Gallic Wars (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Roman control of Gaul. Result: Victorious Romans incorporated Gaul into Roman territory.
By the middle of the first century b.c.e., Rome possessed much of the northern Mediterranean coast, from Spain to Asia Minor. North of Italy were two Roman provinces: Cisalpine Gaul, south of the Alps, and Transalpine or Narbonese Gaul, across the Alps in what later became southern France. Beyond these Roman provinces lay Gallia comata, or “long-haired Gaul,” which was divided into three areas occupied by the Aquitani in the south, the Celts in the center, and the Belgae in the north.
These Gallic peoples represented a serious potential threat to the Romans. They had sacked Rome around 390 b.c.e., an event that the Romans had never forgotten. Around 60 b.c.e., when the Romans learned that the Gauls were growing restless, they realized something must be done. At the same time, political conditions in Rome made a Gallic campaign inviting for Julius Caesar, who was just ending his consulship in 59 b.c.e. Being named governor of Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul would protect Caesar from prosecution by his enemies. In addition, war and conquest offered excellent opportunities for riches, popularity, and power. In 58 b.c.e., Caesar assumed his governorship in Transalpine Gaul.
In 58 b.c.e., a group known as the Helvetii, living in...
(The entire section is 680 words.)
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