Gallia Aquitania

Gallia Aquitania

Ask a question about 'Gallia Aquitania'
Start a new discussion about 'Gallia Aquitania'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
Gallia Aquitania (ˈɡalːia akʷiːˈtaːnia; also Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

, Aquitaine Gaul) was a province of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, bordered by the provinces of Gallia Lugdunensis
Gallia Lugdunensis
Gallia Lugdunensis was a province of the Roman Empire in what is now the modern country of France, part of the Celtic territory of Gaul. It is named after its capital Lugdunum , possibly Roman Europe's major city west of Italy, and a major imperial mint...

, Gallia Narbonensis
Gallia Narbonensis
Gallia Narbonensis was a Roman province located in what is now Languedoc and Provence, in southern France. It was also known as Gallia Transalpina , which was originally a designation for that part of Gaul lying across the Alps from Italia and it contained a western region known as Septimania...

, and Hispania Tarraconensis
Hispania Tarraconensis
Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania. It encompassed much of the Mediterranean coast of Spain along with the central plateau. Southern Spain, the region now called Andalusia, was the province of Hispania Baetica...

. It lies in present-day southwest France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, where it gives its name to the modern region
Régions of France
France is divided into 27 administrative regions , 22 of which are in Metropolitan France, and five of which are overseas. Corsica is a territorial collectivity , but is considered a region in mainstream usage, and is even shown as such on the INSEE website...

 of Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...


Tribes of Aquitania

Fourteen Celt
The Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Roman-era Europe who spoke Celtic languages.The earliest archaeological culture commonly accepted as Celtic, or rather Proto-Celtic, was the central European Hallstatt culture , named for the rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria....

ic tribes and twenty Aquitani
The Aquitani were a people living in what is now Aquitaine, France, in the region between the Pyrenees, the Atlantic ocean and the Garonne...

an tribes occupied the northern parts of the Pyrenees and, from the country of the Cemmenus to the ocean, bounded by two rivers: the Garumna (Garonne
The Garonne is a river in southwest France and northern Spain, with a length of .-Source:The Garonne's headwaters are to be found in the Aran Valley in the Pyrenees, though three different locations have been proposed as the true source: the Uelh deth Garona at Plan de Beret , the Ratera-Saboredo...

) and the Liger (Loire). The major tribes are listed at the end of this section. There were more than twenty tribes of Aquitani, but they were small and lacking in repute; the majority of the tribes lived along the ocean, while the others reached up into the interior and to the summits of the Cemmenus Mountains, as far as the Tectosages.

The name Gallia Comata was often used to designate the three provinces of Farther Gaul, viz. Gallia Lugdunensis, Gallia Belgica, and Aquitania, literally meaning ‘long-haired’, as opposed to Gallia Bracata ‘trousered’, a term derived from bracae (‘breeches’, the native costume of the northern ‘barbarians’) for Gallia Narbonensis; but a late author confuses the two names and calls Farther Gaul ‘Gallia Bracata’.

Most of the Atlantic coast of the Aquitani was sandy and thin-soiled; it grew millet, but was unproductive with respect to other products. Along this coast was also the gulf held by the Tarbelli; in their land, gold mines were abundant. Large quantities of gold could be mined with a minimum of refinement. The interior and mountainous country in this region had better soil. The Petrocorii and the Bituriges Cubi had fine ironworks; the Cadurci had linen factories; the Ruteni and the Gabales had silver mines.

According to Strabo, the Aquitani were a wealthy people. Luerius, the King of the Arverni and the father of Bituitus who warred against Maximus Aemilianus and Dometius, is said to have been so exceptionally rich and extravagant that he once rode on a carriage through a plain, scattering gold and silver coins here and there.

The Romans called the tribal groups pagi
Pagoi or Pagi is a village in the NW corner of Corfu Island in Greece. It is a community of the municipal unit Agios Georgios.-Agios Georgios Pagon :...

. These were organized into larger super-tribal groups that the Romans called civitates. These administrative groupings were later taken over by the Romans in their system of local control.

Aquitania was inhabited by the following tribes: Agesinales, Ambilatri, Anagnutes, Arverni
The Arverni were a Gallic tribe living in what is now the Auvergne region of France during the last centuries BC. One of the most powerful tribes in ancient Gaul, they opposed the Romans on several occasions...

, Ausci, Autobroges, Basabocates, Belendi, Bercorates, Bergerri, Bipedimui, Caduni, Cadurci, Cambolectri, Camponi, Cocossati, Consoranni, Cubi, Elui|, Elusates, Gabales, Latusates, Lemovices, Mandubii, Monesi, Mountainers, Nitiobriges, Onobrisates, Osquidates, Osquidiales, Petrocorii, Petrogoti, Pictones
The Pictones were a tribe inhabiting a region along the Bay of Biscay in what is now western France, along the south bank of the Loire. During the reign of Augustus , the Pictones were included in the larger province of Gallia Aquitania, along with most of western Gaul...

, Ruteni, Ruthenes, Santoni, Sassumini, Sediboniates, Sennates, Sibyllates, Sottiates, Succasses, Tarbelli, Tolosanes, Uliarus, Vassei, Vellates, Vellavii, Venami, Veneti (Veneticæ), Vibisci, Vornates.

Gallia Aquitania and Rome

Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 as a nation was not a natural unit (Caesar differentiated between proper gauls (Celtae), Belgae and Aquitani
The Aquitani were a people living in what is now Aquitaine, France, in the region between the Pyrenees, the Atlantic ocean and the Garonne...

). In order to protect the route to Spain, Rome helped Massalia (Marseille
Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

) against bordering tribes. Following this intervention, the Romans conquered what they called Provincia, or the ‘Province’ in 121 BC. Provincia extended from the Mediterranean to Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva or Lake Léman is a lake in Switzerland and France. It is one of the largest lakes in Western Europe. 59.53 % of it comes under the jurisdiction of Switzerland , and 40.47 % under France...

, and was later known as Narbonensis with its capital at Narbo. Some of the region falls into modern Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

, still recalling the Roman name.

The main struggle (58–50 BC) against the Romans came against Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 under Vercingetorix
Vercingetorix was the chieftain of the Arverni tribe, who united the Gauls in an ultimately unsuccessful revolt against Roman forces during the last phase of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars....

 at Battle of Gergovia
Battle of Gergovia
The Battle of Gergovia took place in 52 BC in Gaul at Gergovia, the chief town of the Arverni. The battle was fought between a Roman Republic army, led by proconsul Julius Caesar, and Gallic forces led by Vercingetorix...

 (a city of the Arverni) and at the Battle of Alesia
Battle of Alesia
The Battle of Alesia or Siege of Alesia took place in September, 52 BC around the Gallic oppidum of Alesia, a major town centre and hill fort of the Mandubii tribe...

 (a city of the Mandubii). The Gaulish commander was captured at the siege of Alesia and the war ended. Caesar seized the remainder of Gaul, justifying his conquest by playing on Roman memories of savage attacks over the Alps by Celts and Germans. Italy was now to be defended from the Rhine.

Caesar named Aquitania the triangle shaped territory between the Ocean, the Pyrenees and the Garonne river. He fought and almost completely subdued them in 56 BC after Publius Crassus
Publius Licinius Crassus (son of triumvir)
Publius Licinius Crassus was one of two sons of the triumvir Marcus Licinius Crassus and Tertulla. He belonged to the last generation of Roman nobiles who came of age and began a political career before the collapse of the Republic...

's military exploits assisted by Celtic allies. New rebellions ensued anyway up to 27-28 BC, with Agrippa gaining a great victory over the Gauls of Aquitania in 38 BC. It was the smallest region of all three mentioned above, following that a land extension stretching to the Loire
Loire is an administrative department in the east-central part of France occupying the River Loire's upper reaches.-History:Loire was created in 1793 when after just 3½ years the young Rhône-et-Loire department was split into two. This was a response to counter-Revolutionary activities in Lyon...

 River was added by Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, with the council of the gaulish aristocracy. This reorganization took place after the census conducted in 27 BC, based on Agrippa's observations of language, race and community according to some sources. At this point, Aquitania along with Narbonensis, Lugdunensis and Belgica now made up Gallia
Gallia may refer to:*Gaul , the region of Western Europe occupied by present-day France, Belgium and other neighbouring countries...

 and became an imperial province. Aquitania lay under the command of a former Praetor
Praetor was a title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to men acting in one of two official capacities: the commander of an army, usually in the field, or the named commander before mustering the army; and an elected magistratus assigned varied duties...

, and hosted no legions.

More so than Caesar, Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 insists that the primeval Aquitani
The Aquitani were a people living in what is now Aquitaine, France, in the region between the Pyrenees, the Atlantic ocean and the Garonne...

 differ from the other Gauls not just in language
Aquitanian language
The Aquitanian language was spoken in ancient Aquitaine before the Roman conquest and, probably much later, until the Early Middle Ages....

, institutions and laws ("lingua institutis legibusque discrepontes") but in body make-up too, deeming them more close to the Iberians
The Iberians were a set of peoples that Greek and Roman sources identified with that name in the eastern and southern coasts of the Iberian peninsula at least from the 6th century BC...

. The administrative boundaries set up by Augustus comprising both proper Celtic tribes and primeval Aquitani remained unaltered until Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

's new administrative reorganization (see below).

The Arverni often warred against the Romans with as many as two to four hundred thousand men. Two hundred thousand fought against Quintus Fabius Maximus Aemilianus
Quintus Fabius Maximus Aemilianus
Quintus Fabius Maximus Aemilianus was a Roman statesman and consul .Fabius was by adoption a member of the patrician gens Fabia, but by birth he was the eldest son of Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus and Papiria Masonis and the elder brother of Scipio Aemilianus...

 and against Domitius Ahenobarbus (Domitian
Domitian was Roman Emperor from 81 to 96. Domitian was the third and last emperor of the Flavian dynasty.Domitian's youth and early career were largely spent in the shadow of his brother Titus, who gained military renown during the First Jewish-Roman War...

). The Arverni not only had extended their empire as far as Narbo and the boundaries of Massiliotis, but they were also masters of the tribes as far as the Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

, and as far as the ocean and the Rhenus (Rhine).

Late Roman Empire and the Visigoths

For discussion on this time and after, also consult History of Aquitaine

Early Roman Gaul came to an end late in the 3rd century. External pressures exacerbated internal weaknesses, and neglect of the Rhine frontier resulted in barbarian invasions and civil war. For a while Gaul, including Spain and Britain, was governed by a separate line of emperors (beginning with Postumus
Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus was a Roman emperor of Batavian origin. He usurped power from Gallienus in 260 and formed the so-called Gallic Empire...

). However, there had still been no move to gain independence. In an attempt to save the Empire, Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

 reorganized the provinces in 293, with the establishment of the Diocesis Viennensis in the south of Gaul, comprising the former Gallia Aquitania and Gallia Narbonensis. At the same time, Aquitania was divided into Aquitania Prima, Aquitania Secunda and Aquitania Tertia or Novempopulania
Novempopulania was one of the provinces created by Diocletian out of Gallia Aquitania, being also called Aquitania Tertia. The area of Novempopulania was historically the first one to receive the name of Aquitania, as it was here where the original Aquitani dwelt primarily...

 ("land of the nine peoples"), the latter tracing back to the boundaries set up by Caesar for the original Aquitania, who had kept some kind of separate sense of identity (Verus' mision to Rome aimed at demanding a separate province). After this restructuring, Gaul enjoyed stability and enhanced prestige. This division was respected in the Early Middle Ages by the Visigoth newcomers, with a direct follow-up in the Duchy of Vasconia
Duchy of Vasconia
The Duchy of Vasconia , or Wasconia, was originally a Frankish march formed by 602 to keep the Basques in check. It comprised the former Roman province of Novempopulania and, at least in some periods, also the lands south of the Pyrenees centred on Pamplona.In the ninth century, civil war within...

, eventually turned into Gascony
Gascony is an area of southwest France that was part of the "Province of Guyenne and Gascony" prior to the French Revolution. The region is vaguely defined and the distinction between Guyenne and Gascony is unclear; sometimes they are considered to overlap, and sometimes Gascony is considered a...


From 395, the division of the empire between eastern and western rulers again caused the neglect of the Rhine frontier, reflected in the transfer of the Gallic prefect to Arelate (Arles
Arles is a city and commune in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, of which it is a subprefecture, in the former province of Provence....

). In 418, Emperor Flavius Honorius rewarded his Visigothic federates by giving them land in Aquitania on which to settle following the Germanic invasion and civil war. This was done probably under hospitalitas, the rules for billeting army soldiers. These were kept in check, until the death of Aëtius
Flavius Aëtius
Flavius Aëtius , dux et patricius, was a Roman general of the closing period of the Western Roman Empire. He was an able military commander and the most influential man in the Western Roman Empire for two decades . He managed policy in regard to the attacks of barbarian peoples pressing on the Empire...

 and the growing debility of the western government created a power-vacuum. The 460s and 470s saw Visigothic encroachment on Roman territory to the east, and in 476, the last imperial possessions in the south were ceded to the Visigoths. The settlement hence formed the nucleus of the future Visigothic Kingdom
Visigothic Kingdom
The Visigothic Kingdom was a kingdom which occupied southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula from the 5th to 8th century AD. One of the Germanic successor states to the Western Roman Empire, it was originally created by the settlement of the Visigoths under King Wallia in the province of...

 that would eventually expand across the Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

 and onto the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...