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Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. The concept of "the West" appeared in Europe in juxtaposition to "the East" and originally applied to the ancient Mediterranean ...

Western Europe
first described by the Romans. It was inhabited by
Celtic
Celtic
and
Aquitani The Aquitani were a tribe that lived in the region between the Pyrenees, the Atlantic ocean, and the Garonne, in present-day southwestern France in the 1st century BCE. The Roman Empire, Romans dubbed this region ''Gallia Aquitania''. Classical a ...

Aquitani
tribes, encompassing present-day
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...

France
,
Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Northwestern Europe. The country is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the ...

Belgium
,
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 small land ...

Luxembourg
, most of
Switzerland ). Swiss law does not designate a ''capital'' as such, but the federal parliament and government are in Bern, while other federal institutions, such as the federal courts, are in other cities (Bellinzona, Lausanne, Luzern, Neuchâtel, St. Gall ...

Switzerland
, parts of
Northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none, it, Alta Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, label=none) is a geographical and cultural region in the northern part of Italy. It consists of eight administrative Regions ...
(only during Republican era, Cisalpina was annexed in 42 BC to Roman Italy), and
Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populous country in Europe after Russia, and the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is situated between ...

Germany
west of the
Rhine The Rhine ; french: Rhin ; nl, Rijn ; wa, Rén ; li, Rien; rm, label=Sursilvan, Rein, rm, label=Sutsilvan and Surmiran, Ragn, rm, label=Rumantsch Grischun, Vallader and Puter, Rain; it, Reno ; gsw, Rhi(n), including in Alsatian dialect, Al ...

Rhine
. It covered an area of . According to
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; ; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey in Caes ...

Julius Caesar
, Gaul was divided into three parts: Gallia Celtica, Belgica, and Aquitania. Archaeologically, the
Gauls The Gauls ( la, Galli; grc, Γαλάται, ''Galátai'') were a group of Celts, Celtic peoples of mainland Europe in the Iron Age Europe, Iron Age and the Roman Gaul, Roman period (roughly 5th century BC to 5th century AD). Their homeland was k ...
were bearers of the
La Tène culture The La Tène culture (; ) was a Iron Age Europe, European Iron Age culture. It developed and flourished during the late Iron Age (from about 450 BC to the Roman Republic, Roman conquest in the 1st century BC), succeeding the early Iron Age Hall ...
, which extended across all of Gaul, as well as east to
Raetia Raetia ( ; ; also spelled Rhaetia) was a Roman province, province of the Roman Empire, named after the Rhaetian people. It bordered on the west with the country of the Helvetii, on the east with Noricum, on the north with Vindelicia, on the so ...

Raetia
,
Noricum Noricum () is the Latin name for the Celts, Celtic kingdom or federation of tribes that included most of modern Austria and part of Slovenia. In the first century AD, it became a Roman province, province of the Roman Empire. Its borders were th ...
,
Pannonia Pannonia (, ) was a Roman province, province of the Roman Empire bounded on the north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Roman Italy, Italy, and southward with Dalmatia (Roman province), Dalmatia and upper Moesia ...

Pannonia
, and southwestern
Germania Germania ( ; ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: ''Free Germania''), or Germanic Barbaricum to distinguish it from the Roman province of the same name, was a large historical region in nort ...

Germania
during the 5th to 1st centuries BC. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, Gaul fell under Roman rule:
Gallia Cisalpina Cisalpine Gaul ( la, Gallia Cisalpina, also called ''Gallia Citerior'' or ''Gallia Togata'') was the part of Italy inhabited by Celts (Gauls) during the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. After its conquest by the Roman Republic in the 200s BC it was con ...
was conquered in 204 BC and
Gallia Narbonensis Gallia Narbonensis (Latin for "Gaul of Narbonne", from its chief settlement) was a Roman province located in what is now Languedoc and Provence, in Southern France. It was also known as Provincia Nostra ("Our Province"), because it was the ...
in 123 BC. Gaul was invaded after 120 BC by the
Cimbri The Cimbri (Greek Κίμβροι, ''Kímbroi''; Latin ''Cimbri'') were an ancient tribe in Europe. Ancient authors described them variously as a Celts, Celtic people (or Gauls, Gaulish), Germanic peoples, Germanic people, or even Cimmerian. Sever ...
and the
Teutons The Teutons ( la, Teutones, , grc, Τεύτονες) were an ancient northern European tribe mentioned by Ancient Rome, Roman authors. The Teutons are best known for their participation, together with the Cimbri and other groups, in the Cimbri ...
, who were in turn defeated by the Romans by 103 BC. Julius Caesar finally subdued the remaining parts of Gaul in his campaigns of 58 to 51 BC. Roman control of Gaul lasted for five centuries, until the last Roman
rump state A rump state is the remnant of a once much larger State (polity), state, left with a reduced territory in the wake of secession, annexation, military occupation, occupation, decolonization, or a successful coup d'état or revolution on part of it ...
, the
Domain 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, ...
, fell to the
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the Lower Rhine and the Ems River, on the edge of the Roman Empire.H. Schutz: Tools, ...

Franks
in AD 486. While the Celtic Gauls had lost their original identities and language during Late Antiquity, becoming amalgamated into a
Gallo-Roman culture Gallo-Roman culture was a consequence of the Romanization (cultural), Romanization of Gauls under the rule of the Roman Empire. It was characterized by the Gaulish adoption or adaptation of Roman culture, Roman culture, language, morals and wa ...
, ''Gallia'' remained the conventional name of the territory throughout the
Early Middle Ages The Early Middle Ages (or early medieval period), sometimes controversially referred to as the Dark Ages (historiography), Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century to the 10th century. They ...
, until it acquired a new identity as the Capetian
Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France; frm, Royaulme de France; french: link=yes, Royaume de France) is the historiographical name or umbrella term given to various political entities of France France (), officially the Fr ...
in the high medieval period. ''Gallia'' remains a name of France in
modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including the official standardized form of the ...
(Γαλλία) and modern Latin (besides the alternatives ''Francia'' and ''Francogallia'').


Name

The Greek and Latin names ''
Galatia Galatia (; grc, Γαλατία, ''Galatía'', "Gaul") was an ancient area in the highlands of central Anatolia, roughly corresponding to the Provinces of Turkey, provinces of Ankara Province, Ankara and Eskişehir Province, Eskişehir, in mode ...
'' (first attested by Timaeus of Tauromenium in the 4th century BC) and ''Gallia'' are ultimately derived from a Celtic ethnic term or clan ''Gal(a)-to-''. The ''Galli'' of '' Gallia Celtica'' were reported to refer to themselves as ''Celtae'' by Caesar. Hellenistic
etymology Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p. 633 "Etymology /ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi/ the study of the class in words and the way their meanings have changed throughout time". is the study of the history of the Phonological chan ...
connected the name of the Galatians (Γαλάται, ''Galátai'') to the supposedly "milk-white" skin (γάλα, ''gála'' "milk") of the Gauls. Modern researchers say it is related to Welsh ''gallu'', kw, galloes, "capacity, power", thus meaning "powerful people". Despite superficial similarity, the
English
English
term ''Gaul'' is unrelated to the Latin ''Gallia''. It stems from the French ''Gaule'', itself deriving from the
Old Frankish Frankish (language reconstruction, reconstructed endonym: *), also known as Old Franconian or Old Frankish, was the West Germanic language spoken by the Franks from the 5th to 9th century. After the Salian Franks settled in Roman Gaul, its ...
''*Walholant'' (via a Latinized form ''*Walula''), literally the "Land of the Foreigners/Romans". ''*Walho-'' is a reflex of the
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the linguistic reconstruction, reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic languages, Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages. Proto-Germanic eventually developed from ...
''*
walhaz ''Walhaz'' is a reconstructed Proto-Germanic language, Proto-Germanic word meaning 'foreigner', or more specifically 'Roman', 'Romance-speaker' or '(romanized) Celt', and survives in English as 'Welsh people, Welsh'. The term was used by the an ...
'', "foreigner, Romanized person", an
exonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, ''native'' name for a geographical place, group of people, individual person, language or dialect, meaning that it is used inside that particular place, grou ...
applied by Germanic speakers to Celts and Latin-speaking people indiscriminately. It is
cognate In historical linguistics, cognates or lexical cognates are sets of words in different languages that have been inherited in direct descent from an etymological ancestor in a common parent language. Because language change can have radical ...
with the names
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...

Wales
,
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a Historic counties of England, historic county and Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in South West England. It is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, and is the homeland of the Cornish people ...

Cornwall
,
Wallonia Wallonia (; french: Wallonie ), or ; nl, Wallonië ; wa, Waloneye or officially the Walloon Region (french: link=no, Région wallonne),; nl, link=no, Waals gewest; wa, link=no, Redjon walone is one of the three communities, regions and ...

Wallonia
, and
Wallachia Wallachia or Walachia (; ro, Țara Românească, lit=The Romanian Land' or 'The Romanian Country, ; Archaism, archaic: ', Romanian Cyrillic alphabet: ) is a Historical regions of Romania, historical and geographical region of Romania. It is si ...
. The Germanic ''w-'' is regularly rendered as ''gu-'' / ''g-'' in French (cf. ''guerre'' "war", ''garder'' "ward", ''Guillaume'' "William"), and the historic diphthong ''au'' is the regular outcome of ''al'' before a following consonant (cf. ''cheval'' ~ ''chevaux''). French ''Gaule'' or ''Gaulle'' cannot be derived from Latin ''Gallia'', since ''g'' would become ''j'' before ''a'' (cf. ''gamba'' > ''jambe''), and the diphthong ''au'' would be unexplained; the regular outcome of Latin ''Gallia'' is ''Jaille'' in French, which is found in several western place names, such as, La Jaille-Yvon and
Saint-Mars-la-Jaille Saint-Mars-la-Jaille (; br, Sant-Marzh-an-Olivenn) is a former Communes of France, commune in the Loire-Atlantique Departments of France, department in western France. On 1 January 2018, it was merged into the new commune of Vallons-de-l'Erdre. ...
.''Nouveau dictionnaire étymologique et historique'' (Larousse 1990), p. 336. Proto-Germanic ''*walha'' is derived ultimately from the name of the Volcae. Also unrelated, in spite of superficial similarity, is the name ''
Gael The Gaels ( ; ga, Na Gaeil ; gd, Na Gàidheil ; gv, Ny Gaeil ) are an ethnolinguistic group native to Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man in the British Isles. They are associated with the Goidelic languages, Gaelic languages: a branch o ...

Gael
''. The Irish word ''gall'' did originally mean "a Gaul", i.e. an inhabitant of Gaul, but its meaning was later widened to "foreigner", to describe the
Viking Vikings ; non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people originally from Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden), who from the late 8th to the late 11th centuries raided, pirated, traded and se ...

Viking
s, and later still the
Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were a population arising in the medieval Duchy of Normandy from the intermingling between Norsemen, Norse Viking settlers and indigenous West Fran ...

Normans
. The dichotomic words ''gael'' and ''gall'' are sometimes used together for contrast, for instance in the 12th-century book '' Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib''. As adjectives, English has the two variants: ''Gaulish'' and ''Gallic''. The two adjectives are used synonymously, as "pertaining to Gaul or the Gauls", although the Celtic language or languages spoken in Gaul is predominantly known as
Gaulish Gaulish was an ancient Celtic language spoken in parts of Continental Europe before and during the period of the Roman Empire. In the narrow sense, Gaulish was the language of the Celts of Gaul (now France, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Switze ...
.


History


Pre-Roman Gaul

There is little written information concerning the peoples that inhabited the regions of Gaul, save what can be gleaned from coins. Therefore, the early history of the Gauls is predominantly a work in archaeology, and the relationships between their
material culture Material culture is the aspect of social reality grounded in the objects and architecture Architecture is the art and technique of designing and building, as distinguished from the skills associated with construction. It is both the proces ...
, genetic relationships (the study of which has been aided, in recent years, through the field of
archaeogenetics Archaeogenetics is the study of ancient DNA using various Molecular genetics, molecular genetic methods and DNA resources. This form of genetic analysis can be applied to human, animal, and plant specimens. Ancient DNA can be extracted from various ...
) and linguistic divisions rarely coincide. Before the rapid spread of the
La Tène culture The La Tène culture (; ) was a Iron Age Europe, European Iron Age culture. It developed and flourished during the late Iron Age (from about 450 BC to the Roman Republic, Roman conquest in the 1st century BC), succeeding the early Iron Age Hall ...
in the 5th to 4th centuries BC, the territory of eastern and southern France already participated in the Late
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...
Urnfield culture The Urnfield culture ( 1300 BC – 750 BC) was a late Bronze Age Europe, Bronze Age culture of Central Europe, often divided into several local cultures within a broader Urnfield tradition. The name comes from the custom of cremat ...
(c. 12th to 8th centuries BC) out of which the early iron-working
Hallstatt culture The Hallstatt culture was the predominant Western Europe, Western and Central European Archaeological culture, culture of Late Bronze Age Europe, Bronze Age (Hallstatt A, Hallstatt B) from the 12th to 8th centuries BC and Early Iron Age Europe ...
(7th to 6th centuries BC) would develop. By 500 BC, there is strong Hallstatt influence throughout most of France (except for the Alps and the extreme north-west). Out of this Hallstatt background, during the 7th and 6th century BC presumably representing an early form of Continental Celtic culture, the La Tène culture arises, presumably under Mediterranean influence from the
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
,
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, ancient thalassocracy, thalassocratic civilization originating in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily located in modern Lebanon. The territory of the Phoenician city-st ...
n, and
Etruscan civilization The Etruscan civilization () was developed by a people of Etruria in List of ancient peoples of Italy, ancient Italy with a common language and culture who formed a federation of city-states. After conquering adjacent lands, its territory cover ...
s, spread out in a number of early centers along the
Seine The Seine ( , ) is a river in northern France. Its drainage basin is in the Paris Basin (a geological relative lowland) covering most of northern France. It rises at Source-Seine, northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, ...
, the
Middle Rhine Between Bingen am Rhein, Bingen and Bonn, Germany, the river Rhine flows as the Middle Rhine (german: Mittelrhein) through the Rhine Gorge, a formation created by erosion, which happened at about the same rate as an tectonic uplift, uplift in ...
and the upper
Elbe The Elbe (; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo) is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Giant Mountains of the northern Czech Republic The Czech Republic, or simply Czechia, is a landloc ...
. By the late 5th century BC, La Tène influence spreads rapidly across the entire territory of Gaul. The La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic) and the Bronze Age (Chalcolithic). The concept has been mostly appl ...
(from 450 BC to the Roman conquest in the 1st century BC) in
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...

France
,
Switzerland ). Swiss law does not designate a ''capital'' as such, but the federal parliament and government are in Bern, while other federal institutions, such as the federal courts, are in other cities (Bellinzona, Lausanne, Luzern, Neuchâtel, St. Gall ...

Switzerland
,
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic, ) or the Republic of Italy, is a country in Southern Europe. It is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and its territory largely coincides with the Italy (geographical region) ...
,
Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine States of Austria, states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, ...
, southwest
Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populous country in Europe after Russia, and the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is situated between ...

Germany
,
Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech Republic. Bohemia can also refer to a wider area consisting of the historical Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by the List o ...
,
Moravia Moravia ( , also , ; cs, Morava ; german: link=yes, Mähren ; pl, Morawy ; szl, Morawa; la, Moravia) is a historical region in the east of the Czech Republic and one of three historical Czech lands, with Bohemia and Czech Silesia. The me ...
,
Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the s ...
and
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Spanning of the Pannonian Basin, Carpathian Basin, it is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the east and southeast, Serbia to the ...
. Farther north extended the contemporary
pre-Roman Iron Age The archaeology of Northern Europe studies the prehistory of Scandinavian Peninsula, Scandinavia and the adjacent North European Plain, roughly corresponding to the territories of modern Sweden, Norway, Denmark, northern Germany, Poland and the ...
culture of
northern Germany Northern Germany (german: link=no, Norddeutschland) is a linguistic, geographic, socio-cultural and historic region in the northern part of Germany which includes the coastal states of Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Lower Saxony an ...
and
Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sámi languages: /. ( ) is a subregion#Europe, subregion in Northern Europe, with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties between its constituent peoples. In English usage, ''Scandinavia'' most commonly refers to Denmark, ...
. A major archaeogenetics study uncovered a migration into southern Britain in the Bronze Age, during the 500-year period 1,300–800 BC. The newcomers were genetically most similar to ancient individuals from Gaul. The authors describe this as a "plausible vector for the spread of early
Celtic languages The Celtic languages (pronunciation of Celtic, usually , but sometimes ) are a Language family, group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic language, Proto-Celtic. They form a branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European lang ...
into Britain". The major source of materials on the
Celts The Celts (, see Names of the Celts#Pronunciation, pronunciation for different usages) or Celtic peoples () are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: Celtic a collection of Indo-Europea ...
of Gaul was Poseidonios of Apamea, whose writings were quoted by
Timagenes Timagenes ( grc, Τιμαγένης) was a Greek literature, Greek writer, historian and teacher of rhetoric. He came from Alexandria, was captured by Ancient Rome, Romans in 55 BC and taken to Rome, where he was purchased by Faustus Cornelius Sull ...
,
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; ; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey in Caes ...

Julius Caesar
, the Sicilian
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
Diodorus Siculus Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily ( grc-gre, wikt:Διόδωρος, Διόδωρος ;  1st century BC), was an ancient Greece, ancient Greek historian. He is known for writing the monumental universal history ''Bibliotheca historica' ...
, and the Greek geographer
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus) was a term employed by the Romans for anyone whose eyes were distorted or deformed. The father of Pompey was called "Pompeius Strabo". A native of Sicily so clear-sighted that he could see ...
. In the 4th and early 3rd century BC, Gallic clan confederations expanded far beyond the territory of what would become
Roman Gaul Roman Gaul refers to GaulThe territory of Gaul roughly corresponds to modern-day France, Belgium and Luxembourg, and adjacient parts of the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany. under provincial rule in the Roman Empire from the 1st century ...
(which defines usage of the term "Gaul" today), into Pannonia, Illyria, northern Italy, Transylvania and even Asia Minor. By the 2nd century BC, the Romans described Gallia Transalpina as distinct from
Gallia Cisalpina Cisalpine Gaul ( la, Gallia Cisalpina, also called ''Gallia Citerior'' or ''Gallia Togata'') was the part of Italy inhabited by Celts (Gauls) during the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. After its conquest by the Roman Republic in the 200s BC it was con ...
. In his ''
Gallic Wars The Gallic Wars were waged between 58 and 50 BC by the Roman general Julius Caesar against the peoples of Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe first described by the Romans. It was inhabited by Celts, Celtic and A ...
'', Julius Caesar distinguishes among three ethnic groups in Gaul: 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 the northern bank of the river Seine, from at least the third century BC. They were discussed in depth by Ju ...
in the north (roughly between the
Rhine The Rhine ; french: Rhin ; nl, Rijn ; wa, Rén ; li, Rien; rm, label=Sursilvan, Rein, rm, label=Sutsilvan and Surmiran, Ragn, rm, label=Rumantsch Grischun, Vallader and Puter, Rain; it, Reno ; gsw, Rhi(n), including in Alsatian dialect, Al ...

Rhine
and the Seine), the Celtae in the center and in
Armorica Armorica or Aremorica (Gaulish: ; br, Arvorig, ) is the name given in ancient times to the part of Gaul between the Seine and the Loire that includes the Brittany Peninsula, extending inland to an indeterminate point and down the Atlantic Coast. ...
, and the
Aquitani The Aquitani were a tribe that lived in the region between the Pyrenees, the Atlantic ocean, and the Garonne, in present-day southwestern France in the 1st century BCE. The Roman Empire, Romans dubbed this region ''Gallia Aquitania''. Classical a ...

Aquitani
in the southwest, the southeast being already colonized by the Romans. While some scholars believe the Belgae south of the Somme were a mixture of Celtic and Germanic elements, their ethnic affiliations have not been definitively resolved. One of the reasons is political interference upon the French historical interpretation during the 19th century. In addition to the Gauls, there were other peoples living in Gaul, such as the Greeks and Phoenicians who had established outposts such as Massilia (present-day
Marseille Marseille ( , , ; also spelled in English as Marseilles; oc, Marselha ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the France, French Departments of France, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Regio ...
) along the Mediterranean coast. Also, along the southeastern French Mediterranean coast, the
Ligures The Ligures (singular Ligur; Italian language, Italian: liguri; English language, English: Ligurians) were an ancient people after whom Liguria, a region of present-day Northern Italy, north-western Italy, is named. Ancient Liguria cor ...
had merged with the Celts to form a Celto-
Liguria Liguria (; lij, Ligûria ; french: Ligurie) is a Regions of Italy, region of north-western Italy; its Capital city, capital is Genoa. Its territory is crossed by the Alps and the Apennine Mountains, Apennines Mountain chain, mountain range and is ...
n culture.


Initial contact with Rome

In the 2nd century BC Mediterranean Gaul had an extensive urban fabric and was prosperous. Archeologists know of cities in northern Gaul including the Biturigian capital of
Avaricum Avaricum was an ''oppidum An ''oppidum'' (plural ''oppida'') is a large fortified Iron Age Europe, Iron Age settlement or town. ''Oppida'' are primarily associated with the Celts, Celtic late La Tène culture, emerging during the 2nd and ...
(
Bourges Bourges () is a commune in central France on the river Yèvre (Cher), Yèvre. It is the capital of the Departments of France, department of Cher (department), Cher, and also was the capital city of the former provinces of France, province of B ...
),
Cenabum Cenabum, Cenabaum or Genabum was the name of an ''oppidum'' of the Carnutes tribe, situated on the site of what is now Orléans. It was a prosperous commercial city on the river Loire at the time of Caesar's conquest of Gaul. History This port w ...
(
Orléans Orléans (;"Orleans"
(US) and
Autricum (
Chartres Chartres () is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Eure-et-Loir Departments of France, department in the Centre-Val de Loire Regions of France, region in France. It is located about southwest of Paris. At the 2019 census, there were 1 ...
) and the excavated site of
Bibracte Bibracte, a Gauls, Gallic ''oppidum'' or fortified settlement, was the capital of the Aedui and one of the most important hillforts in Gaul. It was situated near modern Autun in Burgundy, France. The archaeological culture, material culture of ...
near
Autun Autun () is a Subprefectures in France, subprefecture of the Saône-et-Loire Departments of France, department in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Regions of France, region of central-eastern France. It was founded during the Principate era of the e ...
in Saône-et-Loire, along with a number of hill forts (or
oppida An ''oppidum'' (plural ''oppida'') is a large fortified Iron Age Europe, Iron Age settlement or town. ''Oppida'' are primarily associated with the Celts, Celtic late La Tène culture, emerging during the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, spread ...
) used in times of war. The prosperity of Mediterranean Gaul encouraged Rome to respond to pleas for assistance from the inhabitants of Massilia, who found themselves under attack by a coalition of Ligures and Gauls. The Romans intervened in Gaul in 154 BC and again in 125 BC. Whereas on the first occasion they came and went, on the second they stayed. In 122 BC Domitius Ahenobarbus managed to defeat the
Allobroges The Allobroges (Gaulish language, Gaulish: *''Allobrogis'', 'foreigner, exiled'; grc, Ἀλλοβρίγων, Ἀλλόβριγες) were a Gauls, Gallic people dwelling in a large territory between the Rhône river and the Alps during the Iron Age ...
(allies of the Salluvii), while in the ensuing year Quintus Fabius Maximus "destroyed" an army of the
Arverni The Arverni (Gaulish language, Gaulish: *''Aruernoi'') were a Gauls, Gallic people dwelling in the modern Auvergne region during the La Tène culture, Iron Age and the Roman Empire, Roman period. They were one of the most powerful tribes of anci ...
led by their king
Bituitus Bituitus (''wikt:floruit, fl.'' 2nd century BCE) was a king of the Arverni, a Gauls, Gaulish tribe living in what is now the Auvergne (region), Auvergne region of France. The Arverni were a powerful opponent of the Roman Republic during the 3rd an ...
, who had come to the aid of the Allobroges. Rome allowed Massilia to keep its lands, but added to its own territories the lands of the conquered tribes. As a direct result of these conquests, Rome now controlled an area extending from the
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineu ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain. It extends nearly from its union with the Cantabrian Mountains to C ...
to the lower Rhône river, and in the east up the Rhône valley to
Lake Geneva , image = Lake Geneva by Sentinel-2.jpg , caption = Satellite image , image_bathymetry = , caption_bathymetry = , location = Switzerland, France , coords = , lake_type = Glacial lak ...
. By 121 BC Romans had conquered the Mediterranean region called ''Provincia'' (later named ''
Gallia Narbonensis Gallia Narbonensis (Latin for "Gaul of Narbonne", from its chief settlement) was a Roman province located in what is now Languedoc and Provence, in Southern France. It was also known as Provincia Nostra ("Our Province"), because it was the ...
''). This conquest upset the ascendancy of the Gaulish Arverni peoples.


Conquest by Rome

The Roman proconsul and general Julius Caesar pushed his army into Gaul in 58 BC, ostensibly to assist Rome's Gaullish allies against the migrating
Helvetii The Helvetii ( , Gaulish: *''Heluētī''), anglicized as Helvetians, were a Celtic tribe or tribal confederation occupying most of the Swiss plateau at the time of their contact with the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC. According to Jul ...
. With the help of various Gallic clans (e.g. the
Aedui The Aedui or Haedui ( Gaulish: *''Aiduoi'', 'the Ardent'; grc, Aἴδουοι) were a Gallic tribe dwelling in the modern Burgundy region during the Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and ...
) he managed to conquer nearly all of Gaul. While their military was just as strong as the Romans', the internal division between the Gallic tribes guaranteed an easy victory for Caesar, and
Vercingetorix Vercingetorix (; Ancient Greek, Greek: Οὐερκιγγετόριξ; – 46 BC) was a Gauls, Gallic king and chieftain of the Arverni tribe who united the Gauls in a failed revolt against Roman Republic, Roman forces during the last phase of Ju ...
's attempt to unite the Gauls against Roman invasion came too late. Julius Caesar was checked by Vercingetorix at a siege of Gergovia, a fortified town in the center of Gaul. Caesar's alliances with many Gallic clans broke. Even the Aedui, their most faithful supporters, threw in their lot with the Arverni but the ever-loyal
Remi The Remi (Gaulish language, Gaulish: ''Rēmi'', 'the first, the princes') were a Belgae, Belgic tribe dwelling in the Aisne (river), Aisne, Vesle and Suippe river valleys during the La Tène culture, Iron Age and the Roman period. Their territory ...
(best known for its cavalry) and Lingones sent troops to support Caesar. The Germani of the
Ubii image:Ubiens.jpg, 350px, The Ubii around AD 30 The Ubii were a Germanic tribes, Germanic tribe first encountered dwelling on the east bank of the Rhine in the time of Julius Caesar, who formed an alliance with them in 55 BC in order to launch at ...
also sent cavalry, which Caesar equipped with Remi horses. Caesar captured Vercingetorix in the
Battle of Alesia The Battle of Alesia or Siege of Alesia (September 52 BC) was a military engagement in the Gallic Wars around the Gallic ''oppidum'' (fortified settlement) of Alesia in modern France France (), officially the French Republic ...
, which ended the majority of Gallic resistance to Rome. As many as a million people (probably 1 in 5 of the Gauls) died, another million were enslaved, 300 clans were subjugated and 800 cities were destroyed during the Gallic Wars. The entire population of the city of Avaricum (Bourges) (40,000 in all) were slaughtered. Before Julius Caesar's campaign against the Helvetii (Switzerland), the Helvetians had numbered 263,000, but afterwards only 100,000 remained, most of whom Caesar took as
slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave—someone forbidden to quit one's service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as property. Slavery typically involves slaves being made to perf ...
.


Roman Gaul

After Gaul was absorbed as ''Gallia'', a set of Roman provinces, its inhabitants gradually adopted aspects of Roman culture and assimilated, resulting in the distinct
Gallo-Roman culture Gallo-Roman culture was a consequence of the Romanization (cultural), Romanization of Gauls under the rule of the Roman Empire. It was characterized by the Gaulish adoption or adaptation of Roman culture, Roman culture, language, morals and wa ...
. Citizenship was granted to all in 212 by the
Constitutio Antoniniana The ''Constitutio Antoniniana'' (Latin for: "Constitution r Edictof Antoninus") (also called the Edict of Caracalla or the Antonine Constitution) was an edict issued in AD 212, by the Roman Emperor Caracalla. It declared that Peregrinus (Roma ...
. From the third to 5th centuries, Gaul was exposed to raids by the
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the Lower Rhine and the Ems River, on the edge of the Roman Empire.H. Schutz: Tools, ...

Franks
. The
Gallic Empire The Gallic Empire or the Gallic Roman Empire are names used in modern historiography for a breakaway part of the Roman Empire that functioned ''de facto'' as a separate state from 260 to 274. It originated during the Crisis of the Third Century, w ...
, consisting of the provinces of Gaul,
Britannia Britannia () is the national personification of United Kingdom, Britain as a helmeted female warrior holding a trident and shield. An image first used in classical antiquity, the Latin ''Britannia'' was the name variously applied to the Britis ...
, and
Hispania Hispania ( la, Hispānia , ; nearly identically pronounced in Spanish language, Spanish, Portuguese language, Portuguese, Catalan language, Catalan, and Italian language, Italian) was the Ancient Rome, Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula and it ...
, including the peaceful
Baetica Hispania Baetica, often abbreviated Baetica, was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula). Baetica was bordered to the west by Lusitania, and to the northeast by Hispania Tarraconensis. Baetica remained one of the basic di ...
in the south, broke away from Rome from 260 to 273. In addition to the large number of natives, Gallia also became home to some Roman citizens from elsewhere and also in-migrating Germanic and Scythian tribes such as the
Alans The Alans (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around prese ...
. The religious practices of inhabitants became a combination of Roman and Celtic practice, with Celtic deities such as Cobannus and
Epona In Gallo-Roman religion, Epona was a protector of horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules. She was particularly a goddess of fertility, as shown by her attributes of a patera, cornucopia, ears of grain and the presence of foals in some sculptures. S ...
subjected to
interpretatio romana ''Interpretatio graeca'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) ...
. The
imperial cult An imperial cult is a form of state religion in which an emperor or a dynasty of emperors (or rulers of another title) are worshipped as demigods or deities. "Cult (religious practice), Cult" here is used to mean "worship", not in the modern pejo ...
and Eastern
mystery religions Mystery religions, mystery cults, sacred mysteries or simply mysteries, were religious schools of the Greco-Roman world for which participation was reserved to initiation rite, initiates ''(mystai)''. The main characterization of this religion i ...
also gained a following. Eventually, after it became the official religion of the Empire and paganism became suppressed, Christianity won out in the twilight days of the Western Roman Empire (while the Christianized Eastern Roman Empire lasted another thousand years, until the invasion of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453); a small but notable
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a combination of shared features such as language, history, ethnicity, culture and/or ...
presence also became established. The Gaulish language is thought to have survived into the 6th century in France, despite considerable Romanization of the local material culture. The last record of spoken Gaulish deemed to be plausibly credible concerned the destruction by Christians of a pagan shrine in Auvergne "called Vasso Galatae in the Gallic tongue". Coexisting with Latin, Gaulish helped shape the
Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is the range of non-formal registers of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was ori ...
dialects that developed into French. The Vulgar Latin in the region of Gallia took on a distinctly local character, some of which is attested in graffiti, which evolved into the
Gallo-Romance The Gallo-Romance branch of the Romance languages The Romance languages, sometimes referred to as Latin languages or Neo-Latin languages, are the various modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin. They are the only extant subgroup of ...
dialects which include French and its closest relatives. The influence of substrate languages may be seen in graffiti showing sound changes that matched changes that had earlier occurred in the indigenous languages, especially Gaulish. The Vulgar Latin in the north of Gaul evolved into the langues d'oil and Franco-Provencal, while the dialects in the south evolved into the modern Occitan and Catalan tongues. Other languages held to be "Gallo-Romance" include the
Gallo-Italic languages The Gallo-Italic, Gallo-Italian, Gallo-Cisalpine or simply Cisalpine languages constitute the majority of the Romance languages Languages of Italy#Northern Italy, of northern Italy. They are Piedmontese language, Piedmontese, Lombard language, Lo ...
and the
Rhaeto-Romance languages Rhaeto-Romance, Rheto-Romance, or Rhaetian, is a purported subfamily In biological classification, a subfamily (Latin: ', plural ') is an auxiliary (intermediate) taxonomic rank, next below family (biology), family but more inclusive than ge ...
.


Frankish Gaul

Following Frankish victories at Soissons (AD 486), Vouillé (AD 507) and Autun (AD 532), Gaul (except for
Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula, historical country and cultural area in the west of modern France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country pri ...
and
Septimania Septimania (french: Septimanie ; oc, Septimània ) is a historical region in modern-day Southern France. It referred to the western part of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed to the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septima ...
) came under the rule of the
Merovingian The Merovingian dynasty () was the ruling family of the Franks from the middle of the 5th century until 751. They first appear as "Kings of the Franks" in the Roman army of northern Gaul. By 509 they had united all the Franks and northern Gauli ...
s, the first
kings of France France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacif ...
. Gallo-Roman culture, the Romanized culture of Gaul under the rule of the Roman Empire, persisted particularly in the areas of Gallia Narbonensis that developed into
Occitania Occitania ( oc, Occitània , , or ) is the historical region in Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe where the Occitan language, Occitan language was historically spoken and where it is sometimes still used as a second language. This ...
,
Gallia Cisalpina Cisalpine Gaul ( la, Gallia Cisalpina, also called ''Gallia Citerior'' or ''Gallia Togata'') was the part of Italy inhabited by Celts (Gauls) during the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. After its conquest by the Roman Republic in the 200s BC it was con ...
and to a lesser degree,
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 and a former r ...
. The formerly Romanized north of Gaul, once it had been occupied by the Franks, developed into Merovingian culture instead. Roman life, centered on the public events and cultural responsibilities of urban life in the '' res publica'' and the sometimes luxurious life of the self-sufficient rural
villa A villa is a type of house that was originally an Ancient Rome, ancient Roman upper class country house. Since its origins in the Roman villa, the idea and function of a villa have evolved considerably. After the fall of the Roman Republic, vi ...
system, took longer to collapse in the Gallo-Roman regions, where the
Visigoths The Visigoths (; la, Visigothi, Wisigothi, Vesi, Visi, Wesi, Wisi) were an early Germanic people who, along with the Ostrogoths, constituted the two major political entities of the Goths within the Roman Empire in late antiquity, or what is kno ...
largely inherited the status quo in the early 5th century. Gallo-Roman language persisted in the northeast into the
Silva Carbonaria Silva Carbonaria, the "charcoal forest", was the dense old-growth forest of beech and oak that formed a natural boundary during the Late Iron Age through Roman times into the Early Middle Ages across what is now western Wallonia. The Silva Carbonar ...
that formed an effective cultural barrier, with the Franks to the north and east, and in the northwest to the lower valley of the
Loire The Loire (, also ; ; oc, Léger, ; la, Liger) is the longest river in France and the 171st longest in the world. With a length of , it drains , more than a fifth of France's land, while its average discharge is only half that of the Rhône ...
, where Gallo-Roman culture interfaced with Frankish culture in a city like
Tours Tours ( , ) is one of the largest cities in the region of Centre-Val de Loire, France. It is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, department of Indre-et-Loire. The Communes of France, commune of Tours had 136,463 ...
and in the person of that Gallo-Roman bishop confronted with Merovingian royals,
Gregory of Tours Gregory of Tours (30 November 538 – 17 November 594 AD) was a Gallo-Roman History, historian and Bishops of Tours, Bishop of Tours, which made him a leading prelate of the area that had been previously referred to as Gaul by the Romans. He ...
. File:Massalia large coin 5th 1st century BCE.jpg, Massalia (Marseille) silver coin with Greek legend, 5th–1st century BC. File:ParisiiCoins.jpg, Gold coins of the Gaul Parisii, 1st century BC, ( Cabinet des Médailles, Paris). File:RomanSilverDenariusWithHeadOfCaptiveGaul48BCE.JPG, Roman silver Denarius with the head of captive Gaul 48 BC, following the campaigns of Julius Caesar.


Gauls


Social structure, indigenous nation and clans

The
Druid A druid was a member of the high-ranking class in ancient Celts, Celtic cultures. Druids were religious leaders as well as legal authorities, adjudicators, lorekeepers, medical professionals and political advisors. Druids left no written accoun ...
s were not the only political force in Gaul, however, and the early political system was complex, if ultimately fatal to the society as a whole. The fundamental unit of Gallic politics was the clan, which itself consisted of one or more of what Caesar called ''pagi''. Each clan had a council of elders, and initially a king. Later, the executive was an annually-elected magistrate. Among the Aedui, a clan of Gaul, the executive held the title of ''Vergobret'', a position much like a king, but his powers were held in check by rules laid down by the council. The regional ethnic groups, or ''pagi'' as the Romans called them (singular: ''pagus''; the French word ''pays'', "region" more accurate translation is 'country' comes from this term), were organized into larger multi-clan groups, which the Romans called ''
civitates In Ancient Rome In modern historiography, ancient Rome refers to Roman civilisation from the founding of the city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD. It encompasses the Roma ...
''. These administrative groupings would be taken over by the Romans in their system of local control, and these ''civitates'' would also be the basis of France's eventual division into ecclesiastical bishoprics and dioceses, which would remain in place—with slight changes—until the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, ...
. Although the clans were moderately stable political entities, Gaul as a whole tended to be politically divided, there being virtually no unity among the various clans. Only during particularly trying times, such as the
invasion An invasion is a Offensive (military), military offensive in which large numbers of combatants of one geopolitics, geopolitical Legal entity, entity aggressively enter territory (country subdivision), territory owned by another such entity, gen ...
of Caesar, could the Gauls unite under a single leader like Vercingetorix. Even then, however, the faction lines were clear. The Romans divided Gaul broadly into ''Provincia'' (the conquered area around the Mediterranean), and the northern Gallia Comata ("free Gaul" or "long-haired Gaul"). Caesar divided the people of Gallia Comata into three broad groups: the ''Aquitani''; ''Galli'' (who in their own language were called ''Celtae''); and ''Belgae''. In the modern sense, Gaulish peoples are defined linguistically, as speakers of dialects of the Gaulish language. While the Aquitani were probably Vascons, the Belgae would thus probably be a mixture of Celtic and Germanic elements. Julius Caesar, in his book, '' The Gallic Wars'' wrote,


Religion

The Gauls practiced a form of
animism Animism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around prese ...
, ascribing human characteristics to lakes, streams, mountains, and other natural features and granting them a quasi-divine status. Also, worship of animals was not uncommon; the animal most sacred to the Gauls was the
boar The wild boar (''Sus scrofa''), also known as the wild swine, common wild pig, Eurasian wild pig, or simply wild pig, is a Suidae, suid native to much of Eurasia and North Africa, and has been introduced to the Americas and Oceania. The speci ...
which can be found on many Gallic military standards, much like the Roman eagle. Their system of gods and goddesses was loose, there being certain deities which virtually every Gallic person worshipped, as well as clan and household gods. Many of the major gods were related to Greek gods; the primary god worshipped at the time of the arrival of Caesar was
Teutates Toutatis or Teutates is a Celtic god The God (male deity), gods and goddesses of the pre-Christian Celts, Celtic peoples are known from a variety of sources, including ancient places of worship, statues, engravings, cult objects and place or p ...
, the Gallic equivalent of Mercury. The "ancestor god" of the Gauls was identified by Julius Caesar in his ''Commentarii de Bello Gallico'' with the Roman god
Dis Pater Dis, DIS or variants may refer to: Arts and entertainment Music * Dis (album), ''Dis'' (album), by Jan Garbarek, 1976 * ''Dís'', a soundtrack album by Jóhann Jóhannsson, 2004 * "Dis", a song by The Gazette from the 2003 album ''Hankou Seimeib ...
. Perhaps the most intriguing facet of Gallic religion is the practice of the
Druids A druid was a member of the high-ranking class in ancient Celtic cultures. Druids were religious leaders as well as legal authorities, adjudicators, lorekeepers, medical professionals and political advisors. Druids left no written accounts. Whi ...
. The druids presided over human or animal sacrifices that were made in wooded groves or crude temples. They also appear to have held the responsibility for preserving the annual agricultural calendar and instigating seasonal festivals which corresponded to key points of the lunar-solar calendar. The religious practices of druids were syncretic and borrowed from earlier pagan traditions, with probably indo-European roots. Julius Caesar mentions in his Gallic Wars that those Celts who wanted to make a close study of druidism went to Britain to do so. In a little over a century later, Gnaeus Julius Agricola mentions Roman armies attacking a large druid sanctuary in
Anglesey Anglesey (; cy, (Ynys) Môn ) is an island off the north-west coast of Wales. It forms a Local government in Wales, principal area known as the Isle of Anglesey, that includes Holy Island, Anglesey, Holy Island across the narrow Cymyran Strai ...
in Wales. There is no certainty concerning the origin of the druids, but it is clear that they vehemently guarded the secrets of their order and held sway over the people of Gaul. Indeed, they claimed the right to determine questions of war and peace, and thereby held an "international" status. In addition, the Druids monitored the religion of ordinary Gauls and were in charge of educating the aristocracy. They also practiced a form of excommunication from the assembly of worshippers, which in ancient Gaul meant a separation from secular society as well. Thus the Druids were an important part of Gallic society. The nearly complete and mysterious disappearance of the Celtic language from most of the territorial lands of ancient Gaul, with the exception of Brittany, can be attributed to the fact that Celtic druids refused to allow the Celtic oral literature or traditional wisdom to be committed to the written letter.


See also

*
Ambiorix Ambiorix (Gaulish "king of the surroundings", or "king-protector") ( 54–53 BC) was, together with Cativolcus, prince of the Eburones, leader of a Belgae, Belgic tribe of north-eastern Gaul (Gallia Belgica), where modern Belgium is located. In ...
* '' Asterix''—a French comic about Gaul and Rome, mainly set in 50 BC * Bog body *
Braccae is the Latin term for "trousers", and in this context is today used to refer to a style of trousers made from wool. According to the Romans, this style of clothing originated from the Gauls. were typically made with a drawstring, and tended to ...
—trousers, typical Gallic dress *
Cisalpine Gaul Cisalpine Gaul ( la, Gallia Cisalpina, also called ''Gallia Citerior'' or ''Gallia Togata'') was the part of Italy inhabited by Celts (Gauls) during the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. After its conquest by the Roman Republic in the 200s BC it was con ...
*
Galatia Galatia (; grc, Γαλατία, ''Galatía'', "Gaul") was an ancient area in the highlands of central Anatolia, roughly corresponding to the Provinces of Turkey, provinces of Ankara Province, Ankara and Eskişehir Province, Eskişehir, in mode ...
*
Lugdunum Lugdunum (also spelled Lugudunum, ; modern Lyon, France) was an important Colonia (Roman), Roman city in Gaul, established on the current site of Lyon, France, Lyon. The Roman city was founded in 43 BC by Lucius Munatius Plancus, but contin ...
*
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman peo ...
* Roman villas in northwestern Gaul


References


Sources

* * *


External links

{{Authority control Historical regions