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Uxellodunum's mystery still fascinates us

Capdenac | jean-louis Zimmermann / CC-BY
Fortification Legend Capdenac fortifications

Capdenac, a nice medieval village fortified since the Gallic era... You know what? People used to think the place was the former city of Uxellodunum: the city where the last Gallic fighter resisted against Caesar’s armies... The last stronghold where Gallic troops were besieged by the Great Julius.

The last battle for Gaul’s independence, in 51 BC... But in 2001, the French Ministry of Culture announced that officially, Uxellodunum was located in the Puy d’Issolud (46). You know what? People created an association and kept saying that Capdenac is the real Uxellodunum... but they are not allowed to make dig.

Well! Romans in Gaul? Yes, an invasion! Led by a charismatic leader, a hero. Caesar! Because Rome wanted to annex Gaul. But it needed to be brought to heel. With a war. So, Caesar had several victories, everywhere in Gaul. In 52 BC, Alésia and Vercingétorix surrendered. The last battle was Uxellodunum in 51 BC...

Caesar had conquered all people in Gaul. All? No! Not the invincible city of Uxellodunum. The two leaders were two Gallic, Luctérius and Drapès of Sens. Two Alésia survivors, who took shelter in Uxellodunum with their owns. They decided to fortify the place against Romans.

But enemies troops saw them... and kept an eye on them. Until one day, our two chiefs decided to go out, to comb the area and make food stock, in case of siege. But their convoy was arrested by a group of Romans, who took the two hostages.

Caesar, who was in Chartres (Central France), was informed that a little city in Southern France caused them trouble. So he rushed, found the fortified city surrounded by a deep valley, and started the siege. Julius first made Uxellodunum thirsty, by cutting off drinking water.

Inhabitants had to take a difficult path, to go to the river. So Caesar put his bowmen here, which kept inhabitants away. Julius also raised a 10 storeys tower, near the fountain which supplied the city, where his soldiers pelted whoever coming closer. Finally, they diverted the course of the fountain...

Quickly, Uxellodunum was dying of thirst. They tried to resist, bravely. In vain... it was the surrender. And Gaul became Roman: we call this the Pax Romana, the Roman peace, which means the Gallic adopted the Roman way of life and Lyon became Gaul’s capital city. But that’s another story...

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!