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ROME MUST BE DESTROYED (Part II)

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ALEXANDER
Alexander the Great goes ashore in Asia (Minor). Artwork  by Tom Lovell.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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Continued from PART I

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I go on with some more text from my historical novel “Rome must be destroyed ” which belongs to the sub-category of Historical Fiction. For more info and text, read PART I. A reminder of the plot: Alexander the Great has not died in 323 BC (year of his death in reality). He goes on living and invades Italy, Carthage and the Western Mediterranean. The peoples of those regions (Italians, Carthaginians, Libyans, Celtiberians, Gauls and many others) fight against him under the leadership of Rome, Carthage and Samnium. The hero of my book is not a Greek but a Roman (Aelius Sembronius Vulca), originally a mercenary of Alexander and then an enemy of him. After a series of diplomatic and strategic detours, bloody battles and –finally – total warfare, the war results…..
The first part of the novel (Sogdiana) takes place in the steppes of Central Asia (modern Uzbekistan), the second part (Return) in Italy, the third (Carthage) in Carthage, the fourth and the fifth……
This is the first book of a trilogy that I wrote on this subject.

I apologize in case that the translation in English is not ”literary” enough (or maybe it is!). Copyright is mine, thereby for a probable reproduction of this text, please send to me an e-mail message.

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SOGDIANA

[continued]

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…………………………………………………………………………………………….
All the barbarians were dead, except two women. The older one had the common Asiatic appearance. Her heavy wound indicated that she was running out of time. The other woman had an uncanny beauty, a real temptation for us men from the Inner Sea. She was young and diminutive. We were impressed by her narrow slanted eyes that looked like reptilian, her protruding cheek bones in her face below the eyes, her small slender nose and her very pale, almost yellow skin. Her body which was silhouetted below her thin leather dress, appeared to be well formed. Her breasts were small, but firm and well rounded.

I knew that most of the Sauromatae people resembled in appearance to the Asiatics. I now verified from this woman and her other dead comrades, that some resembled to the Serae and the Phryni who live afar in the East, beyond India, around a large Yellow river as they call it. I have seen a few Serae merchants at Farthest Alexandria. They had the same strange appearance and the same yellowish skin. The local Sogdians speaking about them, say that they are exceptionally civilised, their kingdoms are powerful and their armies are worthy of the Greek ones. They may say it to tease the Macedonians!
Volsinius the Campanian who had captured her, was most enchanted by the reptilian-eyed woman.
“That is my trophy!” said with joy. He could not wait for the moment to enjoy her. He dragged her holding her stiffly by the hair, whilst she pounded and kicked him. Three of the soldiers, who were passionately looking at her, approached the young girl. They wanted to taste her … If they wanted her Volsinius was unable to deny. He had the right to enjoy the woman first and keep her for his own, after the others had done with her. However the Italian mercenary did not want to share the girl and he was holding tightly his bloodstained spear. Centauros who had seen the threatening situation spoke.
“We don’t have time for this. We are leaving immediately! “.
“We won’t be long Centauros …” said Numerius.
“The Sauromatae we killed were few. They surely belong to a larger raiding party. Somewhere, close by, more enemies are lurking…. “

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ROME MUST BE DESTROYED (Part I): What if Alexander the Great had not died so young?

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phalanx(artwork  copyright: Johny Shumate)

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By Periklis Deligiannis
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Many readers know that I have written a historical novel entitled ‘Rome must be destroyed : What if Alexander the Great had not died so young?’  (See List of my Published Books and Articles  and also the book’s cover on the left of this page) which has been published a few years ago in Greek. I quote here the prologue, the beginning of the first chapter and the accompanying Historical Note for the English-speaking readers. I hope you enjoy it. I apologize in case that the translation in English is not ”literary” enough (or maybe it is!). Copyright is mine, thereby for a probable reproduction of this text, please send to me an email message.

Some more text of the novel you can read in Part II
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The official abstract of the novel (from the Greek edition):
What if Alexander the Great had not died so young? Would he be able to conquer the peoples of the Known World of his era? This is an exciting novel on the adventures and the new conquests of the great king, on the glory that in reality his early death (only 33 years old) had deprived him of. Through the narration of Aelius Sembronius Vulca, an adventurous Roman mercenary in Alexander’s army, an enthralling era is coming alive. Vulca, the main hero of the novel, is following Alexander at every step of his campaigns, until around 315 BC the warrior-king turns against the peoples and states of the Western Mediterranean and dismisses all mercenaries from those regions.
Vulca, the devout soldier of Alexander who fought for ten years at his side ready to sacrifice his life for his commander, will be found on the battlefields confronting him and enemies who until then were his brotherly friends, defending his homeland against the formidable Macedonian phalanx … Will he manage to prepare Rome, Carthage and the other Italian and Western Mediterranean states for the approaching threat? A Rome torn, ravaged by wars in Italy, intrigues and personal ambitions? Alexander is determined: Rome has to open her gates or be destroyed!…
This unique alternative history novel is the first part of a trilogy on the hypothetical march of Alexander to the Western Mediterranean and Europe. It is a work based on solid historical evidence, which enthrals the reader from the first page. An exciting adventure historically based on the real plans of the great warrior-king which, if not cancelled by his sudden death, may have formed completely different the World map until today … A novel that came so close on becoming reality…
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ROME MUST BE DESTROYED

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“… To built a thousand warships larger than triremes, in Phoenicia, Syria, Cilicia and Cyprus, for the needs of the campaign against the Carthaginians and the other peoples who inhabit the coasts of Libya and Iberia and all neighboring coasts around Sicily … “
(projects of Alexander the Great  quoted by Diodoros of Sicily, Book 18, 4).

“… Others say that (Alexander) was thinking (of sailing) to Sicily and the Cape of Iapygia; instigated also by the name of the Romans whose reputation was extended.”
(projects of Alexander  quoted by Arrian in his  Alexandrou Anabasis)

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FOREWORD

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About Alexander… About the years that we fought as his soldiers and as his enemies. This is what they asked me to recount every night around the fire. Members of my family, people of my clan, archons of our community, other young or mature men who would like to hear the man who lived all these harder than anyone else. To listen about this heroic age, as they were calling it … They didn’t know…
Now, at the end of my life, now that involuntarily comes to mind the account of the life of a man, now the image of all these is more intense than ever! Sometimes I remember them with suffering, sometimes with nostalgia. And sometimes when I’m alone, tears appear on my eyes. I succeeded or not on what I was requested to do? Was I the man who had to be in those difficult times? Did I save my people? The Senate and the People of Rome…
These questions are no longer torturing me anymore. They cannot be answered by me. Let my people judge me.
“Recount your memories Vulca … Speak to us…”

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ROMA INVICTA (Part II): THE BATTLE OF THE SABIS (57 BC)

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RomanWithout wasting any time, the legionaries of Legio X crossed again the river Sabis to help Caesar’s men against the Nervii. Reenactment of imperial era legionaries by the Polish Historical Association Legio XXI Rapax, photo by Cezary Wyszynski.

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By Periklis Deligiannis
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CONTINUED FROM PART I

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Caesar marched with his six oldest legions towards the river Sabis sending first a body of cavalry to find a safe location where he would establish his camp. The newly founded XIII and XIV Legions followed at a distance, protecting the Roman supply convoy.
The Roman cavalry corps had crossed the river Sabis to its right bank along with bodies of light infantry and skirmishers in order to oversee the Belgae. However, the Celts suddenly dashed from the forest, screaming war cries and brandishing their swords. Soon they repelled the terrified Caesarian cavalrymen and crossed the river swimming. When they reached its left bank they began ascending speedily the hillside, heading towards the top of the hill where the Roman soldiers were working on the construction of the camp. Caesar found himself in a very difficult situation since he had to act instantly to rescue his unorganized and unarmed legionaries. He had to give orders to sound the bucinae, to raise the red vexillia calling the legionaries to hurry for battle, to gather his men who were cutting trees, etc., all this ‘in just a moment’ as he characteristically writes in his memoirs.
Fortunately for the Romans, Caesar had ordered his officers not to leave their soldiers until the construction was completed; thereby they were able to quickly gather their legionaries. The Romans were additionally helped by the high level of their military training and discipline. When the more isolated legionaries realized the danger of the stormy attack of the Belgians, acted with characteristic collectedness. They did not search for their units; on the contrary they grabbed their arms and armour and ran to the nearest Roman vexillium (war standard) that was lifted up. Thus in an incredibly short time, a battle line was formed. It was a typical manifestation of the robust organization and discipline of the Roman army, one of the many features that made it an unconquerable (invictus) killing  machine.

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ROMA INVICTA (Part I): Preparations and primary Operations of Caesar’s First war on the Belgae

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Romans

Reenactment of Roman legionaries at English Heritage Festival in 2011 (photo by Lichfield Lore). The picture could very well represent legionaries ready for combat in the dense forest of Belgica, but the problem is that the depicted legionaries are of the Imperial era.
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By Periklis Deligiannis

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In 58 BC the campaign of Julius Caesar for the subjugation of Gaul was going on. That year he overwhelmingly defeated the Germanic Suebi (Swebi) who also intended to conquer Gaul under their king Ariovistus. In the next year, the Roman general turned against the threatening Belgae. Many Gauls felt relieved by the destruction of the Suebi who had been threatening their homeland. Others understood that Caesar intended to turn their country into a Roman province.
The Belgae were a large conglomerate of Celtisized peoples mainly of the Northwestern pre-Celtic ethno-linguistic group (pre-Teutonic Germani) as it seems, whom the Germans had expelled from their cradle (in the east of the Rhine), thereby they settled in northeastern Gaul, mostly between the rivers Seine, Marne and the Rhine. However the Belgae included some Celtic proper and Germanic tribes and clans.
After their settlement in Gaul they had almost completely adopted La Tene culture (typical Celtic). Caesar in his ‘De Bello Gallico’ describes them as the most warlike and brave among the Gauls. The Belgians were additionally strengthened due to their long wars against the Germans. The majority of them were fanatically anti-Roman and their leaders and nobles supposedly kept their morals intact without succumbing to the Roman bribe attempts. The Belgae tribes were united in a tribal confederation on the basis of their common origins and culture.
The Belgae realized that Caesar would campaign against them and thus their leaders started to exchange hostages in order to further strengthen the bonds of their union.

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KING ARTHUR (Part I): Some literary, archaeological and historical evidence

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By Periklis Deligiannis

Romano-Briton
A Late Roman helmet rather of Persian distant origin (design), decorated with semi-gemstones. The Romano-Britons inherited this type together with the rest of the Roman weaponry and military organization.
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Wulfheodenas
In the 5th-6th centuries AD, the Anglo-Saxons brought to Britain many elements of the eastern Scandinavian Proto-Vendel and Vendel cultures, several of which are obvious on their arms and armor, i.e. on their helmets (Sutton Hoo burial, etc.), daggers, swords etc (reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon warlord wearing a Sutton Hoo-type helmet, by the Historical Association Wulfheodenas ).
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In 407 AD the Romans withdrew their last regular troops from the British provinces. The independent Romano-Britons had to fight hard against the Pict, Irish and Anglo-Saxon barbarians who were besieging their territory. Former Roman Britain was gradually divided into autonomous ‘principalities’ led by warlords. However they tried to keep united their “British kingdom” as they considered their common territory, and mainly to repel the invading Anglo-Saxons who had conquered the Southeast, advancing headlong. It seems that the Britons in order to maintain their unity, elected a military commander (Dux) as a senior politico-military leader, who led the operations against the invaders and took care on preventing infighting. A sequence of inspired Dukes (Voteporix, Vortigern, Ambrosius Aurelianus) led the British resistance. Those who accept Arthur’s historicity usually consider him as one of these Dukes (a theory consider him Aurelianus’ son).
The Briton literary tradition and the archaeological evidence, mainly the Saxon burials, denote that the Anglo-Saxon invasion was halted on the verge of the 5th-6th centuries AD. Many scholars believe that the military action of the legendary king Arthur was the main ‘factor’ for the repulse of the newcomers. However, his historicity is strongly and justifiably disputed. In this series of articles I will deal with some additional literary, archaeological and historical evidence concerning his historicity.

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The literary sources on Arthur

The first literary reference to Arthur appears in the Northern Briton epic “Y Goddodin” (“the Votadini” around AD 600) which recounts an attempt of the Votadini people (Celtic Goddodin) of the modern Scottish Lowlands and their allies, to check the advance of the Angles. Some scholars believe that the mention of Arthur in this epic was added later. The first ‘secure’ reference to the legendary commander comes from Nennius in his “History of the Britons” (“Historia Britonnum”, end of 8th century). Nennius’ work was based mostly on the local Briton tradition. Nennius describes the legendary figure as a warlord who repelled the barbarians around the 5th-6th centuries. This was followed shortly after by another reference of Arthur in the “Annales Cambriae” (9th c.). But the author, who developed most of all Arthur’s renowned image as a just and powerful warrior-king, was the Archdeacon of Oxford Geoffrey of Monmouth in his largely mythical “History of the Kings of Britain” (“Historia Regum Britanniae”, AD 1133). Geoffrey relied heavily on the two aforementioned works, and possibly on the local oral tradition. In France, the late medieval chronicler Chretien de Troyes holds an analogous contribution to the Arthurian legend. The later writers of the Arthurian epic circle are based on the works of the last two authors (mostly on Geoffrey’s work and less on Chretien’s) going on to the enrichment of the epic with elements belonging mainly to the Late Middle Ages, such as the Round Table, the quest for the Holy Grail, etc.

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THE GALLIC-CELTIC INVASION IN MACEDONIA & THRACE – CHANGES IN SOUTHERN GREEK TACTICS, Part II

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 hoplites

The battles against the Gauls were of the last to be fought by the hoplites. During the fifty years that followed, hoplite warfare was abandoned mainly due to the new socio-political conditions that prevailed in the Greek World. In the artwork: Hoplites of the Archaic era (artwork/copyright: Karl  Kopinski).

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By Periklis Deligiannis

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Continued from PART I

The hordes of Bolgios and Kerethrios were the vanguards of the Gauls because shortly after (279 BC) the main Gallic army appeared led by Brennos (Brennus) and Akichorios, which invaded Macedonia through the Axios Valley. The Senonian Gaul conqueror of Rome (387 BC) was also called Brennos, a ‘name’ which was probably the Celtic title for the king. Centuries later, the Welsh word brennin had the same meaning (king). Brennos was the supreme warlord of the Galatians while Akichorios, Bolgios and Kerethrios were probably his lieutenants (commanders). The Celts were marching with their families in wagons, evidence that they intended to settle in the area. They were strengthened by their vassal warriors: Illyrians, Dardanians, Thracians, fugitive slaves and others. The ancient sources quote that the third (and main) Gallic horde consisted of 150,000 infantry and 15,000 to 60,000 cavalry, figures generally dismissed as exaggerated. The number of infantry is almost common in all ancient writers and probably account for all combatants and non-combatants. If we remove from that number the non-combatants (about 3/4 of the ancient populations), then the warriors would be around 35 to 40,000 men. The real number of the cavalry cannon be estimated, but a figure of 10,000 is plausible. Each Gaul cavalryman (a noble with armor) was accompanied by two horsemen. This military unit of three riders was called “Trimarkesia” (from the Celtic word “mark” which meant among other things, the horse).

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ON THE PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE ANCIENT CELTS

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pergamon__dying_gaul

GaulThe  two  more  renowned  sculptures  of  the  Pergamene  School  on  the  Gauls/Galatians:  the  ‘Dying  Gaul’  and  the  ‘Gaul  who  commits  suicide  after  having  killed  his  wife’.

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By  Periklis  Deligiannis

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  I have to refer to an old theory on the Celtic physical anthropology, which even today has a great number of supporters although it is based mainly on a misunderstanding interpretation of the representation – especially of the physical type – of the Galatian warriors by the ‘Pergamene sculpture School’, of the reports of the ancient Greek and Latin authors on the Celts and of other secondary data. This theory is influenced by the ‘Teutonic School’ of physical anthropology in the 19th-early 20th centuries (the archaeologist Gustav von Kossinna and the anthropologist Hans Gunther being its last main representatives), which had a kind of obsession on discovering Nordic warrior nobilities as ruling elites on almost all the ancient European peoples, including the Mediterranean peoples, and also on the Iranians, the Indians, the Egyptians and others. According to the theories of that School, the Nordic noble warriors were the real creators of the Celtic, the Roman, the Greek, the Indian and other ancient civilizations.

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MASSALIA (MARSEILLE): FORGOTTEN ANCIENT SEA POWER – PART II

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 By  Periklis    DeligiannisAntibes

Antibes  during  the  Renaissance,  the  ancient  Greek  Antipolis,  the  third  largest  Massaliot  colony.  The  ancient  Greek  city  covered  about  the  same  area.

CONTINUED  FROM  PART  I

       The  Gauls  (Celts)  gradually  extended  their  territory  in  modern  South  France  at  the  expense  of    the  Ligurians,  the  Iberians  and  the  Wasconians  (ancestors  of  the  Basques),  either  by  conquest  or  by  the  direct  adoption  of  the  La  Tene  culture  by  the  aforementioned  natives  and  thence  their  upcoming  Celtisization.  At  first,  the  Massaliots  did  not  clash  with  the  newcomers.  As  we  have  seen,  the  two  peoples  were  familiar  to  each  other  due  to  their  trade  and  the  beneficial  effect  of  Massalia.  Now  they  had  territorial  contact  also.  Besides  their  common  commercial  interests,  they  had  common  geopolitical  as  well,  since  they  both  ruled  Ligurian subjects.  In  the  early  4th  century,  the  entire  Gaul  had  become  a  Massaliot  zone  of  commercial  and  cultural  influence.  For  this  reason,  the  Massalialiots  had  very  little  or  no  regard  for  the  control  of  the  Iberian  Peninsula  and  the  Columns  of  Hercules  (modern  Gibraltar)  which  they  had  left  to  the  Carthaginians.  After  all,  the  Carthaginian  power  prevented  them  from  this  aim.  The  only  interesting  for  both  peoples  beyond  the  Pillars  of  Hercules,  was  the  tin  of  the  Cassiteridae  islands  (probably  the  Isles  of  Scilly  in  Cornwall),  which  however  the  Massaliots  acquired  without  problems  via  the  commercial  roads  of  Gaul.  In  contrast,  the  Carthaginians  had  to  undertake  the  long  and  dangerous  sea  voyage  from  the  Mediterranean  to  Britain  via  the  Atlantic,  because  the  roads  of  Gaul  remained  forever  closed  to  them  due  to  the  Massaliot  influence  in  the  land.  Because  of  this  situation,  there  was  an  unofficial  agreement  between  Massalia  and  Carthage,  whereby  Gaul  was  a  Massaliot  zone  and  the  Iberian  Peninsula  was  a  Punic  zone.  Later  the  agreement  became  official,  when  the  two  sides  fixed  the  boundary  between  the  two  zones  in  the  River  Iber  (modern  Ebro  in  Aragon,  Spain).

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LIBER HOMO LIBERI POPULI: DUMNORΙΧ OF THE AEDUI AGAINST CAESAR AND ROME (PART II)

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 By  Periklis    Deligiannisvercingetorix 

Vercingetorix  (statue)  was   influenced  by  Dumnorix’s  policy  and  tragic  death.

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By  Periklis    Deligiannis

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CONTINUED FROM PART  I

In  the  subsequent  years,  Caesar  conducted  his  famous  Conquest  of  Gaul,  crashing  the  Suebi  of  Ariovistus  and  the  Belgians.  After  the  Roman  victory  over  the  Belgians,  Diviciacus,  the  main  supporter  of  the  Gallic  collaboration  with  Rome,  disappears  from  Caesar’s  narrative.  Liscus  also  disappears  from  his  narrative  but  this  is  explainable  because  he  probably  could  not  be  the  Aeduan  Vergobretus  any  more.  After  all  he  rather  gained  his  office  with  Diviciacus’  political  support  (the  latter  was  the  unofficial  leader  of  the  tribe).  Diviciacus’  disappearance  is  the  real  mystery. 

  Diviciacus  probably  did  not  believe  that  the  Gauls  could  cope  with  the  dual  military  pressure  of  the  Romans  and  the  Germans,  and  he  preferred  the  former.  Apart  from  his  decisive  diplomatic  and  counseling  assistance  to  Caesar,  he  was  the  main  founder  of  his  numerous  allied  Gallic  cavalry.  The  antithesis  of  Diviciacus  was  Dumnorix,  who  believed  in  Gallic  power  and  did  everything  for  the  freedom  of  his  people.  Dumnorix  appears  later  as  the  main  political  leader  of  the  Aedui  (and  possibly  their  Vergobretus)  when  he  was  Caesar’s  hostage.  The  most  likely  hypothesis  for  Diviciacus’  “disappearance”  in  57  BC  was  either  his  physical  death,  or  his  murder  possibly  by  Dumnorix’s  incitation.  Then  or  a  little  later,  Dumnorix  succeeded  him  in  the  unofficial  leadership  of  the  Aedui. 

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LIBER HOMO LIBERI POPULI: DUMNORΙΧ OF THE AEDUI AGAINST CAESAR AND ROME (PART I)

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  Siege alesia

The  last  dramatic  episode  of  the  Roman  conquest  of  GaulVercingetorix  surrenders  to  Caesar,  in  a  classic  artwork.
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By  Periklis    Deligiannis

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During  the  period  from  122  to  52  BCthe  last  years  of  the  Gallic  independence,  the  Arverni  and  Aedui  tribes  were  competing  for  the  hegemony  in  Gaul.  In  71  BC,  the  Sequani  tribe  started  a  long  war  against  the  Aedui  who  were  pressing  them.  The  Sequani  were  in  a  disadvantageous  position  and  started  to  look  for  allies  in  the  Suebian  Germans  who  lived  on  the  east  bank  of  the  Rhine,  after  failing  to  cross  the  Oder  River  in  the  East.  Ariovistus  was  the  Suebian  warlord,  who  crossed  the  Rhine  with  thousands  of  warriors  and  managed  to  defeat  the  Aedui  in  61  BC.  The  Germans  unleashed  numerous  raids  against  many  Gallic  tribes  until  several  of  them  became  their  vassals.  The  Sequani  had  made  a  big  mistake  by  inviting  the  dangerous  Germanics  in  the  Celtic/Gallic  territory.
Diviciacus,  one  of  the  political  leaders  and  leading  Druid  of  the  Aedui,  committed  an  equally  big  mistake  when  he  asked  the  Romans  for  help  against  the  Germans.  He  traveled  to  the  “City  of  the  She-wolf”  and  was  presented  to  the  Senate  in  order  to  expose  his  request.  The  proposal  of  the  Aeduian  leader  in  the  Senate  for  an  alliance  against  Ariovistus,  met  the  objections  of  the  new  great  political  personality  of  Rome  (the  greatest  in  her  long  history  according  to  the  view  of  many  scholars),  Gaius  Julius  Caesar.  Caesar  refused  Diviciacus’  request  due  to  his  political  rivalry  with  Cicero  who  probably  supported  the  Gallic  leader  in  the  Senate.  Diviciacus  returned  to  Gaul  with  vague  promises  for  help.  Caesar,  in  order  to  reduce  Cicero  and  his  Galatian  friend,  asked  the  Senate  to  conclude  an  alliance  with  Ariovistus.  The  Senate  recognized  the  German  king  as  “Friend  of  the  Romans”,  a  move  that  emboldened  him.  Ariovistus  became  more  aggressive  in  Gaul  and  created  a  real  kingdom  in  the  conquered  Galatian  regions. 

Dumnorix,  Diviciacus’  younger  brother,  did  not  agree  with  the  pro-Roman  policy  of  his  brother.  Instead  he  aimed  in  the  union  of  all  the  Gallic  tribes,  and  believed  in  their  ability  to  repel  all  invaders  in  Gaul,  both  the  Romans  and  the  Germans.  For  this  reason  he  conducted  an  alliance  with  the  Helvetii  (Celts  who  lived  in  modern  Switzerland)  and  with  Casticus,  the  son  of  the  leader  of  the  Sequani,  who  had  disagreed  with  the  pro-German  policy  of  his  father.  Indeed,  in  order  to  strengthen  the  Celtic  alliance,  Dumnorix  married  Orgetorix’s  daughter  (the  leader  of  the  Helvetii).

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ON THE TRIBES OF ANCIENT GAUL

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By  Periklis    DeligiannisGalatia-Gaul[This  article is in fact a part of my book  ‘The Celts‘, Periscope publ., Athens 2008, unfortunately available only in Greek]

After  the  sharp  diminution  of  the  Celts  of  Central  Europe  by  the  Germans  (58  BC)  and  the  Romans,  Greater  Gaul,  the  country  that  lies  between  the  Rhine,  the  Alps  and  the  Pyrenees,  became  the  main  Celtic  area  in  mainland  Europe.  Gaul  (as  it  is  usually  called  for  short,  because  of  the  Romans),  Noricum,  Raetia (partly) and Northwestern Pannonia in Central Europe,  Gallaicia  (Galicia), Asturia and Cantabria  in  the  Iberian  peninsula,  and  finally  the  British  islands,  were  the  last  independent  Celtic  areas.

Shortly  before  the  Roman  conquest  of  Gaul  (or  Galatia  in  ancient  Greek)  by  Julius  Caesar,  about  sixty  tribes  shared  its  territory.  The  largest  of  these  tribes  (the  Arverni,  Aedui,  Pictones  etc.)  occupied  each  one  a  territory  of  about  15-20,000  sq.  km.,  with  a  population  of  up  to  250,000  inhabitants.  The  Celtic  tribes  were  divided  into  sub-tribes  called  pagi.  The  60  Celtic  peoples  of  Gaul  included  a  total  of  300  sub-tribes.  Many  of  these  pagi  were  originally  independent  tribes  which  were  gradually  incorporated  in  the  largest  ones,  either  by  conquest  or  by  conciliation.
The  linguists  have  estimated  that  the  tribes  of  the  Volcae,  the  Helvii  (close  relatives  of  the  Helvetii  of  modern  Switzerland),  the  Turones,  the  Nervii,  the  Suessiones,  the  Veneti,  the  Venelli  and  the  Aulerci  were  the  oldest  that  were  formed,  because  the  etymology  of  their  national  names  is  rather  difficult.  Some  of  these  tribes  were  probably  formed  initially  in  Central  Europe,  mostly  in  the  north  of  the  Alps  (the  Celtic/Gallic  cradle).  The  peoples  with  tribal  names  of  numeric  type  are  considered  to  be  later  tribal  formations,  e.g.  The  Remi  (meaning  the  ‘first  ones’  in  Gallic  Celtic),  the  Petrokorii  (the  ‘four  tribes’)  the  Vocontii  (‘twenty  clans’).  The  same  goes  for  the  tribes  whose  national  names  are  annominations  or  epithets,  e.g.  the  Ruteni  (the  ‘blonde  ones’,  a  Proto-Indo-European  verbal  type  found  today  in  the  names  of  the    Russians  and  the  Ruthenians  of  Eastern  Europe),  the  Leuci  (the  ‘bright  ones’,  like  the  Greek  ‘leucos’  meaning  the  ‘white’), the  Belgae (the ‘thunders’,  Belgians),   the  Nemetes  (the  ‘sacred’),  the  Aedui  (the  ‘fiery’),  the  Pictones  (possibly  the  ‘painted  ones’  like  the  Picts  of  Pictland/Caledonia,  modern  Scotland),  the  Caleti  (the  ‘hardened’),  the  Lemovices  or  Lemovii  (‘warriors  of  the  elm’,  which  was  their  totemic  tree)  the  Medulli  (the  ‘mead  drinkers’)  etc.

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Celtic  warriors  in  an  impressive  artwork.  Note  the  two  naked  Gaesati/Gaesatae  warriors  in  the  frontline,  with  their  hair  stiffened  with  lime  or  lemon  juice.  Another  warrior  blows  the  ‘carnyx’,  the  Celtic  war  trumpet  (Copyright:  Zvezda  /Karatchuk  (artist)).

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