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Амбиорикс

Амбиорикс (Ambiorix), соправитель племени эбуронов, прославившийся своим сопротивлением римскому полководцу Юлию Цезарю, полководец сам увековечил имя варвара в своих «Записках о Галльской войне». В XIX веке А. стал национальным героем Бельгии.

В 57 году до н. э. Юлий Цезарь захватил Галлию, а также территорию современных Бельгии и Нидерландов (до реки Рейн). В этих местах жило несколько враждовавших между собой племён. Правителями эбуронов были А. и Катуволк. В 54 году до н. э. войскам Цезаря потребовалось больше провианта, и местным племенам пришлось отдать часть своего, в тот год скудного, урожая. Это вызвало недовольство эбуронов, и Цезарь приказал поставить лагеря возле поселений варваров, чтобы следить за доставкой провианта.

Это привело к восстанию эбуронов. Однако, осознав возможности противника, лидеры эбуронов пошли на хитрость. Они убедили римских военачальников в своей лояльности и предупредили о якобы готовящемся нападении германцев из-за Рейна. Римляне решили перегруппироваться, чтобы встретить врага. В этом походе эбуроны застигли римские войска врасплох и вырезали один легион и пять когорт — около шести тысяч воинов.

Месть Цезаря была ужасной. Около 50 тысяч римских солдат и привлечённые на их сторону соседние варварские племена разоряли местность, после чего племя эбуронов исчезло навсегда. Считается, что сам Амбиорикс со своими приближёнными смог выжить и скрылся за Рейном.


Ambiorix was, together with Catuvolcus, prince of the Eburones, leader of a Belgic tribe of north-eastern Gaul (Gallia Belgica), where modern Belgium is located. In the 19th century Ambiorix became a Belgian national hero because of his resistance against Julius Caesar, as written in Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico.

In 57 BC Julius Caesar conquered Gaul and also Belgica (modern day Northern France, Belgium and a southern section of the Netherlands to the Rhine River; and the north-western portion of North Rhine-Westfalia, Germany.) There were several tribes in the country who fought against each other regularly. TheEburones were ruled by Ambiorix and Catuvolcus. In 54 BC Caesar's troops urgently needed more food and thereby the local tribes were forced to give up part of their harvest, which had not been good that year. Understandably the starving Eburones were reluctant to do so and Caesar ordered that camps be built near the Eburones' villages. Each centurion was ordered to make sure the food supplies were delivered to the Roman soldiers. This created resentment among the Eburones.

Although Julius Caesar had freed him from paying tribute to the Atuatuci, Ambiorix joined Catuvolcus in the winter of 54 BC in an uprising against the Romanforces under Quintus Titurius Sabinus and Lucius Aurunculeius Cotta.

Ambiorix and his tribesmen attacked and killed several Roman soldiers who were foraging for wood in the nearby vicinity. The survivors fled back to their camp, followed by Ambiorix and his men. There he realised there were too many Romans for his troops to fight and he decided to negotiate with them. Ambiorix explained to the Roman camp leaders, Sabinus and Cotta, that he had no problems with them and in fact, was very happy with them, because now he had no troubles with the other tribes. He warned the Romans that a coalition of other tribes were planning to attack them and would get the support of the German tribes who would cross the Rhine. Ambiorix advised them to relocate to another Roman camp so that they would be stronger to battle these troops. He also promised them he would leave them alone when they made this crossing.

Sabinus and Cotta debated the whole night on what they should do. Sabinus trusted Ambiorix and considered it would be wise to do what he had advised them. Cotta thought it would be better to stay and try to fight back when the attacks would happen. Ultimately, Cotta decided they would stay, but it wouldn't be his fault if they all got killed by doing so. This made the Roman troops very unsure and therefore they decided to leave anyway. The two closest Roman camps were behind hills and in the other option behind a plain near a valley. Sabinus and Cotta chose for the easy solution and crossed the valley. While they crossed the valley Ambiorix and his men attacked them from up the hills and slaughtered them. Sabinus, Cotta and their troops were massacred.

When the Roman Senate heard what happened, Caesar swore to put down all the Belgic tribes. It was very important that the other Roman provinces know that the almighty Roman republic couldn't be beaten so easily. After all, Ambiorix had killed a whole Roman legion and five cohorts. A Belgic attack on Quintus Cicero (brother of the orator), then stationed with a legion in the Nervii's territory, failed due to the timely appearance of Caesar. The Roman campaigns against the Belgae took a few years, but eventually the Belgae were no match against 50,000 trained Roman soldiers. The tribes were slaughtered or driven out and their fields burned. The Eburones were history from that point. According to the writer Florus, Ambiorix and his men managed to cross the Rhine and disappear without a trace.

Caesar wrote about Ambiorix in his commentary about his battles against the Gauls: "De Bello Gallico". In this text he also wrote the famous line: "Of all the Gauls, the Belgae are the bravest." ("...Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae...").

Ambiorix remained forgotten until the 19th century. When Belgium became independent in 1830 the national government started searching through their historical archives for persons who could serve as national heroes. In Caesar's "De Bello Gallico" they discovered Ambiorix and his deeds. In 1841 the Belgian poet Joannes Nolet de Brauwere van Steeland wrote a lyrical epic about Ambiorix and on September 5, 1866 a statue of Ambiorix was erected on the Great Market of Tongeren in Belgium. There is no proof he ever lived there, but since Tongeren is Belgium's oldest city and Caesar referenced Atuatuca (Tongeren's original name was Atuatuca Tongorum) it was placed there.

Nowadays Ambiorix is one of the most famous characters in Belgian history. Many companies, bars and French fry stands have named themselves after him and in many Belgian comics such asSuske en Wiske and Jommeke he has played a guest role. There was also a short lived comic called Ambionix, which features a scientist teleporting a Belgae chief, loosely based on Ambiorix, to modern day Belgium.

In the French comic Asterix in the album Asterix in Belgium Asterix, Obelix, Dogmatix and Vitalstatistix go to Belgium because they are angry with Caesar about his remark that the Belgians are the bravest of all the Gauls.

In 2005 Ambiorix was nominated for the title De Grootste Belg (The Greatest Belgian). In the Flemish edition he ended in fourth place. In the Walloon edition he ended in 50th place.

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