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Battle of Alesia (52 BC)

Battle of Alesia (52 BC)

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

History

Keywords

Alesia, Battle of Alesia, Vercingetorix, Julius Caesar, Gallic, battle, war, Római Birodalom, Roman, Burgundy, Gaul, province, siege, siege engine, siege ring, city, Allies, defensive ring, France, fortress, cavalry, military, history, antiquity

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Scenes

Alesia

  • the oppidum of Alesia
  • Gallic cavalry
  • Gallic allies
  • Roman army
  • inner line of fortifications (circumvallation)
  • inner line of fortifications (contravallation)
  • Gallic relief troops
  • N

Events of the battle

  • the oppidum of Alesia
  • Gallic cavalry
  • Gallic allies
  • Roman army
  • inner line of fortifications (circumvallation)
  • inner line of fortifications (contravallation)
  • Gallic relief troops
  • N

Narration

Stage 1 (52 BC)

One of the most decisive battles of the Gallic wars was fought at Alesia, a town in today’s Burgundy. After winning the Battle of Gergovia, Vercingetorix, the Gallic rebel leader sprang into action here. The Roman general Julius Caesar led his troops against the fort.

Stage 2 (52 BC)

Having learnt from the defeat he suffered during the open field battle of Gergovia, this time Caesar decided upon the standard Roman fortress siege. To prevent a breakout, he ordered his soldiers to build a rampart around the fortress town of Alesia and then lined up his catapults.

Stage 3 (52 BC)

Threatened with starvation as food supplies were running scarce, they repeatedly attempted to break through the Roman siege. The attempts failed, so even the messengers could not leave Alesia.

Stage 4 (52 BC)

Eventually, the Gauls found the weakest point in the Roman wall, and during a violent breakout attempt a part of the cavalry managed to break through the fortified wall. The fast-moving units informed the relief force about the situation.

Stage 5 (52 BC)

Caesar wanted neither to abort the siege, nor his arms to be trapped between two enemy forces. Therefore, he ordered the soldiers to build a second, outer rampart, as a defence for his soldiers from the Gauls’ relief troops.

Stage 6 (52 BC)

The relief troops, which, according to sources, numbered almost one hundred thousand soldiers, arrived at Alesia together with the leaders of the cavalry who had previously broken out. Caesar redistributed his troops caught between the two rings.

Stage 7 (52 BC)

A fierce battle raged between the Romans and the Gauls. Caesar's army was attacked both from outside by the relief troops and from inside by the Gauls breaking out from the fortress. Moreover, the Gauls found the weakest point in the Roman defences and concentrated their forces there.

Stage 8 (52 BC)

The battle seemed to be lost, but Caesar mobilised the last remaining troops of his army, and thanks to their courageous fight they eventually won the battle. The Gallic relief troops withdrew and Vercingetorix surrendered.

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