Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Caesar and the Starving Gauls at Alesia

I was conducting research on the Mandubians, the tribe that originally inhabited Alesia, today and found an excerpt from Caesar’s commentaries that is missing from MIT’s Internet Classics Archives. I was particularly interested in it because it mentioned the starving Gallic women and children depicted in the recent miniseries.

"The Mandubii, who had taken the others into their oppidum [1], were forced to leave it with their wives and children. When they came up to our fortifications, they wept and begged the soldiers to take them as slaves and give them something to eat. But I had guards posted all along the rampart with orders not to allow any of them inside our lines. " – Gaius Julius Caesar, The Gallic Wars, Book 7 chapters 63 – 90, as translated by Anne and Peter Wiseman.

The Internet Classics Archives provides a copy translated by W. A. McDevitte and W. S. Bohn. Its Book 7 stops at Chapter 59. However, the Archives server crashed a couple of years ago and after that I noticed several missing sections of other works. Maybe some of The Gallic Wars was affected as well.

I did notice, however, that Caesar's account does not mention that the outcasts were also rejected by Vercingetorix and starved before the gates. Maybe that was a little hollywood artistic license.
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