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Book VII

I.--Gaul being tranquil, Caesar, as he had determined, sets out for
Italy to hold the provincial assizes. There he receives intelligence of
the death of Clodius; and, being informed of the decree of the senate
[to the effect] that all the youth of Italy should take the military
oath, he determined to hold a levy throughout the entire province.
Report of these events is rapidly borne into Transalpine Gaul. The Gauls
themselves add to the report, and invent what the case seemed to
require, [namely] that Caesar was detained by commotions in the city,
and could not, amidst so violent dissensions, come to his army. Animated
by this opportunity, they who already, previously to this occurrence,
were indignant that they were reduced beneath the dominion of Rome,
begin to organize their plans for war more openly and daringly. The
leading men of Gaul, having convened councils among themselves in the
woods, and retired places, complain of the death of Acco: they point out
that this fate may fall in turn on themselves: they bewail the unhappy
fate of Gaul; and by every sort of promises and rewards, they earnestly
solicit some to begin the war, and assert the freedom of Gaul at the
hazard of their lives. They say that special care should be paid to
this, that Caesar should be cut off from his army, before their secret
plans should be divulged. That this was easy, because neither would the
legions, in the absence of their general, dare to leave their winter
quarters, nor could the general reach his army without a guard: finally,
that it was better to be slain in battle than not to recover their
ancient glory in war, and that freedom which they had received from
their forefathers.

II.--Whilst these things are in agitation, the Carnutes declare "that
they would decline no danger for the sake of the general safety," and
promise that they would be the first of all to begin the war; and since
they cannot at present take precautions, by giving and receiving
hostages, that the affair shall not be divulged they require that a
solemn assurance be given them by oath and plighted honour, their
military standards being brought together (in which manner their most
sacred obligations are made binding), that they should not be deserted
by the rest of the Gauls on commencing the war.

III.--When the appointed day came, the Carnutes, under the command of
Cotuatus and Conetodunus, desperate men, meet together at Genabum, and
slay the Roman citizens who had settled there for the purpose of trading
(among the rest, Caius Fusius Cita, a distinguished Roman knight, who by
Caesar's orders had presided over the provision department), and plunder
their property. The report is quickly spread among all the states of
Gaul; for, whenever a more important and remarkable event takes place,
they transmit the intelligence through their lands and districts by a
shout; the others take it up in succession, and pass it to their
neighbours, as happened on this occasion; for the things which were done
at Genabum at sunrise were heard in the territories of the Arverni
before the end of the first watch, which is an extent of more than a
hundred and sixty miles.

IV.--There in like manner, Vercingetorix the son of Celtillus the
Arvernian, a young man of the highest power (whose father had held the
supremacy of entire Gaul, and had been put to death by his fellow
citizens, for this reason, because he aimed at sovereign power),
summoned together his dependents, and easily excited them. On his design
being made known, they rush to arms: he is expelled from the town of
Gergovia by his uncle Gobanitio and the rest of the nobles, who were of
opinion, that such an enterprise ought not to be hazarded: he did not
however desist, but held in the country a levy of the needy and
desperate. Having collected such a body of troops, he brings over to his
30 sentiments such of his fellow citizens as he has access to: he
exhorts them to take up arms in behalf of the general freedom, and
having assembled great forces he drives from the state his opponents, by
whom he had been expelled a short time previously. He is saluted king by
his partisans; he sends ambassadors in every direction, he conjures them
to adhere firmly to their promise. He quickly attaches to his interests
the Senones, Parisii, Pictones, Cadurci, Turones, Aulerci, Lemovice, and
all the others who border on the ocean; the supreme command is conferred
on him by unanimous consent. On obtaining this authority, he demands
hostages from all these states, he orders a fixed number of soldiers to
be sent to him immediately; he determines what quantity of arms each
state shall prepare at home, and before what time; he pays particular
attention to the cavalry. To the utmost vigilance he adds the utmost
rigour of authority; and by the severity of his punishments brings over
the wavering: for on the commission of a greater crime he puts the
perpetrators to death by fire and every sort of tortures; for a slighter
cause, he sends home the offenders with their ears cut off, or one of
their eyes put out, that they may be an example to the rest, and
frighten others by the severity of their punishment.

V.--Having quickly collected an army by their punishments, he sends
Lucterius, one of the Cadurci, a man of the utmost daring, with part of
his forces, into the territory of the Ruteni; and marches in person into
the country of the Bituriges. On his arrival, the Bituriges send
ambassadors to the Aedui, under whose protection they were, to solicit
aid in order that they might more easily resist the forces of the enemy.
The Aedui, by the advice of the lieutenants whom Caesar had left with
the army, send supplies of horse and foot to succour the Bituriges. When
they came to the river Loire, which separates the Bituriges from the
Aedui, they delayed a few days there, and, not daring to pass the river,
return home, and send back word to the lieutenants that they had
returned through fear of the treachery of the Bituriges, who, they
ascertained, had formed this design, that if the Aedui should cross the
river, the Bituriges on the one side, and the Arverni on the other,
should surround them. Whether they did this for the reason which they
alleged to the lieutenants, or influenced by treachery, we think that we
ought not to state as certain, because we have no proof. On their
departure, the Bituriges immediately unite themselves to the Arverni.

VI.--These affairs being announced to Caesar in Italy at the time when
he understood that matters in the city had been reduced to a more
tranquil state by the energy of Cneius Pompey, he set out for
Transalpine Gaul. After he had arrived there, he was greatly at a loss
to know by what means he could reach his army. For if he should summon
the legions into the province, he was aware that on their march they
would have to fight in his absence; he foresaw too, that if he himself
should endeavour to reach the army, he would act injudiciously, in
trusting his safety even to those who seemed to be tranquillized.

VII.--In the meantime Lucterius the Cadurcan, having been sent into the
country of the Ruteni, gains over that state to the Arverni. Having
advanced into the country of the Nitiobriges, and Gabali, he receives
hostages from both nations, and, assembling a numerous force, marches to
make a descent on the province in the direction of Narbo. Caesar, when
this circumstance was announced to him, thought that the march to Narbo
ought to take the precedence of all his other plans. When he arrived
there, he encourages the timid, and stations garrisons among the Ruteni,
in the province of the Volcae Arecomici, and the country around Narbo
which was in the vicinity of the enemy; he orders a portion of the
forces from the province, and the recruits which he had brought from
Italy, to rendezvous among the Helvii who border on the territories of
the Arverni.

VIII.--These matters being arranged, and Lucterius now checked and
forced to retreat, because he thought it dangerous to enter the line of
Roman garrisons, Caesar marches into the country of the Helvii; although
mount Cevennes, which separates the Arverni from the Helvii, blocked up
the way with very deep snow, as it was the severest season of the year;
yet having cleared away the snow to the depth of six feet, and having
opened the roads, he reaches the territories of the Arverni, with
infinite labour to his soldiers. This people being surprised, because
they considered themselves defended by the Cevennes as by a wall, and
the paths at this season of the year had never before been passable even
to individuals, he orders the cavalry to extend themselves as far as
they could, and strike as great a panic as possible into the enemy.
These proceedings are speedily announced to Vercingetorix by rumour and
his messengers. Around him all the Arverni crowd in alarm, and solemnly
entreat him to protect their property, and not to suffer them to be
plundered by the enemy, especially as he saw that all the war was
transferred into their country. Being prevailed upon by their entreaties
he moves his camp from the country of the Bituriges in the direction of
the Arverni.

IX.--Caesar, having delayed two days in that place, because he had
anticipated that, in the natural course of events, such would be the
conduct of Vercingetorix, leaves the army under pretence of raising
recruits and cavalry: he places Brutus, a young man, in command of these
forces; he gives him instructions that the cavalry should range as
extensively as possible in all directions; that he would exert himself
not to be absent from the camp longer than three days. Having arranged
these matters, he marches to Vienna by as long journeys as he can, when
his own soldiers did not expect him. Finding there a fresh body of
cavalry, which he had sent on to that place several days before,
marching incessantly night and day, he advanced rapidly through the
territory of the Aedui into that of the Lingones, in which two legions
were wintering, that, if any plan affecting his own safety should have
been organised by the Aedui, he might defeat it by the rapidity of his
movements. When he arrived there, he sends information to the rest of
the legions, and gathers all his army into one place before intelligence
of his arrival could be announced to the Arverni.

Vercingetorix, on hearing this circumstance, leads back his army into
the country of the Bituriges; and after marching from it to Gergovia, a
town of the Boii, whom Caesar had settled there after defeating them in
the Helvetian war, and had rendered tributary to the Aedui, he
determined to attack it.

X.--This action caused great perplexity to Caesar in the selection of
his plans; [he feared] lest, if he should confine his legions in one
place for the remaining portion of the winter, all Gaul should revolt
when the tributaries of the Aedui were subdued, because it would appear
that there was in him no protection for his friends; but if he should
draw them too soon out of their winter quarters, he might be distressed
by the want of provisions, in consequence of the difficulty of
conveyance. It seemed better, however, to endure every hardship than to
alienate the affections of all his allies, by submitting to such an
insult. Having, therefore, impressed on the Aedui the necessity of
supplying him with provisions, he sends forward messengers to the Boii
to inform them of his arrival, and encourage them to remain firm in
their allegiance, and resist the attack of the enemy with great
resolution. Having left two legions and the luggage of the entire army
at Agendicum, he marches to the Boii.

XI.--On the second day, when he came to Vellaunodunum, a town of the
Senones, he determined to attack it, in order that he might not leave an
enemy in his rear, and might the more easily procure supplies of
provisions, and drew a line of circumvallation around it in two days: on
the third day, ambassadors being sent from the town to treat of a
capitulation, he orders their arms to be brought together, their cattle
to be brought forth, and six hundred hostages to be given. He leaves
Caius Trebonius, his lieutenant, to complete these arrangements; he
himself sets out with the intention of marching as soon as possible to
Genabum, a town of the Carnutes, who having then for the first time
received information of the siege of Vellaunodunum, as they thought that
it would be protracted to a longer time, were preparing a garrison to
send to Genabum for the defence of that town. Caesar arrived here in two
days; after pitching his camp before the town, being prevented by the
time of the day, he defers the attack to the next day, and orders his
soldiers to prepare whatever was necessary for that enterprise; and as a
bridge over the Loire connected the town of Genabum with the opposite
bank, fearing lest the inhabitants should escape by night from the town,
he orders two legions to keep watch under arms. The people of Genabum
came forth silently from the city before midnight, and began to cross
the river. When this circumstance was announced by scouts, Caesar,
having set fire to the gates, sends in the legions which he had ordered
to be ready, and obtains possession of the town so completely, that very
few of the whole number of the enemy escaped being taken alive, because
the narrowness of the bridge and the roads prevented the multitude from
escaping. He pillages and burns the town, gives the booty to the
soldiers, then leads his army over the Loire, and marches into the
territories of the Bituriges.

XII.--Vercingetorix, when he ascertained the arrival of Caesar, desisted
from the siege [of Gergovia], and marched to meet Caesar. The latter had
commenced to besiege Noviodunum; and when ambassadors came from this
town to beg that he would pardon them and spare their lives, in order
that he might execute the rest of his designs with the rapidity by which
he had accomplished most of them, he orders their arms to be collected,
their horses to be brought forth, and hostages to be given. A part of
the hostages being now delivered up, when the rest of the terms were
being performed, a few centurions and soldiers being sent into the town
to collect the arms and horses, the enemy's cavalry, which had
outstripped the main body of Vercingetorix's army, was seen at a
distance; as soon as the townsmen beheld them, and entertained hopes of
assistance, raising a shout, they began to take up arms, shut the gates,
and line the walls. When the centurions in the town understood from the
signal-making of the Gauls that they were forming some new design, they
drew their swords and seized the gates, and recovered all their men

XIII.--Caesar orders the horse to be drawn out of the camp, and
commences a cavalry action. His men being now distressed, Caesar sends
to their aid about four hundred German horse, which he had determined,
at the beginning, to keep with himself. The Gauls could not withstand
their attack, but were put to flight, and retreated to their main body,
after losing a great number of men. When they were routed, the townsmen,
again intimidated, arrested those persons by whose exertions they
thought that the mob had been roused, and brought them to Caesar, and
surrendered themselves to him. When these affairs were accomplished,
Caesar marched to the Avaricum, which was the largest and best fortified
town in the territories of the Bituriges, and situated in a most fertile
tract of country; because he confidently expected that on taking that
town, he would reduce beneath his dominion the state of the Bituriges.

XIV.--Vercingetorix, after sustaining such a series of losses at
Vellaunodunum, Genabum, and Noviodunum, summons his men to a council. He
impresses on them "that the war must be prosecuted on a very different
system from that which had been previously adopted; but they should by
all means aim at this object, that the Romans should be prevented from
foraging and procuring provisions; that this was easy, because they
themselves were well supplied with cavalry and were likewise assisted by
the season of the year; that forage could not be cut; that the enemy
must necessarily disperse, and look for it in the houses, that all these
might be daily destroyed by the horse. Besides that the interests of
private property must be neglected for the sake of the general safety;
that the villages and houses ought to be fired, over such an extent of
country in every direction from Boia, as the Romans appeared capable of
scouring in their search for forage. That an abundance of these
necessaries could be supplied to them, because they would be assisted by
the resources of those in whose territories the war would be waged: that
the Romans either would not bear the privation, or else would advance to
any distance from the camp with considerable danger; and that it made no
difference whether they slew them or stripped them of their baggage,
since, if it was lost, they could not carry on the war. Besides that,
the towns ought to be burnt which were not secured against every danger
by their fortifications or natural advantages; that there should not be
places of retreat for their own countrymen for declining military
service, nor be exposed to the Romans as inducements to carry off
abundance of provisions and plunder. If these sacrifices should appear
heavy or galling, that they ought to consider it much more distressing
that their wives and children should be dragged off to slavery, and
themselves slain; the evils which must necessarily befall the conquered.

XV.--This opinion having been approved of by unanimous consent, more
than twenty towns of the Bituriges are burnt in one day. Conflagrations
are beheld in every quarter; and although all bore this with great
regret, yet they laid before themselves this consolation, that, as the
victory was certain, they could quickly recover their losses. There is a
debate concerning Avaricum in the general council, whether they should
decide that it should be burnt or defended. The Bituriges threw
themselves at the feet of all the Gauls, and entreat that they should
not be compelled to set fire with their own hands to the fairest city of
almost the whole of Gaul, which was both a protection and ornament to
the state; they say that "they could easily defend it, owing to the
nature of the ground, for, being enclosed almost on every side by a
river and a marsh, it had only one entrance, and that very narrow."
Permission being granted to them at their earnest request, Vercingetorix
at first dissuades them from it, but afterwards concedes the point,
owing to their entreaties and the compassion of the soldiers. A proper
garrison is selected for the town.

XVI.--Vercingetorix follows closely upon Caesar by shorter marches, and
selects for his camp a place defended by woods and marshes, at the
distance of fifteen miles from Avaricum. There he received intelligence
by trusty scouts, every hour in the day, of what was going on at
Avaricum, and ordered whatever he wished to be done; he closely watched
all our expeditions for corn and forage, and whenever they were
compelled to go to a greater distance, he attacked them when dispersed,
and inflicted severe loss upon them; although the evil was remedied by
our men, as far as precautions could be taken, by going forth at
irregular times, and by different ways.

XVII.--Caesar pitching his camp at that side of the town which was not
defended by the river and marsh, and had a very narrow approach, as we
have mentioned, began to raise the vineae and erect two towers; for the
nature of the place prevented him from drawing a line of
circumvallation. He never ceased to importune the Boii and Aedui for
supplies of corn; of whom the one [the Aedui], because they were acting
with no zeal, did not aid him much; the others [the Boii], as their
resources were not great, quickly consumed what they had. Although the
army was distressed by the greatest want of corn, through the poverty of
the Boii, the apathy of the Aedui, and the burning of the houses, to
such a degree, that for several days the soldiers were without corn, and
satisfied their extreme hunger with cattle driven from the remote
villages; yet no language was heard from them unworthy of the majesty of
the Roman people and their former victories. Moreover, when Caesar
addressed the legions, one by one, when at work, and said that he would
raise the siege, if they felt the scarcity too severely, they
unanimously begged him "not to do so; that they had served for several
years under his command in such a manner, that they never submitted to
insult, and never abandoned an enterprise without accomplishing it; that
they should consider it a disgrace if they abandoned the siege after
commencing it; that it was better to endure every hardship than not to
avenge the manes of the Roman citizens who perished at Genabum by the
perfidy of the Gauls." They entrusted the same declarations to the
centurions and military tribunes, that through them they might be
communicated to Caesar.

XVIII.--When the towers had now approached the walls, Caesar ascertained
from the captives that Vercingetorix, after destroying the forage, had
pitched his camp nearer Avaricum, and that he himself with the cavalry
and light-armed infantry, who generally fought among the horse, had gone
to lay an ambuscade in that quarter to which he thought that our troops
would come the next day to forage. On learning these facts, he set out
from the camp secretly at midnight, and reached the camp of the enemy
early in the morning. They having quickly learned the arrival of Caesar
by scouts, hid their cars and baggage in the thickest parts of the
woods, and drew up all their forces in a lofty and open space: which
circumstance being announced, Caesar immediately ordered the baggage to
be piled, and the arms to be got ready.

XIX.--There was a hill of a gentle ascent from the bottom; a dangerous
and impassable marsh, not more than fifty feet broad, begirt it on
almost every side. The Gauls, having broken down the bridges, posted
themselves on this hill, in confidence of their position, and being
drawn up in tribes according to their respective states, held all the
fords and passages of that marsh with trusty guards, thus determined
that if the Romans should attempt to force the marsh, they would
overpower them from the higher ground while sticking in it, so that
whoever saw the nearness of the position, would imagine that the two
armies were prepared to fight on almost equal terms; but whoever should
view accurately the disadvantage of position, would discover that they
were showing off an empty affectation of courage. Caesar clearly points
out to his soldiers, who were indignant that the enemy could bear the
sight of them at the distance of so short a space, and were earnestly
demanding the signal for action, "with how great loss and the death of
how many gallant men the victory would necessarily be purchased: and
when he saw them so determined to decline no danger for his renown, that
he ought to be considered guilty of the utmost injustice if he did not
hold their life dearer than his own personal safety." Having thus
consoled his soldiers, he leads them back on the same day to the camp,
and determined to prepare the other things which were necessary for the
siege of the town.

XX.--Vercingetorix, when he had returned to his men, was accused of
treason, in that he had moved his camp nearer the Romans, in that he had
gone away with all the cavalry, in that he had left so great forces
without a commander, in that, on his departure, the Romans had come at
such a favourable season, and with such despatch; that all these
circumstances could not have happened accidentally or without design;
that he preferred holding the sovereignty of Gaul by the grant of
Caesar, to acquiring it by their favour. Being accused in such a manner,
he made the following reply to these charges:--"That his moving his camp
had been caused by want of forage, and had been done even by their
advice; that his approaching near the Romans had been a measure dictated
by the favourable nature of the ground, which would defend him by its
natural strength; that the service of the cavalry could not have been
requisite in marshy ground, and was useful in that place to which they
had gone; that he, on his departure, had given the supreme command to no
one intentionally, lest he should be induced by the eagerness of the
multitude to hazard an engagement, to which he perceived that all were
inclined, owing to their want of energy, because they were unable to
endure fatigue any longer. That, if the Romans in the meantime came up
by chance, they [the Gauls] should feel grateful to fortune; if invited
by the information of some one they should feel grateful to him, because
they were enabled to see distinctly from the higher ground the smallness
of the number of their enemy, and despise the courage of those who, not
daring to fight, retreated disgracefully into their camp. That he
desired no power from Caesar by treachery, since he could have it by
victory, which was now assured to himself and to all the Gauls; nay,
that he would even give them back the command, if they thought that they
conferred honour on him, rather then received safety from him. That you
may be assured," said he, "that I speak these words with truth;--listen
to these Roman soldiers!" He produces some camp-followers whom he had
surprised on a foraging expedition some days before, and had tortured by
famine and confinement. They being previously instructed in what answers
they should make when examined, say, "That they were legionary soldiers,
that, urged by famine and want, they had recently gone forth from the
camp, [to see] if they could find any corn or cattle in the fields; that
the whole army was distressed by a similar scarcity, nor had any one now
sufficient strength, nor could bear the labour of the work; and
therefore that the general was determined, if he made no progress in the
siege, to draw off his army in three days." "These benefits," says
Vercingetorix, "you receive from me, whom you accuse of treason--me, by
whose exertions you see so powerful and victorious an army almost
destroyed by famine, without shedding one drop of your blood; and I have
taken precautions that no state shall admit within its territories this
army in its ignominious flight from this place."

XXI.--The whole multitude raise a shout and clash their arms, according
to their custom, as they usually do in the case of him whose speech they
approve; [they exclaim] that Vercingetorix was a consummate general, and
that they had no doubt of his honour; that the war could not be
conducted with greater prudence. They determine that ten thousand men
should be picked out of the entire army and sent into the town, and
decide that the general safety should not be entrusted to the Bituriges
alone, because they were aware that the glory of the victory must rest
with the Bituriges, if they made good the defence of the town.

XXII.--To the extraordinary valour of our soldiers, devices of every
sort were opposed by the Gauls; since they are a nation of consummate
ingenuity, and most skilful in imitating and making those things which
are imparted by any one; for they turned aside the hooks with nooses,
and when they had caught hold of them firmly, drew them on by means of
engines, and undermined the mound the more skilfully on this account,
because there are in their territories extensive iron mines, and
consequently every description of mining operations is known and
practised by them. They had furnished, moreover, the whole wall on every
side with turrets, and had covered them with skins. Besides, in their
frequent sallies by day and night, they attempted either to set fire to
the mound, or attack our soldiers when engaged in the works; and,
moreover, by splicing the upright timbers of their own towers, they
equalled the height of ours, as fast as the mound had daily raised them,
and countermined our mines, and impeded the working of them by stakes
bent and sharpened at the ends, and boiling pitch, and stones of very
great weight, and prevented them from approaching the walls.

XXIII.--But this is usually the form of all the Gallic walls. Straight
beams, connected lengthwise and two feet distant from each other at
equal intervals, are placed together on the ground; these are mortised
on the inside, and covered with plenty of earth. But the intervals which
we have mentioned, are closed up in front by large stones. These being
thus laid and cemented together, another row is added above, in such a
manner that the same interval may be observed, and that the beams may
not touch one another, but equal spaces intervening, each row of beams
is kept firmly in its place by a row of stones. In this manner the whole
wall is consolidated, until the regular height of the wall be completed.
This work, with respect to appearance and variety, is not unsightly,
owing to the alternate rows of beams and stones, which preserve their
order in right lines; and, besides, it possesses great advantages as
regards utility and the defence of cities; for the stone protects it
from fire, and the wood from the battering ram, since it [the wood]
being mortised in the inside with rows of beams, generally forty feet
each in length, can neither be broken through nor torn asunder.

XXIV.--The siege having been impeded by so many disadvantages, the
soldiers, although they were retarded during the whole time, by the mud,
cold, and constant showers, yet by their incessant labour overcame all
these obstacles, and in twenty-five days raised a mound three hundred
and thirty feet broad and eighty feet high. When it almost touched the
enemy's walls, and Caesar, according to his usual custom, kept watch at
the work, and encouraged the soldiers not to discontinue the work for a
moment: a little before the third watch they discovered that the mound
was sinking, since the enemy had set it on fire by a mine; and at the
same time a shout was raised along the entire wall, and a sally was made
from two gates on each side of the turrets. Some at a distance were
casting torches and dry wood from the wall on the mound, others were
pouring on it pitch, and other materials, by which the flame might be
excited, so that a plan could hardly be formed, as to where they should
first run to the defence, or to what part aid should be brought.
However, as two legions always kept guard before the camp by Caesar's
orders, and several of them were at stated times at the work, measures
were promptly taken, that some should oppose the sallying party, others
draw back the towers and make a cut in the rampart; and moreover, that
the whole army should hasten from the camp to extinguish the flames.

XXV.--When the battle was going on in every direction, the rest of the
night being now spent, and fresh hopes of victory always arose before
the enemy: the more so on this account because they saw the coverings of
our towers burnt away, and perceived that we, being exposed, could not
easily go to give assistance, and they themselves were always relieving
the weary with fresh men, and considered that all the safety of Gaul
rested on this crisis; there happened in my own view a circumstance
which, having appeared to be worthy of record, we thought it ought not
to be omitted. A certain Gaul before the gate of the town, who was
casting into the fire opposite the turret balls of tallow and fire which
were passed along to him, was pierced with a dart on the right side and
fell dead. One of those next him stepped over him as he lay, and
discharged the same office: when the second man was slain in the same
manner by a wound from a cross-bow, a third succeeded him, and a fourth
succeeded the third: nor was this post left vacant by the besieged,
until, the fire of the mound having been extinguished, and the enemy
repulsed in every direction, an end was put to the fighting.

XXVI.--The Gauls having tried every expedient, as nothing had succeeded,
adopted the design of fleeing from the town the next day, by the advice
and order of Vercingetorix. They hoped that, by attempting it at the
dead of night, they would effect it without any great loss of men,
because the camp of Vercingetorix was not far distant from the town, and
the extensive marsh which intervened was likely to retard the Romans in
the pursuit. And they were now preparing to execute this by night, when
the matrons suddenly ran out into the streets, and weeping cast
themselves at the feet of their husbands, and requested of them, with
every entreaty, that they should not abandon themselves and their common
children to the enemy for punishment, because the weakness of their
nature and physical powers prevented them from taking to flight. When
they saw that they (as fear does not generally admit of mercy in extreme
danger) persisted in their resolution, they began to shout aloud, and
give intelligence of their flight to the Romans. The Gauls being
intimidated by fear of this, lest the passes should be pre-occupied by
the Roman cavalry, desisted from their design.

XXVII.--The next day Caesar, the tower being advanced, and the works
which he had determined to raise being arranged, a violent storm
arising, thought this no bad time for executing his designs, because he
observed the guards arranged on the walls a little too negligently, and
therefore ordered his own men to engage in their work more remissly, and
pointed out what he wished to be done. He drew up his soldiers in a
secret position within the vineae, and exhorts them to reap, at least,
the harvest of victory proportionate to their exertions. He proposed a
reward for those who should first scale the walls, and gave the signal
to the soldiers. They suddenly flew out from all quarters and quickly
filled the wall.

XXVIII.--The enemy being alarmed by the suddenness of the attack, were
dislodged from the wall and towers, and drew up, in form of a wedge, in
the market-place and the open streets, with this intention that, if an
attack should be made on any side, they should fight with their line
drawn up to receive it. When they saw no one descending to the level
ground, and the enemy extending themselves along the entire wall in
every direction, fearing lest every hope of flight should be cut off,
they cast away their arms, and sought, without stopping, the most remote
parts of the town. A part was then slain by the infantry when they were
crowding upon one another in the narrow passage of the gates; and a part
having got without the gates, were cut to pieces by the cavalry: nor was
there one who was anxious for the plunder. Thus, being excited by the
massacre at Genabum and the fatigue of the siege, they spared neither
those worn out with years, women, or children. Finally, out of all that
number, which amounted to about forty thousand, scarcely eight hundred,
who fled from the town when they heard the first alarm, reached
Vercingetorix in safety: and he, the night being now far spent, received
them in silence after their flight (fearing that any sedition should
arise in the camp from their entrance in a body and the compassion of
the soldiers), so that, having arranged his friends and the chiefs of
the states at a distance on the road, he took precautions that they
should be separated and conducted to their fellow countrymen, to
whatever part of the camp had been assigned to each state from the

XXIX.--Vercingetorix having convened an assembly on the following day,
consoled and encouraged his soldiers in the following words:--"That they
should not be too much depressed in spirit, nor alarmed at their loss;
that the Romans did not conquer by valour nor in the field, but by a
kind of art and skill in assault, with which they themselves were
unacquainted; that whoever expected every event in the war to be
favourable, erred; that it never was his opinion that Avaricum should be
defended, of the truth of which statement he had themselves as
witnesses, but that it was owing to the imprudence of the Bituriges, and
the too ready compliance of the rest, that this loss was sustained;
that, however, he would soon compensate it by superior advantages; for
that he would, by his exertions, bring over those states which severed
themselves from the rest of the Gauls, and would create a general
unanimity throughout the whole of Gaul, the union of which not even the
whole earth could withstand, and that he had it already almost effected;
that in the meantime it was reasonable that he should prevail on them,
for the sake of the general safety, to begin to fortify their camp, in
order that they might the more easily sustain the sudden attacks of the

XXX.--This speech was not disagreeable to the Gauls, principally,
because he himself was not disheartened by receiving so severe a loss,
and had not concealed himself, nor shunned the eyes of the people: and
he was believed to possess greater foresight and sounder judgment than
the rest, because, when the affair was undecided, he had at first been
of opinion that Avaricum should be burnt, and afterwards that it should
be abandoned. Accordingly, as ill success weakens the authority of other
generals, so, on the contrary, his dignity increased daily, although a
loss was sustained: at the same time they began to entertain hopes, on
his assertion, of uniting the rest of the states to themselves, and on
this occasion, for the first time, the Gauls began to fortify their
camps, and were so alarmed that although they were men unaccustomed to
toil, yet they were of opinion that they ought to endure and suffer
everything which should be imposed upon them.

XXXI.--Nor did Vercingetorix use less efforts than he had promised, to
gain over the other states, and [in consequence] endeavoured to entice
their leaders by gifts and promises. For this object he selected fitting
emissaries by whose subtle pleading or private friendship each of the
nobles could be most easily influenced. He takes care that those who
fled to him on the storming of Avaricum should be provided with arms and
clothes. At the same time, that his diminished forces should be
recruited, he levies a fixed quota of soldiers from each state, and
defines the number and day before which he should wish them brought to
the camp, and orders all the archers, of whom there was a very great
number in Gaul, to be collected and sent to him. By these means, the
troops which were lost at Avaricum are speedily replaced. In the
meantime, Teutomarus, the son of Ollovicon, the king of the Nitiobriges,
whose father had received the appellation of friend from our senate,
came to him with a great number of his own horse and those whom he had
hired from Aquitania.

XXXII.--Caesar, after delaying several days at Avaricum, and finding
there the greatest plenty of corn and other provisions, refreshed his
army after their fatigue and privation. The winter being almost ended,
when he was invited by the favourable season of the year to prosecute
the war and march against the enemy, [and try] whether he could draw
them from the marshes and woods, or else press them by a blockade; some
noblemen of the Aedui came to him as ambassadors to entreat "that in an
extreme emergency he should succour their state; that their affairs were
in the utmost danger, because, whereas single magistrates had been
usually appointed in ancient times and held the power of king for a
single year, two persons now exercised this office, and each asserted
that he was appointed according to their laws. That one of them was
Convictolitanis, a powerful and illustrious youth; the other Cotus,
sprung from a most ancient family, and personally a man of very great
influence and extensive connections. His brother Valetiacus had borne
the same office during the last year: that the whole state was up in
arms; the senate divided, the people divided; that each of them had his
own adherents; and that, if the animosity would be fomented any longer
the result would be that one part of the state would come to a collision
with the other; that it rested with his activity and influence to
prevent it."

XXXIII.--Although Caesar considered it ruinous to leave the war and the
enemy, yet, being well aware what great evils generally arise from
internal dissensions, lest a state so powerful and so closely connected
with the Roman people, which he himself had always fostered and honoured
in every respect, should have recourse to violence and arms, and that
the party which had less confidence in its own power should summon aid
from Vercingetorix, he determined to anticipate this movement; and
because, by the laws of the Aedui, it was not permitted those who held
the supreme authority to leave the country, he determined to go in
person to the Aedui, lest he should appear to infringe upon their
government and laws, and summoned all the senate, and those between whom
the dispute was, to meet him at Decetia. When almost all the state had
assembled there, and he was informed that one brother had been declared
magistrate by the other, when only a few persons were privately summoned
for the purpose, at a different time and place from what he ought,
whereas the laws not only forbade two belonging to one family to be
elected magistrates while each was alive, but even deterred them from
being in the senate, he compelled Cotus to resign his office; he ordered
Convictolitanis, who had been elected by the priests, according to the
usage of the state, in the presence of the magistrates, to hold the
supreme authority.

XXXIV.--Having pronounced this decree between [the contending parties],
he exhorted the Aedui to bury in oblivion their disputes and
dissensions, and, laying aside all these things, devote themselves to
the war, and expect from him, on the conquest of Gaul, those rewards
which they should have earned, and send speedily to him all their
cavalry and ten thousand infantry, which he might place in different
garrisons to protect his convoys of provisions, and then divided his
army into two parts: he gave Labienus four legions to lead into the
country of the Senones and Parisii; and led in person six into the
country of the Arverni, in the direction of the town of Gergovia, along
the banks of the Allier. He gave part of the cavalry to Labienus, and
kept part to himself. Vercingetorix, on learning this circumstance,
broke down all the bridges over the river and began to march on the
other bank of the Allier.

XXXV.--When each army was in sight of the other, and was pitching their
camp almost opposite that of the enemy, scouts being distributed in
every quarter, lest the Romans should build a bridge and bring over
their troops; it was to Caesar a matter attended with great
difficulties, lest he should be hindered from passing the river during
the greater part of the summer, as the Allier cannot generally be forded
before the autumn. Therefore, that this might not happen, having pitched
his camp in a woody place opposite to one of those bridges which
Vercingetorix had taken care should be broken down, the next day he
stopped behind with two legions in a secret place: he sent on the rest
of the forces as usual, with all the baggage, after having selected some
cohorts, that the number of the legions might appear to be complete.
Having ordered these to advance as far as they could, when now, from the
time of day, he conjectured they had come to an encampment, he began to
rebuild the bridge on the same piles, the lower part of which remained
entire. Having quickly finished the work and led his legions across, he
selected a fit place for a camp, and recalled the rest of his troops.
Vercingetorix, on ascertaining this fact, went before him by forced
marches, in order that he might not be compelled to come to an action
against his will.

XXXVI.--Caesar, in five days' march, went from that place to Gergovia,
and after engaging in a slight cavalry skirmish that day, on viewing the
situation of the city, which, being built on a very high mountain, was
very difficult of access, he despaired of taking it by storm, and
determined to take no measures with regard to besieging it before he
should secure a supply of provisions. But Vercingetorix, having pitched
his camp on the mountain near the town, placed the forces of each state
separately and at small intervals around himself, and having occupied
all the hills of that range as far as they commanded a view [of the
Roman encampment], he presented a formidable appearance; he ordered the
rulers of the states, whom he had selected as his council of war, to
come to him daily at the dawn, whether any measure seemed to require
deliberation or execution. Nor did he allow almost any day to pass
without testing in a cavalry action, the archers being intermixed, what
spirit and valour there was in each of his own men. There was a hill
opposite the town, at the very foot of that mountain, strongly fortified
and precipitous on every side (which if our men could gain, they seemed
likely to exclude the enemy from a great share of their supply of water,
and from free foraging; but this place was occupied by them with a weak
garrison): however, Caesar set out from the camp in the silence of
night, and dislodging the garrison before succour could come from the
town, he got possession of the place and posted two legions there, and
drew from the greater camp to the less a double trench twelve feet
broad, so that the soldiers could even singly pass secure from any
sudden attack of the enemy.

XXXVII.--Whilst these affairs were going on at Gergovia,
Convictolitanis, the Aeduan, to whom we have observed the magistracy was
adjudged by Caesar, being bribed by the Arverni, holds a conference with
certain young men, the chief of whom were Litavicus and his brothers,
who were born of a most noble family. He shares the bribe with them, and
exhorts them to "remember that they were free and born for empire; that
the state of the Aedui was the only one which retarded the most certain
victory of the Gauls; that the rest were held in check by its authority;
and, if it was brought over, the Romans would not have room to stand on
in Gaul; that he had received some kindness from Caesar, only so far,
however, as gaining a most just cause by his decision; but that he
assigned more weight to the general freedom; for, why should the Aedui
go to Caesar to decide concerning their rights and laws, rather than the
Romans come to the Aedui?" The young men being easily won over by the
speech of the magistrate and the bribe, when they declared that they
would even be leaders in the plot, a plan for accomplishing it was
considered, because they were confident their state could not be induced
to undertake the war on slight grounds. It was resolved that Litavicus
should have the command of the ten thousand which were being sent to
Caesar for the war, and should have charge of them on their march, and
that his brothers should go before him to Caesar. They arrange the other
measures, and the manner in which they should have them done.

XXXVIII.--Litavicus, having received the command of the army, suddenly
convened the soldiers, when he was about thirty miles distant from
Gergovia, and, weeping, said, "Soldiers, whither are we going? All our
knights and all our nobles have perished. Eporedorix and Viridomarus,
the principal men of the state, being accused of treason, have been
slain by the Romans without even permission to plead their cause. Learn
this intelligence from those who have escaped from the massacre; for I,
since my brothers and all my relations have been slain, am prevented by
grief from declaring what has taken place." Persons are brought forward
whom he had instructed in what he would have them say, and make the same
statements to the soldiery as Litavicus had made: that all the knights
of the Aedui were slain because they were said to have held conferences
with the Arverni; that they had concealed themselves among the multitude
of soldiers, and had escaped from the midst of the slaughter. The Aedui
shout aloud and conjure Litavicus to provide for their safety. "As if,"
said he, "it were a matter of deliberation, and not of necessity, for us
to go to Gergovia and unite ourselves to the Arverni. Or have we any
reasons to doubt that the Romans, after perpetrating the atrocious
crime, are now hastening to slay us? Therefore, if there be any spirit
in us, let us avenge the death of those who have perished in a most
unworthy manner, and let us slay these robbers." He points to the Roman
citizens, who had accompanied them, in reliance on his protection. He
immediately seizes a great quantity of corn and provisions, cruelly
tortures them, and then puts them to death, sends messengers throughout
the entire state of the Aedui, and rouses them completely by the same
falsehood concerning the slaughter of their knights and nobles; he
earnestly advises them to avenge, in the same manner as he did, the
wrongs which they had received.

XXXIX.--Eporedorix, the Aeduan, a young man born in the highest rank and
possessing very great influence at home, and, along with Viridomarus, of
equal age and influence, but of inferior birth, whom Caesar had raised
from a humble position to the highest rank, on being recommended to him
by Divitiacus, had come in the number of horse, being summoned by Caesar
by name. These had a dispute with each other for precedence, and in the
struggle between the magistrates they had contended with their utmost
efforts, the one for Convictolitanis, the other for Cotus. Of these
Eporedorix, on learning the design of Litavicus, lays the matter before
Caesar almost at midnight; he entreats that Caesar should not suffer
their state to swerve from the alliance with the Roman people, owing to
the depraved counsels of a few young men, which he foresaw would be the
consequence if so many thousand men should unite themselves to the
enemy, as their relations could not neglect their safety, nor the state
regard it as a matter of slight importance.

XL.--Caesar felt great anxiety on this intelligence, because he had
always especially indulged the state of the Aedui, and, without any
hesitation, draws out from the camp four light-armed legions and all the
cavalry: nor had he time, at such a crisis, to contract the camp,
because the affair seemed to depend upon despatch. He leaves Caius
Fabius, his lieutenant, with two legions to guard the camp. When he
ordered the brothers of Litavicus to be arrested, he discovers that they
had fled a short time before to the camp of the enemy. He encouraged his
soldiers "not to be disheartened by the labour of the journey on such a
necessary occasion," and, after advancing twenty-five miles, all being
most eager, he came in sight of the army of the Aedui, and, by sending
on his cavalry, retards and impedes their march; he then issues strict
orders to all his soldiers to kill no one. He commands Eporedorix and
Viridomarus, who they thought were killed, to move among the cavalry and
address their friends. When they were recognized and the treachery of
Litavicus discovered, the Aedui began to extend their hands to intimate
submission, and, laying down their arms, to deprecate death. Litavicus,
with his clansmen, who after the custom of the Gauls consider it a crime
to desert their patrons, even in extreme misfortune, flees forth to

XLI.--Caesar, after sending messengers to the state of the Aedui, to
inform them that they whom he could have put to death by the right of
war were spared through his kindness, and after giving three hours of
the night to his army for his repose, directed his march to Gergovia.
Almost in the middle of the journey, a party of horse that were sent by
Fabius stated in how great danger matters were; they inform him that the
camp was attacked by a very powerful army, while fresh men were
frequently relieving the wearied, and exhausting our soldiers by the
incessant toil, since, on account of the size of the camp, they had
constantly to remain on the rampart; that many had been wounded by the
immense number of arrows and all kinds of missiles; that the engines
were of great service in withstanding them; that Fabius, at their
departure, leaving only two gates open, was blocking up the rest, and
was adding breast-works to the ramparts, and was preparing himself for a
similar casualty on the following day. Caesar, after receiving this
information, reached the camp before sunrise owing to the very great
zeal of his soldiers.

XLII.--Whilst these things are going on at Gergovia, the Aedui, on
receiving the first announcements from Litavicus, leave themselves no
time to ascertain the truth of these statements. Some are stimulated by
avarice, others by revenge and credulity, which is an innate propensity
in that race of men to such a degree that they consider a slight rumour
as an ascertained fact. They plunder the property of the Roman citizens,
and either massacre them or drag them away to slavery. Convictolitanis
increases the evil state of affairs, and goads on the people to fury,
that by the commission of some outrage they may be ashamed to return to
propriety. They entice from the town of Cabillonus, by a promise of
safety, Marcus Aristius, a military tribune, who was on his march to his
legion; they compel those who had settled there for the purpose of
trading to do the same. By constantly attacking them on their march they
strip them of all their baggage; they besiege day and night those that
resisted; when many were slain on both sides, they excite a greater
number to arms.

XLIII.--In the meantime, when intelligence was brought that all their
soldiers were in Caesar's power, they run in a body to Aristius; they
assure him that nothing had been done by public authority; they order an
inquiry to be made about the plundered property; they confiscate the
property of Litavicus and his brothers; they send ambassadors to Caesar
for the purpose of clearing themselves. They do all this with a view to
recover their soldiers; but being contaminated by guilt, and charmed by
the gains arising from the plundered property, as that act was shared in
by many, and being tempted by the fear of punishment, they began to form
plans of war and stir up the other states by embassies. Although Caesar
was aware of this proceeding, yet he addresses the ambassadors with as
much mildness as he can: "That he did not think worse of the state on
account of the ignorance and fickleness of the mob, nor would diminish
his regard for the Aedui." He himself, fearing a greater commotion in
Gaul, in order to prevent his being surrounded by all the states, began
to form plans as to the manner in which he should return from Gergovia
and again concentrate his forces, lest a departure arising from the fear
of a revolt should seem like a flight.

XLIV.--Whilst he was considering these things an opportunity of acting
successfully seemed to offer. For, when he had come into the smaller
camp for the purpose of securing the works, he noticed that the hill in
the possession of the enemy was stript of men, although, on the former
days, it could scarcely be seen on account of the numbers on it. Being
astonished, he inquires the reason of it from the deserters, a great
number of whom flocked to him daily. They all concurred in asserting,
what Caesar himself had already ascertained by his scouts, that the back
of that hill was almost level; but likewise woody and narrow, by which
there was a pass to the other side of the town; that they had serious
apprehensions for this place, and had no other idea, on the occupation
of one hill by the Romans, than that, if they should lose the other,
they would be almost surrounded, and cut off from all egress and
foraging; that they were all summoned by Vercingetorix to fortify this

XLV.--Caesar, on being informed of this circumstance, sends several
troops of horse to the place immediately after midnight; he orders them
to range in every quarter with more tumult than usual. At dawn he orders
a large quantity of baggage to be drawn out of the camp, and the
muleteers with helmets, in the appearance and guise of horsemen, to ride
round the hills. To these he adds a few cavalry, with instructions to
range more widely to make a show. He orders them all to seek the same
quarter by a long circuit; these proceedings were seen at a distance
from the town, as Gergovia commanded a view of the camp, nor could the
Gauls ascertain at so great a distance what certainty there was in the
manoeuvre. He sends one legion to the same hill, and after it had
marched a little, stations it in the lower ground, and conceals it in
the woods. The suspicions of the Gauls are increased, and all their
forces are marched to that place to defend it. Caesar, having perceived
the camp of the enemy deserted, covers the military insignia of his men,
conceals the standards, and transfers his soldiers in small bodies from
the greater to the less camp, and points out to the lieutenants whom he
had placed in command over the respective legions, what he should wish
to be done; he particularly advises them to restrain their men from
advancing too far, through their desire of fighting, or their hope of
plunder; he sets before them what disadvantages the unfavourable nature
of the ground carries with it; that they could be assisted by despatch
alone: that success depended on a surprise, and not on a battle. After
stating these particulars, he gives the signal for action, and detaches
the Aedui at the same time by another ascent an the right.

XLVI.--The town wall was 1200 paces distant from the plain and foot of
the ascent, in a straight line, if no gap intervened; whatever circuit
was added to this ascent, to make the hill easy, increased the length of
the route. But almost in the middle of the hill, the Gauls had
previously built a wall six feet high, made of large stones, and
extending in length as far as the nature of the ground permitted, as a
barrier to retard the advance of our men; and leaving all the lower
space empty, they had filled the upper part of the hill, as far as the
wall of the town, with their camps very close to one another. The
soldiers, on the signal being given, quickly advance to this
fortification, and passing over it, make themselves masters of the
separate camps. And so great was their activity in taking the camps,
that Teutomarus, the king of the Nitiobriges, being suddenly surprised
in his tent, as he had gone to rest at noon, with difficulty escaped
from the hands of the plunderers, with the upper part of his person
naked, and his horse wounded.

XLVII.--Caesar, having accomplished the object which he had in view,
ordered the signal to be sounded for a retreat; and the soldiers of the
tenth legion, by which he was then accompanied, halted. But the soldiers
of the other legions, not hearing the sound of the trumpet, because
there was a very large valley between them, were however kept back by
the tribunes of the soldiers and the lieutenants, according to Caesar's
orders; but being animated by the prospect of speedy victory, and the
flight of the enemy, and the favourable battles of former periods, they
thought nothing so difficult that their bravery could not accomplish it;
nor did they put an end to the pursuit, until they drew nigh to the wall
of the town and the gates. But then, when a shout arose in every quarter
of the city, those who were at a distance being alarmed by the sudden
tumult, fled hastily from the town, since they thought that the enemy
were within the gates. The matrons begin to cast their clothes and
silver over the wall, and bending over as far as the lower part of the
bosom, with outstretched hands beseech the Romans to spare them, and not
to sacrifice to their resentment even women and children, as they had
done at Avaricum. Some of them let themselves down from the walls by
their hands, and surrendered to our soldiers. Lucius Fabius, a centurion
of the eighth legion, who, it was ascertained, had said that day among
his fellow soldiers that he was excited by the plunder of Avaricum, and
would not allow any one to mount the wall before him, finding three men
of his own company, and being raised up by them, scaled the wall. He
himself, in turn, taking hold of them one by one, drew them up to the

XLVIII.--In the meantime those who had gone to the other part of the
town to defend it, as we have mentioned above, at first, aroused by
hearing the shouts, and, afterwards, by frequent accounts that the town
was in possession of the Romans, sent forward their cavalry, and
hastened in larger numbers to that quarter. As each first came he stood
beneath the wall, and increased the number of his countrymen engaged in
action. When a great multitude of them had assembled, the matrons, who a
little before were stretching their hands from the walls to the Romans,
began to beseech their countrymen, and after the Gallic fashion to show
their dishevelled hair, and bring their children into public view.
Neither in position nor in numbers was the contest an equal one to the
Romans; at the same time, being exhausted by running and the long
continuation of the fight, they could not easily withstand fresh and
vigorous troops.

XLIX.--Caesar, when he perceived that his soldiers were fighting on
unfavourable ground, and that the enemy's forces were increasing, being
alarmed for the safety of his troops, sent orders to Titus Sextius, one
of his lieutenants, whom he had left to guard the smaller camp, to lead
out his cohorts quickly from the camp, and post them at the foot of the
hill, on the right wing of the enemy; that if he should see our men
driven from the ground, he should deter the enemy from following too
closely. He himself, advancing with the legion a little from that place
where he had taken his post, awaited the issue of the battle.

L.--While the fight was going on most vigorously, hand to hand, and the
enemy depended on their position and numbers, our men on their bravery,
the Aedui suddenly appeared on our exposed flank, as Caesar had sent
them by another ascent on the right, for the sake of creating a
diversion. These, from the similarity of their arms, greatly terrified
our men; and although they were discovered to have their right shoulders
bare, which was usually the sign of those reduced to peace, yet the
soldiers suspected that this very thing was done by the enemy to deceive
them. At the same time Lucius Fabius the centurion, and those who had
scaled the wall with him, being surrounded and slain, were cast from the
wall. Marcus Petreius, a centurion of the same legion, after attempting
to hew down the gates, was overpowered by numbers, and, despairing of
his safety, having already received many wounds, said to the soldiers of
his own company who followed him: "Since I cannot save you as well as
myself, I shall at least provide for your safety, since I allured by the
love of glory, led you into this danger, do you save yourselves when an
opportunity is given." At the same time he rushed into the midst of the
enemy, and slaying two of them, drove back the rest a little from the
gate. When his men attempted to aid him, "In vain," he says, "you
endeavour to procure my safety since blood and strength are now failing
me, therefore leave this, while you have the opportunity, and retreat to
the legion." Thus he fell fighting a few moments after, and saved his
men by his own death.

LI.--Our soldiers, being hard pressed on every side, were dislodged from
their position, with the loss of forty-six centurions; but the tenth
legion, which had been posted in reserve on ground a little more level,
checked the Gauls in their eager pursuit. It was supported by the
cohorts of the thirteenth legion, which, being led from the smaller
camp, had, under the command of Titus Sextius, occupied the higher
ground. The legions, as soon as they reached the plain, halted and faced
the enemy. Vercingetorix led back his men from the part of the hill
within the fortifications. On that day little less than seven hundred of
the soldiers were missing.

LII.--On the next day, Caesar, having called a meeting, censured the
rashness and avarice of his soldiers, "In that they had judged for
themselves how far they ought to proceed, or what they ought to do, and
could not be kept back by the tribunes of the soldiers and the
lieutenants;" and stated, "what the disadvantage of the ground could
effect, what opinion he himself had entertained at Avaricum, when having
surprised the enemy without either general or cavalry, he had given up a
certain victory, lest even a trifling loss should occur in the contest
owing to the disadvantage of position. That as much as he admired the
greatness of their courage, since neither the fortifications of the
camp, nor the height of the mountain, nor the wall of the town could
retard them; in the same degree he censured their licentiousness and
arrogance, because they thought that they knew more than their general
concerning victory, and the issue of actions: and that he required in
his soldiers forbearance and self-command, not less than valour and

LIII.--Having held this assembly, and having encouraged the soldiers at
the conclusion of his speech, "That they should not be dispirited on
this account, nor attribute to the valour of the enemy what the
disadvantage of position had caused;" entertaining the same views of his
departure that he had previously had, he led forth the legions from the
camp, and drew up his army in order of battle in a suitable place. When
Vercingetorix, nevertheless, would not descend to the level ground, a
slight cavalry action, and that a successful one, having taken place, he
led back his army into the camp. When he had done this, the next day,
thinking that he had done enough to lower the pride of the Gauls, and to
encourage the minds of his soldiers, he moved his camp in the direction
of the Aedui. The enemy not even then pursuing us, on the third day he
repaired the bridge over the river Allier, and led over his whole army.

LIV.--Having then held an interview with Viridomarus and Eporedorix the
Aeduans, he learns that Litavicus had set out with all the cavalry to
raise the Aedui; that it was necessary that they too should go before
him to confirm the state in their allegiance. Although he now saw
distinctly the treachery of the Aedui in many things, and was of opinion
that the revolt of the entire state would be hastened by their
departure; yet he thought that they should not be detained, lest he
should appear either to offer an insult, or betray some suspicion of
fear. He briefly states to them when departing his services towards the
Aedui: in what a state and how humbled he had found them, driven into
their towns, deprived of their lands, stripped of all their forces, a
tribute imposed on them, and hostages wrested from them with the utmost
insult; and to what condition and to what greatness he had raised them,
[so much so] that they had not only recovered their former position, but
seemed to surpass the dignity and influence of all the previous eras of
their history. After giving these admonitions he dismissed them.

LV.--Noviodunum was a town of the Aedui, advantageously situated on the
banks of the Loire. Caesar had conveyed hither all the hostages of Gaul,
the corn, public money, a great part of his own baggage and that of his
army; he had sent hither a great number of horses, which he had
purchased in Italy and Spain on account of this war. When Eporedorix and
Viridomarus came to this place, and received information of the
disposition of the state, that Litavicus had been admitted by the Aedui
into Bibracte, which is a town of the greatest importance among them,
that Convictolitanis the chief magistrate and a great part of the senate
had gone to meet him, that ambassadors had been publicly sent to
Vercingetorix to negotiate a peace and alliance; they thought that so
great an opportunity ought not to be neglected. Therefore, having put to
the sword the garrison of Noviodunum and those who had assembled there
for the purpose of trading or were on their march, they divided the
money and horses among themselves; they took care that the hostages of
the [different] states should be brought to Bibracte, to the chief
magistrate; they burnt the town to prevent its being of any service to
the Romans, as they were of opinion that they could not hold it; they
carried away in their vessels whatever corn they could in the hurry;
they destroyed the remainder, by [throwing it] into the river or setting
it on fire; they themselves began to collect forces from the
neighbouring country, to place guards and garrisons in different
positions along the banks of the Loire, and to display the cavalry on
all sides to strike terror into the Romans, [to try] if they could cut
them off from a supply of provisions. In which expectation they were
much aided, from the circumstance that the Loire had swollen to such a
degree from the melting of the snows, that it did not seem capable of
being forded at all.

LVI.--Caesar on being informed of these movements was of opinion that he
ought to make haste, even if he should run some risk in completing the
bridges, in order that he might engage before greater forces of the
enemy should be collected in that place. For no one even then considered
it an absolutely necessary act, that changing his design he should
direct his march into the Province, both because the infamy and disgrace
of the thing, and the intervening mount Cevennes, and the difficulty of
the roads prevented him; and especially because he had serious
apprehensions for the safety of Labienus whom he had detached, and those
legions whom he had sent with him. Therefore, having made very long
marches by day and night, he came to the river Loire, contrary to the
expectation of all; and having by means of the cavalry found out a ford,
suitable enough considering the emergency, of such depth that their arms
and shoulders could be above water for supporting their accoutrements,
he dispersed his cavalry in such a manner as to break the force of the
current, and having confounded the enemy at the first sight, led his
army across the river in safety; and finding corn and cattle in the
fields, after refreshing his army with them, he determined to march into
the country of the Senones.

LVII.--Whilst these things are being done by Caesar, Labienus, leaving
at Agendicum the recruits who had lately arrived from Italy, to guard
the baggage, marches with four legions to Lutetia (which is a town of
the Parisii, situated on an island of the river Seine), whose arrival
being discovered by the enemy, numerous forces arrived from the
neighbouring states. The supreme command is entrusted to Camulogenus,
one of the Aulerci, who, although almost worn out with age, was called
to that honour on account of his extraordinary knowledge of military
tactics. He, when he observed that there was a large marsh which
communicated with the Seine, and rendered all that country impassable,
encamped there, and determined to prevent our troops from passing it.

LVIII.--Labienus at first attempted to raise vineae, fill up the marsh
with hurdles and clay, and secure a road. After he perceived that this
was too difficult to accomplish, he issued in silence from his camp at
the third watch, and reached Melodunum by the same route by which he
came. This is a town of the Senones, situated on an island in the Seine,
as we have just before observed of Lutetia. Having seized upon about
fifty ships and quickly joined them together, and having placed soldiers
in them, he intimidated by his unexpected arrival the inhabitants, of
whom a great number had been called out to the war, and obtains
possession of the town without a contest. Having repaired the bridge,
which the enemy had broken down during the preceding days, he led over
his army, and began to march along the banks of the river to Lutetia.
The enemy, on learning the circumstance from those who had escaped from
Melodunum, set fire to Lutetia, and order the bridges of that town to be
broken down: they themselves set out from the marsh, and take their
position on the banks of the Seine, over against Lutetia and opposite
the camp of Labienus.

LIX.--Caesar was now reported to have departed from Gergovia;
intelligence was likewise brought to them concerning the revolt of the
Aedui, and a successful rising in Gaul; and that Caesar, having been
prevented from prosecuting his journey and crossing the Loire, and
having been compelled by the want of corn, had marched hastily to the
province. But the Bellovaci, who had been previously disaffected of
themselves, on learning the revolt of the Aedui, began to assemble
forces and openly to prepare for war; Then Labienus, as the change in
affairs was so great, thought that he must adopt a very different system
from what he had previously intended, and he did not now think of making
any new acquisitions, or of provoking the enemy to an action; but that
he might bring back his army safe to Agendicum. For, on one side, the
Bellovaci, a state which held the highest reputation for prowess in
Gaul, were pressing on him; and Camulogenus, with a disciplined and
well-equipped army, held the other side; moreover, a very great river
separated and cut off the legions from the garrison and baggage. He saw
that, in consequence of such great difficulties being thrown in his way,
he must seek aid from his own energy of disposition.

LX.--Having, therefore, called a council of war a little before evening,
he exhorted his soldiers to execute with diligence and energy such
commands as he should give; he assigns the ships which he had brought
from Melodunum to Roman knights, one to each, and orders them to fall
down the river silently for four miles, at the end of the fourth watch,
and there wait for him. He leaves the five cohorts, which he considered
to be the most steady in action, to guard the camp; he orders the five
remaining cohorts of the same legion to proceed a little after midnight
up the river with all their baggage, in a great tumult. He collects also
some small boats; and sends them in the same direction, with orders to
make a loud noise in rowing. He himself, a little after, marched out in
silence, and, at the head of three legions, seeks that place to which he
had ordered the ships to be brought.

LXI.--When he had arrived there, the enemy's scouts, as they were
stationed along every part of the river, not expecting an attack,
because a great storm had suddenly arisen, were surprised by our
soldiers: the infantry and cavalry are quickly transported, under the
superintendence of the Roman knights, whom he had appointed to that
office. Almost at the same time, a little before daylight, intelligence
was given to the enemy that there was an unusual tumult in the camp of
the Romans, and that a strong force was marching up the river, and that
the sound of oars was distinctly heard in the same quarter, and that
soldiers were being conveyed across in ships a little below. On hearing
these things, because they were of opinion that the legions were passing
in three different places, and that the entire army, being terrified by
the revolt of the Aedui, were preparing for flight, they divided their
forces also into three divisions. For leaving a guard opposite to the
camp and sending a small body in the direction of Metiosedum, with
orders to advance as far as the ships would proceed, they led the rest
of their troops against Labienus.

LXII.--By day-break all our soldiers were brought across and the army of
the enemy was in sight. Labienus, having encouraged his soldiers "to
retain the memory of their ancient valour, and so many most successful
actions, and imagine Caesar himself, under whose command they had so
often routed the enemy, to be present," gives the signal for action. At
the first onset the enemy are beaten and put to flight in the right
wing, where the seventh legion stood: on the left wing, which position
the twelfth legion held, although the first ranks fell transfixed by the
javelins of the Romans, yet the rest resisted most bravely; nor did any
one of them show the slightest intention of flying. Camulogenus, the
general of the enemy, was present and encouraged his troops. But when
the issue of the victory was still uncertain, and the circumstances
which were taking place on the left wing were announced to the tribunes
of the seventh legion, they faced about their legion to the enemy's rear
and attacked it: not even then did any one retreat, but all were
surrounded and slain. Camulogenus met the same fate. But those who were
left as a guard opposite the camp of Labienus, when they heard that the
battle was commenced, marched to aid their countrymen and take
possession of a hill, but were unable to withstand the attack of the
victorious soldiers. In this manner, mixed with their own fugitives,
such as the woods and mountains did not shelter were cut to pieces by
our cavalry. When this battle was finished, Labienus returns to
Agendicum, where the baggage of the whole army had been left: from it he
marched with all his forces to Caesar.

LXIII.--The revolt of the Aedui being known, the war grows more
dangerous. Embassies are sent by them in all directions: as far as they
can prevail by influence, authority, or money, they strive to excite the
state [to revolt]. Having got possession of the hostages whom Caesar had
deposited with them, they terrify the hesitating by putting them to
death. The Aedui request Vercingetorix to come to them and communicate
his plans of conducting the war. On obtaining this request they insist
that the chief command should be assigned to them; and when the affair
became a disputed question, a council of all Gaul is summoned to
Bibracte. They come together in great numbers and from every quarter to
the same place. The decision is left to the votes of the mass: all to a
man approve of Vercingetorix as their general. The Remi, Lingones, and
Treviri were absent from this meeting; the two former because they
attached themselves to the alliance of Rome; the Treviri because they
were very remote and were hard pressed by the Germans; which was also
the reason of their being absent during the whole war, and their sending
auxiliaries to neither party. The Aedui are highly indignant at being
deprived of the chief command; they lament the change of fortune, and
miss Caesar's indulgence towards them; however, after engaging in the
war, they do not dare to pursue their own measures apart from the rest.
Eporedorix and Viridomarus, youths of the greatest promise, submit
reluctantly to Vercingetorix.

LXIV.--The latter demands hostages from the remaining states: nay, more,
appointed a day for this proceeding; he orders all the cavalry, fifteen
thousand in number, to quickly assemble here; he says that he will be
content with the infantry which he had before, and would not tempt
fortune nor come to a regular engagement; but since he had abundance of
cavalry, it would be very easy for him to prevent the Romans from
obtaining forage or corn, provided that they themselves should
resolutely destroy their corn and set fire to their houses, by which
sacrifice of private property they would evidently obtain perpetual
dominion and freedom. After arranging these matters he levies ten
thousand infantry on the Aedui and Segusiani, who border on our
province: to these he adds eight hundred horse. He sets over them the
brother of Eporedorix, and orders him to wage war against the
Allobroges. On the other side he sends the Gabali and the nearest
cantons of the Arverni against the Helvii; he likewise sends the Ruteni
and Cadurci to lay waste the territories of the Volcae Arecomici.
Besides, by secret messages and embassies, he tampers with the
Allobroges, whose minds, he hopes, had not yet settled down after the
excitement of the late war. To their nobles he promises money, and to
their state the dominion of the whole province.

LXV.--The only guards provided against all these contingencies were
twenty-two cohorts, which were collected from the entire province by
Lucius Caesar, the lieutenant, and opposed to the enemy in every
quarter. The Helvii, voluntarily engaging in battle with their
neighbours, are defeated, and Caius Valerius Donotaurus, the son of
Caburus, the principal man of the state, and several others, being
slain, they are forced to retire within their towns and fortifications.
The Allobroges, placing guards along the course of the Rhine, defend
their frontiers with great vigilance and energy. Caesar, as he perceived
that the enemy were superior in cavalry, and he himself could receive no
aid from the province or Italy, while all communication was cut off,
sends across the Rhine into Germany to those states which he had subdued
in the preceding campaigns, and summons from them cavalry and the
light-armed infantry, who were accustomed to engage among them. On their
arrival, as they were mounted on unserviceable horses, he takes horses
from the military tribunes and the rest, nay, even from the Roman
knights and veterans, and distributes them among the Germans.

LXVI.--In the meantime, whilst these things are going on, the forces of
the enemy from the Arverni, and the cavalry which had been demanded from
all Gaul, meet together. A great number of these having been collected,
when Caesar was marching into the country of the Sequani, through the
confines of the Lingones, in order that he might the more easily render
aid to the province, Vercingetorix encamped in three camps, about ten
miles from the Romans: and having summoned the commanders of the cavalry
to a council, he shows that the time of victory was come; that the
Romans were fleeing into the province and leaving Gaul; that this was
sufficient for obtaining immediate freedom; but was of little moment in
acquiring peace and tranquillity for the future; for the Romans would
return after assembling greater forces, and would not put an end to the
war; Therefore they should attack them on their march, when encumbered.
If the infantry should [be obliged to] relieve their cavalry, and be
retarded by doing so, the march could not be accomplished: if,
abandoning their baggage, they should provide for their safety (a result
which, he trusted, was more likely to ensue), they would lose both
property and character. For as to the enemy's horse, they ought not to
entertain a doubt that none of them would dare to advance beyond the
main body. In order that they [the Gauls] may do so with greater spirit,
he would marshal all their forces before the camp, and intimidate the
enemy. The cavalry unanimously shout out, "That they ought to bind
themselves by a most sacred oath, that he should not be received under a
roof, nor have access to his children, parents, or wife, who shall not
twice have ridden through the enemy's army." LXVII.--This proposal
receiving general approbation, and all being forced to take the oath, on
the next day the cavalry were divided into three parts, and two of these
divisions made a demonstration on our two flanks; while one in front
began to obstruct our march. On this circumstance being announced,
Caesar orders his cavalry also to form three divisions and charge the
enemy. Then the action commences simultaneously in every part: the main
body halts; the baggage is received within the ranks of the legions. If
our men seemed to be distressed, or hard pressed in any quarter, Caesar
usually ordered the troops to advance, and the army to wheel round in
that quarter; which conduct retarded the enemy in the pursuit, and
encouraged our men by the hope of support. At length the Germans, on the
right wing, having gained the top of the hill, dislodge the enemy from
their position and pursue them even as far as the river at which
Vercingetorix with the infantry was stationed, and slay several of them.
The rest, on observing this action, fearing lest they should be
surrounded, betake themselves to flight. A slaughter ensues in every
direction, and three of the noblest of the Audi are taken and brought to
Caesar: Cotus, the commander of the cavalry, who had been engaged in the
contest with Convictolitanis the last election, Cavarillus, who had held
the command of the infantry after the revolt of Litavicus, and
Eporedorix, under whose command the Aedui had engaged in war against the
Sequani, before the arrival of Caesar.

LXVIII.--All his cavalry being routed, Vercingetorix led back his troops
in the same order as he had arranged them before the camp, and
immediately began to march to Alesia, which is a town of the Mandubii;
and ordered the baggage to be speedily brought forth from the camp, and
follow him closely. Caesar, having conveyed his baggage to the nearest
hill, and having left two legions to guard it, pursued as far as the
time of day would permit, and after slaying about three thousand of the
rear of the enemy, encamped at Alesia on the next day. On reconnoitring
the situation of the city, finding that the enemy were panic-stricken,
because the cavalry in which they placed their chief reliance were
beaten, he encouraged his men to endure the toil, and began to draw a
line of circumvallation round Alesia.

LXIX.--The town itself was situated on the top of a hill, in a very
lofty position, so that it did not appear likely to be taken, except by
a regular siege. Two rivers, on two different sides, washed the foot of
the hill. Before the town lay a plain of about three miles in length; on
every other side hills at a moderate distance, and of an equal degree of
height, surrounded the town. The army of the Gauls had filled all the
space under the wall, comprising the part of the hill which looked to
the rising sun, and had drawn in front a trench and a stone wall six
feet high. The circuit of that fortification, which was commenced by the
Romans, comprised eleven miles. The camp was pitched in a strong
position, and twenty-three redoubts were raised in it, in which
sentinels were placed by day, lest any sally should be made suddenly;
and by night the same were occupied by watches and strong guards.

LXX.-The work having been begun, a cavalry action ensues in that plain,
which we have already described as broken by hills, and extending three
miles in length. The contest is maintained on both sides with the utmost
vigour; Caesar sends the Germans to aid our troops when distressed, and
draws up the legions in front of the camp, lest any sally should be
suddenly made by the enemy's infantry. The courage of our men is
increased by the additional support of the legions; the enemy being put
to flight, hinder one another by their numbers, and as only the narrower
gates were left open, are crowded together in them; then the Germans
pursue them with vigour even to the fortifications. A great slaughter
ensues; some leave their horses, and endeavour to cross the ditch and
climb the wall. Caesar orders the legions which he had drawn up in front
of the rampart to advance a little. The Gauls, who were within the
fortifications, were no less panic-stricken, thinking that the enemy
were coming that moment against them, and unanimously shout "to arms;"
some in their alarm rush into the town; Vercingetorix orders the gates
to be shut, lest the camp should be left undefended. The Germans
retreat, after slaying many and taking several horses.

LXXI.--Vercingetorix adopts the design of sending away all his cavalry
by night, before the fortifications should be completed by the Romans.
He charges them when departing "that each of them should go to his
respective state, and press for the war all who were old enough to bear
arms; he states his own Merits, and conjures them to consider his
safety, and not surrender him, who had deserved so well of the general
freedom, to the enemy for torture; he points out to them that, if they
should be remiss, eighty thousand chosen men would perish with him;
that, upon making a calculation, he had barely corn for thirty days, but
could hold out a little longer by economy." After giving these
instructions he silently dismisses the cavalry in the second watch, [on
that side] where our works were not completed; he orders all the corn to
be brought to himself; he ordains capital punishment to such as should
not obey; he distributes among them, man by man, the cattle, great
quantities of which had been driven there by the Mandubii; he began to
measure out the corn sparingly, and by little and little; he receives
into the town all the forces which he had posted in front of it. In this
manner he prepares to await the succours from Gaul, and carry on the

LXXII.--Caesar, on learning these proceedings from the deserters and
captives, adopted the following system of fortification; he dug a trench
twenty feet deep, with perpendicular sides, in such a manner that the
base of this trench should extend so far as the edges were apart at the
top. He raised all his other works at a distance of four hundred feet
from that ditch; [he did] that with this intention, lest (since he
necessarily embraced so extensive an area, and the whole works could not
be easily surrounded by a line of soldiers) a large number of the enemy
should suddenly, or by night, sally against the fortifications; or lest
they should by day cast weapons against our men while occupied with the
works. Having left this interval, he drew two trenches fifteen feet
broad, and of the same depth; the innermost of them, being in low and
level ground, he filled with water conveyed from the river. Behind these
he raised a rampart and wall twelve feet high: to this he added a
parapet and battlements, with large stakes cut like stags' horns,
projecting from the junction of the parapet and battlements, to prevent
the enemy from scaling it, and surrounded the entire work with turrets,
which were eighty feet distant from one another.

LXXIII.--It was necessary, at one and the same time, to procure timber
[for the rampart], lay in supplies of corn, and raise also extensive
fortifications, and the available troops were in consequence of this
reduced in number, since they used to advance to some distance from the
camp, and sometimes the Gauls endeavoured to attack our works, and to
make a sally from the town by several gates and in great force. On which
Caesar thought that further additions should be made to these works, in
order that the fortifications might be defensible by a small number of
soldiers. Having, therefore, cut down the trunks of trees or very thick
branches, and having stripped their tops of the bark, and sharpened them
into a point, he drew a continued trench everywhere five feet deep.
These stakes being sunk into this trench, and fastened firmly at the
bottom, to prevent the possibility of their being torn up, had their
branches only projecting from the ground. There were five rows in
connection with, and intersecting each other; and whoever entered within
them were likely to impale themselves on very sharp stakes. The soldiers
called these "cippi." Before these, which were arranged in oblique rows
in the form of a quincunx, pits three feet deep were dug, which
gradually diminished in depth to the bottom. In these pits tapering
stakes, of the thickness of a man's thigh, sharpened at the top and
hardened in the fire, were sunk in such a manner as to project from the
ground not more than four inches; at the same time for the purpose of
giving them strength and stability, they were each filled with trampled
clay to the height of one foot from the bottom: the rest of the pit was
covered over with osiers and twigs, to conceal the deceit. Eight rows of
this kind were dug, and were three feet distant from each other. They
called this a lily from its resemblance to that flower. Stakes a foot
long, with iron hooks attached to them, were entirely sunk in the ground
before these, and were planted in every place at small intervals; these
they called spurs.

LXXIV.--After completing these works, having selected as level ground as
he could, considering the nature of the country, and having enclosed an
area of fourteen miles, he constructed, against an external enemy,
fortifications of the same kind in every respect, and separate from
these, so that the guards of the fortifications could not be surrounded
even by immense numbers, if such a circumstance should take place owing
to the departure of the enemy's cavalry; and in order that the Roman
soldiers might not be compelled to go out of the camp with great risk,
he orders all to provide forage and corn for thirty days.

LXXV.--Whilst those things are carried on at Alesia, the Gauls, having
convened a council of their chief nobility, determine that all who could
bear arms should not be called out, which was the opinion of
Vercingetorix, but that a fixed number should be levied from each state;
lest, when so great a multitude assembled together, they could neither
govern nor distinguish their men, nor have the means of supplying them
with corn. They demand thirty-five thousand men from the Aedui and their
dependents, the Segusiani, Ambivareti, and Aulerci Brannovices; an equal
number from the Arverni in conjunction with the Eleuteti Cadurci,
Gabali, and Velauni, who were accustomed to be under the command of the
Arverni; twelve thousand each from the Senones, Sequani, Bituriges,
Santones, Ruteni, and Carnutes; ten thousand from the Bellovaci; the
same number from the Lemovici; eight thousand each from the Pictones,
and Turoni, and Parisii, and Helvii; five thousand each from the
Suessiones, Ambiani, Mediomatrici, Petrocorii, Nervii, Morini, and
Nitiobriges; the same number from the Aulerci Cenomani; four thousand
from the Atrebates; three thousand each from the Bellocassi, Lexovii,
and Aulerci Eburovices; thirty thousand from the Rauraci, and Boii; six
thousand, from all the states together which border on the Atlantic, and
which in their dialect are called Armoricae (in which number are
comprehended the Curisolites, Rhedones, Ambibari, Caltes, Osismii,
Lemovices, Veneti, and Unelli). Of these the Bellovaci did not
contribute their number, as they said that they would wage war against
the Romans on their own account, and at their own discretion, and would
not obey the order of any one: however, at the request of Commius, they
sent two thousand, in consideration of a tie of hospitality which
subsisted between him and them.

LXXVI.--Caesar had, as we have previously narrated, availed himself of
the faithful and valuable services of this Commius, in Britain, in
former years: in consideration of which merits he had exempted from
taxes his [Commius's] state, and had conferred on Commius himself the
country of the Morini. Yet such was the unanimity of the Gauls in
asserting their freedom, and recovering their ancient renown in war,
that they were influenced neither by favours, nor by the recollection of
private friendship; and all earnestly directed their energies and
resources to that war, and collected eight thousand cavalry, and about
two hundred and forty thousand infantry. These were reviewed in the
country of the Aedui, and a calculation was made of their numbers:
commanders were appointed: the supreme command is entrusted to Commius
the Atrebatian, Viridomarus and Eporedorix the Aeduans, and
Vergasillaunus the Arvernian, the cousin-german of Vercingetorix. To
them are assigned men selected from each state, by whose advice the war
should be conducted. All march to Alesia, sanguine and full of
confidence: nor was there a single individual who imagined that the
Romans could withstand the sight of such an immense host: especially in
an action carried on both in front and rear, when [on the inside] the
besieged would sally from the town and attack the enemy, and on the
outside so great forces of cavalry and infantry would be seen.

LXXVII.--But those who were blockaded at Alesia, the day being past on
which they had expected auxiliaries from their countrymen, and all their
corn being consumed, ignorant of what was going on among the Aedui,
convened an assembly and deliberated on the exigency of their situation.
After various opinions had been expressed among them, some of which
proposed a surrender, others a sally, whilst their strength would
support it, the speech of Critognatus ought not to be omitted for its
singular and detestable cruelty. He sprung from the noblest family among
the Arverni, and possessing great influence, says, "I shall pay no
attention to the opinion of those who call a most disgraceful surrender
by the name of a capitulation; nor do I think that they ought to be
considered as citizens, or summoned to the council. My business is with
those who approve of a sally: in whose advice the memory of our ancient
prowess seems to dwell in the opinion of you all. To be unable to bear
privation for a short time is disgraceful cowardice, not true valour.
Those who voluntarily offer themselves to death are more easily found
than those who would calmly endure distress. And I would approve of this
opinion (for honour is a powerful motive with me), could I foresee no
other loss, save that of life: but let us, in adopting our design, look
back on all Gaul, which we have stirred up to our aid. What courage do
you think would our relatives and friends have, if eighty thousand men
were butchered in one spot, supposing that they should be forced to come
to an action almost over our corpses? Do not utterly deprive them of
your aid, for they have spurned all thoughts of personal danger on
account of your safety; nor by your folly, rashness, and cowardice,
crush all Gaul and doom it to an eternal slavery. Do you doubt their
fidelity and firmness because they have not come at the appointed day?
What then? Do you suppose that the Romans are employed every day in the
outer fortifications for mere amusement? If you cannot be assured by
their despatches, since every avenue is blocked up, take the Romans as
evidence that their approach is drawing near; since they, intimidated by
alarm at this, labour night and day at their works. What, therefore, is
my design? To do as our ancestors did in the war against the Cimbri and
Teutones, which was by no means equally momentous; who, when driven into
their towns, and oppressed by similar privations, supported life by the
corpses of those who appeared useless for war on account of their age,
and did not surrender to the enemy: and even if we had not a precedent
for such cruel conduct, still I should consider it most glorious that
one should be established, and delivered to posterity. For in what was
that war like this? The Cimbri, after laying Gaul waste, and inflicting
great calamities, at length departed from our country, and sought other
lands; they left us our rights, laws, lands, and liberty. But what other
motive or wish have the Romans, than, induced by envy, to settle in the
lands and states of those whom they have learned by fame to be noble and
powerful in war, and impose on them perpetual slavery? For they never
have carried on wars on any other terms. But if you know not these
things which are going on in distant countries, look to the neighbouring
Gaul, which being reduced to the form of a province, stripped of its
rights and laws, and subjected to Roman despotism, is oppressed by
perpetual slavery."

LXXVIII.--When different opinions were expressed, they determined that
those who, owing to age or ill health, were unserviceable for war,
should depart from the town, and that themselves should try every
expedient before they had recourse to the advice of Critognatus:
however, that they would rather adopt that design, if circumstances
should compel them and their allies should delay, than accept any terms
of a surrender or peace. The Mandubii, who had admitted them into the
town, are compelled to go forth with their wives and children. When
these came to the Roman fortifications, weeping, they begged of the
soldiers by every entreaty to receive them as slaves and relieve them
with food. But Caesar, placing guards on the rampart, forbade them to be

LXXIX.--In the meantime, Commius and the rest of the leaders, to whom
the supreme command had been intrusted, came with all their forces to
Alesia, and having occupied the entire hill, encamp not more than a mile
from our fortifications. The following day, having led forth their
cavalry from the camp, they fill all that plain, which, we have related,
extended three miles in length, and draw out their infantry a little
from that place, and post them on the higher ground. The town Alesia
commanded a view of the whole plain. The besieged run together when
these auxiliaries were seen; mutual congratulations ensue, and the minds
of all are elated with joy. Accordingly, drawing out their troops, they
encamp before the town, and cover the nearest trench with hurdles and
fill it up with earth, and make ready for a sally and every casualty.

LXXX.--Caesar, having stationed his army on both sides of the
fortifications, in order that, if occasion should arise, each should
hold and know his own post, orders the cavalry to issue forth from the
camp and commence action. There was a commanding view from the entire
camp, which occupied a ridge of hills; and the minds of all the soldiers
anxiously awaited the issue of the battle. The Gauls had scattered
archers and light-armed infantry here and there, among their cavalry, to
give relief to their retreating troops, and sustain the impetuosity of
our cavalry. Several of our soldiers were unexpectedly wounded by these,
and left the battle. When the Gauls were confident that their countrymen
were the conquerors in the action, and beheld our men hard pressed by
numbers, both those who were hemmed in by the line of circumvallation
and those who had come to aid them, supported the spirits of their men
by shouts and yells from every quarter. As the action was carried on in
sight of all, neither a brave nor cowardly act could be concealed; both
the desire of praise and the fear of ignominy, urged on each party to
valour. After fighting from noon almost to sunset, without victory
inclining in favour of either, the Germans, on one side, made a charge
against the enemy in a compact body, and drove them back; and, when they
were put to flight, the archers were surrounded and cut to pieces. In
other parts, likewise, our men pursued to the camp the retreating enemy,
and did not give them an opportunity of rallying. But those who had come
forth from Alesia returned into the town dejected and almost despairing
of success.

LXXXI.--The Gauls, after the interval of a day, and after making, during
that time, an immense number of hurdles, scaling ladders, and iron
hooks, silently went forth from the camp at midnight and approached the
fortifications in the plain. Raising a shout suddenly, that by this
intimation those who were besieged in the town might learn their
arrival, they began to cast down hurdles and dislodge our men from the
rampart by slings, arrows, and stones, and executed the other movements
which are requisite in storming. At the same time, Vercingetorix having
heard the shout, gives the signal to his troops by a trumpet, and leads
them forth from the town. Our troops, as each man's post had been
assigned him some days before, man the fortifications; they intimidate
the Gauls by slings, large stones, stakes which they had placed along
the works, and bullets. All view being prevented by the darkness, many
wounds are received on both sides; several missiles are thrown from the
engines. But Marcus Antonius, and Caius Trebonius, the lieutenants, to
whom the defence of these parts had been allotted, draughted troops from
the redoubts which were more remote, and sent them to aid our troops, in
whatever direction they understood that they were hard pressed.

LXXXII.--Whilst the Gauls were at a distance from the fortification,
they did more execution, owing to the immense number of their weapons:
after they came nearer, they either unawares empaled themselves on the
spurs, or were pierced by the mural darts from the ramparts and towers,
and thus perished. After receiving many wounds on all sides, and having
forced no part of the works, when day drew nigh, fearing lest they
should be surrounded by a sally made from the higher camp on the exposed
flank, they retreated to their countrymen. But those within, whilst they
bring forward those things which had been prepared by Vercingetorix for
a sally, fill up the nearest trenches; having delayed a long time in
executing these movements, they learned the retreat of their countrymen
before they drew nigh to the fortifications. Thus they returned to the
town without accomplishing their object.

LXXXIII.--The Gauls, having been twice repulsed with great loss, consult
what they should do: they avail themselves of the information of those
who were well acquainted with the country; from them they ascertain the
position and fortification of the upper camp. There was, on the north
side, a hill, which our men could not include in their works, on account
of the extent of the circuit, and had necessarily made their camp in
ground almost disadvantageous, and pretty steep. Caius Antistius
Reginus, and Caius Caninius Rebilus, two of the lieutenants, with two
legions, were in possession of this camp. The leaders of the enemy,
having reconnoitred the country by their scouts, select from the entire
army sixty thousand men; belonging to those states which bear the
highest character for courage: they privately arrange among themselves
what they wished to be done, and in what manner; they decide that the
attack should take place when it should seem to be noon. They appoint
over their forces Vergasillaunus, the Arvernian, one of the four
generals, and a near relative of Vercingetorix. He, having issued from
the camp at the first watch, and having almost completed his march a
little before the dawn, hid himself behind the mountain, and ordered his
soldiers to refresh themselves after their labour during the night. When
noon now seemed to draw nigh, he marched hastily against that camp which
we have mentioned before; and, at the same time, the cavalry began to
approach the fortifications in the plain, and the rest of the forces to
make a demonstration in front of the camp.

LXXXIV.--Vercingetorix, having beheld his countrymen from the citadel of
Alesia, issues forth from the town; he brings forth from the camp long
hooks, movable pent-houses, mural hooks, and other things, which he had
prepared for the purpose of making a sally. They engage on all sides at
once, and every expedient is adopted. They flocked to whatever part of
the works seemed weakest. The army of the Romans is distributed along
their extensive lines, and with difficulty meets the enemy in every
quarter. The shouts which were raised by the combatants in their rear,
had a great tendency to intimidate our men, because they perceived that
their danger rested on the valour of others: for generally all evils
which are distant most powerfully alarm men's minds.

LXXXV.--Caesar, having selected a commanding situation, sees distinctly
whatever is going on in every quarter, and sends assistance to his
troops when hard pressed. The idea uppermost in the minds of both
parties is, that the present is the time in which they would have the
fairest opportunity of making a struggle; the Gauls despairing of all
safety, unless they should succeed in forcing the lines: the Romans
expecting an end to all their labours if they should gain the day. The
principal struggle is at the upper lines, to which, we have said,
Vergasillaunus was sent. The least elevation of ground, added to a
declivity, exercises a momentous influence. Some are casting missiles,
others, forming a testudo, advance to the attack; fresh men by turns
relieve the wearied. The earth, heaped up by all against the
fortifications, gives the means of ascent to the Gauls, and covers those
works which the Romans had concealed in the ground. Our men have no
longer arms or strength.

LXXXVI.--Caesar, on observing these movements, sends Labienus with six
cohorts to relieve his distressed soldiers: he orders him, if he should
be unable to withstand them, to draw off the cohorts and make a sally;
but not to do this except through necessity. He himself goes to the
rest, and exhorts them not to succumb to the toil; he shows them that
the fruits of all former engagements depend on that day and hour. The
Gauls within, despairing of forcing the fortifications in the plains on
account of the greatness of the works, attempt the places precipitous in
ascent: hither they bring the engines which they had prepared; by the
immense number of their missiles they dislodge the defenders from the
turrets: they fill the ditches with clay and hurdles, then clear the
way; they tear down the rampart and breast-work with hooks.

LXXXVII.--Caesar sends at first young Brutus, with six cohorts, and
afterwards Caius Fabius, his lieutenant, with seven others: finally, as
they fought more obstinately, he leads up fresh men to the assistance of
his soldiers. After renewing the action, and repulsing the enemy, he
marches in the direction in which he had sent Labienus, drafts four
cohorts from the nearest redoubt, and orders part of the cavalry to
follow him, and part to make the circuit of the external fortifications
and attack the enemy in the rear. Labienus, when neither the ramparts or
ditches could check the onset of the enemy, informs Caesar by messengers
of what he intended to do. Caesar hastens to share in the action.

LXXXVIII.--His arrival being known from the colour of his robe, and the
troops of cavalry, and the cohorts which he had ordered to follow him
being seen, as these low and sloping grounds were plainly visible from
the eminences, the enemy join battle. A shout being raised by both
sides, it was succeeded by a general shout along the ramparts and whole
line of fortifications. Our troops, laying aside their javelins, carry
on the engagement with their swords. The cavalry is suddenly seen in the
rear of the Gauls: the other cohorts advance rapidly; the enemy turn
their backs; the cavalry intercept them in their flight, and a great
slaughter ensues. Sedulius the general and chief of the Lemovices is
slain; Vergasillaunus, the Arvernian, is taken alive in the flight,
seventy-four military standards are brought to Caesar, and few out of so
great a number return safe to their camp. The besieged, beholding from
the town the slaughter and flight of their countrymen, despairing of
safety, lead back their troops from the fortifications. A flight of the
Gauls from their camp immediately ensues on hearing of this disaster,
and had not the soldiers been wearied by sending frequent
reinforcements, and the labour of the entire day, all the enemy's forces
could have been destroyed. Immediately after midnight, the cavalry are
sent out and overtake the rear, a great number are taken or cut to
pieces, the rest by flight escape in different directions to their
respective states. Vercingetorix, having convened a council the
following day, declares, "That he had undertaken that war, not on
account of his own exigencies, but on account of the general freedom;
and since he must yield to fortune, he offered himself to them for
either purpose, whether they should wish to atone to the Romans by his
death, or surrender him alive." Ambassadors are sent to Caesar on this
subject. He orders their arms to be surrendered, and their chieftains
delivered up. He seated himself at the head of the lines in front of the
camp, the Gallic chieftains are brought before him. They surrender
Vercingetorix, and lay down their arms. Reserving the Aedui and Arverni,
[to try] if he could gain over, through their influence, their
respective states, he distributes one of the remaining captives to each
soldier, throughout the entire army, as plunder.

XC.--After making these arrangements, he marches into the [country of
the] Aedui, and recovers that state. To this place ambassadors are sent
by the Arverni, who promise that they will execute his commands. He
demands a great number of hostages. He sends the legions to winter
quarters; he restores about twenty thousand captives to the Aedui and
Arverni; he orders Titus Labienus to march into the [country of the]
Sequani with two legions and the cavalry, and to him he attaches Marcus
Sempronius Rutilus; he places Caius Fabius, and Lucius Minucius Basilus,
with two legions in the country of the Remi, lest they should sustain
any loss from the Bellovaci in their neighbourhood. He sends Caius
Antistius Reginus into the [country of the] Ambivareti, Titus Sextius
into the territories of the Bituriges, and Caius Caninius Rebilus into
those of the Ruteni, with one legion each. He stations Quintus Tullius
Cicero, and Publius Sulpicius among the Aedui at Cabillo and Matisco on
the Saone, to procure supplies of corn. He himself determines to winter
at Bibracte. A supplication of twenty days is decreed by the senate at
Rome, on learning these successes from Caesar's despatches.

Julius Caesar

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