Caesar’s Conquest of Gaul, and the Breakdown of the First Triumvirate

  • M. Cary
  • H. H. Scullard


In making first choice of Cisalpine Gaul for a provincial command Caesar was partly guided by political necessities. No other province could offer him equal facilities for keeping an eye on the march of events in the capital and forestalling the manoeuvres of his political opponents. Whenever he could safely leave Transalpine Gaul Caesar spent his winters in his Italian province, performing the routine duties of a governor and receiving visits from his agents and associates in Rome. But he was no less alive to the military opportunities which Cisalpine Gaul offered. Since the Italian War this province had become one of the principal recruiting areas for the Roman armies, and its Alpine border provided a wide base for new conquests. The inclusion of Illyricum in his proconsular command, and the disposition of his troops at the beginning of 58, when three of his four legions were stationed at Aquileia, indicate that his original plan of operations may have been to extend the Roman frontiers north-eastward beyond the Carnic Alps where he might come into contact with the expanding empire of Burebistas, king of the Dacians, who lived in what is now Romania. In the event, however, the province of Transalpine Gaul, which he had received by an afterthought, became the starting-point of his campaigns.


Italian Province Winter Quarter Emergency Decree Roman Army Dual Command 
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Notes and References

  1. 3.
    On Caesar’s British expeditions see T. Rice Holmes, Ancient Britain and the Invasions of Caesar (1935);Google Scholar
  2. R. G. Collingwood, Roman Britain and the English Settlements (1937);Google Scholar
  3. S. S. Frere, Britannia (1967), ch. 3.Google Scholar
  4. On the locality of Cassivellaunus’s oppidum see R. E. M. Wheeler, Antiquity 1933, 21 ff.Google Scholar
  5. The emperor Napoleon III was the first excavator of Caesar’s great siege-works round Alesia. See J. Harmand, Une Campaigne césarienne: Alesia (1967).Google Scholar
  6. For other Caesarian camps found in Gaul see O. Brogan, Roman Gaul (1953), 17 ff.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    On Clodius’s legislation in regard to auspices see W. F. McDonald, IRS 1929, 164 ff.Google Scholar
  8. 20.
    On Curio see W. K. Lacey, Historia 1961, 318 ff.Google Scholar
  9. 28.
    On Caesar’s dignitas see Caesar, Bell. Civ. i. 9.2. On Pompey, Tacitus, Hist. ii. 38.1. See also C. Wirszubski, Libertas as a Political Idea at Rome (1950), 77 f.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The representatives of the estate of the late M. Cary and H. H. Scullard 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Cary
    • 1
  • H. H. Scullard
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LondonUK

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