Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Hercules, Vercingetorix, Arvernian, Roman

In Rome and the modern West, he is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman Emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves. The Romans adopted the Greek version of his life and works essentially unchanged. Alcmene was born to Electryon, king of Mycenae and a son of Perseus. Her mother was either Anaxo, daughter of Alcaeus and Astydamia, or Lysidice, daughter of Pelops and Hippodameia.
 Ercole and Tereco 50 – 79 B.C.E., fresco in Naples 
Hesiod describes Alcmene as the tallest, most beautiful woman with wisdom surpassed by no person born of mortal parents. It is said that her face and dark eyes were as charming as Aphrodite's, and that she honoured her husband like no woman before her. She was the great-granddaughter of Zeus. Top left: Ercole and Tereco 50 – 79 B.C.E., fresco in Naples, National Archaeological Museum in the Greek Mythology Telefo (the Child) is the son of Eracle (Heracles) and Auge, daughter of the king Tegea, Alio. Top left: Vercingetorix

One of the last, or perhaps the last, of the original Black civilizations to be destroyed by the Romans, was the Arverni of southern France. They were an advanced culture who lived in cities and were wealthy in gold and silver, (as attested to by the huge booty taken from them by the Romans). Their demise came about because of a revolt against Rome by another Black Gaul city called "Carnutes".

In early 52 B.C, Carnutes used the turmoil that accompanied the death of Publius Clodius Pulcher; a Roman politician, as an opportunity to rebell; they slaughtered all of the Romans in their territory. Seeing this, "Vercingetorix" a young nobleman of the Arvernian capital city of Gergovia, moved to join the rebellion. He was however rebuffed by the nobles of Gergovia, forcing him to raise an army in the countryside. He then returned to Gergovia and took the city, whereupon he was declared king.

In most historical accounts, it is said that Vercingetorix unified all of the Gaul's under his command. In his campaign against Julius Caesar, Vercingetorix was at first successful, but over time, the tide began to turn.

Left: Roman coin; struck in 44 B.C.E. to commemorate the defeat of Vercingetorix (pictured) last king of the Arveni. The end came at the Battle of Alesia, the capital city of another of the Black Gaul people, the Mandubii. At Alesia, Vercingetorix made his last stand. Caesar instead of making a direct assault surrounded the city with fortifications in order to starve them out.

When Vercingetorix sent for reinforcements, Caesar built another set of fortifications to his rear, to hold back the reinforcements.When the reinforcements arrived, they were of insufficient number to break through Caesars line. After many loosing battles to break out, Vercingetorix was forced to mount his horse, ride out and surrender to Caesar. Vercingetorix was taken prisoner and imprisoned in the Tullianum in Rome for five years, before being publicly displayed in Caesar's triumph in 46 B.C, after which he was executed.

Gergovia, Alesia, and all the other Black Gaullic cities were destroyed, and their people killed or displaced. The destruction was so complete that at this time, the only known evidence of their existence is Roman coins, (such as the one above), and written Roman accounts. Such was the respect these leaders inspired in the hearts of their enemies, that some royal crests and coats-of-arms in Europe were emblazoned with Moorish heads.

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