The LIGURES (singular LIGUS or LIGUR; English : LIGURIANS, Greek :
Λίγυες) were an ancient Indo-European people who appear to have
originated in, and gave their name to,
Liguria , a region of
north-western Italy. Elements of the
Ligures appear to have migrated
to other areas of western Europe, including the Iberian peninsula.
The eastern hemisphere in the 3rd Century BC, prior to the Roman
Republic's incorporation of
Liguria (upper right).
Little is known of the Old Ligurian language . It is generally
believed to have been an Indo-European language with particularly
strong Celtic affinities, as well as similarities to Italic languages
. Only some proper names have survived, such as the inflectional
suffix -asca or -asco "village".
Because of the strong Celtic influences on their language and
culture, they were known in antiquity as CELTO-LIGURIANS (in Greek
* 1 History
* 2 Modern theories on origins
* 3 Tribes
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 6 Bibliography
Plutarch , the
Ligurians called themselves Ambrones,
which could indicate a relationship with the
Ambrones of northern
Strabo tells that they were of a different race from the Celts (by
which he means
Gauls ), who inhabited the rest of the Alps, though
they resembled them in their mode of life.
Aeschylus represents Hercules as contending with the
Ligures on the
stony plains, near the mouths of the Rhone, and
Herodotus speaks of
Ligures inhabiting the country above Massilia (modern
founded by the
Thucydides also speaks of the
Ligures having expelled the
an Iberian tribe, from the banks of the river Sicanus , in Iberia.
Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax
Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax describes the Ligyes (Ligures) as
living along the
Mediterranean coast from
Antibes ) as far as
the mouth of the
Rhone ; then intermingled with the
Iberians from the
Rhone to Emporion in Spain.
Ligures seem to have been ready to engage as mercenary troops in
the service of others. Ligurian auxiliaries are mentioned in the army
of the Carthaginian general Hamilcar I in 480 BC. Greek leaders in
Sicily continued to recruit their mercenary forces from the same
quarter as late as the time of Agathocles.
Ligures fought long and hard against the Romans , but as a result
of these hostilities many were displaced from their homeland and
eventually assimilated into Roman culture during the 2nd century BC.
Roman sources describe the
Ligurians as smaller framed than the Gauls,
but physically stronger, more ferocious and fiercer as warriors, hence
their reputation as mercenary troops.
Lucan in his
Pharsalia (c. 61 AD) described Ligurian tribes as being
long-haired, and their hair a shade of auburn (a reddish-brown):
...Ligurian tribes, now shorn, in ancient days
First of the long-haired nations, on whose necks
Once flowed the auburn locks in pride supreme.
People with Ligurian names were living south of Placentia , in Italy,
as late as 102 AD.
MODERN THEORIES ON ORIGINS
Traditional accounts suggested that the
Ligures represented the
northern branch of an ethno-linguistic layer older than, and very
different to, the proto-Italic peoples. It was widely believed that
that a "Ligurian-Sicanian" culture occupied a wide area of southern
Europe, stretching from
Liguria to Sicily and Iberia. However, while
any such area would be broadly similar to that of the paleo-European
"Tyrrhenian culture " hypothetised by later modern scholars, there are
no known links between the Tyrrenians and Ligurians.
In the 19th century, the origins of the
Ligures drew renewed
attention from scholars. Amédée Thierry , a French historian, linked
them to the
Iberians , while
Karl Müllenhoff , professor of Germanic
antiquities at the Universities of Kiel and Berlin, studying the
sources of the Ora maritima by
Latin poet who lived in the
4th century AD, but who used as a source for his own work a Phoenician
Periplum of the 6th century BC), held that the name 'Ligurians'
generically referred to various peoples who lived in
Western Europe ,
including the Celts, but thought the "real Ligurians" were a
Italian geologist and paleontologist
Arturo Issel considered
Ligurians as being direct descendants of the
Cro-Magnon men which
Gaul from the
Dominique-François-Louis Roget, Baron de Belloguet, claimed a
"Gallic " origin of the Ligurians. During the Iron Age the spoken
language, the main divinities and the workmanship of the artifacts
unearthed in the area of
Liguria (such as the numerous torcs found)
were similar to those of Celtic culture in both style and type.
Those in favor of an Indo-European origin included Henri d\'Arbois de
Jubainville , a 19th-century French historian, who argued the
Ligurians were the earliest Indo-European speakers of the Western
Europe. Jubainville's "Celto-Ligurian hypothesis", as it latter became
known, was significantly expanded in the second edition of his initial
study. It inspired a body of contemporary philological research, as
well as some archaeological work. The Celto-Ligurian hypothesis became
associated with the
Funnelbeaker culture and "expanded to cover much
of Central Europe".
Julius Pokorny adapted the Celto-Ligurian hypothesis into one linking
Ligures to the
Illyrians , citing an array of similar evidence
from Eastern Europe. Under this theory the "Ligures-Illyrians" became
associated with the prehistoric Urnfield peoples.
Numerous tribes of
Ligures are mentioned by ancient historians, among
* Alpini (or Montani) (in the hinterland of
Bagienni (or Vagienni) (in the area of
Bene Vagienna )
Briniates (or Boactes) (in the area of
* Cosmonates (in the area of
Castellazzo Bormida )
Deciates (in modern
Provence , west of the river Var )
Elisyces /Helisyces - a tribe that dwelt in the region of Narbo
Narbonne ) and modern northern
Roussillon . May have been either
Iberian or Ligurian or a Ligurian-Iberian tribe.
Friniates (in the area now called Frignano )
* Genuates (or Genuenses) (in and around
Ilvates (or Iluates) (if different from the Iriates ) (on the
* Iriates (or
Ilvates , Iluates?) (in the territory of
Voghera and Libarna )
* Langates (or Langenses) (north of the Genuates )
Lapicini (or Lapicinii)
Laevi (along the
Ticino River and in the area of
* Libici (or Libui)
* Magelli (or Mucelli) (in the
Mugello region )
* Marici (near the confluence of the rivers Orba , Bormida and
Oxybii (or Oxibii) (in modern
* Sabates (in the area of
Vado Ligure )
Salassi (Gallo -Ligurian people) (in and around
Aosta Valley )
Salluvii (or Saluvii) (if different from the
Salyes ) (in modern
Salyes (or Salii, or also Salluvii, Saluvii?) (in modern Provence
Statielli (or Statiellates) (in the valleys of the Orba , Bormida
and Tanaro )
* Sueltri (or Suelteri)
Taurisci ) (Gallo-Ligurian people) (in
* Tigulli (or Tigullii)
* Veiturii (west of the Genuates , in and around
* Veleiates (or Veliates) (between Veleia and Libarna )
In the island of
Corsica and far northeast
Sardinia dwelt a group of
tribes called Corsi , although they are classified as nuragic tribes
(that may have been related to the
Iberians , the
Aquitanians or to
Etruscans ) they also may have been a group of ligurian tribes,
Ilvates in the neighboring Ilva (
Elba ) island (nuragic
Sardinia , were not necessarily from the same
ethnic origin or spoke the same language):
* Belatones (Belatoni)
* Cilebenses (Cilibensi)
* Corsi Proper, they dwelt at the extreme north-east of
Tibulati and immediately north of the
* Cumanenses (Cumanesi)
* Lestricones /Lestrigones (Lestriconi/Lestrigoni)
* Longonenses (Longonensi)
Tibulati , they dwelt at the extreme north of Sardinia, about the
ancient city of
Tibula , near the Corsi (for whom
Corsica is named)
and immediately north of the
Ancient peoples of Italy
* ^ "Liguria", in William Smith (ed.), Dictionary of Greek and
Roman Geography (1854)
* ^ The suffixes -asca or -asco do not appear to be related to the
Celtic -brac, possibly meaning "swamp".
* ^ Baldi, Philip (2002). The Foundations of Latin. Walter de
Gruyter. p. 112.
* ^ A B Boardman, John (1988). The Cambridge ancient history:
Persia, Greece and the Western Mediterranean c. 525–479 BC. p. 716.
* ^ Strabo, Geography, book 2, chapter 5, section 28.
* ^ A B William Smith, ed. (1854). "Liguria". Dictionary of Greek
and Roman Geography.
* ^ Shipley, Graham (2008). "The Periplous of Pseudo-Scylax: An
Herodotus 7.165; Diodorus Siculus 11.1.
* ^ Diodorus Siculus 21.3.
* ^ Broadhead, William (2002). Internal migration and the
transformation of Republican Italy (PDF) (Ph.D.). University College
London. p. 15.
* ^ Lucan, Pharsalia, I. 496, translated by Edward Ridley (1896).
* ^ Sciarretta, Antonio (2010). Toponomastica d'Italia. Nomi di
luoghi, storie di popoli antichi. Milano: Mursia. pp. 174–194. ISBN
* ^ Amédée Thierry, Histoire des Gaulois depuis les temps les
* ^ Postumius Rufius Festus (qui et)
Avienius , Ora maritima,
129–133 (nel quale in modo oscuro indica i Liguri come abitanti a
nord delle "isole oestrymniche"; 205 (Liguri a nord della città di
Ophiussa nella penisola iberica); 284–285 (il fiume Tartesso
nascerebbe dalle "paludi ligustine").
* ^ Karl Viktor Müllenhoff, Deutsche Alterthurnskunde, I volume.
Liguria geologica e preistorica,
Genoa 1892, II
volume, pp. 356–357.
* ^ Dominique François Louis Roget de Belloguet, Ethnogénie
gauloise, ou Mémoires critiques sur l'origine et la parenté des
Cimmériens, des Cimbres, des Ombres, des Belges, des
Ligures et des
anciens Celtes. Troisiéme partie. Preuves intellectuelles. Le génie
gaulois, Paris 1868.
* ^ Gilberto Oneto Paesaggio e architettura delle regioni
padano-alpine dalle origini alla fine del primo millennio, Priuli e
Verlucc, editori 2002, pp. 34–36, 49.
* ^ See, in particular McEvedy 1967:29ff.
* ^ Henning, Andersen (2003). Language Contacts in Prehistory:
Studies in Stratigraphy. John Benjamins Publishing. pp. 16–17.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to LIGURES .
* ARSLAN E. A. 2004b, LVI.14 Garlasco, in I Liguri. Un antico popolo
europeo tra Alpi e Mediterraneo, Catalogo della Mostra (Genova,
23.10.2004-23.1.2005), Milano-Ginevra, pp. 429–431.
* ARSLAN E. A. 2004 c.s., Liguri e Galli in Lomellina, in I Liguri.
Un antico popolo europeo tra Alpi e Mediterraneo, Saggi Mostra
* Raffaele De Marinis , Giuseppina Spadea (a cura di), Ancora sui
Liguri. Un antico popolo europeo tra Alpi e Mediterraneo, De Ferrari
editore, Genova 2007 (scheda sul volume).
* John Patterson, Sanniti,Liguri e Romani,Comune di
* Giuseppina Spadea (a cura di), I Liguri. Un antico popolo europeo
tra Alpi e Mediterraneo" (catalogo mostra, Genova 2004–2005), Skira
editore, Genova 2004
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