Nineteenth Century Representations of Vercingétorix's Surrender, curated by Hannah Burke
France is ambivalent to its ancestry as it vacillates between the Celts, the Romans, and the Franks. The French have predominantly adopted the Celts as their race of origin from the French Revolution to the present day. Vercingétorix is the mythical, powerful hero of the Celts who is known as the Father of France because he united the Gauls against Julius Caesar and the Roman armies. The only primary account of Vercingétorix's surrender was written by Julius Caesar (De bello gallico) as a piece of propaganda to bolster his own ambitions. This account has become the "primer" for latin students throughout the centuries and has been altered, elaborated upon, and dramaticized through since antiquity.
This collection of comparanda of ninteenth-century images was based primarily upon Plutarch and Cassius's Dio's account of Vercingétorix's surrender who, in turn, were both building upon Julius Caesar's account. Studying ninteenth-century depcitions of Vercingétorix's surrender demonstrates how history can be changed to the fit the needs of the historical moment for this is exactly what the French do in choosing their nationality du jour.