VERCINGETORIX. WINTER 53-52 B. C.
GAUL had apparently been reduced; Cæsar could look back on a good six years' work. But Gaul was really ripe for a fresh revolt, for the Roman yoke was bitter. No one was habitually left by Cæsar in supreme command while he was absent; the Gauls had free play. They rose under Vercingetorix, a man of remarkable ability and breadth, and before Cæsar could rejoin his legions they had cut off his access to them. The outlook was desperate; so soon an Cæsar reached the Province, he saw his dilemma. The Province was threatened; but by activity he was able sufficiently to protect it. By a bold and difficult winter march across the Cebenna mountains with a few cohorts, Cæsar attracted the attention of Vercingetorix, who, surprised at his audacity, advanced to meet him. Upon this, Cæsar with a mere escort of horse pushed through the gap the enemy had opened, and by riding night and day kept well ahead of danger, rejoined his legions, and concentrated them at Agendicum in February. He had a critical war on his hands. Vercingetorix, finding that Cæsar had eluded him, retraced his steps to the Liger. Cæsar advanced from Agendicum south, taking Vellaunodunum and Genabum.
WHEN Cæsar reached Cisalpine Gaul, he heard of the intestine turmoils in Rome, of the murder of Clodius, and the report that all the youth had been ordered to take the military oath, or in other words to report for duty with the eagles. He therefore felt warranted in ordering a general draft in Cisalpine Gaul and the Province. His six years' campaign had borne good fruit. To all appearance Gaul had been subdued and her neighbors in Germany and Britain taught not to interfere with her internal economies. Rumors of these grave troubles in Roman politics had also reached Gaul, and though this country had been fully tranquillized, the quiet was but skin deep. No sooner had Cæsar's back