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Xciccor t1_j1syqo8 wrote

Reply to comment by oga_ogbeni in Death of Vercingetorix by oga_ogbeni

He instigated the war, and Vercingetorix was the signage that it wasn't over. It could be that Cæsar continued the war fearing the newfound Gallic forces would follow him right back to Rome. Or worse, grow and reclaim all of Cæsars conquest.

Either way, Gaul was a place of turmoil. It would unlikely simply be peaceful and not react had Cæsar left.


oga_ogbeni OP t1_j1t0epf wrote

The fact that Caesar reached the terminus of continental Europe, then crossed the channel and invaded Britain is clear evidence that he wasn't planning on leaving Gaul without having taken it all. I think you're framing it as Caesar being in a position where he had to fight, when history shows us that he continually pushed further despite absolutely not needing to do so.


PDV87 t1_j1tayal wrote

Caesar had a mountain of ruinous debts, a growing number of enemies in Rome, and little at his disposal aside from his governorship and the legions that came with it. Pompey Magnus feared he would be outshone and displaced by Caesar, just as he had outshone and displaced Sulla.

Caesar's war was certainly not a necessity, of course, but an illegal/unauthorized campaign, the aims of which were to fill Caesar's coffers and enhance his popularity with the people. However, I think he was compelled to action by his circumstances.

Over the course of Caesar's life, there are numerous examples of a desperate gamble that should have ended in disaster, but somehow, he just kept getting dealt a royal flush: the Cilician pirate incident, the Gallic wars and Alesia in particular, his invasion of Italy, the Battle of Pharsalus, the siege of Alexandria. The man's entire career was a string of calculated risks that came up in his favor, until they didn't -- i.e. the calculated risk of trusting his former enemies and showing them clemency.

In Caesar's mind, I believe the Gallic wars were more than simply a means to an end. They were a gambit for political (and literal) survival. This wanton slaughter was palatable to the people of Rome because of their deep-seeded hatred for the Gauls; in the Roman psyche, the Gauls were their most fearsome and ancient enemy, rivaled only by Carthage in terms of cultural animosity.


Xciccor t1_j1w6yet wrote

Let me clarify by saying that, it is not my own opinion that he should have kept going or that he needed to continue the wars. My comment above is instead suggesting what he felt he had to do.

Ceasar was in a hole of his own doing. This tends to be the case with those who push their luck with war, walls start coming in from all sides and leaving Gaul certainly wouldn't just stop the conflict he had begun. My point above was simply suggesting that Ceasar FELT he needed conclude the war, leaving no ghosts to haunt him.

Aas /r/PDV87 noted below, Ceasar was in many ways running on bought time. He was already operating far out of regular roman juristiction and who knows what he actually felt about being in Gaul--perhaps he felt it was not safe to return to Rome until he had settled what he had started in Gaul.

It had in many ways become his war, and that is reflected in his rejection of adhering to the senate.