AVARICUM. LATE WINTER AND EARLY SPRING, 52 B. C.
VERCINGETORIX sought to interfere with Cæsar's siege of Noviodunum, but to no effect. He conceived the idea that it was unwise to risk battle with the Romans; that more could be accomplished by a system of small-war. This was a remarkable plan of campaign for a barbarian. It is what gave Fabius his fame in the second Punic War. The Gauls burned their crops and towns to prevent Cæsar from victualling his army. Avaricum alone in that section was spared. This town (Bourges) had but one approach. Here Cæsar began siege works and built a mound. Vercingetorix tried to raise the siege by harassing the Roman army. He suffered much from the jealousies and dissensions of the allied tribes, but his ability and character sufficed to hold them together. The Gauls ably managed the siege. The wall, built up of logs, stones and earth, was strong and tough. Sallies were made with considerable success, still there was but one end possible; the place was taken and forty thousand souls perished. Cæsar found on hand much corn. Labienus was sent from here against the Parisii. Vercingetorix, foreseeing Cæsar's plans, sought to defend the line of the Elaver, but Cæ sar cleverly stole a passage, and marched on Gergovia.
VERCINGETORIX, on hearing of the havoc Cæsar was playing with his allied towns, gave up the siege of Gergobina and moved forward to meet the Romans. Cæsar had just completed the siege of Noviodunum. The inhabitants were in the act of delivering up hostages, horses and arms to the centurions, when the arrival of Vercingetorix' cavalry vanguard was seen in the distance. Encouraged by this apparent relief, a certain party of citizens again resorted to arms, shut the gates, manned the walls and refused to surrender. They were with difficulty suppressed, though the centurions receiving the surrender behaved with consummate skill. At the