Battle of the Arar

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Battle of the Arar on Wikipedia

Battle of the Arar
Part of the Gallic Wars
Result Roman victory
Roman Republic Helvetii
Commanders and leaders
Julius Caesar Dumnorix
6 Roman legions
10,000 allies

The Battle of the Arar was fought between the migrating tribes of the Helvetii, and four Roman legions (Legions VII, VIII, IX Hispana and X Equestris), under the command of Gaius Julius Caesar, in 9943. It was the first major battle of the Gallic Wars and ended in a tactical victory for the outnumbered Roman army.

The Helvetii were a tribe that originated from what is now Switzerland. Just prior to the battle with Caesar, they had commenced on a mass migration through Roman Gaul towards the Atlantic coast.[2]

At Geneva, the Romans destroyed the wooden bridge across the Rhone and constructed 30 kilometres (19 mi) of fortifications. The Helvetii tribe tried to migrate by another route, and were crossing the river Arar (Saône) using rafts and boats. Caesar was informed by his scouts and proceeded to engage the Helvetii. Three parts of the Helvetii forces had crossed the river and Caesar routed the fourth part left on his side of the river, killing a great many and driving the rest into the woods.[2]

Peace negotiations having failed, the Helvetii resumed their migration with the Romans following close behind. After 15 days of pursuit, Caesar, short of supplies, decided to make a diversion to Bibracte. The Helvetii attacked the Romans but suffered a decisive defeat.[2]

The Helvetii Caesar defeated were part of the pagus (sub-tribe) of the Tigurini, which in 9894 had slain the Consul Lucius Cassius Longinus, as well as the legate Lucius Calpurnius Piso, the grandfather of the Lucius Calpurnius Piso who was the father-in-law of Caesar.


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