Author(s): John Sadler
The Battle for Alesia was a decisive moment in world history. It determined whether Rome would finally conquer Gaul or whether Celtic chieftain Vercingetorix would throw off the yoke and consequently whether a number of independent Celtic tribal kingdoms could resist the might of Rome. Failure would have been a total defeat for Julius Caesar, not just in Gaul but in the Senate. His career would have been over, his enemies would have pulled him down, civil war would have ensued, no dictatorship, no liaison with Cleopatra. Rome would not have become an empire beyond the Mediterranean. European, and therefore world history might have been a very different story. Caesar's campaign of 52 BC frequently hung in the balance. Vercingetorix was a far more formidable opponent than any encountered in Gaul; bold charismatic and imbued with strategic insight of the highest order. The Romans were caught totally off-guard and it seemed all too likely their grip on Gaul, which Caesar had imagined secure, would be prised free. The Siege of Alesia itself was one of the most astonishing military undertakings of all times.
Caesar's interior siege lines stretched for 18 kilometres and were surrounded by an outward facing line three kilometres longer, complete with palisades, towers, ditches, minefields and outposts. This work was completed in less than three weeks. Vercingetorix's refuge proved a trap and, despite an energetic defence and the arrival of a huge relief army, there was to be no escape. Caesar's Greatest Victory fully reveals both sides of the conflict, to explore in depth the personalities involved and to examine the legacy of the campaign which still resonates today. The arms, equipment, tactics and fighting styles of Roman and Celtic armies are explained, as well as the charisma and leadership of Caesar and Vercingetorix and the command and control structures of both sides. Using new evidence from archaeology, the authors construct a fresh account of not just the siege itself but also the Alesia campaign and place it into the wider context of the history of warfare. This is Roman history at its most exciting, featuring events still talked about today.
It is clear that the authors know what they are talking about. -- William De Pretre Miniature Wargames - William de Pretre Those seeking a primer on Alesia need look no further than this excellent book. Military History Magazine The battle of Alesia was a decisive moment in world History. Failure would have been a defeat for Caesar not just in Gaul, but at Rome, and without this victory, Rome might never have become a worldwide power. -- Alicea Francis All About History Caesar's Greatest Victory... is scholarly but ultimately readable, and introduces a campaign which is left out of secondary school and Latin teaching... A fascinating account of something I'd never heard of. -- Paul Norman Books Monthly
John Sadler BA (Hons) M.Phil, FRHistS, FSA (Scotl.) is an author, lecturer, battlefield tour guide and historical interpreter. He has been a visiting lecturer at the North East Centre for Lifelong Learning teaching war studies for fifteen years and has some thirty published titles in print or preparation. He is an experienced battlefield tour guide for both world wars in Europe and for a range of earlier conflicts. As a historical interpreter and partner in Time Bandits, he has appeared in a wide variety of guises in museums, galleries, schools, the community and heritage sites from Ramses II of Egypt to WWII Home Guard and Auxiliaries. He is married with two daughters and lives in mid-Northumberland. Rosie Serdiville is a writer and educator with a particular interest in radical history. She works together with John Sadler in schools and for heritage sites, often using our very different viewpoints to provide an alternative commentary on historical events. She is Vice President of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, and co-author with John Sadler of 7 military history titles.