This painting, created by the French artist Lionel Royer (1852–1926), depicts the surrender of the Gallic leader, Vercingetorix, to the Roman forces of Julius Caesar, following the Battle of Alesia in 52 BCE. Julius Caesar, a prolific self-publicist, wrote about the capitulation of his rival general in his Gallic War commentaries. The future dictator of Rome stated, “Embassadors are sent to Caesar on this subject. He [Caesar] orders their arms to be surrendered, and their chieftains delivered up. He seated himself at the head of the lines in front of the camp, the Gallic chieftains are brought before him. They surrender Vercingetorix, and lay down their arms” (Julius Caesar, Gallic War, 7.89). Such is the event that later inspired Lionel Royer to paint.
Written by C. Keith Hansley
- The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius, translated by Robert Graves and edited by James B. Rives. New York: Penguin Classics, 2007.