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Vercingetorix and the other leading men off to the north-west of the Arverni, were the the greater part of the Gauls canvassed, at important tribe of the Bituriges, who were the end of the year 52 B. C. They met in overawed by the vicinity of the Ædui from forests and caverns, for the sake of avoiding joining Vercingetorix, though they were well the observation of the spies of Rome. A affected to the national cause. Vercingetogeneral rising was determined on, and the rix, therefore, marched with the greater part day fixed; and the chiefs of the Carnutes, a of his forces into their territory, and was tribe inhabiting the territory of the modern readily welcomed among them. He took up Orleanois, volunteered to strike the first a position there, both for the sake of proteciblow. At sunrise, on the appointed day, ing them, and because it enabled him to they massacred the Romans in their chief cross the line of march of any of the Roman city Genabum, (now Orleans,) and messen- legions in the north, that might endeavor to gers were forth with dispatched far and wide move southward. At the same time he dethroughout Gaul, to announce that the Car- tached one of his generals, named Luterius, nutes were up, and to call on all patriots to to compel the states in the south to join him, rise and follow their example. The tidings and to assail, if possible, the Roman province were transmitted from man to man, over field, of Narbonne, where the Romans had been over mountain, over moor, with such rapidity, | long established, and where, consequentiy, no that the deed which was done at Genabum spontaneous feeling for the cause of Gallie at dawn, was known one hundred and fifty independence could be expected. miles off, at Gergovia, in the Auvergne, be While Vercingetorix was pursuing this fore sunset. At eventide, Vercingetorix, at prudent scheme of operations, and was orthe head of bis retainers, entered that impor- ganizing his insurrectionary levies on the tant city, and summoned the inhabitants to banks of the Loire, he received the startling pronounce against Rome. But the party intelligence that Cæsar and a new Roman that had slain his father was strong there, army were in Auvergne, and were spreading and met him with armed resistance. He fire and desolation throughout the native was repulsed from the city, but the reverse state of the Gallic commander-in-chief. The was only temporary. He collected a nu Roman general, in truth, had not only hurmerous force near Gergovia, and sgon made ried from the south of the Alps, on hearing himself master of the town, the Romanizing of the risings in Gaul, but he had repelled faction being in turn expelled. Vercingeto- Luterius from Narbonne, and with a body of rix now sent his envoys in all directions troops, principally horse, which he had partthrough Gaul, exhorting the various states ly brought with him from beyond the Alps, to keep their pledges, and act up to their and partly levied in the Narbonese province, resolutions. Those of nearly all western, he had made his way over the Cevenne and of great part of central Gaul, readily mountains into Auvergne, though it was still obeyed him, and by universal consent made winter, and the snow lay six feet deep in the him supreme commander of the league. In- passes. Moved by the entreaties of his vested with this authority he forth with re countrymen, who flocked around him, Verquired hostages of the several states, ap- cingetorix broke up his encampment among pointed the contributions which each was to the Bituriges, and marched southward to supply of men and military stores; and in protect Auvergne. Cæsar, however, had particular, endeavored to raise as numerous no intention to encounter the Gallic main and as efficient a cavalry as possible. He army with the slight force of recruits established a fearfully severe system of mili- which he had with him. His object was tary discipline among the levies which he to join bis veteran legions in the north ; thus drew together; and soon found himself and having drawn Vercingetorix away from at the head of a large and rapidly increas- the frontiers of the Adui
, Cæsar left his ing army.
army of the south under Decimus Brutus, The Roman legions of Cæsar's main army and hurried himself, with a small body-guard, were at this time cantoned in the modern to the neighborhood of the modern city of territories of Champagne, Lorraine, and Pi-Chatillon, where two of bis legions were cardy, having communications open with the stationed. He there rapidly drew the rest powerful Gallic nation of the Ædui, who together, and had thus a force of sixty thouoccupied the territory that now forms the sand veteran troops concentrated under his Nivernois and part of Burgundy, and who own personal command. were the most zealous adherents of the Ro Vercingetorix had failed in his first project mans To the south-west of the Ædui, and of interposing between the Roman general
and the Roman legions; but he now adopted | mand ; nor could Cæsar's horse cope a line of action which reduced Cæsar, by with them. It was only by the capture of Cæsar's own confession,* to extreme diffi- towns that the Romans could obtain supplies. culty.
Vercingetorix perceived clearly the way in Vercingetorix did not march into the which the enemy might be baslled and denorth-east to attack the Romans, but he stroyed; and calling together a council of laid siege to a town of the Boii, a peo his chief followers, he told them that “It ple under the protection of the Ædui, was necessary to resolve upon a new plan of and, like the Ædui, adherents of Rome. war. Instead of giving battle to the Romans, The town, which Vercingetorix so assailed, they should bend their whole aim to interwas in the modern district of the Bour-cept their convoys and foragers; that this bonnois, and at a considerable distance might be easily effected; they themselves from the region where Cæsar's military abounded in cavalry; and, as in the present stores and provisions were collected. It was season of the year there was no sustenance in still mid winter; and it was evident that if the fields, the enemy must unavoidably disthe Romans were to leave their quarters and perse themselves into the distant villages for march southward they must be exposed to subsistence, and thereby give daily opportuserious trouble and risk in bringing supplies | nities of destroying them: when life and libwith them ; while, if they were to remain erty were at stake, private property ought quiet, and leave the Boii to their fate, they to be little regarded; and therefore the best would
expose their inability to protect their resolution they could take, was at once to allies; and Vercingetorix might fairly expect burn all their buildings and villages throughto see the Gallic states, which as yet contin out the territories of the Boii and elsewhere, ued to recognize the Roman authority, de as far as the Romans could send detachments clare against the foreigners, and range them to collect supplies; that they themselves had selves on his side. But his adversary also
But his adversary also no reason to apprehend scarcity, as they appreciated the moral effect of such an aban-would be plentifully supplied by the neighdonment of the Boii. Leaving two legions boring states ; whereas, the enemy must be to protect the dépôt of his stores and bag- reduced to the necessity of either starving or gage at Agendicum, (Sens,) the Roman com- making distant and dangerous excursions mander moved southward, and in spite of from their camp. It equally answered the sufferings and privations, which none but purpose of the Gauls to kill the Romans, or Roman soldiers could or would have endured, to seize upon their stores; because, without he forced Vercingetorix to raise the siege thcse, it would be impossible for the enemy which he had formed, and took, himself, to carry on the war. Vercingetorix told three of the patriotic cities by storm. them, moreover, that they ought to set fire
Though numerically superior to the Ro-to the towns which were not strong enough mans, Vercingetorix was well aware of the to be perfectly secure against all danger. im policy of encountering them in the open By this being done their towns would neither field. He knew the worthlessness of his own be hiding-places for their own men to skulk infantry in opposition to Cæsar's legionaries. in from military service, nor support the In the vicious political system of the ancient Romans by the supplies and plunder they Gauls, the commonalty were held of no ac might furnish. These things might seem count; and all power and wealth were grievous calamities, yet they ought to reflect monopolized by the priests and nobles. that it was still more grievous to see their Hence the inferior Gauls, though personally wives and children dragged into captivity, brave, were ill-armed and ill-disciplined. and be themselves put to the sword,—the Their principal weapon was a clumsy broad- unavoidable fate of the conquered." sword; in addition to which they carried The stern proposition was accepted, and bows and arrows, or javelins. Their only was at first heroically executed. Twenty defensive armor was a feeble and narrow towns of the Bituriges were given to the buckler. The nobility disdained to serve on flames, and throughout the whole neighborfoot. Each high-born Gaul rode to the ing districts, the country gleamed with volbattle-field equipped with helm, with breast- untary desolation. But when it was known plate, with the broad belt, with sword and that the Romans were marching against the spear. Vercingetorix had many thousands wealthy and populous city of Avaricum, (the of these gallant cavaliers at his com- modern Bourges,) and it became necessary
to put the self-sacrificing ordinance in force * De Bell. Gall., vii. 10.
there, the hearts of the Gaulish chiefs failed
them. They listened to the entreaties of the genius, the power of swaying multitudes by inhabitants, who implored them not to the impulse of his single will, and inspiring destroy a city that was almost the fairest in them with his own enthusiasm. It is the Gaul. The place was strong by nature, and quality which Malebranche has expressively well fortified. The inhabitants pledged them called the contagiousness of a great mind.” selves to defend it to the utmost.
At his exhortations the Gaulish soldiery reproposed, in the council of war, to spare sumed their courage and their patriotic zeal ; Avaricum from the general doom, and to nor were the assertions which he made to garrison it against the Romans. Vercinge- them of his success in acquiring fresh memtorix reluctantly yielded, against his better bers of the national league, deceptions or judgment; and Avaricum was manned with exaggerated boasts. Choosing his emissapicked troops from the Gallic
army. Cæsar ries with marvellous discernment of characsoon appeared before its walls, and com- ter, and infusing into them his own persuamenced the siege, while Vercingetorix took sive eloquence, he had won over many more up a position at a little distance, whence his valuable adherents, and had even made the cavalry harassed the besiegers, intercepted Ædui, those inveterate partisans of Rome, their convoys, cut off stragglers and small waver in their anti-national policy. The loss detachments, and inflicted severe loss and which the disaster at Avaricum had made suffering, with almost total impunity to them in his ranks was soon repaired; and when selves.
Cæsar moved southwards to chastise the The besieged defended their walls bravely; Arverni in their own territory with six of his but the disciplined courage and the engineer- legions from Avaricum, (having sent Labienus ing skill and the patient industry of the with the other four, to put down the risings Romans at last prevailed. The town was of the Gauls in the north,) he found no signs stormed with frightful carnage, neither sex of submission or despair. The passage
of the nor age being spared. Out of forty thousand Elaver was guarded against him, and when human beings who were in Avaricum, when he had succeeded, by an able manuvre, in the siege commenced, only eight hundred crossing it, and advanced through Auvergne escaped; the rest perished beneath the to its capital, Gergovia, he found VercingeRoman sword; and Cæsar gained a town, torix, with a numerous and efficient army, which not only abounded in provisions and skilfully posted so as to cover the easiest stores of every description, but which served approaches to the town; and with intrenchhim as a secure basis for his subsequent ope- ments formed round his camp, in which the rations,
Roman engineers recognized how well their Afflicted, but not disheartend at this ca own lessons had at last been learned. lamity, Vercingetorix reminded his followers Cæsar proceeded to besiege both the city that the defence of Avaricum had been un- and the Gaulish camp; but in the narrative dertaken against his opinion, and exhorted which he himself has given us of the operathem not to be cast down by a blow which tions before Gergovia it is palpable that he was caused, not by any superior valor of the has concealed much, and colored much, in enemy, but by their superior skill in carrying order to disguise the defeat which Vercingeon sieges; an art with which the Gauls were torix undoubtedly gave him. According to little familiar, He assured them of the suc his own version, the indiscreet zeal of some cessful efforts which he was making to bring of his soldiers, in following too far an advanother Gallic states into their league; and he tage which they had gained in an assault skilfully availed himself of the humbled con- upon the enemy's camp, led to their being dition in which he saw his troops, to per- driven back, with the loss of forty-six centusuade them thenceforth to fortify their rions, and seven hundred rank and file. But camps; a military toil, for which the Gauls it is clear from the statements of other writers, had always previously been too proud or too that his loss was far greater; and he was idle. So different were the men, whom obliged to raise the siege, and retreat toVercingetorix led, to those whom he had to wards the territory of the Ædui. encounter—the laborious legionaries of Rome, There is no Celtio Livy of the Gallic war. to whom the toils of the pioneer, the sapper, No one has recorded the rapturous joy that and the miner were daily tasks; and who must have pealed through Gergovia, when won Cæsar's victories for him, more even by Vercingetorix entered it as its deliverer, and their spades than by their swords.
when the previously invincible Cæsar was Vercingetorix was pre-eminent in the seen retiring with his beaten legions from quality, which is the peculiar attribute of their expected prey. The glad intelligence
soon afterwards arrived that the rich and a large force of their best and bravest youth powerful Ædui had renounced the Roman across the Rhine, to fight under his eagles alliance, and were in arms for the inde against their old enemies, the Gauls. He pendence of Gaul.
This seemed to secure does not specify the number of the German success. Cæsar had been principally de auxiliaries whom he thus obtained ; probably pendent on the Ædui for his supplies; and he was unwilling to let it appear how much the best part of his cavalry had been com- Rome was indebted to German valor for her posed of their auxiliary squadrons. All these victory. But they were evidently many resources were now given to the already thousands in number, and their superiority, as victorious patriots; and the speedy destruc- cavalry, to the Romans, is evident from the tion of the invaders appeared inevitable. fact, that Cæsar not only made his officers give
The accession, however, of the Ædui to up their chargers, in order to mount the Gerthe national cause was not unattended by mans as well as possible, but be compelled disadvantages. The chiefs of that wealthy the Roman cavalry to take the slight and inand strong people thought themselves en- ferior horses which the Germans had brought titled to the principal command of the na- with them, and give up their own superior tional armies; but the Arverni naturally and better trained steeds to the new allies, refused to let their young hero be deposed who were the fittest to use them. Besides from the dignity which he had filled so well. the German cavalry, he also obtained a conA general assembly of the warriors of all siderable force of German light infantry; of Gaul was then convened at Bibracte, (the youths, who were trained to keep up with modern Autun ;) and of all the Gallic states the horsemen in the march or in action, to only three neglected the summons. When fight in the intervals of the ranks and squadthe great national army was fully collected, rons, and whose long javelins, whether hurl. the question whether the Æduan princes or ed, or grasped as pikes, were used with seriVercingetorix should have the supreme com ous effect against both riders and horses in mand was left to the general suffrage of the the enemy's troops. soldiery. To a man they voted for Vercin With this important accession to his army, getorix. The Æduans submitted to the Cæsar began his southward march towards decision, and professed obedience to the Provence. He seems to have collected all commander-in-chief ; but it was with reluc- his stores and treasures from his various tance and secret discontent. They repented dépôts, and to have completely abandoned at heart of having abandoned the Romans, his hold on northern and central Gaul, His who had always treated them as the first in army was encumbered with an unusually rank among the Gallic states. And it is large amount of baggage; and the difficulty more than probable that the national cause was great of conducting it without serious must have suffered during the subsequent | loss through a hostile territory, and in face military operations through the disaffection of a numerous and spirited foe. and divisions which were thus introduced in Vercingetorix thought that complete venthe Gaulish army.
geance now was secured. He led his army During these delays and deliberations of near that of Cæsar, and though he still the Gauls, Cæsar gained time, which to bim avoided bringing his infantry into close acwas invaluable, and had marched northwards, tion with the Roman legionaries, he thought and reunited his legions with those of Labi- that the magnificent body of cavalry, which
He also employ the interval thus was under his command, gave him the means given him, for the purpose of calling new of crushing that of the enemy, and then seizallies to his aid from the right bank of the ing favorable opportunities for charging the Rbine. During his campaigns against the Ger- legions while on the march. He watched till mans, he had learned to appreciate the valor of the Romans had reached some open ground that nation, far more enduring than the fiery near the sources of the Seine, and then called but transient energy of the Gauls ; and he his captains of horse around him, and told had especially observed and experienced the them that the hour of victory was come. He excellence of the German cavalry. This was urged them to ride in at once upon the long, the arm in which he had always been weakest, encumbered Roman line. and in which the defection of the Ædui had The Gallic cavaliers shouted eager connow left him almost helpless. Employing his currence with their general's address. In treasures, and the influence of his name and their excitement a solemn oath was proposed renown among the adventurous warriors of and taken, by which each of them bound the German tribes, he succeeded in bringing I himself never to know the shelter of a roof,
and never to look on parent,wife,or child, until | reducing his enemy by blockade. As the he had twice ridden through the Roman ranks. speedy approach of a new army of Gauls to
Thus inspirited and devoted, the nobles of the relief of Vercingetorix was certain, the Gaul rode forth in three large squadrons to Roman general required also an outer line of the fight. Two were to assail the Romans in contravallation to be formed. The patient flank, the third was to charge the marching discipline and the indomitable industry of his column in front. Cæsar also divided his veterans accomplished this miracle of military cavalry into three divisions to meet the engineering in five weeks. During these enemy. But Cæsar also arranged his legions weeks the messengers of Vercingetorix were so as both to protect the baggage, and to stirring up all Gaul to the rescue of her afford a shelter behind their brigades, whither chosen chief; and at length Vercingetorix any squadron of his horse, that was severely and his comrades saw from their ram parts an pressed, might retreat, and reorganize itself apparently innumerable and irresistible host for a fresh charge. Vercingetorix could not of their fellow-countrymen marching down trust his Gaulish infantry so near the foe, as from the neighboring mountains, and preparto give any similar support to his horsemen. ing to besiege the Roman besiegers. But his cavaliers charged desperately on each A series of battles followed, in which Verof the three points against which he had cingetorix and the garrison of Alesia sallied marshalled them; and the combat was long desperately against the inner line of the Roand desperate. At first the Gauls had the man works, while the external line was assailadvantage. Cæsar was obliged to rally his ed by the myriads of the outer Gaulish squadrons, and lead them on in person : he army. But nothing could drive the steady himself was, at one time, nearly captured, legionaries from their posts; and at the close and his sword was wrested from him during of each day's engagement the Gauls recoiled the close hand-to-hand fight, in which he with diminished numbers and downcast hopes was engaged. At last the obstinate valor of from either ambit of the bloodstained rethe German horsemen, aided by the skilful | doubts. At last Cæsar, by a skilful maneumaneuvres of the supporting legions, pre vre, launched his German cavalry against vailed, and the remains of the Gaulish caval- the outer army of the Gauls, and the intendry fled in confusion to where their infantry ed deliverers of Alesia fled in irretrievable was posted. This also caught the panic"; disorder, never to rally again. and the whole Gaulish army was driven by The doom of Alesia and its garrison was the conquering Romans and Germans in now inevitable. Their stores of provisions ruinous flight to the walls of Alesia, where were almost utterly exhausted, and their own Vercingetorix at last succeeded in rallying numbers increased the horror of their pohis dispirited and disorganized host.
sition. Vercingetorix alone was calm and He might'easily have made his own es- undismayed. He thought that the lives of cape ; for some time elapsed before the his countrymen might yet be saved by the Romans were able to occupy all the ap- sacrifice of his own. He reminded them proaches to the city, and he actually, in this that the war had not been undertaken for his interval, sent away all his cavalry. But he private aggrandizement, but for the common was resolved to maintain the struggle for his interests of all; yet, inasmuch as the Romans country as long as a spark of hope survived. represented it as a war made through his His infantry, though ill suited for maneuvres schemes only, and for his purposes only, he or battles, was excellent in the defence of was willing to be given up to them either fortified posts; and at the head of the eighty alive or dead, as an expiatory offering to thousand foot soldiers, whom he had rallied their wrath. The other Gaulish commanders at Alesia, he resolved to defend the city, and then sent to Cæsar to treat for the terms of the fortified camp which he formed beneath capitulation. The answer was, that they its walls, against Cæsar, while a fresh army must instantly give up their chief, and their of his countrymen could be assembled, and arms, and surrender at discretion. Cæsar brought to bis assistance. The victorious de- forth with caused his tribunal to be set up in fence of Gergovia was remembered, and a the space between his lines and the Gaulish similar success was justly hoped for now. camp, and took his seat there to receive the
Cæsar, however, instead of wasting the submission of the conquered, and to prolives of his legionaries in assaults upon the nounce their fate. Gaulish camp or city, formed the astonishing Vercingetorix waited not for the Roman project of carrying fortified lines all round lictors to drag him to the proconsul's feet. Alesia, and the bill on which it stood, and of | The high-minded Celt arrayed himself for