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From: Kara D. Vuic <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: announcement Date: March 2, 2010 10:41:28 AM EST To: Scott Hendrix <email@example.com> The situation of the Gauls in the first century BC is, of course, an interesting and complicated one intertwined with that of Caesar's motivations for going into Gaul in the first place. The traditional view was that Caesar needed a place, any place, to obtain military glory for political purposes, as had Marius, Sulla and Pompey done before him. And that Roman was an aggressive expansionistic empire. While this may be true, at least to some extent, there is a bit more to it than that. Up until the time of Caesar, most Roman expansionism was a reaction to the actions of their neighbors, rather than overt aggression. The Roman Republic did not like to rule directly over foreigners, but preferred either diplomacy, the creation of buffer states or client kingdoms. When all else failed or were perceived to have failed, direct rule and the incorporation of territory directly into the Roman state was done. Just before Caesar went to Gaul, the Romans had incorporated a large swatch of territory in the east into the state in a unilateral action conducted by Pompey. In this region, various Greek Hellestenic (and even a Jewish) states had fought each other and Rome for over 100 years. Mithradates of Pontus, one such ruler, had attacked the Roman provinces several times and in one case supposedly Now to the Gauls. The Romans of the First Century BC had a great fear of the Barbarians to the north, the Gauls and Germans. Gauls had been the last to sack Rome several centuries earlier and a band of Gauls had ravaged Greece a century later and eventually settled Galatia in Asia Minor. More recently, the Germanic Teutones and Cimbri had moved freely through Gaul to attack the Romans, totally defeating and annihilating a Roman consular army at Orange in 105 BC. Eventually Marius defeated these two tribes at twin battles (Aquae Sextiae and Vercellae) in 101 and 102 BC. The last battle halted a Cimbric invasion of Italy. A Roman of the era (as would a modern observer) could not tell the difference between a German and a Gaul, and the Gauls of Gaul had, in any event, provided no real buffer to prevent the Germans from attacking Roman territory. This was considered such an emergency situation that Marius was elected consul an unprecedented and constitutionally abhorrent five consecutive times. Caesar was not born until right after Marius' victories. But Marius was his uncle by marriage. Caesar was surely aware of the weakness of the northern border regions and their geographic proximity to Rome itself. Caesar may have had personal reasons for moving into Gaul, but the instability of these regions were a long standing threat to the heart of the Roman state. The Gauls as a whole, if unified, probably would have required the complete resources of the Roman state to be defeated. But they were not unified and Caesar soon proved to be brilliant militarily. While the Gauls and Romans used the same basic weapons, the Romans were far better organized (as was the Roman state in general when compared with all its neighbors) and much better led. When the Gauls did finally unite under Vercingetorex, Caesar had a much larger legionary force available and he defeated them almost purely through military brilliance alone. A lesser general would have been easily defeated by the united Gauls, further illustrating the soundness of Caesar resolving this security problem once and for all. Caesar then went on to provide farther proof of his genius when he defeated a series of Roman commanders, including the great Pompey and several of his own former lieutenants, in the ensuing civil wars. Meanwhile the recently conquered Gaul remained calm even when the second round of civil wars after Caesar's assassination extended there. John J. McGrath -----Original Message----- From: H-NET Military History Discussion List [mailto:H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU] On Behalf Of H-War Editor David Silbey Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 1:23 PM To: H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU Subject: QUERY: Gallic manpower 2nd - 1st Century BC From: Palle Rasmussen <palle.rasmussen@GMAIL.COM> Date: Friday, February 26, 2010 2:20:49 PM Subject: Gallic manpower 2nd - 1st Century BC Now, I have become involved in a discussion on the Gallic versus Roman manpower and power at the time of Caesar's invasion, and would like to get your take on it. Basically it started in one of the usual debates on who was a great general (it is a wargaming forum, but a decent one) and some people argued that Caesar's Gallic wars was nothing as the Gauls were already collapsing and devastated by their own internal warfare. basically that Caesar could just waltz in and do as he pleased. Now this was, IMO, obviously not the case, so I argued against this fact and asked for sources while presenting instead the well-known lack of Roman manpower of the late Republic and the fact that as urbanisation cannot happen in a power vacuum and does not happen in a fast dwindling people, and because urbanisation did happen in Gaul, Gaul was clearly not this wasteland. The source (from the more serious of the opponents of Caesar's greatness), is Caesar's Gallic wars where he twice says that the Aedui are exhausted by war. I dismissed both for source critical reasons as they are clearly invalid in their context and I am now told that "several well-respected professors" hold to the view that Gaul was exhausted by civil war, dwindling and with a power-vacuum just waiting for someone like Caesar. However, having myself been one of those to argue against and change the traditional interpretation held by several (generations) of Danish medieval historians on the Danish middle ages, I place little value of such. I want to see if their sources and interpretations hold up to closer scrutiny or, like the ones of the "old guard" in Danish medieval history did not. So I ask here as well, does anyone have knowledge of the subject? Sources? I have next to no knowledge on the matter of Gallic manpower (but see fault in the argument and sources I have been presented with). Does anyone here know more? The original discussion can be read at its full length here<http://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?126547-Is-Caesar-overr ated-as-general>, there is some of the usual internet diatribe, but skib that. Best wishes, Rasmussen, Palle, independant scholar. ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----