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Alesia 52 BC: The final struggle for Gaul (Campaign) [Kindle Edition]

Nic Fields , Peter Dennis

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"A great summary of an epic battle...This 96-page paperback profiles the opposing commanders, their armies and strategies before recounting the campaign and its aftermath. This book is extensively illustrated with drawings, maps, photographs and superb artwork created by Peter Dennis." --Toy Soldier and Model Figure magazine

"...outlines the most famous of all Caesar's campaigns: a battle that has a good amount of archaeological study behind it. It documents the end of one of the most serious resistances to his conquests: one which would change the face of Celtic control forever, and it adds color maps and illustrations throughout. The result is a powerful pick recommended for any military history collection." - James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review (October 2014)


In 52 BC Caesar's continued strategy of annihilation had engendered a spirit of desperation, which detonated into a revolt of Gallic tribes under the leadership of the charismatic young Arvernian noble Vercingetorix. Major engagements were fought at Noviodunum, Avaricum, and Gergovia, with the last action being the most serious reverse that Caesar faced in the whole of the Gallic War. However, Vercingetorix soon realized that he was unable to match the Romans in pitched battle. Taking advantage of the tribesmen's superior knowledge of their home territory, Vercingetorix began a canny policy of small war and defensive manoeuvres, which gravely hampered Caesar's movements by cutting off his supplies. For Caesar it was to be a grim summertime - his whole Gallic enterprise faced disaster. In the event, by brilliant leadership, force of arms, and occasionally sheer luck, Caesar succeeded in stamping out the revolt in a long and brutal action culminating in the siege of Alesia. Vercingetorix finally surrendered and Alesia was to be the last significant resistance to the Roman will. Never again would a Gallic warlord independent of Rome hold sway over the Celts of Gaul.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 35404 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 96 Seiten
  • Verlag: Osprey Publishing (20. Juni 2014)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00KAB26LU
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #310.313 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.5 von 5 Sternen  11 Rezensionen
13 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Good and comprehensive review and summary 2. Juli 2014
Von JPS - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a good, and often an excellent summary of the siege of Alesia, but also of Caesar’s Gallic wars to the extent that these provide the background necessary for understanding the siege. The volume follows the usual format of the Campaign series; the introduction is followed by a (very comprehensive) chronology, before comparing the opposing commanders, armies and plans. This then allows the author to spend the second half of the book (about 45 pages or so) to describe the campaign itself that is the siege of Avaricum, Caesar’s failed assault on Gergovia, his victory in the cavalry battle of Noviodunum and the siege and battles of Alesia.

This book also combines a number of additional good features. These include a rather healthy scepticism for Caesar’s very much self-serving Commentaries while also appreciated how invaluable they are, since they are the main, and often the sole written source. One example of this need for scepticism is the rather incredible figure that Caesar’ come up with for the size of the Gallic relief army that tried to break the siege. They were clearly not in excess of a quarter million fighters, although they probably did outnumber the 50 000 besieging Romans.

Also of value is the analysis of what Caesar actually did – stir up a war, which he then had to win, and use it to justify the conquest of Gaul. This allowed him to compete for supreme power in Rome and made him immensely rich, probably more because of the hundreds of thousands Gallic slaves that flooded the market in Rome than through the (nevertheless considerable amount of) plunder that was obtained. Both his officers and his men benefited from the spoils. In fact, the author clearly shows at what cost came the “Pax Romana”, with various historians estimating that as many as a million Gauls were either killed or enslaved. Even bearing in mind that there is some disagreement on the total size of the population, with estimates ranging between three and six million, if I remember correctly, the scope of the slaughter, enslavement and mass deportation would possibly rank this as something of a genocide in modern terms.

Another point which is well made is that Caesar’s behaviour, however unscrupulous and repulsive it may sound nowadays, was quite typical of that of the Roman aristocrat and warlord of the Republic. Pompey (and Sylla and others before him), had made their fortunes by being victorious in the East (which meant, once again, huge amounts of plunder and huge numbers of slaves to sell). A number of generals (including both Pompey and Caesar) had also been displaying these kinds of activities in Spain since the Second Punic War, and one could go on, and on. What the book does not tell, and what made a difference was the size of the conquered territory and the fact that large areas of Gaul were rather rich and quite prosperous.

Another good feature is to show to what extent the Romans had historically feared the Gauls, and had suffered grievous defeats from the Cimbri and Teutones (which seem to have been Gauls rather than Germans) only half a century before. Also interesting is the fact that despite all the scorn poured onto the Gallic/Celtic “Barbarians”, including by Caesar himself in his commentaries, the Romans – the “great man” included – were generally rather careful (or even scared) when dealing with them. Interestingly, many of the Roman army’s kit have Celtic/Gallic origins, including helmets, chainmail, swords and shields.

A final set of valuable features are the maps, photos and plates, which, when combined with the use of archaeology, make this title into a very good overview and summary. I found the plates simply gorgeous, especially the two showing a night and a day assault on the Roman fortifications with, in the latter case, Caesar having to enter the fray to rally the flagging troops, as he had to do a few times during the career, including at Alesia.

Even the bibliography is rather longer than what is usually found in an Osprey title (two pages instead of the more usual one). One small surprise, however, was to find that while Nic Fields did list a couple of Adrian Goldsworthy’s books (including, of course, his piece on the Roman Army from 100 BC to 100 AD), he did not find it necessary to mention his biography of Julius Caesar. To be fair, however, there are almost a dozen other authors’ biographies which are listed. Five stars.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The great context between Caesar and Vercingetorix 2. August 2014
Von Steven A. Peterson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
A classic battle plan from Julius Caesar. This is truly a wild and weird battle at the heart of Caesar's campaign to reduce the battle capability of the Gauls.

The leader of the Gauls, Vercingetorix, pulled together a major alliance--outnumbering Roman forces. The Roman legions had been fairly successful at suppressing the Gauls, but the latter mounted a major effort.

This slender Osprey volume, as others in the "Campaign" series, has a fairly standard organization. First, an introduction to the campaign. Then, a useful chronology. The key leaders are then profiled--in this instance Vercingetorix and Julius Caesar. We begin to get a sense of the opposing leaders, their personalities, and their leadership skills. The competing armies are then described. One important component, for instance, in Caesar's forces was Germanic cavalry, who played an important role during the campaign. Then, the action plans of the two forces.

Finally, the campaign and culminating battle, the aftermath, and how the battlefield has survived over the centuries.

What makes the final battle so fascinating is that Caesar constructed two different lines of battle--one facing inward as his forces besieged Alesia, where Vercingetorix's forces were stationed. However, behind the inward facing lines were outward facing lines--to repel reinforcements coming to the aid of the besieged Gauls. Although outnumbered considerably, the Roman forces won an improbable victory, cementing Caesar's reputation and standing.

Maps are sometimes not as useful as they could be, although they do help to understand the action.

In the end, a nice addition to the Osprey "Campaign" series.
5.0 von 5 Sternen This is a kind of synopsis of Caesar's Gallic War from a purely military point of view and does as best as any modern book can t 11. November 2014
Von Doug Welch - Veröffentlicht auf
Finally, an Osprey Campaign book on Alesia and Caesar's Gallic War! I have been pushing for such a book since about 2004 and it has been worth the wait. In those ten years Osprey has hired on Peter Dennis, a master illustrator and the format of their books has really changed to include color images throughout entire books. If you want to know why the ancients though Julius Caesar was a total badass, this book along with the book on Pharsalus should answer your questions. This is a kind of synopsis of Caesar's Gallic War from a purely military point of view and does as best as any modern book can to try to estimate Caesar's enemy in this campaign, Vercingetorix who was the Gallic leader finally able to assemble most of Gaul into a coherent political and military force. The book talks at length about the greater campaign that Alesia fit into, Caesar's conquest of the rest of Gaul and also does well in explaining the terrain and Caesar's use of the most advanced siege tactics of the time. This book does a good job in summarizing the two armies and also adds much about "recent" archaeological finds in the area carried out under the regime of Napoleon III and I was convinced that his idea of the modern site of Alesia is indeed where the siege took place (there had been some controversy about the site, but it seems cleared up as of the 1990s). Overall one of the best Osprey Campaign titles in the series, Peter Dennis will be really busy after his great work in this book!
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent book 4. September 2014
Von Patrick Henry Hansen - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
As an historian who loves Roman, Tuetonic, and Celtic history, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Great read, fantastic illustrations, and a perfect mix of historical facts and figures.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Professonal and detailed treatment of a relatively obscure topic 5. September 2014
Von calvin mccall lloyd - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Excellent text and visual coverage of the subject. Much enjoyed. Read cover to cover without putting it down even once, along with close study of battle maps.
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