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27. However, the most of the Barbarians who escaped at that time took refuge with their king in the city of Alesia. And while Caesar was besieging this city, which was thought to be impregnable by reason of the great size of its walls and the number of their defenders, there fell upon him from outside the city a peril too great for words to depict. [2] For all that was mightiest among the nations of Gaul assembled and came in arms to Alesia, three hundred thousand strong; and the number of fighting men inside the city was not less than a hundred and seventy thousand. Thus Caesar, caught between so large hostile forces and besieged there, was compelled to build two walls for his protection, one looking towards the city, and the other towards those who had come up to relieve it; he felt that if the two forces should unite his cause was wholly lost.

[3] For many reasons, then, and naturally, Caesar's peril at Alesia was famous, since it produced more deeds of skill and daring than any of his other struggles; but one must be amazed above all that he engaged and conquered so many tens of thousands outside the city without the knowledge of those inside, nay more, without the knowledge even of the Romans who were guarding the wall that faced the city. [4] For these did not learn of the Victory until the wailing of the men in Alesia and the lamentations of the women were heard, as they beheld in the quarters of the enemy many shields adorned with gold and silver, many corselets smeared with blood, and also drinking cups and tents of Gallic fashion carried by the Romans into their camp. So quickly did so great a force, like a phantom or a dream, disperse and vanish out of sight, the greater part of them having fallen in the battle. [5] Those who held Alesia, too, after giving themselves and Caesar no small trouble, finally surrendered. And the leader of the whole war, Vergentorix, after putting on his most beautiful armour and decorating his horse, rode out through the gate. He made a circuit round Caesar, who remained seated, and then leaped down from his horse, stripped off his suit of armour, and seating himself at Caesar's feet remained motionless, until he was delivered up to be kept in custody for the triumph.

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