Aedui, Celts, Dumnorix, France, French, Gallic Wars, Gaul, Germanics, Germany, Julius Caesar, Military history, Roman, Rome, Suebi, Vercingetorix
By Periklis Deligiannis
Vercingetorix (statue) was influenced by Dumnorix’s policy and tragic death.
By Periklis Deligiannis
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.
Aedui, Ariovistus, Arverni, Dumnorix, Gallic Wars, Gaul, Germanics, Germany, Julius Caesar, Military history, Roman, Rome, Suebi, Times Roman, Vercingetorix
The last dramatic episode of the Roman conquest of Gaul: Vercingetorix surrenders to Caesar, in a classic artwork.
By Periklis Deligiannis
During the period from 122 to 52 BC, the 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).
Arverni, Celt, France, Galatia, Gallic, Gaul, Germans, Julius Caesar, linguistics, Military topics, Rome, Suebi, Warfare in antiquity
By Periklis Deligiannis[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.
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)).