After traveling with my wife and infant son to see family for Christmas, I got to thinking “What will traveling be like when our boy’s older? Where will we take him to make some wonderful memories?”
Last week we shared Travel With Kids – Rome to showcase all that can be seen and experienced in the Eternal City while traveling with children. We thought that was a good idea and looked for more videos to share.
During the course of this holiday season my wife & I have been traveling with our son for the first time. Granted he’s only a year old and we stayed within the United States, it was our first time on a plane as a family.
This got me thinking, what will traveling be like when our boy’s older? Where will we take him to make some wonderful memories?
How will traveling with a child (or children) be? The last time I traveled with children, I was one of the children.
So today, to start a new year, we present to you Travel With Kids -Rome!
If you enjoyed today’s adventure and want to see more like it, and maybe even about different locations, check out their site here.
We wish you a great 2017 filled with endless possibilities. Come back soon to see what we have in store for you.
Soissons commanded a broad swathe of territory across the full width of northern Gaul, even though the region became more and more isolated from Italia, with Frankish states to the north and east and the Visigothic Kingdom to the south.
The emergence of the Kingdom of Soissons began when Western Emperor Majorian (AD 457–461) appointed Aegidius as Magister Militum of the Roman Gaul. By the 5th Century AD, the Suessiones had become completely Romanized with Roman government in the area that was centered on Soissons (or Noviodunum as the Romans called it).
During the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, Emperor Majorian proved to be a little too popular. Majorian constantly took the field in person and lead the failing Roman Army to victories over the Visigoths and Burgundians, which restored Hispania.
Following a revolt in AD 417, the Armoricans were also almost completely independent of Rome. However, Auxerre on the Yonne remained under Roman control along with the new capital of Roman Gaul at Arles.
The northern region also managed to retain a Roman government based at Soissons, although more and more often Rome was being forced to use barbarian Foederati to solve its problems rather than increasingly rare Roman troops.
The remaining Roman territory in northwest Gallia was connected with the Roman possessions in the Auvergne, Provence and Languedoc which connected these to Italia. During Majorian’s reign, that corridor was annexed by the Germanic tribes then occupying Gaul, effectively cutting off Aegidius and his citizens from the Empire.
Majorian and Aegidius had recovered the Roman position in most of Gaul, but it would not last. With the death of Majorian at the hands of Ricimer in AD 461, Aegidius’s power and the Roman position in the center and southern provinces deteriorated.
Aegidius was now intent on avenging Majorian’s death, but was prevented from marching on Rome when Ricimer hired the previously defeated Visigoths and Burgundians to serve as a blockade. Aegidius’ troops remained loyal to him, however, and Rome again lost its authority in Soissons, which remained governed by Aegidius.
Aegidius died on the Loire in AD 464, and may have been murdered at the orders of one of Childeric’s enemies. Paulus of Angers, the Comes of Aegidius, was killed shortly afterwards on the same campaign.
This left Syagrius, Aegidius’s son, to succeed his rule. The former province of Gallia Aquitaniawas then annexed by the Visigoths and Burgundians in the years AD 462-477, leaving the remaining Roman Kingdom of Syagrius isolated.
Syagrius governed using the title of Dux (a provincial military commander), but the neighboring Germanic tribes referred to him as Romanorum Rex (King of the Romans). In 476, under the rule of Syagrius, the Kingdom of Soissons failed to accept the new rule of Odoacer who had dethroned the dethroned the last Western Emperor earlier that year.
While both Syagrius and Odoacer sent messengers to the Eastern Roman Empire, the Eastern Emperor Zeno chose to offer legitimacy to Odoacer instead of Syagrius. The Kingdom of Soissons cut all ties with Italy and had no further recorded contact with the Eastern Roman Empire.
Even after 476, Syagrius continued to maintain that he was merely governing a Roman province. The Kingdom of Soissons was in fact an independent region.
Childeric died about 481, and his son Clovis I became the Frankish king. Clovis made continual war against Syagrius, and in the end took over all his territory.
In 486 Syagrius lost the Battle of Soissons to the Frankish king Clovis I and the domain was thereafter under the control of the Franks. Many historians consider this Clovis’ greatest victory.
Syagrius fled to the Visigothic king Alaric II, but the Franks threatened war if Syagrius was not surrendered to them. Syagrius was sent back to Clovis, who had him executed in 487.
Clovis I ruled the Franks until his death in 511. When he died, the Frankish realm was divided into 4 kingdoms, 1 for each of his sons.
Clotaire I received the area formerly ruled by Syagrius. Clotaire himself had been born in Soissons a decade after Syagrius’ death.
By skillful diplomacy, warmongering, and murder of his relatives, Clotaire became the king of all Gaul by 555. When Clotaire died in 561, the Frankish realm further was divided into 3 kingdoms, 1 for each son.
The western kingdom of Neustria continued to be governed from Soissons until all Franks were once more unified under the Neustrian king Clotaire II in 613. Except for the period of 639-673, when a division between Neustria and Austrasia occurred, the Franks remained unified until the Treaty of Verdun in 843.
The Kingdom of Soissons (or the Kingdom of Syagrius) was, in reality, neither ruled by a legitimate king, nor was it considered by its citizens as anything other than a separated province of the Western Roman Empire. However it was a prized piece of land that was coveted by many and which still has us engaged today.
We hope you enjoyed today’s discovery and look forward to having you back again in the new year. Have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration.
In Pliny‘s time, the Segusiani had the title of Liberi (Free). Greco-Egyptian writer, geographer, mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, Claudius Ptolemy, incorrectly placed Lugdunum among the cities of the Aedui calling it Lugdunum Metropolis.
The territory of the Galli extended from the rivers Seine and Marne in the north-east, which formed the boundary with Gallia Belgica, to the river Garonne in the south-west, which formed the border with Gallia Aquitania.
Under Augustus, Gallia Lugdunensis was created by reducing in size the territory of the Galli. The portion between the river Loire and the Garonne was given to Gallia Aquitania, and central-eastern portions were given to the new province of Germania Superior.
The map shows the extent after these reductions. The date of the creation of Gallia Lugdunensis was either between 27 and 25 BC or between 16 and 13 BC, during Augustus’ visits to Gaul.
The area included most of the region that the Greeks, from their colonies on the Mediterranean coast, had called Celtica. As an Imperial Province, Gallia Lugdunensis was deemed important enough to be governed by an Imperial Legatus.
The area of Gallia Lugdunensis was too large and strong to lose its individuality. It was also too rural and too far from the Mediterranean to be Romanized as fully and quickly as neighboring Narbonensis.
Even the Celtic language lingered on in forest districts into the 4th Century AD. Said Celtic language even persisted in Brittany into modern times.
Town life, however, grew as was typical of Romanization. The villages of the tribes became practically, though not officially, municipalities, with many of these towns reached considerable size and contained magnificent public buildings.
The fictional unconquered village from the French comic book Asterix is located here. The comic focuses on Asterix and the Roman conquest of Gaul on the Armorican peninsula (modern Brittany).
Lugdunum was a Roman settlement at the junction of the Arar (Saône) and the Rhodanus (Rhône) for which Gallia Lugdunensis was named. It was in the territory of the Segusiani, who were the neighbors of the Aedui.
Lugdunum was possibly Roman Europe’s major city west of Italy, and a major Imperial mint. Outside Lugdunum was the Condate Altar, where representatives of the Three Gauls met to celebrate the cult of Rome and Augustus.
In Strabo’s time Lugdunum was the most populous of the Gallic towns after Narbonne. It was a place of trade, and the Roman Governors had a mint there for coining gold and silver.
Its great commercial prosperity was due to its excellent position, and to the viae (ways) which the Romans constructed in several directions from Lugdunum as a center. The place was entitled Colonia Copia Claudia AugustaLugdunum on some inscriptions, a name probably given to it in the time of the Emperor Claudius.
In the time of Pliny the Younger there were booksellers at Lugdunum, and Pliny’s works might be got there. The city was destroyed by fire in Seneca‘s time.
Shortly thereafter it was restored through the liberality of the Emperor Nero, to whom the inhabitants of Lugdunum remained faithful when Galba revolted. Lugdunum was plundered and again burnt by the soldiers of Septimius Severus (AD 197), after the defeat of the usurperClodius Albinus near the city.
It was an important position under the later Empire, but the name only occurs occasionally in the scanty historical notices of that time. When Julian was Governor of Gallia, Lugdunum was near being surprised by a body of Alemanni.
We hope you enjoyed our Gallia finale. We look forward to having you back again soon for our next adventure.
Because of the extent of the Roman Empire there are lots of towns and cities across modern-day Europe. The foundations laid by Rome still echo greatly today, fortunately for all of us.
With so much history and architecture abound there is no doubt how many places or things have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. If you haven’t done so already, check out the sites that we’ve already covered here.
That being said, today we’re exploring a World Heritage Site we’ve done previously as we head on back to Hispania as we uncover Toledo!
At approximately this time were constructed in Toletum a Roman Circus, city walls, public baths, and a municipal water supply and storage system.
The Circus of Toletum was one of the largest in Hispania, at 1,388 feet long and 330 feet wide, with a track dimension of 1,339 feet long and 282 feet wide. Capable of holding up to 15,000 spectators, games were held in the Circus into the late 4th and early 5th Centuries AD.
Chariot races were held on special holidays and were also commissioned by private citizens to celebrate career achievements. This is quite an indication of an active city life and ongoing patronage by wealthy elites.
A fragmentary stone inscription records Circus games paid for by a citizen of unknown name to celebrate his achieving the Sevirate, a kind of priesthood conferring high status. Archaeologists have also identified portions of a special seat of the sort used by the city elites to attend games, called a Sella Curulis.
The Visigothic king Theudis was in Toledo in AD 546, where he spread a law. This is strong though not certain evidence that Toledo was the chief residence for Theudis.
King Athanagild died in Toledo around AD 568. Although Theudis and Athanagild based themselves in Toledo, it was not yet the capital city of the Iberian Peninsula, as Theudis and Athanagild’s power was limited in extent.
This changed with Liuvigild (Leovigild), who brought the peninsula under his control. The Visigoths ruled from Toledo until the Moors conquered the Iberian Peninsula in the early years of 8th Century (711–719).
Today the historic center is pierced of basements, passages, wells, baths and ancient water pipes that since Roman times have been used in the city.
At that time, Cartagena was ruled by the Byzantines, and this move ensured a closer relation between the Bishops of Spain and the Visigothic kings. King Sisebut forced Jews in the Visigothic kingdom to convert to Christianity.
This act was criticized and efforts were made to reverse it at the Fourth Council of Toledo in AD 633. The Fifth and Sixth Councils of Toledo placed church sanctions on anyone who would challenge the Visigothic kings.
The Seventh Council of Toledo instituted a requirement that all Bishops in the area of a royal city (aka Toledo) must reside for 1 month per year in Toledo. This was a stage in “the elevation of Toledo as the primatial see of the whole church of the Visgothic kingdom”.
In addition, the Seventh Council declared that any clergy fleeing the kingdom, assisting conspirators against the king, or aiding conspirators, would be excommunicated and no one should remove this sentence. The ban on lifting these sentences of excommunication was lifted at the Eighth Council of Toledo in AD 653, and, for the first time, decisions were signed by palace officials as well as Bishops.
The Eighth Council of Toledo took measures that enhanced Toledo’s significance as the center of royal power in the Iberian Peninsula, and declared that the election of a new king following the death of the old one should only take place in the royal city or wherever the old king died. The Ninth and Tenth Councils were held in rapid succession in AD 655 and 656.
When Reccesuinth died in 672 at his villa in Gerticos (Wamba), his successor Wamba was elected on the spot, then went to Toledo to be anointed king by the Bishop of Toledo, per Council procedure. Wamba carried out renovation works in Toledo in AD 674-675, marking these with inscriptions above the city gates that are no longer extant but were recorded in the 8th Century.
The Eleventh Council of Toledo was held in AD 675 under king Wamba. Wamba weakened the power of the Bishop of Toledo by creating a new bishopric outside Toledo at the Church of Saints Peter and Paul.
This was one of the main churches of Toledo and was the church where Wamba was anointed king, and the church from which Visigothic kings departed for war after special ceremonies in which they were presented with a relic of the True Cross. By creating a new bishopric there, Wamba removed power over royal succession from the Bishop of Toledo and granted it to the new bishop.
The Twelfth Council of Toledo was held in 681 after Wamba’s removal from office. Convinced that he was dying, Wamba had accepted a state of penitence that made him ineligible to remain king.
The Twelfth Council, led by newly installed Bishop Julian confirmed the validity of Wamba’s removal from office and his succession by Ervig. The Twelfth Council eliminated the new bishopric that Wamba had created and returned the powers over succession to the Bishop of Toledo.
The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Councils of Toledo were held in 683, 684, and 688. The Thirteenth Council restored property and legal rights to those who had rebelled against King Wamba in 673.
In 687, Ervig took the penitent state before dying, and the kingship passed to Egica, who was anointed king in Toledo on November 24. In 688, the Fifteenth Council lifted the ban on taking property from the families of former kings, whereupon Egica was able to plunder Ervig’s family properties.
In the late 7th Century, Toledo became a main center of literacy and writing in the Iberian Peninsula. Toledo’s development as a center of learning was influenced by Isidore of Seville, an author and advocate of literacy who attended several church councils in Toledo.
King Chindasuinth had a royal library in Toledo, and at least one Count called Laurentius had a private library. Sometime before 651, Chindasuinth sent the Bishop of Zaragoza, Taio, to Rome to obtain books that were not available in Toledo.
Taio obtained, at least, parts of Pope Gregory‘s Moralia. The library also contained a copy of a Hexameron by Dracontius, which Chindasuinth liked so much that he commissioned Eugenius II to revise it by adding a new part dealing with the 7th day of creation.
Chindasuinth issued laws that were gathered together in a book called Liber Iudiciorum by his successor Reccesuinth in 654. This book was revised twice, widely copied, and was an important influence on medieval Spanish law.
Three Bishops of Toledo wrote works that were widely copied and disseminated in western Europe and parts of which survive to this day: Eugenius II, Ildefonsus, and Julian. “In intellectual terms the leading Spanish churchmen of the seventh century had no equals before the appearance of Bede.”
In 693, the Sixteenth Council of Toledo condemned Sisebert, Julian’s successor as Bishop of Toledo, for having rebelled against King Egica in alliance with Liuvigoto, the widow of king Ervig. A rebel king called Suniefred seized power in Toledo briefly at about this time.
Whether or not Sisebert’s and Suniefred’s rebellions were the same or separate is unknown. Suniefred is known only from having minted coins in Toledo during what should have been Egica’s reign.
By the end of the seventh century the bishop of Toledo was the leader of the Spanish bishops, a situation unusual in Europe. The metropolitan Bishops of Toledo had achieved by the last quarter of the 7th Century an authority and a primacy that was unique in Western Europe, which not even the Pope could count on such support from neighboring metropolitans.
Toledo had been matched by no other city in western Europe outside Italy as the governmental and symbolic center of a powerful monarchy. Rising from relative obscurity, Toledo became the permanent governmental center of the Visigothic monarchy and a true capital, whose only equivalent in western Europe was LombardPavia.
Ruderic led an army to confront the raiders, but was defeated and killed in battle. Apparently this happened due to a betrayal by Visigothic nobles who wished to replace him as king, and who did not consider the Arabs and Berbers a serious threat.
The commander of the invading forces was Tariq bin Ziyad, a Luwata Berber freedman in the service of governor Musa. Tariq, seizing the opportunity presented by the death of Ruderic and the internal divisions of the Visigothic nobles, captured Toledo, in 711 or 712.
Governor Musa disembarked in Cádiz and proceeded to Toledo, where he executed numerous Visigothic nobles, thus destroying much of the Visigothic power structure. Since the king was chosen in or around Toledo, by nobles based in Toledo, and had to be anointed king by the Bishop of Toledo in a church in Toledo, when Tariq captured Toledo and executed the Visigothic nobles, having already killed the king, there was no opposition for Tariq to take over.
After Castilian conquest, Toledo continued to be a major cultural center. Its Arab libraries were not pillaged, and a tag-team translation center was established in which books in Arabic or Hebrew would be translated into Castilian by Muslim and Jewish scholars, and from Castilian into Latin by Castilian scholars, thus letting long-lost knowledge spread through Christian Europe again.
Toledo served as the capital city of Castile intermittently, since Castile did not have a permanent capital, from 1085 and the city flourished. Charles I of Spain’s court was set in Toledo, serving as the imperial capital.
However, in 1561, in the first years of his son Philip II of Spain reign, the Spanish court was moved to Madrid, thus letting the city’s importance dwindle until the late 20th Century, when it became the capital of the autonomous community of Castile–La Mancha.
Nevertheless, the economic decline of the city helped to preserve its cultural and architectural heritage. Today, because of this rich heritage, Toledo is one of Spain’s foremost cities, receiving thousands of visitors yearly.
During the persecution of the Jews in the late 15th and early 16th Centuries, members of the Jewish community of Toledo produced texts on their long history in Toledo. It was at this time that DonIsaac Abrabanel, a prominent Jewish figure in Spain in the 15th Century and one of the king’s trusted courtiers who witnessed the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, wrote that Toledo was named Ṭulayṭulah by its first Jewish inhabitants.
Abrabanel stated Jews had settled in Toledo during the 5th Century BC, and may have been related to its Hebrew cognate of wandering, on account of their wandering from Jerusalem. Furthermore, Abrabanel said that the original name of the city was Pirisvalle, so-called by its early pagan inhabitants.
However, there is no archaeological or historical evidence for a Jewish presence in this region prior to the time of the Roman Empire. When the Romans originally wrote about Toledo it was a Celtic city, with no mentions of Jews.
Toledo has been a traditional sword-making, steel-working center since about 500 BC, and came to the attention of Rome when used by Hannibal in the Punic Wars. Soon, it became a standard source of weaponry for Roman Legions.
Located at the feet of the Castillo de San Servando, it was built by the Romans after they founded the city. In the Middle Ages it was one of the few entrances for pilgrims into the city, and was declared a national cultural monument in 1921.
To mark the 400th Anniversary of the publication of the first part of Don Quixote, the Council of Communities of Castile–La Mancha designed a series of routes through the region crossing the various points cited in the novel. Known as the Route of Don Quixote, 2 of the pathways designated (sections 1 and 8) are based in Toledo.
Those linking the city with La Mancha Castile and Montes de Toledo exploit the natural route which passes through the Cigarrales and heads to Cobisa, Nambroca Burguillos of Toledo, where it takes the Camino Real from Sevilla to suddenly turn towards Mascaraque Almonacid de Toledo, deep into their surroundings, near Mora, in La Mancha.
This stretch, Mascaraque-Toledo, of the Route of Don Quixote has recently been included in an official way on the Camino de Santiago in Levantine branch with origins in Cartagena, Alicante and Valencia, as both routes are declared a European Cultural Route on this stretch.
We realize this was more of a historical journey than one exploring the present city of Toledo, but we hope you enjoyed it nonetheless. Be sure to stop by again for you never know what’s next to uncover.
Named for the Belgae as the largest tribal confederation in the area, Gallia Belgica also included the territories of the Treveri, Leuci, Mediomatrici, Sequani, Helvetii and others. The southern border of Belgica, formed by the Marne and Seine Rivers, was reported by Caesar as the original cultural boundary between the Belgae and the Gauls who he distinguished as Celts.
The remaining part of Gallia Belgica was divided into Belgica Prima in the eastern area of the Treveri, Mediomatrici and Leuci, around Luxembourg and the Ardennes. Belgica Secunda between the English Channel and the upper River Meuse.
In 57 BC, Julius Caesar led the conquest of northern Gaul. Funny enough, Caesar had already specified that the part to the north of the Seine and Marne Rivers was inhabited by a people/alliance known as the Belgae.
His definition became the basis of the later Roman province of Belgica. Caesar said that the Belgae were separated from the Celtic Gauls to their south by lingua, institutis, legibus (language, custom and laws).
Unfortunately for us in the present, Caesar did not go into further detail. The only exception would be Caesar did mention that he learnt from his contacts that the Belgae had some ancestry from east of the Rhine, which he referred to as Germania.
The Belgian tribes were indeed the closest to the Rhine and Caesar distinguished them as the Germani Cisrhenani (Germans on this side of the Rhine). If nothing else the Romans were very logical about naming other people or lands based on either known geographic locations or proximity to Rome itself.
The Greek geographer, philospher and historian Strabo stated that the differences between the Celts and Belgae, in language, politics and way of life was minute. Modern historians interpret Caesar and the archaeological evidence as indicating that the core of the Belgian alliance was in the present-day northernmost corner of France.
The Suessiones, Viromandui and Ambiani were perhaps some of their neighbors as well who lived in the area Caesar identified as Belgica. These were the leaders of the initial military alliance Caesar confronted.
These groups were also more, per Caesar, economically advanced. In Caesar’s way of seeing things, this made them less “Germanic” than many of their more northerly allies such as the Nervii and Germani Cisrhenani.
Angry at the Romans for their decision to garrison Legions in their territory during the winter, all the Belgic tribes allied against the Romans. The lone exception was the southern Remi who remained loyal to Rome.
At the beginning of the conflict, Caesar reported the allies’ combined strength at 288,000, led by the Suessione king Galba. Due to the Belgic coalition’s size and reputation for uncommon bravery, Caesar avoided meeting the combined forces of the tribes in battle.
Instead, Caesar used its Equites Romani to skirmish with smaller contingents of tribesmen. Only when Caesar managed to isolate one of the tribes did he risk conventional battle.
The tribes fell in a piecemeal fashion and Caesar claimed to offer lenient terms to the defeated, including Roman protection from the threat of surrounding tribes. Most tribes agreed to the conditions.
A series of uprisings followed the 57 BC conquest. The largest revolt was led by the Bellovaci in 52 BC, after the defeat of Vercingetorix.
During this rebellion, it was the Belgae who avoided direct conflict. They harassed the Roman Legions, led personally by Caesar, with cavalry detachments and archers.
The rebellion was put down after a Bellovaci ambush of the Romans failed. The revolting party was slaughtered.
Following a census of the region in 27 BC, Augustus ordered a restructuring of the provinces in Gaul. Therefore, in 22 BC, Marcus Agrippa split Gallia Comata into 3 regions (Gallia Aquitania, Gallia Lugdunensis and Gallia Belgica).
Agrippa made the divisions on what he perceived to be distinctions in language, race, and community. Gallia Belgica was meant to be a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples.
The capital of this territory was Reims, according to Strabo, though later the capital moved to modern day Trier. The date of this move is uncertain.
Modern historians, however, view the term Gaul and its subdivisions as an invention of defective ethnography. The split of Gallia Comata into 3 provinces is viewed though as an attempt to construct a more efficient government, as opposed to a cultural division.
Successive Roman Emperors struck a balance between Romanizing the people of Gallia Belgica and allowing pre-existing culture to survive. The Romans allowed local governments to survive, typically in the form of Cantons, however their number in Gallia Belgica was limited.
Roman government was run by appointed officials in either Reims or Trier. Additionally, local notables from Gallia Belgica were required to participate in a festival in Lugdunum (modern Lyon) which typically celebrated or worshiped the Emperor’s genius.
The gradual adoption of Romanized names by local elites and the Romanization of laws under local authority demonstrate the effectiveness of this Concilium Galliarum. With that said, the concept and community of Gallia Belgica did not predate the Roman Province, but developed from it.
During the 1st Century AD (roughly 90 AD), the Provinces of Gaul were restructured. Emperor Domitian reorganized the provinces to separate the militarized zones of the Rhine from the civilian populations of the region.
The northeastern part of Gallia Belgica was split off and renamed Germania Inferior, later to be reorganized and renamed as Germania Secunda. This included the eastern part of modern Belgium, the southernmost part of the modern Netherlands, and a part of modern Germany.
The eastern part was split off to become Germania Superior (parts of western Germany and eastern France) and the southern border of Gallia Belgica was extended to the south. The newer Gallia Belgica included the cities of Camaracum (Cambrai), Nemetacum (Arras),(Cambrai), Nemetacum (Arras), Samarobriva (Amiens), Durocortorum (Reims), Dividorum (Metz) and Augusta Treverorum (Trier).
In AD 173 then Governor of Gallia Belgica, Didius Julianus (who would go on to be Emperor for 9 weeks during the year 193), had to repel a serious invasion of the Chauci. This Germanic tribe lived along the shores of the Wadden Sea at the respective northern and northwestern coast of present-day Germany and the Netherlands, in the drainage basin of the River Scheldt.
Archaeologists have found evidence that large farms near Tournai and the village Velzeke (near Ghent) had to be abandoned. Further the capitals in the areas of the former tribes of the Atrebates, Morini and the Nervians were either burnt down (Nemetacum) or had to be rebuilt in the last quarter of the 2nd Century (Colonia Morinorum [Thérouanne] and Bagacum Nerviorum [Bavay]).
Roman control over Gaul began deteriorating in the 3rd Century. Roman control was impacted by the Crisis of the Third Century and along with unrest in Gaul.
Only in 274 was Roman control restored by the new Emperor Aurelian in the Battle of Châlons. The cost of this defeat proved very high eventually.
With the Gallic army defeated and not returning to the Rhine border, the Franks overran the neighboring province of Germania Inferior. The Rhineland (to the Ripuarian Franks) and the area between the Rhine and the main road between Boulogne and Cologne were de facto lost forever for the Roman Empire.
Emperor Diocletian restructured the provinces around AD 300, and split Belgica into 2 provinces, Belgica Prima and Belgica Secunda. Belgica Prima had Treveri as its main city, and consisted of the eastern part. The border between Belgica Prima and Belgica Secunda was approximately along the River Meuse.
The Franks had held actual control over the major part of Germania Inferior since AD 275. Around 350 this was partly formalized when the Romans gave official control over Toxandria to the Salian Franks.
Eventually, in AD 406, a large alliance among them Vandals, Alans and Suebi, under great pressure from the Huns, successfully crossed the Rhine in the neighborhood of present-day Koblenz and entered Gallia Belgica by way of the Moselle valley. The alliance subsequently destroyed large parts of Gallia Belgica, before eventually moving on to Hispania.
This invasion and the accompanying widespread destruction broke the backbone of Roman power in at least the northern part of Gallia Belgica. After this invasion the Franks were able to conquer valuable agricultural land south of the Via Belgica, the very important main road between Cologne and Boulogne, that had been the backbone of Roman defense strategy between AD 260 and 406.
The Salic Franks gained a base in the Rhineland from which they could expand some 130 years later, beginning after the disastrous Rhine crossing in 406. By conquering the whole area of the former province of Gallia Belgica and start the Merovingian kingdom, the first immediate forerunner state of Western civilization.
In 452 a major battle was fought at the Catalaunian fields with coalition of Romans, Visigoths and Franks against an army led by the legendary Hunnic leader Atilla. The outcome of this battle itself was inconclusive, but because of this battle the Huns and their allies left the area of Gallia Belgica where they had plundered nearly all major cities, except Lutetia Parisiorum (Paris).
The capital of Belgica Prima, Trier, became an important capital in the late Western Roman Empire. After the Western Roman Empire had already collapsed, for some time the Gallo-Roman “Kingdom of Soissons” (457-486) managed to maintain control over the area around Soissons.
The Franks however emerged victorious and Belgica Secunda in the 5th Century becoming the center of Clovis‘ Merovingian kingdom. During the 8th Century in the Carolingian Empire the former area of Gallia Belgica was split into Neustria and Austrasia.
Belgica Foederata continued to be used as the Latin name of the Dutch Republic after its secession of Belgica Regia in 1581. The United Kingdom of the Netherlands after 1815 was still known as Royaume des Belgiques, and it was only with the independence of modern Belgium and the modern Netherlands in the 1830s that the name became reserved for Belgium to the exclusion of the Netherlands.
We hope you enjoyed today’s journey and look forward to having you return soon. If you ever need a place to go that merges the past and present, look no further than the former Gallia Belgica.
Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!
Boatwright, Mary T.; Gargola, Daniel J. and Talbert, Richard J. A. A Brief History of the Romans. Oxford University Press, 2006.
Fourteen Celtic tribes and 20 Aquitanian tribes occupied the northern parts of the Pyrenees to the country bounded by the rivers Garumna (Garonne) and the Liger (Loire). 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 Volcae Tectosages.
The name Gallia Comata was often used to designate the 3 provinces of Farther Gaul (Gallia Lugdunensis, Gallia Belgica, and Aquitania). The was opposed to the area the Romans called Gallia Bracata (Trousered Gaul), a term derived from bracae (‘breeches’, the native costume of the northern ‘barbarians’) for Gallia Narbonensis.
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 and 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 Ruteni and the Gabales had silver mines, while the Cadurci had linen factories.
According to Greek philosopher and historian Strabo, the Aquitani were a wealthy people. Luerius, the King of the Arverni and the father of Bituitus who warred against Fabius Maximus, 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, which were organized into larger super-tribal groups called Civitates. These administrative groupings were later taken over by the Romans in their system of local control.
Gaul as a nation was not a natural unit. Caesar differentiated between proper Gauls (Celtae), Belgae and Aquitani.
In order to protect the route to Hispania, Rome helped Massalia (Marseille) against bordering tribes. Following this intervention, the Romans conquered what they called Provincia in 121 BC.
Provincia extended from the Mediterranean to Lake Geneva. Later it was known as Narbonensis with its capital at Narbo, and some of the region falls into modern Provence, still recalling the Roman name.
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.
Caesar named Aquitania the triangle shaped territory between the Atlantic, the Pyrenees and the Garumna river. He fought and almost completely subdued them in 56 BC after Publius Crassus‘s military exploits were 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 3 previously mentioned, following that a land extension stretching to the Loire River was added by Augustus, 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 and became an Imperial Province under the command of a former Praetor, and hosted no Legions.
More so than Caesar, Strabo insists that the primitive Aquitani differ from the other Gauls not just in language, institutions and laws (lingua institutis legibusque discrepantes) but in body make-up too, deeming them more close to the Iberians. The administrative boundaries set up by Augustus comprising both proper Celtic tribes and primeval Aquitani remained unaltered until Diocletian‘s new administrative reorganization.
The Arverni had extended their realm as far as Narbo and the boundaries of Massiliotis. However, they were also masters of the tribes as far as the Pyrenees, and as far as the ocean and the Rhine.
Early Roman Gaul came to an end late in the 3rd Century AD. External pressures exacerbated internal weaknesses, and neglect of the Rhine frontier resulted in barbarian invasions and civil war.
For a while Gallia, Hispania, Germania, andBritannia, was governed by a separate line of Emperors beginning with Postumus. However, there had still been no move to gain independence.
In an attempt to save the Imperium Rōmānum, Diocletian reorganized the provinces in AD 293. The former Gallia Aquitania and Gallia Narbonensis had now become the Diocesis Viennensis in the south of Gaul.
At the same time, Aquitania was divided into Aquitania Prima (Primary Aquitaine), Aquitania Secunda (Secondary Aquitaine) and Aquitania Tertia (Tertiary Aquitaine) or Novempopulania (Land of the Nine Peoples). The latter traced back to the boundaries set up by Caesar for the original Aquitania, who had kept some kind of separate sense of identity.
From AD 395, the division of the Empire between East and West again caused the neglect of the Rhine frontier, reflected in the transfer of the Gallic prefect to Arelate (Arles). In AD 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 (state of being a guest or foreigner), the rules for billeting soldiers. These were kept in check, until the death of Aëtius and the growing debility of the Western Empire created a power-vacuum.
The 460s and 470s saw Visigothic encroachment on Roman territory to the east, and in AD 476, the last imperial possessions in the south were ceded to the Visigoths. The settlement hence formed the nucleus of the future Visigothic Kingdom that would eventually expand across the Pyrenees and onto the Iberian Peninsula.
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In the late 2nd Century BC, the name was changed to Gallia Narbonensis and it became a Roman Province. Its boundaries were roughly defined by the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the Cévennes and Alps to the north and west. The western region of Gallia Narbonensis was known as Septimania.
The Romans had called it ProvinciaNostra (Our Province) from its having been the paramount Roman Province north of the Alps, or simply Provincia (The Province). The term has survived in the modern French and Occitan names of the eastern part of the area (French Provence, Occitan Provença), now a région of France.
By the mid-2nd Century BC, Rome was trading heavily with the Greek colony of Massalia (modern Marseille) on the southern coast of Gaul. Massalia, founded by colonists from Phocaea, was by this point centuries old and quite prosperous.
Rome entered into an alliance with Massalia, by which it agreed to protect the town from local Gauls, nearby Aquitani, sea-borne Carthaginians and other rivals, in exchange for a small strip of land that it wanted in order to build a road to Hispania, to assist in troop transport. The Massalians, for their part, cared more for their economic prosperity than they did for territorial integrity.
In this strip of land, the Romans founded the town of Narbonne, which turned out to be a major trading competitor with Massalia. It was from this that the province of Transalpine Gaul was founded.
Control of the province, which bordered directly on Italia, gave the Roman state several advantages. By possessing Gallia Narbonensis Rome controlled the land route between Italy and the Iberian peninsula, had a territorial buffer against Gallic attacks on Italy, and controlled the lucrative trade routes of the Rhône valley between Gaul and the markets of Massalia.
Emperor Diocletian‘s administrative reorganization of the Empire, around AD 314, merged the provinces Gallia Narbonensis and Gallia Aquitania into a new administrative unit called Dioecesis Viennensis (Diocese of Vienne) with the capital more to the north in Vienne. The new diocese’s name was later changed to Dioecesis Septem Provinciarum (Diocese of the Seven Provinces), indicating that Diocletian had demoted the word “province” to mean a smaller subdivision than in traditional usage.
Gallia Narbonensis and surrounding areas were incorporated into the Visigothic Kingdom between AD 462 and 477, permanently ending Roman political control. After the Gothic takeover, the Visigothic dominions were to be generally known as Septimania, while to the east of the lower Rhone the term Provence came into use.
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Gallia Cisalpina literally means “Gaul hither side of the Alps” (from the perspective of the Romans). This was opposed to Transalpine Gaul (Gaul on the far side of the Alps).
Cisalpine Gaul (Gallia Cisalpina), also called Gallia Citerior or Gallia Togata, was the part of Italy inhabited by Celts (Gauls) during the 4th and 3rd Centuries BC. Conquered by the Roman Republic in the 220s BC, it was a Roman Provincia from c. 81 BC until 42 BC, when it was merged into Roman Italy.
Gallia Cisalpina was further subdivided into Gallia Cispandana and Gallia Transpadana (portions south and north of the Po River, respectively). The Roman province of the 1st Century BC was bounded on the north and west by the Alps, in the south as far as Placentia by the River Po, and then by the Apennines and the Rubicon, and in the east by the Adriatic Sea.
It has also been proposed that a more ancient proto-Celtic presence can be traced back to the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age (XVI-XV Century BC), when North Western Italy appears closely linked regarding the production of bronze artifacts, including ornaments, to the western groups of the Tumulus culture. The bearers of the Canegrate culture maintained its homogeneity for only a century, after which it melded with the Ligurian aboriginal populations and with this union gave rise to a new phase called the Golasecca culture, which is nowadays identified with the Celtic Lepontii.
The Ligures of the Northern Mediterranean Coast straddling South-east French and North-west Italian coasts, including parts of Tuscany, Elba Island and Corsica, were tribes also present in Latium and in Samnium. According to Plutarch they called themselves Ambrones, which could indicate a relationship with the Ambrones of northern Europe.
The Veneti were an Indo-European people who inhabited north-eastern Italy, in an area corresponding to the modern-day region of the Veneto. By the 4th Century BC the Veneti had been so Celticized that Polybius wrote that the Veneti of the 2nd Century BC were now identical to the Gauls, except for language.
The defeat of the combined Samnite, Celtic and Etruscan alliance by the Romans in the Third Samnite War ending in 290 BC sounded the beginning of the end of the Celtic domination in mainland Europe. At the Battle of Telamon in 225 BC, a large Celtic army was trapped, and summarily crushed, between 2 Roman forces.
These were the Roman forces encountered by Hannibal after his crossing of the Alps. The Romans were defeated in the Battle of the Ticinus, leading to all the Gauls except for the Cenomani to join the insurgency.
The Romans returned only after the defeat of Carthage in 202 BC. Rome conquered the last remaining independent Celtic kingdom in Italy in 192 BC.
Sometimes referred to as Gallia Citerior (Hither Gaul), Provincia Ariminum, or Gallia Togata (Toga-wearing Gaul, indicating the region’s early Romanization). Gallia Transpadana denoted that part of Cisalpine Gaul between the Padus (now the Po River) and the Alps, while Gallia Cispadana was the part to the south of the river.
Probably officially established around 81 BC, the province was governed from Mutina. Here, in 73 BC, forces under Spartacus defeated the Legio of Provincial Governor Gaius Cassius Longinus.
The Rubicon River marked its southern boundary with Italia proper. In 49 BC, with the Lex Roscia, Julius Caesar granted to the populations of the province the full Roman citizenship.
By crossing the Rubicon in 49 BC with his battle-hardened legions, returning from the conquest of Gaul, Julius Caesar precipitated the civil war within the Roman Republic which led, eventually, to the establishment of the Roman Empire. To this day the term “crossing the Rubicon” means, figuratively, “reaching the point of no return”.
The province was merged into Italia about 42 BC, as part of Octavian’s “Italicization” program during the Second Triumvirate. The dissolution of the provincial required a new governing law (lex) although its contemporary title is unknown.
The parts of it inscribed on a bronze tablet preserved in the museum at Parma are entirely concerned with arranging the judiciary. The law appoints 2 viri (men) and 4 viri juri dicundo (awarding of contracts), and also mentions a Prefect of Mutina.
The population of Canegrate maintained its own homogeneity for a limited period of time, approximately a century, after which they blended with the Ligurian aboriginal populations to create a new culture called the Golasecca culture.
The Golasecca culture was initially concentrated in the foothills area south of the Alps. It later spread throughout the lakes area and established many settlements representing this original culture, of which the oldest remains found thus far can be dated from the 9th Century BC.
There is some debate whether the Lepontic language should be considered as a Gaulish dialect or an independent branch within Continental Celtic. Apart from Lepontic, the “Cisalpine Gaulish language” proper would be the Gaulish language as spoken by the Gauls invading northern Italy in the 4th Century BC. This is a dialect of the larger Gaulish language, with some known phonetic features distinguishing it from Transalpine dialects, such as -nn- replacing -nd- and s(s) replacing -χs-.
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Baldi, Philip. The Foundations of Latin. Walter de Gruyter, 2002.
Boardman, John. The Cambridge ancient history: Persia, Greece and the Western Mediterranean c. 525-479 BC. Cambridge University Press, 1988.