The king and chieftain Vercingetorix went down in history as a brave man who turned against Caesar when the emperor wanted to bring his campaign of conquest through Gaul. The Celtic king Vercingetorix united the Gallic tribes and thus escalated the clash of civilizations. In the end, Vercingetorix had to accept the fact that his fight was hopeless and he surrendered to the Roman emperor. The victorious general triumphed, and the Celts had to acknowledge his superiority. However, this act of courage became a legend for the upcoming centuries.
By the time the war began, Caesar had already conquered some areas that belonged to the Celts. Caesar already ruled Spain, the north of Italy, Portugal, and the French Mediterranean coast. But most of Gaul was still ruled by several strong and independent tribes. Each of them had up to 200,000 members. The tribes agreed in principle on essential issues, but there was no central authority. Some of them even allied themselves with the Romans because they believed it would benefit them.
Nobles and Druids Conspire
Caesar went to this war to improve his reputation in Rome. Triggered by the wars against the Helvetii and the Teutons, Caesar also fought against numerous Celtic tribes and subjugated them. However, the resentment was rising in Gaul. The Gauls were angry about high tributes and enslavement. Therefore, nobles and druids united and conspired against the occupiers. After an attack on Roman traders in the current-day Orléans, the uprising began.
The tribe lead by Vercingetorix that initially did not join the uprising came from the capital Gergovia and took revenge. The king had a lot of supporters who wanted to join his army and they proclaimed Vercingetorix the Gallic king. The 30-year-old king had so much charisma that numerous rebels from other Gallic tribes submitted to his command. First, king Vercingetorix tried to starve the Romans out. The strategy was not successful, so he closed the city of Avaricum. But Caesar was able to conquer it and he pursued the rebels until the capital city of Gerfovia, where the Roman general suffered a heavy defeat.
The Strategy of Caesar
However, the Roman troops received follow-up support from Germanic horse riders whom Caesar had hired and the decisive battle of Alesia started. There the Roman cut off the rebels from the outside world. They built defensive structures with a length of 36 kilometers. These had to protect the Romans from the army of Vercingetorix in Alesia as well as other attackers from the outside. When supplies ran out, the war seemed to be over, but, unexpectedly, the second army of the Gauls arrived. The strategy of the Celts appeared to be working, however, Caesar adopted the same tactics and called for support troops. Caesar had placed this cleverly beforehand. Vercingetorix was captured and lived in Roman captivity for about six years. After the lost battle, Gaul officially became a province of the Roman Empire and the Celtic culture disappeared.