Battle of the Arar
|Battle of the Arar|
|Part of the Gallic Wars|
|Commanders and leaders|
6 Roman legions|
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Julius Caesar, Commentarii de Bello Gallico 1.29
- Rickard, J., "Battle of the Arar, June 58 BC", HistoryOfWar.org, 17 March 2009
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