The Last Battle of the Celts


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In the winter of 53/52 B.C., the Gallic leaders gather in a remote forest to prepare for the approaching war. For years, Caesar had continually weakened their country, kidnapped their women, robbed their grain and taken hostages. Using his skilful policy of alliances, he prevented the Celt’s resistance. Now, for the first time, he faces a man, who promises to turn the Celts’ fate around and to lead them back to freedom – Vercingetorix. To compete against the Roman occupying power, he unites the quarreling Celtic tribes with the power of persuasion but also using harder tactics.


ZDF, 2004
Length: 43/53 minutes
Directed by: Eike Schmitz
Story by: Eike Schmitz, David Bredel
Camera: Manfred Pelz
Editors: Vincent Assmann, Mathieu Honoré
Music: Brynmor Jones
Narrator: Gert Heidenreich
Sound design & mix: Sebastian Reuter
Production assistant: Susanne Utzt
Adviser: Prof. Dr. Werner Dahlheim
Commissioning editor: Hans-Christian Huf

The Celts suffer a time of short-lived victories and great privations. The Celts’s destiny will only be decided in the legendary battle of Alesia. Caesar arrives with 50,000 soldiers at the city, where Vercingetorix and his men have entrenched themselves. The Roman General devises one of the most intense sieges ever conceived. The enclosed warriors in Alesia almost die of starvation, when suddenly, rescue can be seen on the horizon. New troops arrive! The Romans are now in danger’s way. Can the Roman legionnaires be victorious over 340,000 Celts (according to Caesar’s own account), who encircle them?

However, the battle goes differently than expected. Of all these dramatic events, we know from only one book: “Commentaries on the Gallic War”, written by the victor, Caesar. In the fateful year 52 B.C., he finally subdued the legendary Celts, who the Romans called the “Gauls”. Who were these Celts and where did they come from? The film team sets out to search for traces left by these people in France, Austria and Germany – splendid princely tombs, mummies of Bronze Age miners, the first European cities and illustrations of mysterious gods. Large-scale computer animations and interviews with historians help to give a picture of their advanced civilization. Using the latest archaeological evidence, the film tries to recreate the events at Alesia and to give an explanation for the ultimate defeat of the Celts by Caesar’s legions.