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From: McGrath, John J CIV USA TRADOC <email@example.com> Subject: RE: REPLY: Gallic manpower 2nd - 1st Century BC (UNCLASSIFIED) Date: March 4, 2010 9:31:51 AM EST To: firstname.lastname@example.org, H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> >>>> " None of this detracts from Caesar's skills, however. After all, even fighting technologically inferior foes could be dangerous, as witness the fates of commanders like Custer, Chelmsford (Isandlwana), Gordon (Khartum) or Baratieri (Adwa), among others."<<<< I think it is an erroneous assertion to contend the Romans were technologically superior to their enemies. The Romans were not technologically superior to the Gauls (or really any of the historical foes). They fought with the same weapons and capabilities. The difference was that the Romans had a superiority in organization. With Caesar, they also had a superiority in leadership. At Orange in 105 BC a larger German army (Cimbri and Teutones) destroyed two Roman consular armies. This was no Isandhlwana type defeat. The Romans were so poorly lead and the Germans so large in number that the usual Roman advantage in organization was negated. There was no technological advantage. Both sides fought with swords, spears, pikes and shields. The difference was organizational. Roman organization made even mediocre leaders (and the Roman system routinely produced such leaders from the aristocracy) above average in effectiveness. Several years after Orange, Marius defeated the same Germans with a similar sized force. He was actually fighting with an, at least theoretically, inferior force of soldiers since he had begun the practice of using lower class men with no property. Previously Roman soldiers were seasonal yeoman farmers who owned their own armor. John McGrath -----Original Message----- From: H-NET Military History Discussion List [mailto:H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Scott Hendrix Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 2010 2:58 PM To: H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU Subject: REPLY: Gallic manpower 2nd - 1st Century BC () 1st Reply From: Wyatt Reader <email@example.com> Subject: RE: REPLY: Gallic manpower 2nd - 1st Century BC Date: March 3, 2010 10:06:25 AM EST To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Just recently, having obtained a volume on the history of the Roman Empire, given from an analysis of Roman Generals, there is a chapter included which may[ or may not] be of some reference/source value for this discussion. Adrian Goldsworthy published, In The Name of Rome, the Men Who Won an Empire, thru Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2003. His chapter 8 specific is about Caesar's Gallic campaigns, Chapter 9 discusses Caesar in relation to Pompey as the civil wars era. While I did not notice any mention of manpower in the Gallic chapter, there were a couple of points which may reflect upon this and other concerns. He does indicate Caesar may have faced an army of 120,000 in his 58-53 BC campaigns against Ariovistus. He also discusses how , in the main, the Romans operated to support allied tribes, including the Aedui, in their bids for safety against attacks, but also needed to handle rebellions from such as the Aedui after becoming present in their existing situation. For the most part, Goldsworthy's sources cite Caesar's Commentaries, and other Roman writers of the Empire's history, including Suetonius, Cicero, Plutarch. These are not his only sources mentioned and what value the referenced source have, may be one of your issues ? As to historical sources, there are some others, not included here but how much of the actual Roman source writers can be relied upon given the centuries, would think, depends upon how reliable you consider those that are known and likely to ever be available. He does mention that Napoleon had written on Caesar as well, after having studied him during his own years of education. Wyatt Reader UCLA___Whittier College California California Community Colleges//private[ Instructor] 2nd Reply From: Louis Capdeboscq <email@example.com> Subject: Re : QUERY: Gallic manpower 2nd - 1st Century BC Date: March 3, 2010 4:26:34 AM EST To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> Palle Rasmussen wrote: "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." I'm not quite sure how all this follows. Just because the Romans had a significant edge, as they clearly did, doesn't say anything about Caesar's skill as a general. Nor is manpower necessarily a factor in such an equation. From what I remember of Goldworthy's and Le Bohec's take on Caesar and the Roman army, it seems clear that the Gallic wars were not a contest between equals. Rome was a state, Gaul was not, so Caesar could set the strategic pace of the campaign. Roman legions were regular troops fighting as units, the Gauls practiced irregular or individual combat. This accounts for the very lopsided victory ratio (note that other German generals did just as well against similarly disorganized barbarians). Roman troops knew about siege warfare and repeatedly captured Gallic strongholds, whereas a Roman-controlled fortified position turned out to be pretty much unassailable to the Gauls. That was a key advantage, essentially meaning that whatever the Romans captured they would get to keep, as well as a good illustration of the technological gap between the two sides. From the above, it seems clear that the Gallic Wars were by no means fought between equal opponents, and Caesar's troops would find the going much harder when faced with other Roman legions in the course of the ensuing fighting against Pompey. This means that, for all the political capital that Caesar made out of his campaign, it should be considered a sort of colonial campaign rather than a war fought against a really threatening foe. None of this detracts from Caesar's skills, however. After all, even fighting technologically inferior foes could be dangerous, as witness the fates of commanders like Custer, Chelmsford (Isandlwana), Gordon (Khartum) or Baratieri (Adwa), among others. And Caesar did eventually prevail against Pompey. However, in that type of fighting, the respective manpower balance is somewhat irrelevant, largely because the more backward society is unable to mobilize all of it at the same time (Caesar never fought all of Gaul at the same time), nor to translate whatever it does mobilize into effective military power. That being said, to try answering Palle's question instead of just sidestepping it as I've been doing so far, it is true that estimates of Gallic manpower have been revised downward. Traditional estimates were of between 15 and 25 million inhabitants, largely based on Caesar's and other contemporary accounts, plus extrapolating from later times. "At the time of Louis XIV, France was smaller than Gaul and had 24 million inhabitants" . For another take "Recent estimates give, for all three Gauls and the Roman-controlled part, a total population of some 5 million ... Under Augustus, Italy - including the Roman province in Gaul - had some 4.5 million free citizens" . That the Gauls were plagued by civil war and therefore in no position to resist a determined invasion by an organized state like Rome is also something I've read in practically every book I remember on the topic, though I'm anything but an authority here. But again, as I wrote before, I don't think that the question of total manpower or the extent of civil war was going to alter the eventual outcome. Louis Capdeboscq  Albert Grenier, "Les Gaulois" (my translation)  Claude Nicolet, "Rendre a Cesar: economie et societe dans la Rome antique" (my translation) Original Message: > > > 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. > 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-ove > rr > 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 -----