ALESIA, the ancient name for a hill in central France, now Alise-Ste-Reine (department Cote d'Or), where in 52 B.C. Caesar besieged the Gaulish national leader Vercingetorix within enormous entrenchments, forced him to surrender, and thus practically ended his conquest of Gaul.
In the time of Caesar the Arverni were a powerful confederation, the Arvernian Vercingetorix being the most famous of the Gallic chieftains who fought against the Romans.
In one point he seems to have taken a false step; with a warmth and pertinacity worthy of a better cause he maintained the identity of Caesar's Alesia with Alaise (Doubs), and he died without becoming a convert to the opinion, now universally accepted, that Alise Sainte-Reine (Cote d'or) is the place where Vercingetorix capitulated.
Early in 52 B.C. some Roman traders were massacred at Cenabum (Orleans), and, on hearing the news, the Arverni revolted under Vercingetorix and were quickly joined by other tribes, especially the Bituriges, whose capital was Avaricum (Bourges).
Caesar hastened back from Italy, slipped past Vercingetorix and reached Agedincum (Sens), the headquarters of his legions.
Vercingetorix saw that Caesar could not be met in open battle, and determined to concentrate his forces in a few strong positions.
Hearing that the Roman province was threatened, he marched westward, defeated Vercingetorix near Dijon and shut him up in Alesia (Mont-Auxois),which he surrounded with lines of circumvallation.
An attempt at relief by Vercassivellaunus was defeated after a desperate struggle and Vercingetorix surrendered.
This so exasperated the Sequani that they joined in the revolt of Vercingetorix (52) and shared in the defeat at Alesia.
75.3), they assisted Vercingetorix in the great rising (52 B.C.) with a force of 5000 men.
At the time of the rebellion of Vercingetorix (52 B.C.), Avaricum, after a desperate resistance, was taken by assault, and the inhabitants put to the sword.
Thus ~rin after eight years of incoherent struggles, of scattered revolts, and then of more and more energetic efforts, Gaul, at last aroused by Vercingetorix, for once concentrated her strength, only to perish at Alesia, vanquished by Roman discipline and struck at from the rear by the conquest of Britain (5850 B.C.).