Alesia (France, 1st century BC)

Alesia (France, 1st century BC)

The Gaul city Alesia, defended by Vercingetorix, was besieged by the Roman forces of Julius Caesar in 52 BC.

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Keywords

Alesia, Gallic, Vercingetorix, rampart, province, Julius Caesar, Romans, Roman rampart system, Római Birodalom, T. Labienus, siege engine, siege ring, siege, siege tower, siege machine, Rebilus, Reginus, France, city, line of defense, fortress, cavalry, camp, infantry, antiquity, tribe, general, battle, history, republic, ditch, moat, castling

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Narration

Alesia, a city located in what is today France, was the ancient center of a Gallic tribe. In 52 BC, it was here that one of the most interesting battles in military history unfolded between the Romans and the Gauls. In addition to modern archeological excavations and aerial photos of the area, we also learn about details of the battle from Roman general Julius Caesar in his account of ´The Gallic Wars.´

After laying siege to the Gallic fortress, the Romans formed a siege ring around Alesia. Built over six weeks, the rampart system included an inner ring of 15 km (9.321 mi) in circumference and an outer ring of 21 km (13.05 mi) in circumference. The rampart system served two main functions: it made it impossible for the Gauls to break out of Alesia and, at the same time, it prevented the Gallic relief force from taking the Romans by surprise.

The structure of the rampart system was fairly complex. Iron hooked spikes, sharpened stakes placed in pits, sharp poles, moats and pointed branches made entry or exit impossible.

In this way, it did not take much effort for the Romans and their siege machines to set fire to the Gallic fortress defended by the legendary general Vercingetorix. The long battle ended with Ceasar´s victory. Soon afterwards, Gaul became a Roman province.

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