Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Mass-Enslavement in Caesar's Gallic Conquest: A Case Study
Contributor(s): Taylor, Tristan  (author)
Publication Date: 2013
Handle Link:
Abstract: Mass-violence and mass-deportation, or 'ethnic cleansing', were an ugly feature of some 20th century conflicts (eg, Kiernan 2007). Plutarch reports that in his Gallic conquest, Caesar killed 1 million Gauls and enslaved a further million (Caes. 15). While the figures may be doubted (Westermann 1955), they do raise the question as to the link between mass-violence and mass-enslavement or deportation in Caesar's Gallic conquest. Caesar's Bellum Gallicum is an interesting work to examine in this regard, written as it is by an actual participant in events with a keen eye to his own public self-representation. This paper will argue that, although Caesar himself places in the mouth of Vercingetorix that enslavement of a civilian population is the usual outcome of conquest (BG 7.14), it is only infrequently that enslavement of very large numbers of non-combatants is reported, such as the Aduatuci (BG 2.33), Veneti (BG 3.17) and Alesia (BG 7.89). Caesar's usual strategy is, rather than enslaving the conquered, to secure their deditio. Further, some reports appear to be exaggeration, such as the looting of Cenabum (BG 7.11), which a year later was able to host a Roman army (BG 8.6). As with episodes of mass-violence, such as the destruction of the Usipetes and Tencteri (BG 4.14-15), the Eburones (BG 6.34) and Avaricum (BG 7.28), mass-enslavement appears to be utilized by Caesar as an exemplary measure, to punish and deter (Hopkins 1978). Further, mass-enslavement did not always lead to depopulation, as some slaves appear to have been sold within Gaul itself (BG 2.33 and Westermann 1955), and Gauls possessed other Gauls as slaves (eg, BG 5.45 and 7.20). Therefore, while mass-violence and mass-enslavement can be linked in the exercise of Roman imperialism, it was far from what we might term 'ethnic cleansing'.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Details: Classical Association Annual Conference, Reading, United Kingdom, 3rd - 6th April, 2013
Source of Publication: The Classical Association Annual Conference: Reading, 2013 Abstracts, p. 52-52
Publisher: The Classical Association
Place of Publication: online
Field of Research (FOR): 210306 Classical Greek and Roman History
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
HERDC Category Description: E3 Extract of Scholarly Conference Publication
Other Links:
Statistics to Oct 2018: Visitors: 123
Views: 133
Downloads: 0
Appears in Collections:Conference Publication
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Files in This Item:
2 files
File Description SizeFormat 
Show full item record

Page view(s)

checked on May 2, 2019
Google Media

Google ScholarTM


Items in Research UNE are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.