Battle of Alesia

The Battle of Alesia or Siege of Alesia (September 52 BC) was a military engagement in the Gallic Wars around the Gallic oppidum (fortified settlement) of Alesia in modern France, a major centre of the Mandubii tribe. It was fought by the Roman army of Julius Caesar against a confederation of Gallic tribes united under the leadership of Vercingetorix of the Arverni. It was the last major engagement between Gauls and Romans, and is considered one of Caesar's greatest military achievements and a classic example of siege warfare and investment; the Roman army built dual lines of fortifications—an inner wall to keep the besieged Gauls in, and an outer wall to keep the Gallic relief force out. The Battle of Alesia marked the end of Gallic independence in modern day territory of France and Belgium.

Battle of Alesia
Part of the Gallic Wars

A reconstructed section of the Alesia investment fortifications
DateSeptember 52 BC
Location47.537°N 4.500°E / 47.537; 4.500
Result Roman victory
Rome completes its conquest of Gaul
Gaul becomes a Roman province
Roman Republic Gallic confederation
Commanders and leaders
Julius Caesar
Mark Antony
Titus Labienus
Gaius Trebonius
Vercingetorix  (POW)
Vercassivellaunos (POW)

10–11 legions[1][2] (30–50,000 legionaries)
10,000 auxiliaries[1]

60–75,000 approx. total Romans and allies
80,000 besieged and 248,000 relief forces (Julius Caesar)[3][4]
300,000 (Plutarch)[5]
400,000 (Strabo)[6]
<70,000 total (modern est.)[7][8]
Casualties and losses
12,800 killed and wounded[9] 250,000 killed
40,000 captured

The battle site was probably atop Mont Auxois, above modern Alise-Sainte-Reine in France, but this location, some have argued, does not fit Caesar's description of the battle. A number of alternatives have been proposed over time, among which only Chaux-des-Crotenay (in Jura in modern France) remains a challenger today.[10]

The event is described by several contemporary authors, including Caesar himself in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico. After the Roman victory, Gaul (very roughly modern France) was subdued, although Gaul would not become a Roman province until 27 BC. The Roman Senate granted Caesar a thanksgiving of 20 days for his victory in the Gallic War.[11]