Onslaught at Allia and the Gallic Sack of Rome

Long before Caesar, it was the Gauls who triumphed
Military Heritage Magazine June 2000

Onslaught at Allia and the Gallic Sack of Rome

By Ludwig Heinrich Dyck

391 BC

Celtic tribes from Gaul had settled in northern Italy. They threatened Clusium, a town of the Etruscans. Rome at the time was a powerful city state in a politically divided Italy…

“In response to Clusium’s pleas for help, the Roman Senate sent envoys, the sons of Fabius Ambustus, to forewarn the invading Gauls. The envoys came in peace but tempers soon flared. The Gauls stated that they had no quarrels with the Romans, but when asked as to what right they had to the lands of the Etruscans, the Gauls replied “that they carried their right in their weapons…and that everything belonged to the brave” (Livy V. 36).

The Roman army ended up suffering a disastrous defeat on the River Allia…

“Within the walls of Rome the wailing and lamentations for the fallen at Allia were replaced by a silent terror of the enemy. Throughout the night the yells and galloping of enemy cavalry could be heard outside the city walls. For those inside the tension was nearly unbearable.”

 "Woe to the Vanquished" Courtesy of Heritage History“Woe to the vanquished”
Courtesy of Heritage History

“Onslaught at Allia and the Gallic Sack of Rome,” originally featured in Military Heritage Magazine, appears in book form as the second chapter of Ludwig H. Dyck’s “The Roman Barbarian Wars, the Era of Roman Conquest.”

Military Heritage June 2000,  featuring “Onslaught at Allia and the Gallic Sack of Rome” by L. H. Dyck.