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Gallic Wars

The Gallic Wars were a series of military campaigns waged by the Roman proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes. Rome's war against the Gallic tribes lasted from 58 BC to 50 BC and culminated in the decisive Battle of Alesia in 52 BC, in which a complete Roman victory resulted in the expansion of the Roman Republic over the whole of Gaul. While militarily just as strong as the Romans, the internal division between the Gallic tribes helped ease victory for Caesar, Vercingetorix's attempt to unite the Gauls against Roman invasion came too late; the wars paved the way for Julius Caesar to become the sole ruler of the Roman Republic. Although Caesar portrayed this invasion as being a preemptive and defensive action, most historians agree that the wars were fought to boost Caesar's political career and to pay off his massive debts. Still, Gaul was of significant military importance to the Romans, as they had been attacked several times by native tribes both indigenous to Gaul and farther to the north.

Conquering Gaul allowed Rome to secure the natural border of the river Rhine. The Gallic Wars are described by Julius Caesar in his book Commentarii de Bello Gallico, which remains the most important historical source regarding the conflict; as a result of the financial burdens of his consulship in 59 BC, Caesar incurred significant debt. However, through his membership in the First Triumvirate—the political alliance which comprised Marcus Licinius Crassus, Pompey, himself— Caesar had secured the proconsulship of two provinces, Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum; when the Governor of Transalpine Gaul, Metellus Celer, died unexpectedly, this province was awarded to Caesar. Caesar's governorships were extended to a new idea at the time. Caesar had four veteran legions under his direct command: Legio VII, Legio VIII, Legio IX Hispana, Legio X; as he had been Governor of Hispania Ulterior in 61 BC and had campaigned with them against the Lusitanians, Caesar knew most of these legions. Caesar had the legal authority to levy additional legions and auxiliary units as he saw fit.

His ambition was to conquer and plunder some territories to get himself out of debt, it is possible that Gaul was not his initial target. It is more that he was planning a campaign against the Kingdom of Dacia, located in the Balkans; the countries of Gaul were wealthy. Most had contact with Roman merchants and some those that were governed by republics such as the Aedui and Helvetii, had enjoyed stable political alliances with Rome in the past; the Romans feared the Gallic tribes. Only fifty years before, in 109 BC, Italy had been invaded from the north and saved only after several bloody and costly battles by Gaius Marius. Around 62 BC, when a Roman client state, the Arverni, conspired with the Sequani and the Suebi nations east of the Rhine to attack the Aedui, a strong Roman ally, Rome turned a blind eye; the Sequani and Arverni sought Ariovistus’ aid and defeated the Aedui in 63 BC at the Battle of Magetobriga. The Sequani rewarded Ariovistus with land following his victory. Ariovistus settled the land with 120,000 of his people.

When 24,000 Harudes joined his cause, Ariovistus demanded that the Sequani give him more land to accommodate the Harudes people. This demand concerned Rome because if the Sequani conceded, Ariovistus would be in a position to take all of the Sequani land and attack the rest of Gaul, they did not appear to be concerned about a conflict between non-client and allied states. By the end of the campaign, the non-client Suebi under the leadership of the belligerent Ariovistus, stood triumphant over both the Aedui and their co-conspirators. Fearing another mass migration akin to the devastating Cimbrian War, now keenly invested in the defense of Gaul, was irrevocably drawn into war; the Helvetii was a confederation of about five related Gallic tribes that lived on the Swiss plateau, hemmed in by the mountains as well as the Rhine and Rhone rivers. They began to come under increased pressure from German tribes to the east. By 58 BC, the Helvetii were well on their way in the planning and provisioning for a mass migration under the leadership of Orgetorix.

Caesar mentions as an additional reason their not being able to in turn raid for plunder themselves due to their location. They planned to travel across Gaul to the west coast, a route that would have taken them through lands of the Aedui, a Roman ally, the Roman province of Transalpine Gaul; the Helvetii sent emissaries to neighboring tribes to negotiate peaceful transit. Orgetorix made an alliance with the Sequani chieftain Casticus and arranged the marriage of his daughter to an Aedui chieftain, Dumnorix; the three secretly planned to become kings of their respective tribes, masters of the whole of Gaul. Orgetorix's personal ambitions were discovered and he was to be put on trial, with the penalty being death by fire if convicted. Orgetorix escaped with the help of his many debtors. However, the death of Orgetorix was "not without suspicion that he had decided upon death for himself", as Caesar puts it. Caesar dated their departure to the 28 March, mentions that they burned all their towns and villages so as to discourage thoughts among undecided client tribes and enemies of occupying their vacated realm..

Caesar was across the Alps in Italy. With only a single legion in Transalpine Gaul, the endangered province, he hurried to Geneva and ordered a levy of several auxiliary units and the destruction of the Rhone bridge. Th

Oskar Sima

Oskar Sima was an Austrian actor, best remembered for appearing in supporting roles in countless comedy films from the 1930s to the 1960s. Born in Hohenau an der March, Lower Austria, Sima attended high school in Vienna. After a brief tour in the army during World War I, he began acting in various theatrical productions in Berlin and other cities in Central Europe, he began his film career in 1921, appeared in a number of German silent films early on. Sima was cast as the comic villain whose machinations get everyone into trouble, although his villainous stature was used to more chilling effect. In 1929, Sima married actress Lina Woiwode; the couple remained married until Sima's death. Along with Friedl Czepa, Fred Hennings and Leni Riefenstahl he was identified as being an active supporter of the Nazi Party. After World War II, Sima was a frequent character actor, causing one biographer to write, "... There was hardly a movie in which Oskar Sima didn't act."Sima suffered an aneurysm in 1968 and languished for nearly a year before succumbing to his illness on 24 June 1969.

He was 72. Dassanowsky, Robert. Austrian Cinema: A History. McFarland & Company, 2005. Oskar Sima on IMDb Photographs and literature Museum with permanent Oskar Sima exhibition

Economy of East Asia

The economy of East Asia comprises more than 1.6 billion people living in 6 different countries and regions. It is home to one of the most economically dynamic places in the world; the region is the site to some of the world's longest modern economic booms, starting from the Japanese economic miracle, Miracle on the Han River in South Korea, the Taiwan miracle in Taiwan and the economic boom in Mainland China. The region is home of some of the world's largest and most prosperous economies: Japan, South Korea, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau; as East Asia's economic prominence has grown, so has its importance and influence in the world economy. It has emerged as an prominent region in the Asian continent and in the global economy and international politics as a whole. East Asia now boasts an expanding cosmopolitan middle class, where its members are linked to the global communications grid that are identifying with its Western counterparts across the world making it a significant force to be reckoned with in the global economy.

The region's economic success has led to it being dubbed "An East Asian Renaissance" by the World Bank in 2007. At the turn of the twentieth century, three of the five world's largest economies were in East Asia, with Mainland China and Japan both being the second and third largest respectively. Since the middle of the twentieth century, capitalism has blended tremendously well with the Confucian nature of Oriental East Asia. In defiance of an array of sociopolitical challenges has the East Asian economies turned into a modern economic miracle. Sustained efforts of veering East Asia into a capitalist direction has created remarkable outcomes in terms of resilience, dynamism and economic prosperity; as late as the mid-twentieth century, East Asia remained nonindustrial, poverty-stricken, torn by the ravages of World War II. Since the 1960s, South Korea, Hong Kong and Mainland China have all achieved a modern economic takeoff leaving the economic rise of modern East Asia to become one of most important economic success stories in modern world history.

In spite of decades of setbacks and turmoil, East Asia is now one of the most economically prosperous and technologically advanced regions in the world. Driven by rapid modernization and specialization in advanced cutting edge high technology has allowed the East Asia to register high economic growth with the region being home to among some the most affluent nations with highest standards of living across the world. Japan was the first to rise from the ashes of World War II re-modernizing itself during the 1950s and early 1960s and dominating the global marketplaces with its innovative automobiles and advanced consumer electronics while securing its position as the world's third-largest economy after the United States and Mainland China; the rise of the East Asian Tigers, which includes South Korea and Hong Kong, all overcame the ravages of war and poverty to achieve unprecedented impressive growth rates during the 1970s-1980s, placing themselves among the world's richest and dynamic economies.

Mainland China's integration into the world economy through its entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 has made the country a major driving force in the economy of East Asia propelling itself as a major player in the world economy. In addition, South Korea and Taiwan are among the world leaders in manufacturing consumer technology, while Hong Kong remains a leading major financial center in the world. Ancient East Asia was economically dominated by three states known today as China and Korea; these three ancient states traded an abundance of raw materials and high-quality manufactured goods, exchanged cultural ideas and practices, had military conflicts with each other throughout the centuries. For much of East Asia's history, China was the largest and most advanced economy in the region and globally as a whole. From the 1st until the 19th century, China was one of the leading global economic powers for most of the two millennia; the history of trade in East Asia was shaped by the history of trade within Ancient China.

During the Han dynasty, China became the largest economy of the ancient world. Han China hosted the largest unified population in East Asia, the most literate and urbanized as well as being the most economically developed, as well as the most technologically and culturally advanced civilization in the region at the time. Han China had economic contacts with Persia and the Roman empire, trading silk and spices through the famous Silk Road. During the Tang dynasty, China had a multitude of religions that invigorated the many dynamic aspects of Tang cultural and intellectual life, a productive economy that generated substantial tax revenues to fund a competent and efficient political bureaucracy that administered a vast empire as well as possessing the world's most advanced science and technology at the time. By 1100, the Song dynasty hosted a population of 100 million people while large cities had over 1 million inhabitants, a sophisticated medieval economic system boasting the use of paper money, was a maritime naval power with extensive and flourishing trade contacts with Southeast Asia.

For much of East Asia's economic history, China was one of the most developed economies. After the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, for a thousand years from 500 AD to 1500 AD, China was the wealthiest country in East Asia in the aggregate total in addition to per capita income. According to The Economist, China was not only the largest economy for much of recorded history for 1800 years