The Battle of Octodurus, 57-56BC

BATTLE OF OCTODURUS

BATTLE OF OCTODURUS – GALLIC WAR

Winter 57-56BC

SUMMARY

The Battle of Octodurus

BACKGROUND

The Gallic town of Octodurus lay at an important pass through the alps. The pass was important to Roman trade, but merchants were often attacked or forced to pay large tolls by the Gaul inhabitants. Caesar sent a legion to secure the pass, who immediately went about setting up a defensive position, but before Roman fortifications had been completed the Gauls attacked.

LOCATION

Martigny, Valais, Switzerland

THE ROMANS

One legion of 5,000 men, led by Servius Galba.

THE GAULS

30,000 men, according to Caesar’s own report.

THE BATTLE

Waking to find Octodurus abandoned and a large Gaul force outside their encampment, the Romans decided to attempt to defend their half-completed fortifications, and managed to drive back the Gaul attack after six hours of heavy fighting.

The Roman force then resolved to sortie out of their defences and attack the Gauls, as they didn’t have the supplies for a siege. The sortie was successful, and then Gauls fled taking heavy casualties.

RESULT

Roman Victory.

CONSEQUENCE

Despite winning the battle, the Romans determined that they didn’t have enough supplies to spend the winter in hostile territory, and left the pass to the Gauls.

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