), a town of the Mandubii, who were neighbours of the Aedui.
The name is sometimes written Alexia (Florus, 3.10
, note, ed. Duker, and elsewhere). Tradition made it a very old town, for the story was that it was founded by Hercules on his return from Iberia; and the Celtae were said to venerate it as the hearth (ἑστία
) and mother city of all Celtica (Diod. 4.19
). Strabo (p. 191) describes Alesia as situated on a lofty hill, and surrounded by mountains and by two streams.
This description may be taken from that of Caesar (Caes. Gal. 7.69
), who adds that in front of the town there was a plain about three Roman miles long.
The site corresponds to that of Mont Auxois,
close to which is a place now called Ste Reine d'Alise.
The two streams are the Lozerain
and the Loze,
both tributaries of the Yonne.
In B.C. 52 the Galli made a last effort to throw off the Roman yoke, and after they had sustained several defeats, a large force under Vercingetorix shut themselves up in Alesia.
After a vigorous resistance, the place was surrendered to Caesar, and Vercingetorix was made a prisoner (B. G.
7.68-90). Caesar does not speak of the destruction of the place, but Florus says that it was burnt, a circumstance which is not inconsistent with its being afterwards restored. Pliny (34.17. s. 48
) speaks of Alesia as noted for silver-plating articles of harness for horses and beasts of burden. Traces of several Roman roads tend towards this town, which appears to have been finally ruined about the ninth century of our aera.