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Ambiorix was, together with Catuvolcus, prince of the Eburones, leader of a Belgic tribe of north-eastern Gaul (Gallia Belgica), where modern Belgium is located. In the 19th century Ambiorix became a Belgian national hero because of his resistance against Julius Caesar, as written in Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico.[1]


Early history

In 57 BC Julius Caesar conquered Gaul and also Belgica (modernday Northern France, Belgium and a southern section of the Netherlands to the Rhine River; and the north-western portion of North Rhine-Westfalia, Germany.) There were several tribes in the country who fought against each other regularly. The Eburones were ruled by Ambiorix and Catuvolcus. In 54 BC Caesar's troops urgently needed more food and thereby the local tribes were forced to give up part of their harvest, which had not been good that year. Understandably the starving Eburones were reluctant to do so and Caesar ordered that camps be built near the Eburones' villages. Each centurion was ordered to make sure the food supplies were delivered to the Roman soldiers. This created resentment among the Eburones.

Although Julius Caesar had freed him from paying tribute to the Atuatuci, Ambiorix joined Catuvolcus in the winter of 54 BC in an uprising against the Roman forces under Quintus Titurius Sabinus and Lucius Aurunculeius Cotta.

Resisting the Romans

Ambiorix and his tribesmen attacked and killed several Roman soldiers who were foraging for wood in the nearby vicinity. The survivors fled back to their camp, followed by Ambiorix and his men. There he realised there were too many Romans for his troops to fight and he decided to negotiate with them. Ambiorix explained to the Roman camp leaders, Sabinus and Cotta, that he had no problems with them and in fact, was very happy with them, because now he had no troubles with the other tribes. He warned the Romans that a coalition of other tribes were planning to attack them and would get the support of the German tribes who would cross the Rhine. Ambiorix advised them to relocate to another Roman camp so that they would be stronger to battle these troops. He also promised them he would leave them alone when they made this crossing.

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