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Old January 2nd, 2018, 04:52 PM   #21
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Interesting thoughts.

1. Although the Alesia campaign itself is impressive, I really find it hard to believe Caesar's word for the actual siege. Caesar's troops, even if we accept maximum figures, would be so stretched around that wall, that it's hard to gather why hundreds of thousands of Gallic soldiers were unable to make significant breakthroughs. I don't put it beyond good old Caesar to lie here considering Lucullus and Sulla got away with it pretty easily.

2. I don't find Pharsalus that impressive overall because I believe that Caesar had around 30,000 troops + , plus much of Pompey's army was at a severe disadvantage in experience.
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Old February 10th, 2018, 03:22 PM   #22
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Forgot completely about this thread.

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Originally Posted by Lord Oda Nobunaga View Post
I would argue that though Alesia is not his most flawless campaign it also shows Caesar at his best. Vercingetorix carried out an insurgency campaign that likes of which no Roman commander had ever seen, possibly no commander prior had been forced to endured. Most generals would have just given up and retreated but Caesar chose to not only continue the campaign but move on to the offensive against Vercingetorix. Not only did Caesar perform quite well but he also defeated Vercingetorix and completely ended his revolt. I'll leave it at that for now but I can get into more details later.
I'm not entirely sure Alesia was his most flawless campaign. Vercingetorix didn't levy a significant portion of Gaul's manpower until Alesia, and even then he had to rely almost entirely on his Gallic cavalry. The infantry were close to useless. Caesar's campaigning was brilliant, but the African campaign, in my opinion, was his most impressive. This includes the preliminaries, where he used reverse-psychology to get four veteran legions to come with him without paying them anything; despite owing them.

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Originally Posted by nuclearguy165 View Post
The reason I find Llerda even more impressive than Alesia and Pharsalus is because, essentially, seemingly daunting enemy armies were neutralized through simply being comprehensively out-maneuvered and with a relative minimal of fighting, unlike the other 2. Llerda, or something like it, is literally Sun Tzu/Art of War's wet dream.

I will admit though that Caesar faced and overcame greater dangers at Alesia. Though the Gauls were not as good, generally, as the Romans fougt by Caesar, there is no doubt that Vercinegetorix was a much more dangerous commander than Caesar's opponents in Spain. It's personal preference for Llerda more than anything I suppose, with it standing out to me as the most unique display of his abilities as a strategist, and the rarest of its kind as a whole throughout military history. It isn't often that one achieves a such overwhelming victory over numerically-superior forces with such relatively little fighting.
Llerda certainly deserves a mention. Though I think too much emphasis is being placed on Sun Tzu and his ideals. It's not always possible to defeat an enemy through maneuver and with minimal fighting.

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Originally Posted by Publius View Post
Pharsalus.

Even as someone who is far from being Caesar's biggest fan, I must concede that that battle ranks as one of the most impressive displays of generalship in antiquity.
I disagree. Pharsalus wasn't that impressive (relative to his other achievements), and the fact that writers like Goldsworthy just accept Caesar's claims of his own army at face value without any critical evaluation is clearly an issue.

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Originally Posted by Scaeva View Post
"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting."

By Sun Tzu's measure the invasion of Italy deserves a mention.

He captured the entire Peninsula, the capital and treasury with it, with hardly a fight and he did with only a single legion that was outnumbered by more than two to one in theater. From there after the Pompeiians would never again have a commanding strategic position.

A fair amount of luck was involved to be sure, but it was luck and initiative that was seized in an incredibly audacious campaign.
It seems like Pompey was the one who was disadvantaged. He had access to three legions on hand. Two were those who campaigned with Caesar, the third was in training and a mix of veterans and recruits. Where Pompey would need to gather troops from the east or Spain to fight in Italy, Caesar had called on 10 legions to quit winter quarters and follow him. Caesar always had the numerical advantage, even during the Cvil War, in a sense of the entire strategic level. Pompey had no choice but to flee. Although Caesar had one legion, it was just a charade, Pompey knew he had 10 legions coming from Gaul.

Last edited by Duke Valentino; February 10th, 2018 at 03:31 PM.
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