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The Gauls ( la, Galli; grc, Γαλάται, ''Galátai'') were a group of Celtic peoples of
mainland Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regio ...
in the
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 ...
and the
Roman period The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
(roughly 5th century BC to 5th century AD). Their homeland was known as
Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe first described by the Romans. It was inhabited by Celts, Celtic and Aquitani tribes, encompassing present-day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, most of Switzerland, parts of Northern Italy (only dur ...
(''Gallia''). They spoke
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 ...
, a continental Celtic language. The Gauls emerged around the 5th century BC as bearers of La Tène culture north and west of the
Alps The Alps () ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps ; sl, Alpe . are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, stretching approximately across seven Alpine countries (from west to east): France, Swi ...
. By the 4th century BC, they were spread over much of what is now
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 ...
,
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 ...
,
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 ...
,
Southern Germany Southern Germany () is a region of Germany which has no exact boundary, but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken, historically the stem duchy, stem duchies of Duchy of Bavaria, Bavaria and Duchy of Sw ...
,
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, ...
, and the
Czech Republic The Czech Republic, or simply Czechia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Historically known as Bohemia, it is bordered by Austria to the south, Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, and Slovakia to the southeast. The Cz ...
, by virtue of controlling the trade routes along the river systems of the Rhône,
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, ...
,
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 ...
, and
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is a river that was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire and today connects 10 European countries, running through their territories or being a border. Originating in Germany, the Danube flows southeast for , pa ...
. They reached the peak of their power in the 3rd century BC. During the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, the Gauls expanded into
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 ...
(
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 ...
), leading to the
Roman–Gallic wars The Roman-Gallic Wars were a series of conflicts between the forces of 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 W ...
, and into the Balkans, leading to war with the Greeks. These latter Gauls eventually settled in
Anatolia Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
, becoming known as Galatians. After the end of the
First Punic War The First Punic War (264–241 BC) was the first of Punic Wars, three wars fought between Roman Republic, Rome and Ancient Carthage, Carthage, the two main powers of the western Mediterranean in the early 3rd century BC. For 23 years ...
, the rising
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 ...
increasingly put pressure on the Gallic
sphere of influence In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence (SOI) is a spatial region or concept division over which a state or organization has a level of cultural, economic, military or political exclusivity. While there may be a formal al ...
. The Battle of Telamon (225 BC) heralded a gradual decline of Gallic power during the 2nd century BC. The Romans eventually conquered Gaul in the
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 ...
(58–50 BC), making it 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 Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. Each province was ruled ...
, which brought about the hybrid
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 ...
. The Gauls were made up of many
tribes The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human social group. The predominant worldwide usage of the term in English language, English is in the discipline of anthropology. This definition is contested, in p ...
(''toutās''), many of whom built large fortified settlements called
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 ...
(such as
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 ...
), and minted their own coins. Gaul was never united under a single ruler or government, but the Gallic tribes were capable of uniting their armies in large-scale
military operations A military operation is the coordinated military actions of a state (polity), state, or a non-state actor, in response to a developing situation. These actions are designed as a military plan to resolve the situation in the state or actor's favor ...
, such as those led by Brennus 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 ...
. They followed an
ancient Celtic religion Ancient Celtic religion, commonly known as Celtic paganism, was the religion of the ancient Celtic peoples of Europe. Because the ancient Celts did not have writing, evidence about their religion is gleaned from archaeology, Greco-Roman accounts ...
overseen by
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. The Gauls also produced the
Coligny calendar The Coligny calendar is a second century Celtic calendar found in 1897 in Coligny, Ain, Coligny, France. It is a lunisolar calendar with a five-year cycle of 62 months. It has been used to reconstruct the ancient Celtic calendar. The letter ...
.


Name

The
ethnonym An ethnonym () is a name applied to a given ethnic group. Ethnonyms can be divided into two categories: exonyms (whose name of the ethnic group has been created by another group of people) and autonyms, or endonyms (whose name is created and used ...
''Galli'' is generally derived from a Celtic root *''gal''- 'power, ability' (cf.
Old Breton Breton (, ; or in Morbihan) is a Southwestern Brittonic language, Southwestern Brittonic languages, Brittonic language of the Celtic languages, Celtic language family spoken in Brittany, part of modern-day France. It is the only Celtic languag ...
''gal'' 'power, ability', Irish ''gal'' 'bravery, courage'). Brittonic reflexes give evidence of an n-stem *''gal-n-'', with the regular development *''galn''- > ''gall''- (cf.
Middle Welsh Middle Welsh ( cy, Cymraeg Canol, wlm, Kymraec) is the label attached to the Welsh language of the 12th to 15th centuries, of which much more remains than for any earlier period. This form of Welsh developed directly from Old Welsh ( cy, Hen G ...
''gallu'',
Middle Breton Breton (, ; or in Morbihan) is a Southwestern Brittonic language, Southwestern Brittonic languages, Brittonic language of the Celtic languages, Celtic language family spoken in Brittany, part of modern-day France. It is the only Celtic languag ...
''gallout'' 'to be able', Cornish ''gallos'' 'power'). The ethnic names '' Galátai'' and '' Gallitae'', as well as Gaulish personal names such as ''Gallus'' or ''Gallius'', are also related. The modern French ''gaillard'' ('brave, vigorous, healthy') stems from the Gallo-Latin noun *''galia''- or ''*gallia-'' ('power, strength'). Linguist Václav Blažek has argued that Irish ''gall'' ('foreigner') and Welsh ''gâl'' ('enemy, hostile') may be later adaptations of the ethnic name ''Galli'' that were introduced to the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean off the north-western coast of continental Europe, consisting of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ...
during the 1st millennium AD. According to
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 ...
(mid-1st c. BC), the Gauls of the province of Gallia Celtica called themselves '' Celtae'' in their own language, and were called ''Galli'' in Latin. Romans indeed used the ethnic name ''Galli'' as synonym to ''Celtae''. The English ''Gaul'' does not come from Latin ''Galli'' but from Germanic ''*
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 ...
'', a term stemming from the Gallic ethnonym '' Volcae'' that came to designate more generally Celtic and Romance speakers in medieval Germanic languages (e.g. '' Welsh'', '' Waals'', ''
Vlachs "Vlach" ( or ), also "Wallachian" (and many other variants), is a historical term and exonym used from the Middle Ages until the Modern Era to designate mainly Romanians but also Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians, Istro-Romanians and other Eastern ...
'').


History


Origins and early history

Gaulish culture developed over the first millennium BC. The
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. 1300–750 BC) represents the Celts as a distinct cultural branch of the Indo-European-speaking people. The spread of iron working led to the
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 ...
in the 8th century BC; the
Proto-Celtic language Proto-Celtic, or Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto-language of all known Celtic languages, and a descendant of Proto-Indo-European. It is not attested in writing but has been partly Linguistic reconstruction, reconstructed through the compar ...
is often thought to have been spoken around this time. The Hallstatt culture evolved into La Tène culture in around the 5th century BC. 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 ...
and Etruscan civilizations and colonies began to influence the Gauls, especially in the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
area. Gauls under Brennus invaded Rome circa 390 BC. By the 5th century BC, the tribes later called Gauls had migrated from Central
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 ...
to the Mediterranean coast. Gallic invaders settled the
Po Valley The Po Valley, Po Plain, Plain of the Po, or Padan Plain ( it, Pianura Padana , or ''Val Padana'') is a major geographical feature of Northern Italy. It extends approximately in an east-west direction, with an area of including its Venetian P ...
in the 4th century BC, defeated Roman forces in a battle under Brennus in 390 BC, and raided
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) ...
as far south as
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...
. In the early 3rd century BC, the Gauls attempted an eastward expansion, toward the Balkan peninsula. At that time it was a
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 ...
province, and the Gauls' intent was to reach and loot the rich
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 ...
city-states of 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 ...
mainland. But the Greeks exterminated the majority of the Gallic army, and the few survivors were forced to flee. Many Gauls were recorded as serving in the armies of
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of Ancient Carthage, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in ...
during the
Punic Wars The Punic Wars were a series of wars between 264 and 146BC fought between Roman Republic, Rome and Ancient Carthage, Carthage. Three conflicts between these states took place on both land and sea across the western Mediterranean region and i ...
. One of the leading rebel leaders of the
Mercenary War The Mercenary War, also known as the Truceless War, was a mutiny by troops that were employed by Ancient Carthage, Carthage at the end of the First Punic War (264241 BC), supported by uprisings of African settlements revolting against C ...
, Autaritus, was of Gallic origin.


Balkan wars

During the Balkan expedition, led by Cerethrios, Brennos and Bolgios, the Gauls raided 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 ...
mainland twice. At the end of the second expedition the Gallic raiders had been repelled by the coalition armies of the various
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 ...
city-states and were forced to retreat to
Illyria In classical antiquity, Illyria (; grc, Ἰλλυρία, ''Illyría'' or , ''Illyrís''; la, Illyria, ''Illyricum'') was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by numerous tribes of people collectively known as the Illyr ...
and
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
, but the Greeks were forced to grant safe passage to the Gauls who then made their way to
Asia Minor Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
and settled in
Central Anatolia The Central Anatolia Region ( tr, İç Anadolu Bölgesi) is a Geographical regions of Turkey, geographical region of Turkey. The largest city in the region is Ankara. Other big cities are Konya, Kayseri, Eskişehir, Sivas, and Aksaray. Located i ...
. The Gallic area of settlement in Asia Minor was called
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 ...
; there they created widespread havoc. But they were checked through the use of
war elephants A war elephant was an elephant that was Animal training, trained and guided by humans for combat. The war elephant's main use was to charge (warfare), charge the enemy, break their ranks and instill terror and fear. Elephantry is a term for spe ...
and skirmishers by the Greek
Seleucid The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Ancient Greece, Greek state in West Asia that existed during the Hellenistic period from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Seleucid Empire was ...
king
Antiochus I Antiochus I Soter ( grc-gre, Ἀντίοχος Σωτήρ, ''Antíochos Sōtér''; "Antiochus the Saviour"; c. 324/32 June 261 BC) was a Ancient Greece, Greek king of the Seleucid Empire. Antiochus succeeded his father Seleucus I Nicator in 281 B ...
in 275 BC, after which they served as mercenaries across the whole
Hellenistic In Classical antiquity, the Hellenistic period covers the time in History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history after Classical Greece, between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as sig ...
Eastern Mediterranean Eastern Mediterranean is a loose definition of the East, eastern approximate One half, half, or third, of the Mediterranean Sea, often defined as the countries around the Levantine Sea. It typically embraces all of that sea's coastal zones, refe ...
, including Ptolemaic Egypt, where they, under
Ptolemy II Philadelphus Ptolemy II Philadelphus ( gr, Πτολεμαῖος Φιλάδελφος ''Ptolemaios Philadelphos'', "Ptolemy, sibling-lover"; 309 – 28 January 246 BC), also known posthumously as Ptolemy the Great, was the pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt from 284 to ...
(285-246 BC), attempted to seize control of the kingdom. In the first Gallic invasion of Greece (279 BC), they defeated the Macedonians and killed the
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...
ian
king King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contempora ...
Ptolemy Keraunos Ptolemy Ceraunus ( grc-gre, Πτολεμαῖος Κεραυνός ; c. 319 BC – January/February 279 BC) was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty and briefly king of Macedon. As the son of Ptolemy I Soter, he was originally heir to the thron ...
. They then focused on looting the rich Macedonian countryside, but avoided the heavily fortified cities. The Macedonian general
Sosthenes Sosthenes (Greek: Σωσθένης, ''Sōsthénēs'', "safe in strength") was the chief ruler of the synagogue at Ancient Corinth#Biblical Corinth, Corinth, who, according to the Acts of the Apostles, was seized and beaten by the mob in the prese ...
assembled an army, defeated Bolgius and repelled the invading Gauls. In the second Gaulish invasion of Greece (278 BC), the Gauls, led by Brennos, suffered heavy losses while facing 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 ...
coalition army at
Thermopylae Thermopylae (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following peri ...
, but helped by the Heracleans they followed the mountain path around Thermopylae to encircle 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 ...
army in the same way that the Persian army had done at the
Battle of Thermopylae The Battle of Thermopylae ( ; grc, Μάχη τῶν Θερμοπυλῶν, label=Ancient Greek, Greek, ) was fought in 480 BC between the Achaemenid Empire, Achaemenid Persian Empire under Xerxes I and an alliance of Polis, Greek city-states ...
in 480 BC, but this time defeating the whole of the Greek army. After passing Thermopylae the Gauls headed for the rich treasury at
Delphi Delphi (; ), in legend previously called Pytho (Πυθώ), in ancient times was a sacred precinct that served as the seat of Pythia, the major oracle who was consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. The oracle ...
, where they were defeated by the re-assembled Greek army. This led to a series of retreats of the Gauls, with devastating losses, all the way up to Macedonia and then out of the Greek mainland. The major part of the Gaul army was defeated in the process, and those Gauls survived were forced to flee from Greece. The Gallic leader Brennos was seriously injured at
Delphi Delphi (; ), in legend previously called Pytho (Πυθώ), in ancient times was a sacred precinct that served as the seat of Pythia, the major oracle who was consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. The oracle ...
and committed suicide there. (He is not to be confused with another Gaulish leader bearing the same name who had sacked
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg ...
a century earlier (390 BC).


Galatian war

In 278 BC Gaulish settlers in the Balkans were invited by
Nicomedes I of Bithynia Nicomedes I ( grc, Νικομήδης; lived c. 300 BC – c. 255 BC, ruled 278 BC – c. 255 BC), List of Kings of Bithynia, second king of Bithynia, was the eldest son of Zipoetes I of Bithynia, Zipoetes I, whom he succeeded on the throne in ...
to help him in a dynastic struggle against his brother. They numbered about 10,000 fighting men and about the same number of women and children, divided into three tribes, Trocmi, Tolistobogii and Tectosages. They were eventually defeated by the
Seleucid The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Ancient Greece, Greek state in West Asia that existed during the Hellenistic period from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Seleucid Empire was ...
king
Antiochus I Antiochus I Soter ( grc-gre, Ἀντίοχος Σωτήρ, ''Antíochos Sōtér''; "Antiochus the Saviour"; c. 324/32 June 261 BC) was a Ancient Greece, Greek king of the Seleucid Empire. Antiochus succeeded his father Seleucus I Nicator in 281 B ...
(275 BC), in a battle in which the Seleucid war elephants shocked the Galatians. Although the momentum of the invasion was broken, the Galatians were by no means exterminated, and continued to demand tribute from the Hellenistic states of Anatolia to avoid war. 4,000 Galatians were hired as mercenaries by the Ptolemaic Egyptian king
Ptolemy II Philadelphus Ptolemy II Philadelphus ( gr, Πτολεμαῖος Φιλάδελφος ''Ptolemaios Philadelphos'', "Ptolemy, sibling-lover"; 309 – 28 January 246 BC), also known posthumously as Ptolemy the Great, was the pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt from 284 to ...
in 270 BC. According to
Pausanias Pausanias ( el, wikt:Παυσανίας, Παυσανίας) may refer to: *Pausanias of Athens, lover of the poet Agathon and a character in Plato's ''Symposium'' *Pausanias the Regent, Spartan general and regent of the 5th century BC *Pausanias of ...
, soon after arrival the Celts plotted “to seize Egypt”, and so Ptolemy marooned them on a deserted island in the
Nile River The Nile, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin language, Nobiin: Áman Dawū is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa. It flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile is the longest river in Africa and has historically been considered ...
. Galatians also participated at the victory at Raphia in 217 BC under
Ptolemy IV Philopator egy, Iwaennetjerwymenkhwy Setepptah Userkare Sekhemankhamun Clayton (2006) p. 208. , predecessor = Ptolemy III , successor = Ptolemy V , horus = ''ḥnw-ḳni sḫꜤi.n-sw-it.f'Khunuqeni sekhaensuitef'' The strong youth whose ...
, and continued to serve as mercenaries for the Ptolemaic dynasty until its demise in 30 BC. They sided with the renegade Seleucid prince Antiochus Hierax, who reigned in
Asia Minor Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
. Hierax tried to defeat king Attalus I of Pergamum (241–197 BC), but instead, the Hellenized cities united under Attalus's banner, and his armies inflicted a severe defeat upon the Galatians at the Battle of the Caecus River in 241 BC. After this defeat, the Galatians continued to be a serious threat to the states of Asia Minor. In fact, they continued to be a threat even after their defeat by Gnaeus Manlius Vulso in the
Galatian War The Galatian War was a war between the Galatian Gauls and the Roman Republic supported by their allies Attalid dynasty, Pergamum in 189 BC. The war was fought in Galatia in central Asia Minor, in present-day Turkey. The Romans had just defeated ...
(189 BC). Galatia declined and at times fell under Pontic ascendancy. They were finally freed by the
Mithridatic Wars The Mithridatic Wars were three conflicts fought by Roman Republic, Rome against the Kingdom of Pontus and its allies between 88 BC and 63 BC. They are named after Mithridates VI, the King of Pontus who initiated the hostilities after annexing th ...
, in which they supported Rome. In the settlement of 64 BC, Galatia became a
client state A client state, in international relations, is a State (polity), state that is economically, politically, and/or militarily subordinate to another more powerful state (called the "controlling state"). A client state may variously be described as ...
of the Roman empire, the old constitution disappeared, and three chiefs (wrongly styled "tetrarchs") were appointed, one for each tribe. But this arrangement soon gave way before the ambition of one of these tetrarchs, Deiotarus, a contemporary of
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...
and
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 ...
, who made himself master of the other two tetrarchies and was finally recognized by the Romans as 'king' of Galatia. The
Galatian language Galatian is an extinct Celtic languages, Celtic language once spoken by the Galatians (People), Galatians in Galatia, in central Anatolia (Asia, Asian part of modern Turkey), from the 3rd century BC up to at least the 4th century AD. Some source ...
continued to be spoken in central Anatolia until the 6th century.


Roman wars

In the
Second Punic War The Second Punic War (218 to 201 BC) was the second of Punic Wars, three wars fought between Ancient Carthage, Carthage and Roman Republic, Rome, the two main powers of the western Mediterranean Basin, Mediterranean in the 3rd century BC. For ...
the famous Carthaginian general
Hannibal Hannibal (; xpu, 𐤇𐤍𐤁𐤏𐤋, ''Ḥannibaʿl''; 247 – between 183 and 181 BC) was a Punic people, Carthaginian general and statesman who commanded the forces of Ancient Carthage, Carthage in their battle against the Roman ...
used Gallic mercenaries in his invasion of Italy. They played a part in some of his most spectacular victories, including the
battle of Cannae The Battle of Cannae () was a key engagement of the Second Punic War between the Roman Republic and Ancient Carthage, Carthage, fought on 2 August 216 BC near the ancient village of Cannae in Apulia, southeast Roman Italy, Italy. The Carthagini ...
. The Gauls were so prosperous by the 2nd century that the powerful Greek colony of Massilia had to appeal to the
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 ...
for defense against them. The Romans intervened in southern Gaul in 125 BC, and conquered the area eventually known as
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 ...
by 121 BC. In 58 BC
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 ...
launched the
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 ...
and had conquered the whole of Gaul by 51 BC. He noted that the Gauls (Celtae) were one of the three primary peoples in the area, along with the Aquitanians and 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 ...
. Caesar's motivation for the invasion seems to have been his need for gold to pay off his debts and for a successful military expedition to boost his political career. The people of Gaul could provide him with both. So much gold was looted from Gaul that after the war the price of gold fell by as much as 20%. While they were militarily just as brave 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. After the annexation of Gaul a mixed
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 ...
began to emerge.


Roman Gaul

After more than a century of
warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or paramilitary groups such as Mercenary, mercenaries, Insurgency, insurgents, and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violenc ...
, the
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 ...
s were subdued by the Romans in the early 2nd century BC. The
Transalpine Gaul Gallia Narbonensis (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 ...
s continued to thrive for another century, and joined the Germanic
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
Teutones 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 ...
in the
Cimbrian War The Cimbrian or Cimbric War (113–101 BC) was fought between the Roman Republic and the Germanic peoples, Germanic and Celts, Celtic tribes of the Cimbri and the Teutons, Ambrones and Tigurini, who migrated from the Jutland peninsula into Roman ...
, where they defeated and killed a
Roman consul A consul held the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic ( to 27 BC), and ancient Romans considered the consulship the second-highest level of the ''cursus honorum'' (an ascending sequence of public offices to which politic ...
at Burdigala in 107 BC, and later became prominent among the rebelling gladiators in the
Third Servile War The Third Servile War, also called the Gladiator War and the War of Spartacus by Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; – after AD 119) was a Greek people, Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platoni ...
. The Gauls were finally conquered by
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 ...
in the 50s BC despite a rebellion by 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 ...
an chieftain
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 ...
. During the
Roman period The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
the Gauls became assimilated into
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 ...
and by expanding
Germanic tribes The Germanic peoples were historical groups of people that once occupied Central Europe and Scandinavia during antiquity and into the early Middle Ages. Since the 19th century, they have traditionally been defined by the use of ancient and ear ...
. During the
crisis of the third century The Crisis of the Third Century, also known as the Military Anarchy or the Imperial Crisis (AD 235–284), was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed. The crisis ended due to the military victories of Aurelian and with the ascensio ...
, there was briefly a breakaway
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 ...
founded by the Batavian general
Postumus Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus was a Roman commander of Batavi (Germanic tribe), Batavian origin, who ruled as Emperor of the splinter state of the Roman Empire known to modern historians as the Gallic Empire. The Roman army in Gaul threw ...
.


Physical appearance

4th-century Roman historian
Ammianus Marcellinus Ammianus Marcellinus (occasionally anglicised as Ammian) (born , died 400) was a Roman soldier and historian A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned wit ...
wrote that the Gauls were tall, light-skinned, light-haired, and light-eyed:
Almost all Gauls are tall and fair-skinned, with reddish hair. Their savage eyes make them fearful objects; they are eager to quarrel and excessively truculent. When, in the course of a dispute, any of them calls in his wife, a creature with gleaming eyes much stronger than her husband, they are more than a match for a whole group of foreigners; especially when the woman, with swollen neck and gnashing teeth, swings her great white arms and begins to deliver a rain of punches mixed with kicks, like missiles launched by the twisted strings of a catapult.
1st-century BC Greek historian Diodorus Siculus described them as tall, generally heavily built, very light-skinned, and light-haired, with long hair and mustaches:
The Gauls are tall of body, with rippling muscles, and white of skin, and their hair is blond, and not only naturally so, but they make it their practice to increase the distinguishing color by which nature has given it. For they are always washing their hair in limewater, and they pull it back from their forehead to the top of the head and back to the nape of the neck... Some of them shave their beards, but others let it grow a little; and the nobles shave their cheeks, but they let the mustache grow until it covers the mouth.
Jordanes Jordanes (), also written as Jordanis or Jornandes, was a 6th-century Eastern Roman bureaucrat widely believed to be of Goths, Gothic descent who became a historian later in life. Late in life he wrote two works, one on Roman history (''Romana ...
, in his '' Origins and Deeds of the Goths'', indirectly describes the Gauls as light-haired and large-bodied by comparing them to
Caledonians The Caledonians (; la, Caledones or '; grc-gre, Καληδῶνες, ''Kalēdōnes'') or the Caledonian Confederacy were a Brittonic languages, Brittonic-speaking (Insular Celts, Celtic) tribal confederacy in what is now Scotland during the ...
, as a contrast to the Spaniards, who he compared to the
Silures The Silures ( , ) were a powerful and warlike tribe or tribal confederation of Iron Age Britain, ancient Britain, occupying what is now south east Wales and perhaps some adjoining areas. They were bordered to the north by the Ordovices; to the e ...
. He speculates based on this comparison that the Britons originated from different peoples, including said Gauls and Spaniards.
The Silures have swarthy features and are usually born with curly black hair, but the inhabitants of Caledonia have reddish hair and large loose-jointed bodies. They he Britonsare like the Gauls and the Spaniards, according as they are opposite either nation. Hence some have supposed that from these lands the island received its inhabitants.
In the novel ''Satyricon'' by Roman courtier Gaius Petronius, a Roman character sarcastically suggests that he and his partner "chalk our faces so that Gaul may claim us as her own" in the midst of a rant outlining the problems with his partner's plan of using
blackface Blackface is a form of theatrical makeup used predominantly by non-Black people, Black people to portray a caricature of a Black person. In the United States, the practice became common during the 19th century and contributed to the spread of ...
to impersonate
Aethiopia Ancient Aethiopia, ( gr, Αἰθιοπία, Aithiopía; also known as Ethiopia) first appears as a geographical term in classical documents in reference to the upper Nile region of Sudan, as well as certain areas south of the Sahara desert. Its ...
ns. This suggests that Gauls were thought of on average to be much paler than Romans.


Culture

All over Gaul, archeology has uncovered many pre-Roman gold mines (at least 200 in the Pyrenees), suggesting they were very rich, also evidenced by large finds of gold coins and artefacts. Also there existed highly developed population centers, called ''oppida'' by Caesar, such as
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 ...
, Gergovia,
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 ...
, Alesia,
Bibrax Bibrax is a Gauls, Gallic oppidum (fortified settlement). Its position has long been debated, but the oppidum is now almost certainly identified with the site of Saint-Thomas, Aisne, Saint-Thomas (Aisne). History The oppidum, occupied by the R ...
,
Manching Manching is a Municipalities of Germany, municipality in the Pfaffenhofen (district), district of Pfaffenhofen, in Bavaria, Germany. It is situated on the river Paar, 7 km southeast of Ingolstadt. In the late Iron Age, there was a Celtic sett ...
and others. Modern archeology strongly suggests that the countries of Gaul were quite civilized and very wealthy. Most had contact with Roman merchants and some, particularly those that were governed by Republics such as 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 ...
,
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 ...
and others, had enjoyed stable political alliances with Rome. They imported Mediterranean wine on an industrial scale, evidenced by large finds of wine vessels in digs all over Gaul, the largest and most famous of which being the one discovered in
Vix Grave The Vix Grave is a burial mound Burial, also known as interment or inhumation, is a method of final disposition whereby a dead body is placed into the ground, sometimes with objects. This is usually accomplished by excavating a pit or tr ...
, which stands 1.63 m (5′ 4″) high.


Art

Gallic art corresponds to two archaeological material cultures: the
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 ...
(c. 1200–450 BC) and the La Tène culture (c. 450–1 BC). Each of these eras has a characteristic style, and while there is much overlap between them, the two styles recognizably differ. From the late Hallstatt onwards and certainly through the entirety of La Tène, Gaulish art is reckoned to be the beginning of what is called Celtic art today. After the end of the La Tène and from the beginning of Roman rule, Gaulish art evolved into Gallo-Roman culture#Gallo-Roman art, Gallo-Roman art. Hallstatt decoration is mostly geometric and linear, and is best seen on fine metalwork finds from graves. Animals, with waterfowl a particular favorite, are often included as part of ornamentation, more often than humans. Commonly found objects include weapons, in latter periods often with hilts terminating in curving forks ("antenna hilts"), and jewelry, which include fibula (brooch), fibulae, often with a row of disks hanging down on chains, armlets, and some torcs. Though these are most often found in bronze, some examples, likely belonging to chieftains or other preeminent figures, are made of gold. Decorated situlae and bronze belt plates show influence from Ancient Greek art, Greek and Etruscan art, Etruscan figurative traditions. Many of these characteristics were continued into the succeeding La Tène style. La Tène metalworking, metalwork in bronze, iron and gold, developing technologically out of the Hallstatt culture, is stylistically characterized by "classical vegetable and foliage motifs such as leafy palmette forms, vines, tendrils and lotus flowers together with spirals, S-scrolls, lyre and trumpet shapes". Such decoration may be found on fine bronze vessels, helmets and shields, horse trappings, and elite jewelry, especially torcs and fibulae. Early on, La Tène style adapted ornamental motifs from foreign cultures into something distinctly new; the complicated brew of influences include Scythian art as well as that of the Greeks and Etruscans, among others. The Achaemenid Empire, Achaemenid occupation of
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
and Macedonia (ancient kingdom), Macedonia around 500 BC is a factor of uncertain importance. File:Parade helmet.jpg, Agris Helmet. Discovered in Agris, Charente, France, 350 BC File:Gold torque 1.jpg, A 24 carat Celtic "torc", discovered in the grave of the "Lady of Vix", Burgundy (region), Burgundy, France, 480 BC File:Ceinture en or MAN.jpg, A belt made of of pure gold, discovered in Guînes, France, 1200–1000 BC File:Aurillac bracelet celte C des M.jpg, Celtic gold bracelet found in Cantal, France File:Casque d'Amfreville Eure arrière.jpg, Celtic helmet decorated with gold "triskeles", found in Amfreville-sous-les-Monts, France, 400 BC File:CarnyxDeTintignac2.jpg, Celtic war trumpet named "carnyx" found in the Gallic sanctuary of Tintignac, Corrèze, France. File:Casque cygne Tintignac.jpg, Celtic bronze helmet in the shape of swan found in Tintignac, Corrèze, France. File:Chatillon-sur-Seine - Musée du Pays chatillonnais - Cratère de Vix - 012 (cropped).jpg, The Vix krater, discovered in the grave of the "Lady of Vix", in northern Burgundy (region), Burgundy, France, 500 BC File:Celtic Stater Coriosolites.jpg, Gaul, Curiosolites coin showing stylized head and horse (c. 100–50 BC) File:Celtic Stater Armorica Moon Head.jpg, Gaul, Armorica coin showing stylized head and horse (Jersey moon head style, c. 100–50 BC)


Social structure

Gaulish society was dominated by 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 ...
priestly class. The druids were not the only political force, however, and the early political system was complex. The fundamental unit of Gallic politics was the tribe, which itself consisted of one or more of what Caesar called "pagi". Each tribe had a council of elders, and initially a king. Later, the executive was an annually-elected magistrate. Among 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 ...
tribe the executive held the title of "Vergobret", a position much like a king, but its powers were held in check by rules laid down by the council. The tribal groups, or ''pagi'' as the Romans called them (singular: ''pagus''; the French word ''pays'', "country", comes from this term) were organized into larger super-tribal groups that the Romans called ''civitates''. 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 List of Ancien Régime dioceses of France, ecclesiastical bishoprics and dioceses, which would remain in place—with slight changes—until the French Revolution imposed the modern Departments of France, departmental system. Though the tribes were moderately stable political entities, Gaul as a whole tended to be politically divided, there being virtually no unity among the various tribes. Only during particularly trying times, such as the invasion of Caesar, could the Gauls unite under a single leader like
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 ...
. 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 "wooded Gaul"). Caesar divided the people of Gaulia Comata into three broad groups: the ''Aquitani''; ''Galli'' (who in their own language were called ''Celtae''); and ''Belgae''. In the modern sense, List of peoples of Gaul, Gallic tribes are defined linguistically, as speakers of Gaulish. While the Aquitani were probably Vascons, 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 ...
would thus probably be counted among the Gauls tribes, perhaps with Germanic elements.
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 ...
, in his book, ''Commentarii de Bello Gallico'', comments:


Language

Gaulish or Gallic is the name given to the Celtic language spoken in
Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe first described by the Romans. It was inhabited by Celts, Celtic and Aquitani tribes, encompassing present-day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, most of Switzerland, parts of Northern Italy (only dur ...
before Latin took over. According to Caesar's ''Commentarii de Bello Gallico, Commentaries on the Gallic War'', it was one of three languages in Gaul, the others being Aquitanian language, Aquitanian and Belgae, Belgic. In Gallia Transalpina, a Roman province by the time of Caesar, Latin was the language spoken since at least the previous century. Gaulish is paraphyletically grouped with Celtiberian language, Celtiberian, Lepontic language, Lepontic, and Galatian language, Galatian as Continental Celtic. Lepontic and Galatian are sometimes considered dialects of Gaulish. The exact time of the final extinction of Gaulish is unknown, but it is estimated to be around or shortly after the middle of the 1st millennium. Gaulish may have survived in some regions as the mid to late 6th century in France. Despite considerable Romanization of the local material culture, the Gaulish language is held to have survived and had coexisted with spoken Latin during the centuries of Roman rule of Gaul. Coexisting with Latin, Gaulish played a role in shaping the Vulgar Latin dialects that developed into French, with effects including loanwords and calques, sound changes shaped by Gaulish influence, as well as in conjugation and word order. Recent work in computational simulation suggests that Gaulish played a role in gender shifts of words in Early French, whereby the gender would shift to match the gender of the corresponding Gaulish word with the same meaning.


Religion

Like other Celtic peoples, the Gauls had a Ancient Celtic religion, polytheistic religion. Evidence about their religion is gleaned from archaeology and Greco-Roman accounts.Miranda Aldhouse-Green, Green, Miranda (2012). "Chapter 25: The Gods and the supernatural", ''The Celtic World''. Routledge. pp.465–485 Some Celtic deities, deities were venerated only in one region, but others were more widely known. The Gauls seem to have had a father god, who was often a god of the tribe and of the dead (Toutatis probably being one name for him); and a mother goddess who was associated with the land, earth and fertility (Dea Matrona, Matrona probably being one name for her). The mother goddess could also take the form of a war goddess as Tutelary deity, protectress of her tribe and its land. There also seems to have been a male celestial god—identified with Taranis—associated with thunder, the wheel, and the bull. There were gods of skill and craft, such as the pan-regional god Lugus, and the smith god Gobannos. Gallic healing deities were often associated with sacred springs, such as Sirona and Borvo. Other pan-regional deities include the horned god Cernunnos, the horse and fertility goddess Epona, Ogmios, Sucellos and his companion Nantosuelta. Caesar says the Gauls believed they all descended from a god of the dead and underworld, whom he likened to Dīs Pater. Some Triple deity, deities were seen as threefold,Marie-Louise Sjoestedt, Sjoestedt, Marie-Louise (originally published in French, 1940, reissued 1982). ''Gods and Heroes of the Celts''. Translated by Myles Dillon, Turtle Island Foundation , pp. 16, 24–46. like Matres and Matronae, the Three Mothers.Inse Jones, Prudence, and Nigel Pennick. ''History of pagan Europe''. London: Routledge, 1995. Print. According to Miranda Aldhouse-Green, the Celts were also Celtic Animism, animists, believing that every part of the natural world had a spirit. Greco-Roman writers say the Gauls believed in reincarnation. Diodorus says they believed souls were reincarnated after a certain number of years, probably after spending time in an afterlife, and noted they buried grave goods with the dead. Gallic religious ceremonies were overseen by priests known as
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, who also served as judges, teachers, and lore-keepers.Sjoestedt (1982) pp. xxvi–xix. There is evidence that the Gauls Animal sacrifice, sacrificed animals, almost always livestock. An example is the sanctuary at Gournay-sur-Aronde. It appears some were offered wholly to the gods (by burying or burning), while some were shared between gods and humans (part eaten and part offered). There is also some evidence that the Gauls Human sacrifice, sacrificed humans, and some Greco-Roman sources claim the Gauls sacrificed criminals by Death by burning, burning them in a wicker man. The Romans said the Gauls held ceremonies in sacred groves and other Sacred natural site, natural shrines, called nemetons. Celtic peoples often made votive offerings: treasured items deposited in water and wetlands, or in ritual shafts and wells, often in the same place over generations. Among the Romans and Greeks, the Gauls had a reputation as Headhunting, head hunters. There is archaeological evidence of a "head cult" among the Gallic Salyes, who embalmed and displayed severed heads, for example at Entremont (oppidum), Entremont. The Roman conquest gave rise to a syncretic Gallo-Roman religion, with deities such as Lenus, Lenus Mars, Grannus, Apollo Grannus, and the pairing of Rosmerta with Mercury (mythology), Mercury.


List of Gaulish tribes

The Gauls were made up of many tribes who controlled a particular territory and often built large fortified settlements called oppida. After completing the conquest of Gaul, the Roman Empire made most of these tribes ''civitates''. The geographical subdivisions of the early church in Gaul were then based on these, and continued as List of Ancien Régime dioceses of France, French dioceses until the French Revolution. The following is a list of recorded Gaulish tribes, in both Latin and the reconstructed Gaulish language (*), as well as their capitals during the Roman period.


Modern reception

The Gauls played a certain role in the national historiography and national identity of modern
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 ...
. Attention given to the Gauls as the founding population of the French nation was traditionally second to that enjoyed by the Franks, out of whose kingdom of the Franks, kingdom the historical kingdom of France arose under the Capetian dynasty; for example, Charles de Gaulle is on record as stating, "For me, the history of France begins with Clovis I, Clovis, elected as king of France by the tribe of the Franks, who gave their name to France. Before Clovis, we have Gallo-Roman and Gaulish prehistory. The decisive element, for me, is that Clovis was the first king to have been baptized a Christian. My country is a Christian country and I reckon the history of France beginning with the accession of a Christian king who bore the name of the Franks." However, the dismissal of "Gaulish prehistory" as irrelevant for French national identity has been far from universal. Pre-Roman Gaul has been evoked as a template for French independence especially during the Third French Republic (1870–1940). An iconic phrase summarizing this view is that of "our ancestors the Gauls" (''nos ancêtres les Gaulois''), associated with the history textbook for schools by Ernest Lavisse (1842–1922), who taught that "the Romans established themselves in small numbers; the Franks were not numerous either, Clovis having but a few thousand men with him. The basis of our population has thus remained Gaulish. The Gauls are our ancestors."''Les Romains qui vinrent s'établir en Gaule étaient en petit nombre. Les Francs n'étaient pas nombreux non plus, Clovis n'en avait que quelques milliers avec lui. Le fond de notre population est donc resté gaulois. Les Gaulois sont nos ancêtres.'' (cours moyen, p. 26). ''Astérix'', the popular series of French comics, French comic books following the exploits of a village of "indomitable Gauls", satirizes this view by combining scenes set in classical antiquity with modern ethnic stereotype, ethnic clichés of the French and other nations. Similarly, in Swiss national historiography of the 19th century, the Gaulish
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 ...
were chosen as representing the ancestral Swiss population (compare ''Helvetia'' as national allegory), as the Helvetii had settled in both the French and the German-speaking parts of Switzerland, and their Gaulish language set them apart from Latin- and German-speaking populations in equal measure.


Genetics

A genetic study published in ''PLOS One'' in December 2018 examined 45 individuals buried at a La Téne necropolis in Urville-Nacqueville, France. The people buried there were identified as Gauls. The mtDNA of the examined individuals belonged primarily to haplotypes of Haplogroup H (mtDNA), H and Haplogroup U (mtDNA), U. They were found to be carrying a large amount of steppe ancestry (originating near what is now Ukraine and southwestern Russia), and to have been closely related to peoples of the preceding Bell Beaker culture, suggesting genetic continuity between Bronze Age and Iron Age France. Significant gene flow with Great Britain and Iberia was detected. The results of the study partially supported the belief that French people are largely descended from the Gauls. A genetic study published in the ''Journal of Archaeological Science'' in October 2019 examined 43 maternal and 17 paternal lineages for the La Téne necropolis in Urville-Nacqueville, France, and 27 maternal and 19 paternal lineages for La Téne tumulus of Gurgy ‘Les Noisats’ near modern Paris, France. The examined individuals displayed strong genetic resemblance to peoples of the earlier Yamnaya culture, Corded Ware culture and Bell Beaker culture. They carried a diverse set of maternal lineages associated with steppe ancestry. The paternal lineages were on the other hand belonged entirely to haplogroup Haplogroup R (Y-DNA), R and Haplogroup R1b, R1b, both of whom are associated with steppe ancestry. The evidence suggested that the Gauls of the La Téne culture were patrilineal and patrilocal, which is in agreement with archaeological and literary evidence. A genetic study published in iScience in April 2022 examined 49 genomes from 27 sites in Bronze Age and Iron Age France. The study found evidence of strong genetic continuity between the two periods, particularly in southern France. The samples from northern and southern France were highly homogenous, with northern samples displaying links to contemporary samples form Great Britain and Sweden, and southern samples displaying links to Celtiberians. The northern French samples were distinguished from the southern ones by elevated levels of steppe-related ancestry. R1b was by far the most dominant paternal lineage, while H was the most common maternal lineage. The Iron Age samples resembled those of modern-day populations of France, Great Britain and Spain. The evidence suggested that the Gauls of the La Téne culture largely evolved from local Bronze Age populations.


See also

* List of Celtic tribes


Notes


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * *Laing, Lloyd and Jenifer. ''Art of the Celts'', Thames and Hudson, London 1992 * *Vincent Megaw, Megaw, Ruth and Vincent, ''Celtic Art'', 2001, Thames and Hudson, *Sandars, Nancy K., ''Prehistoric Art in Europe'', Penguin (Pelican, now Yale, History of Art), 1968 (nb 1st edn.) * *Wallace, Patrick F., O'Floinn, Raghnall eds. ''Treasures of the National Museum of Ireland: Irish Antiquities''


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Acy-Romance, the Gauls of Ardennes

Lattes, Languedoc and the Southern Gauls


{{Authority control Gauls, Celtic ethnolinguistic groups Historical Celtic peoples