Showing posts with label Gaul. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gaul. Show all posts

26 March 2015

Map: Gaul during Caesar's time

Published, edited, images added & annotations/comments by Kenneth S. Doig
Gaulish warrior on
(websource: Encyclopædia Orbis Latini)

written by L. A. Curchin 

When Cicero's brother Quintus was besieged by the Nervii in Gaul, Julius Caesar sent him a secret message -- in Greek, not Latin, so it could not be read by the enemy if they intercepted it. 
map showing various (mostly) Indo-European peoples/tribes, c.
500 BC
This is because the Latin and Gaulish languages were very similar to each other, whereas Greek was only a distant relation (and also had a different alphabet). 

Unfortunately the Gauls have left us no literature, so the two ancient European languages we normally study are Latin and Greek.

Despite the similarity, Gaulish was not an Italic language like Latin, but belonged to the Celtic language group, whose modern derivatives include Gaelic, Welsh and Irish. 

The ancient Celts were variously called Keltoi, Celtae, Galatae or Galli, which are really four different forms of the same name. 

Around 390 BC the Gauls sacked Rome. In 279 BC they attacked Delphi, and some of them settled in north-western Turkey: these were the Galatians, whose descendants received an epistle from St. Paul. 
map showing various Gaulish-Celtic tribes
in western Europe in antiquity
The western Celts lived mostly in northern Italy, France and Britain, and these were the 'Gauls' encountered by Caesar.

Our sketchy knowledge of the Gaulish language comes from notices in classical authors and from a small number of Gaulish inscriptions. The longest and most famous of these is the Coligny calendar, preserved on two bronze tablets found in 1897 at Bourg in eastern France. 

This is a lunar calendar with months of 29 days; the lunar time-reckoning of the Gauls is mentioned by Caesar (Gallic War 6.18).

Many Gaulish words closely resemble their Latin counterparts: 
Gaulish Latin
-cue and
es out of
are before
ver over
allos second
tarvos bull
tri three
more sea
rix king
tres, tria 
Caesar's civitates Aremoricae are those who live are more (= ante mare). His opponent Vercingetorix is the over-king (ver-rix) of warriors (cingetos = Irish cinged 'champion')

In the Coligny calendar, the verb divertomu appears at the end of each month and means 'we turn aside (to a different month)': its Latin equivalent is the very similar divertimus

The verb comeimu means 'we go together' (Latin con- 'together' + imus 'we go', from eo, ire).

The close similarity of Gaulish and Latin declensions is clear from this example:
-os /-us (earlier -os)
-i / -i
-u (earlier -o) / -o
-om / -um (earlier -om)
-os, / -oi -i (earlier -oi)
-om / -orum (earlier -om)
-obis / -is (earlier -ois)
-ons / -os (earlier -ons)
Some Gaulish words have no Latin equivalent, because they refer to things unknown at Rome: sapo "soap" (Romans used olive oil instead), cervesia 'beer' (Romans drank wine), tunna 'barrel' (Romans preferred clay storage jars), bracae 'trousers' (Romans wore a toga or tunic). 

Our word 'beaver' is related to beber, the Gaulish name for this animal, from which comes the Gaulish town-name Bibracte. (The Roman equivalent, castor, is possibly the origin of our 'castor' oil, which has a certain resemblance to a nauseous, bitter-tasting oily medicine formerly extracted from the bodies of beavers.)

The similarity of Gaulish to Latin helped it to disappear. Under Roman rule, the Gauls found it relatively easy to learn Latin, and eventually forgot their own language. 

By the Late Empire, when Gaul was overrun by the Germanic Franks, Gaulish was close to extinct. This explains why modern French is based on Latin and Frankish rather than Gaulish.
© L. A. Curchin 

24 August 2013

Caesar's "Commentarii de Bello Gallico" / "Commentaries on the Gallic War"

Published, edited, images added & commentary (in redletter) by Kenneth S. Doig
Commentarii de Bello Gallico (English: Commentaries on the Gallic War) is Julius Caesar's firsthand account of the Gallic Wars, written as a third-person narrative.

In it Caesar describes the battles and intrigues that took place in the nine years he spent fighting local armies in Gaul that opposed Roman domination.

The "Gaul" that Caesar refers to is sometimes all of Gaul except for the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis(modern-day Provence), encompassing the rest of modern France, Belgium and some of Switzerland.

30 July 2013

Kelts:From Proto-Indo-Europeans (kin to the Skyths, Massagetae, Italics) to Proto-Celts to the founding fathers of most of Europe



Part I: Their Origins and Prehistoryby Nick Griffin, M.A. (Hons.), Cantab.


"The whole nation is war-mad, both high-spirited and ready for battle, but otherwise simple, though not uncultured."-- Strabo, 1st century AD. geographer"Golden is their hair and golden their garb. They are resplendent in their striped cloaks, and their milk-white necks are circled with gold."-- Virgil, 1st century BC. poet

"Celts": If the name means anything to the average American, it probably calls to mind a parade in Boston on St. Patrick's Day, when even the beer is dyed green. 
Beyond a vague notion that the Irish, Scots, and Welsh share a romantic common heritage in some way different from the English whose language they mainly use, the Celts lie forgotten and irrelevant in the mists of time.

Such ignorance is one of the symptoms of a race on the verge of collective suicide, for those with no knowledge of, or pride in, their forefathers are no more likely to have any concern for future generations of their kinfolk either.
Yet the Celts are regarded by historians as "the fathers of Europe." Genetically as well as culturally they played a major part in laying the foundations for the great achievements of the White race. 
Just as important, many of the mistakes they made which condemned them to defeat and collapse contain lessons today for those striving to save our race from sinking forever into a sea of color, ignorance, and eternal

28 July 2013

The medieval Iranians of France, Spain & Portugal, yes, blond Iranians in western Europe

File:Roman Empire 125.png
Published, edited, images added &
comments/annotations (in redletter) by Kenneth S. Doig

The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic-pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern-Iranian (in the same Indoeuropean macrophylum as Germanic, Celtic, Italic, Slavic, Hellenic, etc.) language which derived from Skytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.


29 December 2012

Was there a largely-unknown, separate subfamily of Indo-Europeans ensconced between Germanics & Celts?

Published, edited, formatted & images added by Kenneth S. Doig
(From Wikipedia)
The Nordwestblock (English: "Northwest-block"), is a hypothetical cultural region, that several 20th century scholars propose as a prehistoric culture, thought to be roughly bounded by the rivers Meuse, Elbe, Somme and Oise (the present-day Netherlands, Belgium, northern France and western Germany). 

27 July 2012

Celtic History : General Celtic Info


Celtic History
General Celtic Info

The Celts dominated Mid and Western Europe for a thousand years. But it is only recently that the importance of Celtic influence on the cultural, linguistic and artistic development of Europe. 

The Celts as an identifiable race or ethnic group have long since disappeared, except in places such as Ireland and the Scottish Highlands.

The Celts transmitted their culture orally, never writing down history or facts. This accounts for the extreme lack of knowledge about them prior to their contact with the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome.

15 April 2012

An unattested, unknown Indo-European sub-group spoken by the Belgae..?

Published, images added, captions written and annotations (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig
(websource: the "Rokus Blog")
Important shifts in the concept of Celtic origin are taking place. A new book edited by Professors Cunliffe and Koch is due out in June and announced by Oxbow Books thus:
The Celtic from the West proposal was first presented in Barry Cunliffe’s Facing the Ocean (2001) and has subsequently found resonance amongst geneticists. It provoked controversy on the part of some linguists, though is significantly in accord with John Koch’s findings in Tartessian (2009).
The present collection is intended to pursue the question further in order to determine whether this earlier and more westerly starting point might now be developed as a more robust foundation for Celtic studies.
This new approach turns the focus away from a Central-European origin of Celts and instead advocate an Atlantic

01 March 2012

"The Gallic Wars" : By Iulius Caesar


By Iulius Caesar

Translated by W. A. McDevitte and W. S. Bohn

Book 1
 (Dept. of Classics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)  

Chapter 1
All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in our Gauls, the third. All these differ from each other in language, customs and laws. The river Garonne separates the Gauls from the Aquitani; the Marne and the Seine separate them from the Belgae.

01 October 2011






Gaul (Latin Gallia, French Gaule) is the name given by the Romans to the territories where the Celtic Gauls (Latin Galli, French Gaulois) lived, including present France, Belgium, Luxemburg and parts of the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany on the west bank of the Rhine, and the Po Valley, in present Italy. The ancient limits of Gaul were the Rhine River and the Alps on the east, the Mare Nostrum (Mediterranean Sea), the Po Valley and the Pyrenees on the south, and the Atlantic Ocean on the west and North

20 September 2011





Perhaps no other military events in Roman history are as well known then the climatic campaigns known collectively as the Gallic Wars. Long known to have been the primary adversaries to Rome, the Gauls were epitomized as the barbarians at the gates of this great city. In reality very few sources of information outside of Cesar's accounts exists of early Gaulish society and culture, and these have to be viewed with the understanding of a certain bias towards the tribal people of Europe.

The Romans did their best to remove these Celtic traditions from their Empire, but eventually the Romanized culture of Gaul manged to preserve much of it's local identity and traditions. Later as the Roman Empire
crumbled Gaul was again invaded, this time by Germanic tribes known as the Franks. 

10 July 2011


Published by Kenneth S. Doig

Celt, also spelled Kelt, Latin Celta, plural Celtae, a member of an early Indo-European people who from the 2nd millennium bc to the 1st century bc spread over much of Europe. Their tribes and groups eventually ranged from the British Isles and northern Spain to as far east as Transylvania, the Black Sea coasts, and Galatia in Anatolia and were in part absorbed into the Roman Empire as Britons, Gauls, Boii, Galatians, and Celtiberians. Linguistically they survive in the modern Celtic speakers of Ireland, Highland Scotland, the Isle of Man, Wales, and Brittany.

30 June 2011

the Vandals & the Franks

Published by Kenneth S. Doig

The Vandals

Nowadays the term "vandalism" means "wantonly destructive act". The term comes from the name of the East Germanic tribe that was pushed by the Huns into the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, and that finally settled in North Africa.

But were these people really so violent or barbaric to deserve to be remembered the way they are ? Many historians now believe that it was not the case.

03 May 2011

Now on to some other non-germanic, but related indo-europeans



Gaul Map
Maximum extent of Gallic tribes, ca. 60 BC.

The AncientPosted Mediterranean

Posted and formatted by Kenneth S. Doig

The Gauls were Celtic tribes who inhabited much of western Europe in Roman times. These tribes lived independently until the 2nd century BC when Rome intervened on the side of Massilia (Marseilles), a Greek colony founded in 600 BC, in its struggle against the “barbarian” Gauls of the hinterland. The result was the

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