Caesar's Greatest Victory

The Battle of Alesia, Gaul 52 BC

John Sadler, Rosie Serdiville

An exciting, readable new account of the Alesia campaign, incorporating the latest research, to illuminate the tactics of both Caesar and the Celts, and explore the momentous events of 52 BC.
Date Published :
November 2016
Publisher :
Illustration :
27 illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612004051
Pages : 320
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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Caesar’s Greatest Victory reveals both sides of the Battle for Alesia, to explore in depth the personalities involved and to examine the legacy of the campaign which still resonates today.

The Battle for Alesia was a decisive moment in world history. It determined whether Rome would finally conquer Gaul or whether Celtic chieftain Vercingetorix would throw off the yoke and consequently whether a number of independent Celtic tribal kingdoms could resist the might of Rome. Failure would have been a total defeat for Julius Caesar, not just in Gaul but in the Senate. His career would have been over, his enemies would have pulled him down, civil war would have ensued, no dictatorship, no liaison with Cleopatra. Rome would not have become an empire beyond the Mediterranean. European, and therefore world history might have been a very different story.

Caesar’s campaign of 52 BC frequently hung in the balance. Vercingetorix was a far more formidable opponent than any he’d encountered in Gaul; bold charismatic and imbued with strategic insight of the highest order. The Romans were caught totally off-guard and it seemed all too likely their grip on Gaul, which Caesar had imagined secure, would be pried free. The Siege of Alesia itself was one of the most astonishing military undertakings of all times. Caesar’s interior siege lines stretched for 18 kilometers and were surrounded by an outward facing line three kilometres longer, complete with palisades, towers, ditches, minefields and outposts. This work was completed in less than three weeks. Vercingetorix’s refuge proved a trap and, despite an energetic defense and the arrival of a huge relief army, there was to be no escape.

Caesar’s Greatest Victory fully reveals both sides of the conflict. The arms, equipment, tactics and fighting styles of Roman and Celtic armies are explained, as well as the charisma and leadership of Caesar and Vercingetorix and the command and control structures of both sides. Using new evidence from archaeology, the authors construct a fresh account of not just the siege itself but also the Alesia campaign and place it into the wider context of the history of warfare. This is Roman history at its most exciting, featuring events still talked about today.

About The Author

John Sadler's main specialty is in military history, as an accomplished author, lecturer, battlefield tour guide, heritage professional and historical interpreter. He is a visiting lecturer at the University of Sunderland Centre For Lifelong Learning since 1998. He lives in the North East of England.

Rosie Serdiville is a social historian and re-enactor with a particular interest in the wider impact of war on civilian populations. She delights in spending time in archives.


A note on sources
Introduction: Moment of decision, the man in the red cloak

1: An ancient city in Gaul
2: De Rei Militarii
3: Way of the Gaul
4: Way of the warrior
5: De Bello Gallico – the Gallic Wars 58–52 BC
6: Total War 52 BC
7: Tightening the vice
8: The relief and final battle
9: Legacy



"...a good account of one of the most decisive battles of the ancient world. Who knows how world history would have proceeded had Caesar been defeated?"

- New York Journal of Books

“Those seeking a primer on Alesia need look no further than this excellent book.”

- Military History

"It is clear that the authors know what they are talking about."

- Miniature Wargames

John Sadler and Rosie Serdiville have produced an informative, well-written, and entertaining account of one of history's decisive battles and its charismatic protagonist. They manage to put their readers on the battlefield with Caesar in a succinct narrative enlivened with acute historical analogies.

- Michigan War Studies Review

"...a really interesting work that thoroughly describes not only the battle of Alesia, but the Gallic War and issues closely related to it. The authors base their work on numerous ancient sources, research works and books."

- Imperium Romanum

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