The Black Book of the Gallic Campaign

Edited by Luciano Canfora and Julian Stringer

in Julius Caesar

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780748619368
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670734 | DOI:
The Black Book of the Gallic Campaign

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Caesar's Gallic campaign was unprovoked and led to the destruction of the old civilisation, which was gradually replaced by a Romanised one; and Pliny and Plutarch agreed that it was an act of genocide of monstrous proportions. It was all for one end: the protagonist and instigator of the venture cynically used the genocide in the political struggle at home. Part of his objective was also to capture a huge number of slaves who were useful for demagogic purposes. Caesar knew well that, without a counter to Pompey's military glory, an equal division of power with him would be impossible, especially after Crassus' death. Thus the impressive military achievement in Gaul in the years 58–51 bc reveals itself as a twofold triumph: it was the vehicle of Romanisation of a large part of the North European West; and at the same time it provided the aspiring princeps with the authority, military and legal, that he needed, as part of a long praeparatio for the day of reckoning and civil war.

Keywords: Julius Caesar; Gaul; genocide; slaves; princeps; political struggle; Gallic campaign

Chapter.  2650 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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