Battle of Alesia, 52BC

THE BATTLE OF AGRIGENTUM 

BATTLE OF ALESIA – GALLIC WAR

52BC

SUMMARY

The final decisive battle of the Gallic wars, Alesia saw Julius Caesar’s forces surround and finally defeat Vercingetorix’s army at a hill fort.

BACKGROUND

Having been elected to take control of the main Gaul army, Vercingetorix attacked Caesar’s legions but was repelled and forced to withdraw to the town of Alesia. Once at Alesia, the Romans completely surrounded the town with 11 miles of fortifications in order to starve the population. Attempts by the Gallic cavalry to interrupt construction failed, and the Gauls couldn’t send for relief from nearby forces.

LOCATION

Alise-Sainte-Reine, France

THE ROMANS

Approx. 70,000 men in 10-11 legions, led by Julius Caesar.

THE GAULS

80,000 soldiers within the Alesia, and 100,000-400,000 in relief forces, according to various estimates.

THE BATTLE

Knowing that his supplies were limited, Vercingetorix made repeated attempts to break through the Roman fortifications. The fortifications, however, were very thoroughly constructed and blocked any attempts to break through.

As relief forces arrived, the Gauls coordinated an assault on the weakest points of the Roman lines. However, as these attacks were being repelled by the Roman defenders, Caesar ordered his cavalry to flank the Gallic relief forces. The counterattack was extremely effective, and the Gallic reinforcements were slaughtered, with the survivors fleeing the battlefield.

Seeing the defeat of his reinforcements, Vercingetorix surrendered to Caesar.

RESULT

Decisive Roman Victory

CONSEQUENCE

The defeat of the main Gaul army marked the end of the Gallic wars, and the beginning of Roman dominance throughout western Europe for the next 500 years.

 

Pictures Source: pixabay.com

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