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Gallia Belgica ("Belgic Gaul") was a
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
located in the north-eastern part of
Roman Gaul Roman Gaul refers to Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (n ...

Roman Gaul
, in what is today primarily northern
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
,
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
, and
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a landlocked ...

Luxembourg
, along with parts of the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
and
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
. In 50 BC after the conquest by
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
during his
Gallic Wars The Gallic Wars were waged between 58 BC and 50 BC by the Roman general Julius Caesar against the peoples of Gaul (present-day France, Belgium, along with parts of Germany). Gauls, Gallic, Germanic peoples, Germanic, and Celtic Br ...
, it became one of the three parts of Gaul (''Tres Galliae''), the other two being
Gallia Aquitania Gallia Aquitania ( , ), also known as Aquitaine Aquitaine ( , , ; oc, Aquitània ; eu, Akitania; Poitevin-Saintongeais: ''Aguiéne''), archaic Guyenne or Guienne ( oc, Guiana), is a historical region of southwestern France France ...
and
Gallia Lugdunensis Gallia Lugdunensis (French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily locat ...
. An official Roman province was later created by emperor
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
in 22 BC. The province was named for the
Belgae The Belgae () were a large confederation of tribes living in northern Gaul, between the English Channel, the west bank of the Rhine, and northern bank of the river Seine, from at least the third century BC. They were discussed in depth by Julius ...
, as the largest tribal confederation in the area, but also included the territories of the
Treveri The Treveri or Treviri (Gaulish language, Gaulish: ''Trēueri'') were a Celts, Celtic tribe of the Belgae group who inhabited the lower valley of the Moselle (river), Moselle from around 150 BCE, if not earlier, until their displacement by the Fra ...
,
Mediomatrici The Mediomatrici ( Gaulish: ''*Medio-māteres'') were according to Caesar a Gaulish tribe at the frontier to the Belgicae dwelling in the present-day regions Lorraine, Upper Moselle during the Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the ...
,
Leuci The Leuci (Gaulish Gaulish was an ancient Celtic language The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto-language o ...
,
Sequani The Sequani were a Gallic tribe dwelling in the upper river basin of the Arar river (Saône 250px, Scenic view of the banks of the Saône in Lyon, showing Lyon Cathedral, the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière">Lyon_Cathedral.html" ;"ti ...
,
Helvetii The Helvetii ( ), anglicized as Helvetians, were a Celts, Celtic tribe or tribal confederation occupying most of the Swiss plateau at the time of their Switzerland in the Roman era, contact with the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC. Accord ...
and others. The southern border of Belgica, formed by the Marne and
Seine ) , mouth_location = Le Havre Le Havre (, ; nrf, Lé Hâvre) is an urban French commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''lati ...

Seine
rivers, was reported by Caesar as the original cultural boundary between the Belgae and the
Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: ...

Celtic
Gauls The Gauls ( la, Galli; grc, Γαλάται, ''Galátai'') were a group of peoples of in the and the (roughly from the 5th century BC to the 5th century AD). The area they originally inhabited was known as . Their forms the main branch of th ...
, whom he distinguished from one another. The province was re-organised several times, first increased and later decreased in size.
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
brought the northeastern
Civitas Tungrorum The ''Civitas Tungrorum'' was a large Roman administrative district dominating what is now eastern Belgium and the southern Netherlands. In the early days of the Roman Empire it was in the Roman province, province of Gallia Belgica, but it later joi ...
into
Germania Inferior Germania Inferior ("Lower Germania") was a Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Rom ...
, joining the Rhineland colonies, and the remaining part of Gallia Belgica was divided into Belgica Prima in the eastern area of the Treveri, Mediomatrici and Leuci, around Luxembourg and the Ardennes, and Belgica Secunda between the
English channel The English Channel,, "The Sleeve"; nrf, la Maunche, "The Sleeve" (Cotentinais Cotentinais is the dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") is used in two ...

English channel
and the upper
Meuse The Meuse ( , , , ; wa, Moûze ) or Maas ( , ; li, Maos or ) is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected ...

Meuse
. The capital of Belgica Prima,
Trier Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Trèves ( ;) and Triers (see also Names of Trier in different languages, names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle (river), Moselle in Germany. It lies in a valley b ...

Trier
, became an important late
western Roman The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republic ...

western Roman
capital.


Roman conquest

In 57 BC, Julius Caesar led the conquest of northern Gaul, and already specified that the part to the north of the Seine and Marne rivers was inhabited by a people or alliance known as the
Belgae The Belgae () were a large confederation of tribes living in northern Gaul, between the English Channel, the west bank of the Rhine, and northern bank of the river Seine, from at least the third century BC. They were discussed in depth by Julius ...
. This definition became the basis of the later Roman province of Belgica. Caesar said that the Belgae were separated from the Celtic Gauls to their south by "language, custom and laws" (''lingua, institutis, legibus'') but he did not go into detail, except to mention that he learnt from his contacts that the Belgae had some ancestry from east of the Rhine, which he referred to as Germania. Indeed, the Belgian tribes closest to the Rhine he distinguished as the
Germani cisrhenani The ''Germani cisrhenani'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...
. (
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. The eye that is focused on an object can alternate. The condition may be pre ...

Strabo
stated that the differences between the Celts and Belgae, in language, politics and way of life was a small one.) Modern historians interpret Caesar and the archaeological evidence as indicating that the core of the Belgian alliance was in the present-day northernmost corner of France; the
Suessiones The Suessiones were a Belgic tribe The Belgae () were a large confederation of tribes living in northern Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A ...

Suessiones
,
Viromandui The Viromandui (or Veromandui) were a Belgic tribe dwelling in the modern Vermandois region ( Picardy) during the Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of Homo sa ...
and
Ambiani The Ambiani (Gaulish Gaulish was an ancient Celtic language that was spoken in parts of Continental Europe Mainland or continental Europe is the contiguous continent of Europe, excluding its surrounding islands. It can also be referre ...
as well perhaps as some of their neighbours who lived in the area, Caesar identified as Belgium or Belgica. These were the leaders of the initial military alliance he confronted, and they were also more economically advanced (and therefore less "Germanic" according to Caesar's way of seeing things) than many of their more northerly allies such as the Nervii and Germani Cisrhenani. pages 12-14. Apart from the southern Remi, all the Belgic tribes allied against the Romans, angry at the Roman decision to garrison legions in their territory during the winter. At the beginning of the conflict, Caesar reported the allies' combined strength at 288,000, led by the
Suessione
Suessione
king,
Galba Galba (; born Servius Sulpicius Galba; 24 December 3 BC – 15 January AD 69) was a Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different ...
. Due to the Belgic coalition's size and reputation for uncommon bravery, Caesar avoided meeting the combined forces of the tribes in battle. Instead, he used cavalry to skirmish with smaller contingents of tribesmen. Only when Caesar managed to isolate one of the tribes did he risk conventional battle. The tribes fell in a piecemeal fashion and Caesar claimed to offer lenient terms to the defeated, including Roman protection from the threat of surrounding tribes. Most tribes agreed to the conditions. A series of uprisings followed the 57 BC conquest. The largest revolt was led by the
Bellovaci A map of Gaul in the 1st century BC, showing the relative position of the Bellovaci tribe. The Bellovaci were a Belgic tribe dwelling in the modern Picardy Picardy (; Picard and french: Picardie, , ) is a historical territory and a former a ...
in 52 BC, after the defeat of
Vercingetorix Vercingetorix (; – 46 BC) was a king and chieftain of the Arverni The Arverni (: ''Aruerni'') were a people dwelling in the modern region during the and the . They were one of the most powerful tribes of ancient , contesting primacy ove ...

Vercingetorix
. During this rebellion, it was the Belgae who avoided direct conflict. They harassed the Roman legions, led personally by Caesar, with cavalry detachments and archers. The rebellion was put down after a Bellovaci ambush of the Romans failed. The revolting party was slaughtered.


Formation under Augustus

Following a census of the region in 27 BC,
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
ordered a restructuring of the provinces in Gaul. Therefore, in 22 BC,
Marcus Agrippa Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (; 63 BC – 12 BC) was a Roman general, statesman, and architect who was a close friend, son-in-law, and lieutenant to the Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the ...

Marcus Agrippa
split Gaul (or Gallia Comata) into three regions (
Gallia Aquitania Gallia Aquitania ( , ), also known as Aquitaine Aquitaine ( , , ; oc, Aquitània ; eu, Akitania; Poitevin-Saintongeais: ''Aguiéne''), archaic Guyenne or Guienne ( oc, Guiana), is a historical region of southwestern France France ...
,
Gallia Lugdunensis Gallia Lugdunensis (French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily locat ...
and Gallia Belgica). Agrippa made the divisions on what he perceived to be distinctions in language, race and community – Gallia Belgica was meant to be a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. The capital of this territory was
Reims Reims ( , , ; also spelled Rheims in English) is the most populous city in the French Departments of France, department of Marne (department), Marne. The city lies northeast of Paris on the Vesle river, a tributary of the Aisne (river), Aisn ...

Reims
, according to the geographer Strabo, though later the capital moved to modern-day
Trier Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Trèves ( ;) and Triers (see also Names of Trier in different languages, names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle (river), Moselle in Germany. It lies in a valley b ...

Trier
. The date of this move is uncertain. Modern historians however view the term 'Gaul' and its subdivisions as a "product of faulty ethnography" and see the split of Gallia Comata into three provinces as an attempt to construct a more efficient government, as opposed to a cultural division. Successive Roman emperors struck a balance between Romanizing the people of Gallia Belgica and allowing pre-existing culture to survive. The Romans divided the province into four ''"
civitates In the history of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map ...
"'' corresponding generally to ancient tribal boundaries. The capital cities of these districts included modern
CasselCassel may refer to: People * Cassel (surname) Places ;France * Cassel, Nord, a town and commune in northern France ** Battle of Cassel (1071) ** Battle of Cassel (1328) ** Battle of Cassel (1677) ;Germany * Cassel, Germany, a city in Hesse rename ...
(replaced by
Tournai Tournai or Tournay ( ; ; nl, Doornik ; pcd, Tornai; wa, Tornè ; la, Tornacum) is a city and municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , countr ...

Tournai
as Menapian ''civitas''),
Bavay Bavay (pronounced avɛ) is a commune An intentional community is a voluntary residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of group cohesiveness, social cohesion and teamwork. The members of an intentional community ...
(replaced by
Cambrai Cambrai (, ; pcd, Kimbré; nl, Kamerijk), formerly Cambray and historically in English Camerick or Camericke, is a Communes of France, commune in the Nord (French department), Nord Departments of France, department and in the Hauts-de-France R ...

Cambrai
as Nervian ''civitas''),
Thérouanne Thérouanne ( vls, Terenburg; Dutch ''Terwaan'') is a commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and ...

Thérouanne
,
Arras Arras ( , ; pcd, Aro; Historical Dutch: ) is the capital (''chef-lieu''/''préfecture In France, a prefecture (french: préfecture) may be:
, Saint-Quentin,
Soissons Soissons () is a commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstract is what belongs ...

Soissons
,
Reims Reims ( , , ; also spelled Rheims in English) is the most populous city in the French Departments of France, department of Marne (department), Marne. The city lies northeast of Paris on the Vesle river, a tributary of the Aisne (river), Aisn ...

Reims
,
Beauvais Beauvais ( , ; historical English: Beawayes, Beeway, Boway; pcd, Bieuvais) is a city and commune in northern France. It serves as the capital of the Oise Departments of France, département, in the Hauts-de-France Regions of France, region. Bea ...

Beauvais
,
Amiens Amiens (English: or ; ; pcd, Anmien, or ) is a city and commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abst ...

Amiens
,
Tongeren Tongeren (; french: Tongres ; german: Tongern ; li, Tóngere ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Sci ...

Tongeren
,
Triers Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Trèves ( ;) and Triers (see also Names of Trier in different languages, names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle (river), Moselle in Germany. It lies in a valley b ...
,
Toul Toul () is a commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstract is what belongs to or ...
and
Metz Metz ( , , lat, Divodurum Mediomatricorum, then ) is a city in northeast France located at the confluence of the Moselle (river), Moselle and the Seille (Moselle), Seille rivers. Metz is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Moselle (de ...

Metz
. These ''civitates'' were in turn were divided into smaller units, pagi, a term that became the French word "pays". Roman government was run by Concilia in
Reims Reims ( , , ; also spelled Rheims in English) is the most populous city in the French Departments of France, department of Marne (department), Marne. The city lies northeast of Paris on the Vesle river, a tributary of the Aisne (river), Aisn ...

Reims
or
Trier Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Trèves ( ;) and Triers (see also Names of Trier in different languages, names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle (river), Moselle in Germany. It lies in a valley b ...

Trier
. Additionally, local notables from Gallia Belgica were required to participate in a festival in
Lugdunum Colonia Copia Claudia Augusta Lugdunum (; modern Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ; it, Lione, ) is the List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located ...
(modern
Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ) is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône The Rhône ( , ; german: Rhone ; wae, Rotten ; it, Rodano ; frp, Rôno ; oc, ...

Lyon
) which typically celebrated or worshiped the emperor’s genius. The gradual adoption of Romanized names by local elites and the Romanization of laws under local authority demonstrate the effectiveness of this concilium Galliarum. With that said, the concept and community of Gallia Belgica did not predate the Roman province, but developed from it.


Under the emperors


Reform of Domitian (around 90)

During the 1st century AD (estimated date 90 AD), the provinces of Gaul were restructured. Emperor
Domitian Domitian (; la, Domitianus; 24 October 51 – 18 September 96) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles thr ...

Domitian
reorganized the provinces in order to separate the militarized zones of the Rhine from the civilian populations of the region. The northeastern part of Gallia Belgica was split off and renamed
Germania Inferior Germania Inferior ("Lower Germania") was a Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Rom ...
, later to be reorganized and renamed as
Germania Secunda Germania Inferior ("Lower Germania") was a Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman Repub ...
. This included the eastern part of modern
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
, the southernmost part of the modern
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
, and a part of modern Germany. The eastern part was split off to become
Germania Superior Germania Superior ("Upper Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: ''Free Germania'') or Germanic Barbaricum Barbaricum (from the gr, Βαρβαρικόν, "foreign", "bar ...
(parts of western Germany and eastern France) and the southern border of Gallia Belgica was extended to the south. The newer Gallia Belgica included the cities of ''Camaracum'' (
Cambrai Cambrai (, ; pcd, Kimbré; nl, Kamerijk), formerly Cambray and historically in English Camerick or Camericke, is a Communes of France, commune in the Nord (French department), Nord Departments of France, department and in the Hauts-de-France R ...

Cambrai
), ''Nemetacum'' (
Arras Arras ( , ; pcd, Aro; Historical Dutch: ) is the capital (''chef-lieu''/''préfecture In France, a prefecture (french: préfecture) may be:
), ''Samarobriva'' (
Amiens Amiens (English: or ; ; pcd, Anmien, or ) is a city and commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abst ...

Amiens
), ''Durocortorum'' (
Reims Reims ( , , ; also spelled Rheims in English) is the most populous city in the French Departments of France, department of Marne (department), Marne. The city lies northeast of Paris on the Vesle river, a tributary of the Aisne (river), Aisn ...

Reims
), ''Dividorum'' (
Metz Metz ( , , lat, Divodurum Mediomatricorum, then ) is a city in northeast France located at the confluence of the Moselle (river), Moselle and the Seille (Moselle), Seille rivers. Metz is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Moselle (de ...

Metz
) and ''Augusta Treverorum'' (
Trier Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Trèves ( ;) and Triers (see also Names of Trier in different languages, names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle (river), Moselle in Germany. It lies in a valley b ...

Trier
).


Attack by the Chauci (173)

In 173 the later emperor
Didius Julianus Marcus Didius Julianus (; 29 January 133 or 137 – 2 June 193) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, ...
, then governor of Gallia Belgica, had to repel a serious invasion of the
Chauci The Chauci (german: Chauken, and identical or similar in other regional modern languages) were an ancient Germanic tribe This list of ancient s is an inventory of ancient Germanic cultures, tribal groupings and other alliances of Germanic tribes ...
, a Germanic tribe that lived along the shores of the
Wadden Sea The Wadden Sea ( nl, Waddenzee ; german: Wattenmeer; nds, Wattensee or ; da, Vadehavet; fy, Waadsee, longname=yes; frr, di Heef) is an intertidal zone The intertidal zone, also known as the foreshore or seashore, is the area above wate ...

Wadden Sea
at the respective northern and northwestern coast of present-day Netherlands and
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
. The attack occurred in the
drainage basin A drainage basin is any area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common outlet, such as into a river, bay, or other body of water. The drainage basin includes all the surface water from surface runoff, rain runoff, snowm ...

drainage basin
of the river
Scheldt The Scheldt ( ; french: Escaut ; wa, Escô; nl, Schelde ) is a river that flows through northern France, western Belgium, and the southwestern part of Netherlands, the Netherlands, with its mouth at the North Sea. Its name is derived from an ...

Scheldt
(present-day
Flanders Flanders (, ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * ...

Flanders
and Hainaut). Archaeologists have found evidence that large farms near
Tournai Tournai or Tournay ( ; ; nl, Doornik ; pcd, Tornai; wa, Tornè ; la, Tornacum) is a city and municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , countr ...

Tournai
and the village Velzeke (near
Ghent Ghent ( ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Du ...

Ghent
) had to be abandoned. Further the capitals in the areas of the former tribes of the
Atrebates The Atrebates (Gaulish Gaulish was an ancient Celtic language The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto-languag ...
,
Morini The Morini (Gaulish Gaulish was an ancient Celtic language The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto-language ...
and the Nervians were either burnt down (Nemetacum (
Arras Arras ( , ; pcd, Aro; Historical Dutch: ) is the capital (''chef-lieu''/''préfecture In France, a prefecture (french: préfecture) may be:
)) or had to be rebuilt in the last quarter of the second century, Colonia Morinorum (
Thérouanne Thérouanne ( vls, Terenburg; Dutch ''Terwaan'') is a commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and ...

Thérouanne
) and Bagacum Nerviorum (
Bavay Bavay (pronounced avɛ) is a commune An intentional community is a voluntary residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of group cohesiveness, social cohesion and teamwork. The members of an intentional community ...
).Jona_Lendering
_on_www.livius.org.html" ;"title="Jona Lendering">Jona Lendering
on www.livius.org">Jona Lendering">Jona Lendering
on www.livius.org/ref>


Crisis of the 3rd century and Gallic Empire

With the Crisis of the Third Century and the Gallic Empire, partition of the Empire, Roman control over Gaul deteriorated in the 3rd century. In 260 Postumus became emperor of a breakaway Gallic Empire. He proved able to stop the incursions from the Franks. Only in 274 was Roman control restored by the new emperor
Aurelian Aurelian ( la, Lucius Domitius Aurelianus; 9 September 214c. October 275) was Roman emperor from 270 to 275. As emperor, he won an unprecedented series of military victories which reunited the Roman Empire after it had practically disintegrated ...

Aurelian
in the Battle of Châlons. The cost of this defeat in the long run proved very high indeed. With the Gallic army defeated and not returning to the Rhine border, the Franks overran the neighbouring province of
Germania Inferior Germania Inferior ("Lower Germania") was a Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Rom ...
. The
Rhineland The Rhineland (german: Rheinland; french: Rhénanie; nl, Rijnland; ksh, Rhingland; Latinised name: ''Rhenania'') is the name used for a loosely defined area of Western Germany along the Rhine, chiefly Middle Rhine, its middle section. Term ...

Rhineland
(to the
Ripuarian Franks Ripuarian or Rhineland Franks (Latin: ''Ripuarii'' or ''Ribuarii'') were one of the two main groupings of early Frankish people The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman s ...
) and the area between the Rhine and the main road between Boulogne and Cologne, present-day South Holland, Zeeland, Flanders, Brabant and Limburg, the last three in both the present-day Netherlands and Belgium (to the
Salian Franks The Salian Franks, also called the Salians (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Lat ...
) were de facto lost forever for the Roman empire. This gave the Salian Franks a base from which they could expand some 130 years later, beginning after the disastrous Rhine crossing in 406, to conquer the whole area of the former province of Gallia Belgica and start the , the first immediate forerunner state of Western civilization.


Reform of Diocletian (around 300)

Emperor
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
restructured the provinces around 300, and split Belgica into two provinces: Belgica Prima and Belgica Secunda. Belgica Prima had Augusta Treverorum (Trier) as its main city, and consisted of the eastern part. The border between Belgica Prima and Belgica Secunda was approximately along the
Meuse The Meuse ( , , , ; wa, Moûze ) or Maas ( , ; li, Maos or ) is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected ...

Meuse
.


Prosperous fourth century

The eastern part of Gallia Belgica, especially the valley of the
Moselle The Moselle ( , ; german: Mosel ; lb, Musel ) is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becom ...
became very prosperous in the fourth century, particularly in the decades that
Augusta Treverorum Trier Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Trèves ( ;) and Triers (see also Names of Trier in different languages, names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle (river), Moselle in Germany. It lies in a v ...
(Trier) was the capital of the
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
. The Roman poet
Ausonius Decimus ''or'' Decimius Magnus Ausonius (; – c. 395) was a Roman poet and teacher A teacher, also called a schoolteacher or formally an educator, is a person who helps student A student is primarily a person enrolled in a sc ...

Ausonius
wrote a famous poem on the Mosella.


Germanic conquests (after 406)

Around 350 Salian
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the and the , on the edge of the . Later the term was associated with Germanic dynasties within the ...

Franks
who were already living in Batavia were settled in
Toxandria Texandria (also Toxiandria; later Toxandria, Taxandria), is a region mentioned in the 4th century AD and during the Middle Ages. It was situated in the southern part of the modern Netherlands and in the northern part of present-day Belgium, currentl ...
. Toxandria was most likely for a large part overlapping with the area now known as the Kempen. Eventually, in 406, a large alliance among them
Vandals The Vandals were a Germanic peoples, Germanic people who first inhabited what is now southern Poland. They established Vandal Kingdom, Vandal kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula, Mediterranean islands, and North Africa in the fifth century. The ...
,
Alans The Alans or Alāns (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...

Alans
and
Suebi The Suebi (or Suebians, also spelled Suevi, Suavi) were a large group of Germanic peoples The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe and Scandinavia. Since the 19th century, they have traditionally been d ...
, under great pressure from the
Huns The Huns were a nomadic people A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation which regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers, pastoral ...

Huns
, after first having been defeated by the Ripuarian Franks in the neighborhood of Cologne in Germania Inferior, successfully in the neighborhood of present-day
Koblenz Koblenz (), spelled Coblenz before 1926, is a Germany, German city on the banks of the Rhine and of the Moselle, a multi-nation tributary. Koblenz was established as a Roman Empire, Roman military post by Nero Claudius Drusus, Drusus around 8 ...

Koblenz
and entered Gallia Belgica by way of the Moselle valley. They subsequently destroyed large parts of Gallia Belgica, before eventually moving on to
Hispania Hispania ( ; ) was the Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testame ...

Hispania
(present-day
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
). This invasion and the accompanying widespread destruction broke the backbone of Roman power in at least the northern part of Gallia Belgica. After this invasion the Franks were able to conquer valuable agricultural land south of the , the very important main road between Cologne and Boulogne, that had been the backbone of Roman defense strategy between 260 and 406. In 452 a major battle was fought at the
Catalaunian fields The Battle of the Catalaunian Plains (or Fields), also called the Battle of the Campus Mauriacus, Battle of Châlons, Battle of Troyes or the Battle of Maurica, took place on June 20, 451 AD, between a coalition led by the Western Roman Empire ...
(between the Seine and the Moselle). A coalition of Romans, Visigoths and Franks fought an army led by the legendary Hunnic leader
Attila Attila (; ), frequently called Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns The Huns were a nomadic people A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation which regularly ...

Attila
. The outcome of this battle itself was inconclusive, but as a consequence of this battle the Huns and their allies left the area of Gallia Belgica where they had plundered nearly all major cities, except Paris. After the
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
had already collapsed in Galla Belgica for some time the Gallo-Roman "
Kingdom of Soissons The Kingdom or Domain of Soissons was a rump state of the Western Roman Empire in northern Gaul, between the Somme and the Seine, that lasted for some 25 years during Late Antiquity. The rulers of the rump state, notably its final ruler Syagrius, ...
" (457-486) managed to maintain control over the area around
Soissons Soissons () is a commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstract is what belongs ...

Soissons
. The Franks however emerged victorious and Belgica Secunda in the 5th century became the center of
Clovis Clovis may refer to: People * Clovis (given name), the early medieval (Frankish) form of the name Louis ** Clovis I (c. 466 – 511), the first king of the Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes under one ruler ** Clovis II (c. 634 – c. 657), ...

Clovis
'
Merovingian The Merovingian dynasty () was the ruling family of the Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the and the , on the edge of the ...
kingdom. During the 8th century in the
Carolingian Empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient nort ...
the former area of Gallia Belgica was split into
Neustria Neustria was the western part of the Kingdom of the Franks Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks ( la, Regnum Francorum), Frankland, or Frankish Empire, was the largest post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe Western ...
(roughly Belgica Secunda, main cities
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
,
Reims Reims ( , , ; also spelled Rheims in English) is the most populous city in the French Departments of France, department of Marne (department), Marne. The city lies northeast of Paris on the Vesle river, a tributary of the Aisne (river), Aisn ...

Reims
) and
Austrasia Austrasia was a territory which formed the northeastern section of the Merovingian The Merovingian dynasty () was the ruling family of the Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mention ...
(roughly Belgica Prima and
Germania Inferior Germania Inferior ("Lower Germania") was a Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Rom ...
, main cities
Trier Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Trèves ( ;) and Triers (see also Names of Trier in different languages, names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle (river), Moselle in Germany. It lies in a valley b ...

Trier
,
Metz Metz ( , , lat, Divodurum Mediomatricorum, then ) is a city in northeast France located at the confluence of the Moselle (river), Moselle and the Seille (Moselle), Seille rivers. Metz is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Moselle (de ...

Metz
,
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of t ...

Cologne
). After the death of
Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century—were first led by i ...

Charlemagne
's son,
Louis the Pious Louis the Pious (16 April 778 – 20 June 840), also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was King of the Franks The Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Ro ...

Louis the Pious
, the Carolingian Empire was divided by the
Treaty of Verdun The Treaty of Verdun, signed on 10 August 843, was the first of the treaties that divided the Carolingian Empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were ...

Treaty of Verdun
in 843. The three sons of Louis the Pious divided his territories into three kingdoms:
East Francia East Francia (Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Ro ...
(the forerunner of modern
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
),
West Francia In medieval history In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe ...
(west of the
Scheldt The Scheldt ( ; french: Escaut ; wa, Escô; nl, Schelde ) is a river that flows through northern France, western Belgium, and the southwestern part of Netherlands, the Netherlands, with its mouth at the North Sea. Its name is derived from an ...

Scheldt
river) a part of which (
Ile de France Ileana Mercedes Cabra Joglar (born April 28, 1989), better known by the nickname "iLe", is a Puerto Rican singer, composer and vocalist. She began her musical career as a teenager as the sole female singer of Calle 13 (band), Calle 13, a group s ...

Ile de France
), from the middle of the 10th century became the kernel of modern
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
, and
Middle Francia Middle Francia or the first state of Lotharingia ( la, Francia media, links=no) was a short-lived Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples ( ...
which was succeeded by
Lotharingia Lotharingia (Latin: ''regnum Lotharii, regnum Lothariense, Lotharingia'', French: ''Lotharingie'', German: ''Reich des Lothar'', ''Lotharingien'', ''Mittelreich'') was a short-lived medieval successor kingdom of the Carolingian Empire The Caro ...
. Though often presented as the dissolution of the Frankish empire, it was in fact the continued adherence to
Salic patrimonyTerra Salica was a type of land property invented by the Salian Franks The Salian Franks, also called the Salians (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. ...
. Lotharingia was divided in 870 by the
Treaty of Meerssen The Treaty of Mersen or Meerssen Meerssen () ( li, Meersje) is a place and a Municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality in southeastern Netherlands. History The Treaty of Meerssen was signed in Meerssen in 870. The Treaty of Meerssen was ...
under West and East Francia.


Legacy

The name ''Belgica'' continued to be used in the
Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in Northwestern Europe ...
as the Latin language name of the entire territory until the modern period. In the 1500s, the
Seventeen Provinces The Seventeen Provinces were the s of the in the 16th century. They roughly covered the , i.e., what is now the , , , and most of the of ( and ) and (). Also within this area were semi-independent fiefdoms, mainly ecclesiastical ones, such ...
were then divided into the independent Belgica Foederata or the ''federal''
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was ...
and the Belgica Regia or the ''royal'' Southern Netherlands under the . ''Belgica Foederata'' continued to be used from 1581 up to the French Revolution. Even after that, the
United Kingdom of the Netherlands The United Kingdom of the Netherlands ( nl, Verenigd Koninkrijk der Nederlanden; french: Royaume-Uni des Pays-Bas) is the unofficial name given to the Kingdom of the Netherlands , national_anthem = ) , image_map = Kingdom of the Netherla ...

United Kingdom of the Netherlands
, created in 1815 was still known as ''Royaume des Belgiques'', and it was only with the 1831 separatist revolution in the south of the country and subsequent creation of modern Belgium and Dutch recognition of the new nation in the
Treaty of London (1839) A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as bind ...
that the name became reserved for
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
to the exclusion of the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
.


See also

* List of Roman governors of Gallia Belgica *Saxon shore


References

{{Authority control Gallia Belgica, 22 BC establishments 5th-century disestablishments 5th-century disestablishments in the Roman Empire Belgium in the Roman era Former polities in the Netherlands, Belgica Provinces of Roman Gaul States and territories established in the 1st century BC