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While those things are carried on at Alesia , the Gauls, having convened a council of their chief nobility, determine that all who could bear arms should not be called out, which was the opinion of Vercingetorix, but that a fixed number should be levied from each state; lest, when so great a multitude assembled together, they could neither govern nor distinguish their men, nor have the means of supplying them with corn. They demand thirty-five thousand men from the Aedui and their dependents, the Segusiani, Ambivareti, and Aulerci Brannovices; an equal number from the Arverni in conjunction with the Eleuteti Cadurci, Gabali, and Velauni, who were accustomed to be under the command of the Arverni; twelve thousand each from the Senones , Sequani,
But those who were blockaded at Alesia , the day being past, on which they had expected auxiliaries from their countrymen, and all their corn being consumed ignorant of what was going on among the Aedui, convened an assembly and deliberated on the exigency of their situation. After various opinions had been expressed among them, some of which proposed a surrender, others a sally, while their strength would support it, the speech of Critognatus ought not to be omitted for its singular and detestable cruelty. He sprung from the noblest family among the Arverni, and possessing great influence, says, "I shall pay no attention to the opinion of those who call a most disgraceful surrender by the name of a capitulation; nor do I think that they ought to be considered as citizens
In the mean time, Commius and the rest of the leaders, to whom the supreme command had been intrusted, came with all their forces to Alesia , and having occupied the entire hill, encamped not more than a mile from our fortifications. The following day, having led forth their cavalry from the camp, they fill all that plain, which, we have related, extended three miles in length, and drew out their infantry a little from that place, and post them on the higher ground. The town Alesia commanded a view of the whole plain. The besieged run together when these auxiliaries were seen; mutual congratulations ensue, and the minds of all are elated with joy. Accordingly, drawing out their troops, they encamp before the town, and cover the nearest trench with hurdles and fill it up with earth, and mak
Vercingetorix, having beheld his countrymen from the citadel of Alesia , issues forth from the town; he brings forth from the camp long hooks, movable pent-houses, mural hooks, and other things, which he had prepared for the purpose of making a sally. They engage on all sides at once and every expedient is adopted. They flocked to whatever part of the works seemed weakest. The army of the Romans is distributed along their extensive lines, and with difficulty meets the enemy in every quarter. The shouts which were raised by the combatants in their rear, had a great tendency to intimidate our men, because they perceived that their danger rested on the valor of others: for generally all evils which are distant most powerfully alarm men's minds.
After spending several days in the same camp, the guards of the Bellovaci, learning that Caius Trebonius was advancing nearer with his legions, and fearing a siege like that of Alesia , send off by night all who were disabled by age or infirmity, or unarmed, and along with them their whole baggage. While they are preparing their disorderly and confused troop for march (for the Gauls are always attended by a vast multitude of wagons, even when they have very light baggage), being overtaken by day-light, they drew their forces out before their camp, to prevent the Romans attempting a pursuit before the line of their baggage had advanced to a considerable distance. But Caesar did not think it prudent to attack them when standing on their defense, with such a steep hill in their favor, nor k
When the townsmen perceived his design, being terrified by the recollection of the distress at Alesia , they began to dread similar consequences from a siege; and above all Luterius, who had experienced that fatal event, cautioned them to make provisions of corn; they therefore resolve by general consent to leave part of their troops behind, and set out with their light troops to bring in corn. The scheme having met with approbation, the following night Drapes and Luterius leaving two thousand men in the garrison, marched out of the town with the rest. After a few days' stay in the country of the Cadurci (some of whom were disposed to assist them with corn, and others were unable to prevent their taking it) they collected a great store. Sometimes also attacks were
C. Julius Caesar, Commentaries on the Civil War (ed. William Duncan), CAESAR'S COMMENTARIES of THE CIVIL WAR. , chapter 47 (search)