Athena Review Image Archive  


Celtic Tribes and Caesar's Campaigns in Gaul (58-50 BC)


In 58 BC when the Helvetii and their allies began a mass migration from Switzerland, Caesar drove them back to their homes, then defeated the Sequani, who had been threatening the Aedui, allies of Rome. Thus began eight successive years of largely successful campaigns that would secure Gaul for Roman control.  The next year, 57 BC, Caesar moved north and conquered the Belgae, driving a wedge between the Germans and Central Gaul, then spent much of 56 BC in Armorica (Normandy and Brittany) suppressing rebellious tribes.

 In perhaps the most daring campaign of the Gallic War, Caesar crossed the Rhine in 55 BC after defeating German tribes on its Gallic (western) banks, then devastated the lands of the Sugambri before marching to the coast for a naval invasion of Britain, the first of two.  In August of 55 BC, a force of two legions made the Channel crossing to Dover. After being battered to near disaster by tides, storms and hostile Celts, Caesar returned to Gaul just in time to suppress a revolt among the Belgae. Next year, in July of 54 BC, a major force of five legions made a second invasion of Britain, advancing as far as the Thames. Before a permanent camp could be established in Britain, however, Caesar had to return to Gaul and spent all of 53 BC subduing the Belgae and other rebellious tribes in the north  including the Nervii, Menapii, and Treveri near the Rhine, as well as the Senones and Carnutes.

Gallic rebellion the following year (52 BC) was led by the Arverni warrior Vercingetorix. After several small sieges and battles, Vercingetorix and the Gauls were cornered and besieged by Caesar at the oppidum of Alésia. Through 51 and 50 BC, Caesar completed the Roman conquest of Gaul, including a siege at Uxellodunum.


Athena Review Image Archive™   | Guide to Archaeology on the Internet   |   free trial issue |  subscribe  |  back issues

Main index of Athena Review   |   Subject Index   |   Travel Pages   |  Galleries and Museums  |  Ad rates |  Current issue index


Copyright  ©  1996-2009    Athena Publications, Inc.  (All Rights Reserved).