Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Meet Vercingetorix in Alise St. Reine, France



In 52 BC, the Gauls under Vercingetorix, a chief of the Arverni tribe, revolted against the Romans. Vercingetorix was an able leader and held off the Romans for quite some time by strategically retreating and burning the villages behind him to keep the Romans from living off the land. He made his final stand at Alesia. His strategy however,  was no match for the wiles of Julius Caesar and he was carried off to Rome as a trophy of war and was put to death there in 46 B.C.

The exact location of Alesia was a matter of debate for many years and Emperor Napoleon III decided to end it once and for all by putting up a statue of Vercingetorix on the hillside in Alise Saint Reine. He commission Aimee Millet to produce the statue and it now looks out over what turned out to indeed be the site of the Battle of Alesia. This statue is very impressive and there is a look on the face of Vercingetorix that makes you hope that he will win the battle, he has that defiant Braveheart kind of look.

The Battle of Alesia was not quick. It involved a long siege and there were fortified earthworks erected by the Romans. Evidence of these as well as a museum full of artifacts have been recovered. These can be visited at the Museum of Alesia in Alise Saint Reine.

Of course, since it was January when we visited, the museum was closed but we walked up the hill to appreciate the view and the amazing statue.  You can see how large it is compared to the live person next to it.

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