to these works, in order that the fortifications could be defended by a lesser number of soldiers. Therefore, the trunks of trees or some very thick branches having been cut down, and their tops stripped of bark and sharpened to a point, continuous trenches were dug (lit. drawn) five feet deep. These stakes, having been sunk into these and having been firmly fastened at the bottom, so that they could not be torn out, were projecting (from the ground) by their branches. There were five rows joined and intertwined between each other (lit. themselves). (Those) who had entered within them (lit. thither) would impale themselves on the sharpest of stakes. They called these boundary markers. In front of these, diagonal rows having been arranged in a quincunx (i.e. a figure of five), pits were dug three feet in depth on a gradually narrower incline to the bottom. In these, tapering stakes with the thickness of a thigh, sharpened at the top and (with the point) hardened in the fire, were sunk in such a manner that they projected not more than four fingers (i.e. three inches) from the ground; at the same time, for the sake of strengthening (them) and making them secure, a foot of each (stake) was packed down with earth at the bottom of the pit (lit. ground); the remaining part of the pit was covered over with twigs (lit. osiers) and brushwood. Eight rows of this kind (were) dug (lit. drawn) (and) they were three feet apart from each other (lit. between themselves). They called this a lily on account of its likeness to that flower. In front of these, logs a foot long, iron hooks having been fixed in (them), were wholly buried in the ground and were planted in all places, with small intervals lying between (them) (lit. having been interposed); these they called spurs.
Chapter 74. Caesar decides to build a second line of fortification facing outwards.
These works having been completed, following the most favourable (lit. most even) ground that he could, considering the nature of the locality, (and) enclosing (lit. embracing) (an area of) fourteen miles, he constructed, against an external enemy, parallel fortifications of the same kind (but) facing in the other direction (lit. having been turned away) from those, so that the guards of these fortifications could not be surrounded even by an immense multitude, if it should happen thus [owing to the departure of their (cavalry)]; and, in order that they (lit. it) might not be compelled to go out of the camp with (great) risk, he orders all to have forage and corn collected for thirty days.
Chapter 75. Enormous gathering of Gauls.
While these things were being done at Alesia, the Gauls, a council of their chief men having been convened, determine that not all those who could bear arms should (lit. [were] needing to) be called out, as Vercingetorix thought, but that a fixed number should (lit. [were] needing to) be levied from each state, (for fear) lest, so great a multitude having assembled, they could neither control nor distinguish between their own men, nor have the means of providing (them) with corn. They demand thirty-five thousand (men) from the Aedui and their dependants, the Segusiavi, the Ambivareti, the Aulerci Brannovices and the Brannovii; an equal number from the Arverni, in conjunction with (lit. having been joined to) the Eleuteti, the Cadurci, the Gabali (and) the Velavi, who were accustomed to being under the sovereignty of the Arverni; twelve thousand each from the Sequani, the Senones, the Bituriges, the Santoni, the Ruteni (and) the Carnutes; ten (thousand) from the Bellovaci; eight (thousand) each from Pictones and the Turoni and the Parisii and the Helvetii; five thousand each from the Ambiani, the Mediomatrices, the Petrocorii, the Nervii, the Morini and the Nitiobroges; the same number from the Aulerci Cenomani; four thousand from the Atrebates, the same number from from the Veliocassi; three (thousand) each from the Lemovices and the Aulerci Eburovices; two (thousand) each from the Rauricii and the Boii; (and) thirty thousand from all of the states which border on the Ocean (i.e. the Atlantic) and who are usually (lit. in accordance with their custom) called Armoricans, in which number are the Curiosolites, the Redones, the Ambibarii, the Caletes, the Osismi, the Veneti, the Lexovii (and) the Venelli. Of these, the Bellovaci did not fulfil their quota, because they declared that they would wage war with the Romans on their own account and at their own discretion, nor would they obey the order of anyone; however, having been asked by Commius, in consideration of their guest-friendship with him they sent two thousand (men) together (with him).
Chapter 76. They set out to relieve Alesia.
As we have stated (lit. pointed out) beforehand, Caesar had, in previous years, employed the faithful and valuable service of this Commius in Britain; in consideration of these merits, he had ordered that his state should be exempt (from taxes), its rights and laws should be restored, and had made the Morini subject to him. Yet, so great was the consensus among all the Gauls in relation to their freedom being claimed and their former renown in war being recovered, that they were influenced neither by benefits nor by the memory of friendship, and they all devoted themselves to (lit. fell upon) that war with both their heart and strength. Eight thousand cavalry and about two hundred and fifty thousand infantry having been assembled, these were reviewed in the territory of the Aedui, and their number was calculated, and commanders were appointed (lit. determined). The supreme command was entrusted to Commius of the Atrebates, to the Aeduans Viridomarus and Eporedorix, and to Vercassivellaunus of the Arverni, the cousin of Vercingetorix. To them are assigned (men) selected from the states, by whose advice the war should be conducted. All set out for Alesia, eager and full of confidence, and there was not anyone of them who imagined that even the sight of so great a host could be withstood, especially in a double-fronted battle, since (on the inside) the action would consist of (lit. when it would be fought by) a sally from the town, (and) on the outside so great a force of cavalry and infantry would be seen.
Chapter 77. Famine at Alesia. Critognatus advocates cannibalism.
But (those) who were besieged in Alesia, the day having been passed on which they had expected the assistance of their countrymen, all their corn having been consumed, (being) unaware of what was being done in the (territory of the) Aedui, (and) an assembly having been convened, deliberated over the outcome of their fortunes. And, various opinions having been expressed, some of which argued for a laying down (of arms), others for a sally, while their strength sufficed, the speech of Critognatus appears worthy not to be omitted on account of its remarkable and abominable cruelty. He, sprung from the highest rank (lit. position) among the Arverni, and possessed of great influence, says, "I am going to say nothing concerning the opinion of those who call a most shameful servitude by the name of surrender, and I do not think that they should be regarded in the position of citizens or that they should be summoned to the council. My business is with those who approve of a sally; in their advice the memory of our former valour appears to reside in the opinion of all of you. To be unable to bear privation for a short time, that is faintness (lit. softness) of spirit, not courage. (Those) who, of their own accord, would offer themselves to death, are more easily found than (those) who would patiently endure distress. And I should approve of this opinion - (for) the authority (of those who hold it) has very great power with me - if I should foresee no sacrifice (lit. throwing away) to occur except our own lives; but, in our plan to be adopted, we should have regard for the whole of Gaul, which we have aroused (to come) to our aid. Eighty thousand men having been slain on one spot, what courage do you think our relatives and friends would have (lit. there would be to our relatives and friends), if they should be forced to fight it out in battle almost over our very bodies? Do not (lit. Be unwilling to) deprive of your support those who have disregarded their own peril for the sake of your safety, and by your folly and rashness or by your weakness of mind lay all of Gaul low and subject (it) to permanent slavery. Or do you have doubts about their loyalty and their resolution, because they have not come on the (appointed) day? What then? Do you suppose that the Romans are toiling daily in those outer fortifications for the sake of amusement? If you cannot be encouraged by their (i.e. those of the Gallic relief army) despatches, every approach having been blocked up, use them (i.e. the Roman workers) as witnesses that their arrival is approaching; greatly alarmed by the fear of this event, they are occupied day and night in this work. So what is my advice? To do what our ancestors did in the war, by no means equal, with the Cimbri and the Teutones; they, having been driven into the towns, and compelled by a similar privation, sustained life by the corpses of those who appeared useless for war owing to their age, and did not surrender themselves to the enemy. (Even) if we did not have a precedent for this action, still I should consider (it) a most glorious thing that it should be established for the sake of freedom and that it should be handed down to posterity. For what was there in that war like (this)? Gaul having been ravaged, and a great calamity having been inflicted, the Cimbri indeed eventually departed from our territories and sought other lands; they left us our rights, laws, lands and liberty. But what else do the Romans seek or what (else) do they want, except, induced by envy, to settle in the lands and the states of those whom they know by their reputation (to be) noble and powerful in war? For they have not waged war on any other terms. But if you are unaware of those things which are going on in distant countries, look at neighbouring Gaul (i.e. the Province or Narbonese Gaul), which, having been reduced to a province, its rights and laws having been changed, (and) having been subjected to the axes (of the lictors), is oppressed by perpetual slavery."
Chapter 78. The elderly, women and children are expelled form Alesia.
Opinions having been expressed, they determine that those who were incapacitated for war, owing to bodily state or age, should depart from the town, and that they should try everything before having to resort (lit. descending) to Critognatus' suggestion; however, they should avail themselves (lit. it would be necessary to make use) of that advice, if the the situation should compel (them) or assistance should be delayed, rather than that terms of either surrender or peace should be undergone. The Mandubii, who had received them into the town, are compelled to go forth with their children and their wives. When these come to the Romans' fortifications, weeping, they beg with every entreaty that they should help them with food, (after) having been taken into slavery. But Caesar, guards having been stationed on the rampart, forbade (them) to be admitted (lit. received).
Chapter 79. Reinforcements under Commius.
In the meantime, Commius and the other generals, to whom the supreme command had been consigned (lit. allowed) arrive at Alesia with all their force, and a hill outside (it) having been occupied, encamp no further than a mile from our fortifications. On the next day, the cavalry from the camp having been led forth, they fill all that plain, which we have explained extended (lit. lay open) three miles (lit. thousand paces) in length, and station on the higher ground their infantry troops, (who had been) moved (lit. withdrawn) a short (distance) from that spot. There was a view down on to the plain from the town of Alesia. These relieving troops having been seen, they rush together; mutual congratulation occurs (lit. congratulation occurs between them) and their minds are elated with (lit. are incited to) joy. Accordingly, their troops having been led out, they encamp before the town, and cover over the nearest trench with hurdles and fill it with earth, and prepare themselves for a sally and all eventualities.
Chapter 80. Fierce engagement.
The whole of his army having been deployed on each part of the fortifications, so that, if the need should arise (lit. come), each man should hold and know his own station, Caesar orders the cavalry to be led forth from the camp and that battle should be joined. There was a commanding view (lit. a view down) from every part of the camp, which occupied the top of the surrounding ridge (lit. of the ridge on all sides), and all the soldiers were eagerly awaiting the outcome of the fight. The Gauls had placed scattered archers and light-armed infantry among their horsemen, to bring support to their retreating men, and to withstand the attacks of our cavalry. Several (of our cavalrymen), having been unexpectedly wounded by these men, left the battle. When the Gauls felt sure that their men were on top (lit. superior) in the battle, and that our men were hard pressed by (weight of) numbers, both those who were confined by the fortifications and those who had come to their aid sought to encourage the minds of their countrymen by shouting and yelling from all quarters. Because the action was being carried on in the sight of all, and (because) neither a brave nor a cowardly deed could be concealed, both the desire for praise and the fear of disgrace stirred both sides to (acts of) valour. When the action (lit. it) was fought from midday almost to sunset (lit. the setting of the sun), with victory (being) doubtful, the Germans, in one part (of the field) made an assault on the enemy in compact squadrons, and drove (them) off; these having been put to (lit. thrown into) flight, the archers were surrounded and slain. Likewise, in other parts of the field, our men, pursuing the retreating (enemy) right up to their camp, did not give an opportunity for them to be rallied. Moreover, those who had come forth from Alesia, withdrew (lit. betook themselves) into the town dejected and with victory having almost been despaired of.
Chapter 81. Attack on Roman entrenchments.
One day having been allowed to elapse, and an immense quantity of hurdles, scaling ladders and poles with grappling hooks having been made in this interval, the Gauls, going forth from their camp in silence in the middle of the night, approach the fortifications on the plain. A shout having suddenly been raised, so that by its indication (those) who were besieged in the town could learn of their arrival, they prepare to throw down hurdles (into the trenches), to dislodge our men from the rampart by slings, arrows (and) stones, and to undertake the other things which are necessary for (lit. pertain to) an assault. At the same time, Vercingetorix
gives the signal (for action) to his men by a trumpet, and leads (them) forth from the town. Our men, as a place had been assigned to each man, as on previous days, come up to the fortifications; they frighten off the Gauls with one-pounder slings and the stakes which they had placed in the (fortification) works, and with leaden bullets. Visibility having been removed by the darkness, many wounds are received on both sides. Several missiles are hurled by the artillery engines. But, Marcus Antonius and Gaius Trebonius, the legates, to whom these parts had been assigned (lit. had fallen) for the purpose of defence, despatched (soldiers who had been) withdrawn from the more remote forts to whatever part (of the field) they had understood that our men were being hard pressed, as a means of support for these men.
Chapter 82. The Gauls fail to make progress.
While the Gauls were quite some distance away from the entrenchment, they profited more from the large quantity of their missiles; when they advanced nearer, they either entangled themselves, unsuspecting, on the spurs, or, having sunk (lit. having been borne down) into the pits, they were transfixed, or they perished, having been shot by the artillery (lit. mural) darts from the rampart and the towers. Many wounds having been received from all sides, (and) no (part of) the entrenchment having been forced, when daylight approached, fearing lest they might be surrounded by a sally from the upper camp on their exposed flank, they retreated (lit. betook themselves) to their countrymen. But those within, while they bring forward the things which had been prepared by Vercingetorix for a sally, (and) fill up the former trench, (yet,) having delayed for quite a long time in these matters being executed, they learned that their comrades had retreated before they came near to the fortifications. So, they returned to the town without achieving their purpose (lit. the matter [being] unfinished).
Chapter 83. The relieving army plans another attack.
Having twice been repulsed with great loss, the Gauls consult over what they should do; they summon (those who are) knowledgeable about the locality; from these they learn about the position and the fortifications of the upper camp. On the north (side) there was a hill which our men had not been able to include within their (fortification) work on account of the extent (lit. magnitude) of its circumference: of necessity, they made their camp on ground (which was) somewhat (lit. almost) uneven and gently sloping. The legates Gaius Antistius Reginus and Gaius Caninius Rebilus were occupying this camp with two legions. The area having been reconnoitred by their scouts, the enemy's generals select from their entire complement sixty thousand (men) from those states which had the greatest reputation for courage; they secretly decide between themselves what seems good (to them) to be done and in what manner. They fix the time for attacking (the camp), when it should seem to be midday. In command of this force they put Vercassivellaunus, one of the four generals and a relative of Vercingetorix. Coming forth from their camp at the first watch, the march having almost been completed by dawn (lit. daylight), he concealed himself behind a mountain, and ordered his soldiers to refresh themselves from their exertions during the night. When noon now seemed to be at hand, he hastened towards that camp, which we have mentioned above; and at the same time the cavalry began to approach the fortifications on the plain, and the rest of the troops (began) to show themselves in front of the camp.
Chapter 84. Sortie from the town.
Vercingetorix, having observed his countrymen from the citadel of Alesia, issues forth from the town; he brings forth hurdles, long poles, movable pent-houses, grappling-hooks and the other things which he had prepared for the purpose of (making) a sally. There is fighting (lit. it is fought) in all places at one time, and every (expedient) is tried; whichever part (of the fortifications) is least strong, there is a rush (lit. it is rushed) to it. The army of the Romans is divided across their very extensive (lines of) fortification, nor does it easily reach several positions. The shouting, which arose from the combatants in their rear (lit. behind their backs), tends greatly to our men being scared, because they perceive that the risk to themselves depends (lit. stands firmly) on the safety of others; for generally all things which are distant disturb men's minds more seriously.
Chapter 85. Caesar's personal supervision.
Caesar, having found a suitable spot, learns what is happening in each part (of the battle-field); he sends assistance to (those who are) struggling. It occurs to the minds of both sides that this is the one time in which there should be the greatest exertion (lit. in which it is proper for it it be especially exerted): the Gauls despair of all safety unless they should break through the fortifications; the Romans expect an end to all their labours if they shall gain the day (lit. keep hold of the business). The struggle is especially fierce (lit. it is struggled especially) at the upper fortifications, whither we have said that Vercassivellaunus (had been) sent. The unfavourable downward slope (lit. the unfavourable slope [added] to a declivity) has a great effect. Some hurl missiles, others advance, a tortoise having been formed; fresh men in turn replace the weary. Earth is heaped up (lit. cast) by all against the fortifications and gives the Gauls the (means of) ascent, and covers over those things which the Romans had concealed in the ground; neither their arms nor their strength are any longer sufficient for our men.
Chapter 86. Labienus is sent to relieve the distressed soldiers.
These things having been observed, Caesar sends Labienus with six cohorts as a means of support to his struggling (men); he orders (him), if he could not hold his ground (lit. withstand [them]), his cohorts having been drawn off, to fight through (making) a sally; (but) that he was not to do that unless through necessity. He himself goes to the rest (of his troops), (and) encourages (them) not to succumb to the strain; he tells (them) that the fruit of all their previous engagements depends on that day and that hour. The (enemy) on the inside, the positions on the plains having been despaired of, on account of the great size of the fortifications, make an attempt on the precipitous positions straight from a climb. Hither they convey those (engines) which they had prepared. They dislodge the defenders from the towers by the immense quantity of their missiles, they fill up the trenches with earth and hurdles, (and) they tear down the rampart and parapet with grappling-hooks.
Chapter 87. Caesar in battle.
Caesar first sends the young Brutus with some cohorts, then (lit. after [that]) the legate Gaius Fabius with others; lastly he himself, when the battle was raging (lit. it was fought) more fiercely, brought up fresh (troops) in support. The battle (front) having been restored and the enemy having been repulsed, he hastened to that place whither he had sent Labienus; he withdrew four cohorts from the nearest fort, (and) he orders some of the cavalry to follow him, and others to go round the outer entrenchments and attack the enemy in the rear (lit. at the back). Labienus, when neither the rampart nor the ditches could withstand the force of the enemy, forty cohorts, which, having been withdrawn from the nearest guard-posts, chance has presented, having been collected, informs Caesar (lit. makes Caesar more sure) by messengers what he thought should (lit. was needing to) be done. Caesar hurries to take part in the battle.
His arrival having been ascertained through the colour of his cloak, which he was accustomed to use in battle as a distinguishing mark, and the squadrons of cavalry and the cohorts, which he had ordered to follow him, having been seen, as these downward slopes and depressions were visible from their higher positions, the enemy join battle. A shout having been raised on both sides, the shout is taken up in turn along the rampart and the whole of the entrenchments. Our men, their javelins having been discarded, do the business with their swords. Suddenly, the cavalry are seen in the (enemy's) rear (lit. behind the [enemy's] back); (and) the other cohorts draw near. The enemy turn their backs (to flee); the cavalry encounter (those) fleeing. A great slaughter occurs. Sedulius, the leader and chief of the Lemovices is killed; Vercassivellaunus of the Arverni is taken alive in flight; seventy-four military standards are brought to Caesar; (only) a few out of so great a number retreat (lit. betake themselves) safely to their camp. (The others,) beholding from the town the slaughter and flight of their countrymen, safety having been despaired of, lead their troops back from the fortifications. This event having been heard about, a flight of the Gauls from their camp occurs immediately. And (lit. as to which), if the soldiers had not been exhausted by their frequent reinforcement missions and by the exertions of the whole day, all the enemy's force could have been destroyed. Just after midnight the cavalry, having been sent (out), overtake the rear (lit. the last) of the (enemy's) column; a great number (of men) are taken and slain, (and) the rest scatter (lit. disperse) in flight to their (respective) states.
Chapter 89. Vercingetorix surrenders.
On the next day, a council having been called, Vercingetorix stresses that he had undertaken that war not for the sake of his own needs but (for the sake) of the common freedom, and that, since it was necessary to yield (lit. it was needing to be yielded) to fortune, he offers himself to them for one of two purposes, whether they should wish through his death to give satisfaction to the Romans or surrender (him) alive. Envoys are sent to Caesar concerning these matters. He orders their arms to be surrendered (and) their chiefs to be produced. He himself took his seat on the entrenchments in front of the camp; their leaders are brought before him. Vercingetorix is surrendered and they throw down their arms. The Aedui and the Arverni having been kept back, (to see) whether through them he could regain their states, he distributes one of the other captives to each (soldier) throughout the whole army in the name of booty.
Chapter 90. Winter quarters of Roman legions. A thanksgiving is granted.
These matters having been completed, he sets out for (the territories of) the Aedui; he recovers that state. To that place envoys (were) sent by the Arverni, to promise that they would do what he should command. He demands a great number of hostages. He sends the legions to winter-quarters. He returns about twenty thousand prisoners-of-war to the Aedui and the Arverni. He orders Titus Labienus to march with two legions (into the lands of) the Sequani; he attaches Marcus Sempronius Rutilus to him. He places his legate Gaius Fabius and Lucius Minucius Basilus with two legions in (the territories of) the Remi, in order that they should not suffer (lit. receive) any damage from the neighbouring Bellovaci. He sends Gaius Antistius Reginus into (the lands of) the Ambivareti, Titus Sextius into (the territories of) the Bituriges, (and) Gaius Caninius Rebilus into (those of) the Ruteni with one legion each. He stations Quintus Tullius Cicero and Publius Sulpicius (Rufus) at Cabillo and Matisco among the Aedui for the sake of the corn supply. He himself decides to winter at Bibracte. These events having been learned about [through despatches], a general thanksgiving is granted at Rome.