Caesars Gallic Wars

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Sanders Walker

Dr. Bishop

Western Civilization 103-104

11/20/12

Caesars Conquest

Caesar is known as one of the greatest military leaders in history. His was General and later, Ruler of Rome during its peak years. Caesar is known for his military strategy and conquest of much of ancient Europe. Where Caesar made a name for himself was his conquest of the Gauls. Caesars conquest of Gaul consisted of many campaigns throughout northern Europe; the most notable being the battles of Avaricum, Gergovia, and the final battle in Alesia. Caesar and Vercingetorix, the leader of the Gauls, were both similar in ambition. How does Caesar fair strategically against Vercingetorix and the Gauls at the battles of Avaricum, Gergovia and, Alesia?

Caesars conquest of Gaul was indeed his most difficult one. Gaul consisted of dozens of tribes and much of the territory being Northern Europe had never been explored before by the Romans. A great amount of pressure was put on Caesar by himself to conquer Gaul. He was in deep political debt to Rome and its leaders, and he saw the conquest of Gaul to the best way to get out of debt and make a name for himself. Caesar making the first [1]Triumvirate with Crassus and Pompey gained the power of the election and became consul for the year 59 B.C. During this year he was made, “Governor of Illyricum, or Dalmatia, and of Gaul, that is to say of Gallia Cisalpina” (Pg. 40), this land is really known as a Province that Caesar acquired. Caesar having acquired these lands, but not officially having control, sought to conquer the inhabitants. Caesar is described as, “In person he was tall and slight, but well-knit; and, if he was as licentious as the mass of his contemporaries, his constitution, fortified by abstemious habits, was capable of sustaining prodigious efforts. His broad dome-like skull ; his calm and penetrating eyes ; his aquiline nose ; his massive yet finely moulded jaw, expressed, like no other human countenance, a rich and harmonious nature, — intellect, passion, will moving in accord. And, if his vices were common, his generosity, his forbearance, his [2]equanimity, his magnanimity were his own. He believed, with an unwavering faith, that above himself there was a power, without whose aid the strongest judgement, the most diligent calculation might fail. That power was Fortune; and Caesar was assured that Fortune was ever on his side” (Pg. 41). Caesar was extremely ambitious and refused to be undermined by his enemies, this is probably why his conquest against overwhelming odds was so successful. As Caesar dealt with his issues in Rome, there was word that newly acquired provinces in Gaul were going to be marched on by the Helvetti. Caesar left Rome as soon as possible, cutting through the Alps to reach the province of Geneva (Cisalpine/Transalpine province). Caesar legions linked up with the legion of that province and destroyed the bridge or Rhine leading to Geneva. Helvetii sent requests to pass through, but Caesar denied them. Caesar waited out the requests as levies were created and simply denied the crossing of the Helvetii. Some tried to force themselves over, but failed miserably in doing so. Caesar crossed back gathering more legions for his command. Caesar dispersed his legions with Lieutenants into different regions of Gual, with his plan being to divide the already disbanded Gallic tribes. Caesar returned to Rome and received great praise for his victory over the Helvetii.

Caesar marches back towards northern Europe in 58 B.C where Ariovistus and his massive hordes of Germanic soldiers, had become a threat to Caesars campaign against the Gauls outside the town of Vesontio. The legions lacking rest and supplies and fearing Ariovistus, was taking its toll on Caesars men. A panic amongst the legionnaires ensued; Caesar immediately puts to work his persona. Giving a riveting speech to the legions, he regained the confidence overwhelmingly. There only several...
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