His name translates roughly as King of a Hundred Battles.
He was a Gaul prince, who achieved the rank of chieftain of the Averni tribe by
murdering his father. He managed to unite almost all the Gaul tribes in a
revolt against Rome, who governed that province with none other than Caesar
He coerced the other chieftains with the aid of the druids to be proclaimed King of
the united Gauls. Implemented a scorched earth policy, burning every
field, granary, town that would provide Caesar's army with food for the
campaign. Only one oppidum (stronghold) was left standing, Avaricum.
This being the only available source of food, Caesar marched against it and with
an ingenious siege device that consisted of double terraces about three hundred
feet wide, he managed to storm the stronghold and capture its food
supply. Nearly all of its inhabitants were put to death. Only a
handful escaped and went over to Vercingetorix.
Vercingetorix was by this time well aware that Rome's superior skill at war could only be countered by an army massively superior in
numbers. He fortified himself in Alesia and sent for reinforcements.
He was hoping to get close to a quarter million combatants to supplement his
armed forces against Caesar's eighty thousand foot soldiers and cavalry.
Alesia being a stronghold nearly impossible to take by storming,
Caesar resorted to cut off their supplies and reinforcements. He built a
palisade eighty feet tall all around Alesia (circumvallation) with booby traps
(spikes buried in the ground) in front of the wall. To keep the reinforcements
from attacking the roman forces, they build another palisade that surrounded the
first one, sandwiching themselves between both walls. This way, the siege
of Alesia lasted nearly a year. Both armies were near starvation, and the
Gauls even considered eating their young and infirm, as well as all those not
fit for combat. The inhabitants of Alesia fled the town and begged the
romans to take them as slaves but Caesar refused. They had dishonored
their status as friends and allies of Rome, and so were left to die between
the two armies.
Finally, the Gauls surrendered. Vercingetorix was taken
captive and was taken to Rome where he stayed in a dungeon until Caesar's
traditional triumphal parade took place. There Vercingetorix was exhibited
and then ritually strangled.
Today, the French consider him a symbol of independence and
The Home of Vercingetorix. A Celtic Refuge. http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/4934/
Enemies of Rome: Vercingetorix. http://myron.sjsu.edu/romeweb/ENEMIES/art9.htm
Thinkquest Libraries. http://library.thinkquest.org/11402/bio_vercingetorix.html
Vercingetorix. The Columbia Encyclopedia. http://www.bartleby.com/65/ve/Vercinge.html