Julius Caesar's The Conquest of Gaul offers to the reader a rare glimpse into the complex world of Gaul. When Caesar invaded Gaul, he found a strange world, quite different from the Mediterranean world with which he was familiar. At the same time, the Mediterranean and Gallic worlds have been in close contact with each other for centuries. When examining the relationships between Gaul and the Mediterranean, Gaul mainly differed from the Mediterranean culture of Rome with regards to technology and organization, while at the same time Mediterranean influence on Gallic culture was evident through the use of the Greek alphabet, consumption of Mediterranean luxury goods and the use of the phalanx. In the end, Caesar will successfully exploit some of the weaknesses of the Gallic polity while maintaining military supremacy in order to achieve total subjugation of Gaul. In order to explore these various relationships, one must first understand the differences between the two cultures, as exemplified by the army and the polity.
[...] If Caesar's army was made up of confederated groups of warriors, much like the Gallic army, then this discipline would not have been so rigid, nor would Caesar's military command be absolute. In Caesar's narrative, there are few instances, if any at all, to the undisciplined behavior of the Roman soldiers. As a result, an image emerges from the Caesar's account in which the Gauls are portrayed as chaotic, fractured and lacking technology, while the Mediterranean culture of Roman emphasized discipline, made use of various technologies and was relatively cosmopolitan. However, that this is not to say that there was no engagement by the Gauls in the Mediterranean world. [...]
[...] As Caesar noted here, the army did not consist solely of Romans, but also of Numidians from Africa, Cretans from the Aegean and Balearic peoples from islands near Spain. The Roman army was able to incorporate various peoples from around the Mediterranean. Another key feature of the Roman army was the centralization of power. It was Caesar who had absolute authority over all, and if there was a problem, the commanders would send a message to Caesar. In his own narrative, Caesar becomes an omniscient force that oversees all on the battlefield. [...]
[...] Regardless of how different these two cultures were, they still came together, and signs of this interaction are indicated by the use of the Greek alphabet by the Gauls, their consumption of luxury goods of Mediterranean origin and the utilization of the Greek phalanx. As Caesar delved further into this complex world and sought to subjugate it to Roman supremacy, he made use of and exploited the weaknesses within Gallic society, such as the lack of siege technology and their atomized polity. [...]
[...] As mentioned above, the Gauls lacked knowledge of siegecraft, and were at a disadvantage when fighting Caesar. Furthermore, the defeat of Vercingetorix and afterwards the "Final Rebellion" helped secure Caesar's supremacy in Gaul. Concerning the "Final Rebellion," Hirtius wrote, "the Gauls all realized that they could not resist the Romans even with the largest army, if it was concentrated in one place, but thought that if a number of tribes made simultaneous attacks in different places, the Romans would not have enough men or resources to meet them all in time," (Caesar, 202). [...]
[...] "When they saw the mantlets rushed up to the wall, earth shoveled into the moat, and siege towers erected, they were alarmed by the massive size of this apparatus, which had never before been seen or heard of in Gaul, and by the speed with which the Romans worked" (Caesar, 63). There is no doubt that the Gauls were in shock when they first saw these strange contraptions. In fact, some of Caesar's success in the war against the Gauls can be attributed to siege technology. [...]
using our reader.