Vercingetorix

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Vercingetorix (pronounced /werkiŋˈɡetoriks/ in Latin, /ˌvɜrsɪŋˈɡɛtərɪks/ or /ˌvɜrsɪnˈdʒɛtərɪks/ in English) (c. 82 BC – 46 BC) was the chieftain of the Arverni tribe, who united the Gauls in an ultimately unsuccessful revolt against Roman forces during the last phase of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars.

Vercingetorix came to power in 52 BC, when he raised an army and was proclaimed king at Gergovia. He soon established an alliance with other tribes and took control of their combined armies, leading them in Gaul's most significant revolt against Roman power. Vercingetorix surrendered to the Romans after being defeated at the Battle of Alesia in 52 BC, after which he was imprisoned for five years. In 46 he was paraded through Rome as part of Caesar's triumph before being executed. Vercingetorix is primarily known through Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico.

Contents

Name

The etymology of the name Vercingetorix is still contested. The most generally accepted analysis interprets it as Gaulish ver- ("over, superior" – an etymological cognate of Latin super or Greek hyper),[1] cingeto- ("warrior", related to roots meaning "tread, step, walk", so possibly "infantry"),[2] and rix ("king") (cf. Latin rex, Sanskrit rāja-) , i.e. "great warrior king" or "king of great warriors".[3] In his Life of Caesar, Plutarch renders the name as Vergentorix.[4]

History

Having been appointed governor of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis (modern Provence) in 58 BC, Julius Caesar proceeded to conquer the Gallic tribes beyond over the next few years, maintaining control through a careful divide and rule strategy. He made use of the factionalism among the Gallic elites, favoring certain noblemen over others with political support and Roman luxuries such as wine. Attempts at revolt, such as that of Ambiorix in 54 BC, had secured only local support, but Vercingetorix, whose father, Celtillus, had been put to death by his own countrymen for seeking to rule all of Gaul, managed to unify the Gallic tribes against the Romans and adopted more modern styles of warfare.

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