Bituriges

The Bituriges (Bituriges Cubi) were a tribe of Celtic Gaul with its capital at Bourges (Avaricum), whose territory corresponds to the former province of Berry.

Their name supposedly meant "kings of the world"[1] or "kings/masters of hitting/forging/smithing" (compare Boii "the hitting/forging/smithing ones", a deflection of the root bit also present in the industrial city Bytom connected to Boii and Cotini, Bithynia loosely connected to the Galatians and Pithom loosely connected to the ethnically related Hyksos).

Early in the 1st century BCE, they had been one of the main Gallic tribes, especially in terms of druids and their political influence. But they soon declined in power as the druids were an important target for Julius Caesar in his conquest of Gaul. What is more, the fact that Avaricum (Bourges) was the only Celtic city that Vercingetorix did not burn, contrary to his scorched earth strategy, upon the approach of Caesar's legions is another proof of the political importance of the Bituriges. Eventually, the town was to be buried by the Roman legions.

Besides Avaricum or Mediolanum (Châteaumeillant) on the road from Paris and Orléans to Arvernum (Clermont-Ferrand), Argentomagus (Saint-Marcel near today's Argenton-sur-Creuse), Déols (vicus Dolensi or Dolus in the 6th c.) or Levroux on the road from Toulouse to Paris were other oppidums of the Bituriges.

This is one of several tribes which seem to have split, with the Bituriges Cubi lived near Bourges/Berry and the Bituriges Vivisci near Burdigala (Bordeaux).

They joined Bellovesus' migrations towards Italy, together with the Aedui, Ambarri, Arverni, Aulerci, Carnutes and Senones.[2]

Gaul, 1st century BC
A map of Gaul in the 1st century BC, showing the relative positions of the Celtic tribes. The term Germani (Germania = the fertile land) is a description of territory populated by various ethnicities - not of a tribe.
Bituriges Cubi denier Gaulois silver 1780mg
Silver denier of the Bituriges Cubi, 1780 mg. Hotel de la Monnaie.

Motto

A passage from Livy, (Ab Urbe condita V, XXXIV), "summa imperii penes Biturges", meaning "all the power in the hands of the Bituriges", has become the motto of the city of Bourges.

See also

References

  1. ^ Stanley Alexander Handford, Jane F. Gardner (1983), The Conquest of Gaul By Julius Caesar, Penguin Classics, ISBN 0140444335
  2. ^ Livius, Ab Urbe condita 5.34-35.3.
Aedui

The Aedui, Haedui, or Hedui (Ancient Greek: Αἰδούοι) were a Gallic people of Gallia Lugdunensis, who inhabited the country between the Arar (Saône) and Liger (Loire), in today's France. Their territory thus included the greater part of the modern departments of Saône-et-Loire, Côte-d'Or and Nièvre.

Aigurande

Aigurande is a commune in the Indre department in central France.

Ambicatus

Ambicatus (or Ambicatu in Gaulish) is mentioned in the founding legend of Mediolanum (Milan) by Livy, whose source is Timagenes, as a king of the Bituriges, "kings of the world" as their name suggests, who ruled over the Celts in central Gaul, between Hispania and Germany, in the days of Tarquinius Priscus (the sixth century BCE). Ambicatus sent his sister's sons, Bellovesus and Segovesus, with many followers drawn from numerous tribes, to found new colonies in the Hercynian forest and in northern Italy, in the early sixth century BC. Bellovesus founded Mediolanum. If Ambicatus was an authentic historical figure, rather than a construct to express the linked origins of Celtic tribes in northern Italy and beyond the Alps, most likely he was the leader of the most powerful tribe in a military alliance, from which the Celtic colonizers of Italy were apparently drawn.

Aulerci

Aulerci is a generic name for some of the Celtic peoples of ancient Gaul, which included several Celtic tribes. Julius Caesar (B. G. ii. 34) names the Aulerci with the Veneti and the other maritime states. In B. G. vii. 75, he enumerates, among the clients of the Aedui, the Aulerci Brannovices and Brannovii, as the common text stands; but the names in this chapter of Caesar are corrupt, and Brannovii does not appear to be genuine. If the name Aulerci Brannovices is genuine in vii. 75, this branch of the Aulerci, which was dependent on the Aedui, must be distinguished from those Aulerci who were situated between the Lower Seine and the Loire, and separated from the Aedui by the Senones, Carnutes, and Bituriges Cubi.

Again, in vii. 75, Caesar mentions the Aulerci Cenomani and the Aulerci Eburovices. In B. G.vii. 75 Caesar mentions the maritime states (ii. 34) under the name of the Armoric states; but his list does not agree with the list in ii. 34, and it does not contain the Aulerci as the Aulerci were not regarded a maritime tribe. Caesar (iii. 17) mentions a tribe of Diablintes or Diablintres, to whom Ptolemy gives the generic name of Aulerci. It seems, then, that Aulerci was a general name under which several tribes were included.

They joined Bellovesus' migrations towards Italy, together with the Aeduii, Ambarri, Arverni, Carnutes and Senones.

Avaricum

Avaricum was an oppidum in ancient Gaul, near what is now the city of Bourges. Avaricum, situated in the lands of the Bituriges, was the largest and best-fortified town within their territory, situated on very fertile lands. The terrain favored the oppidum, as it was flanked by a river and marshland, with only a single narrow entrance.

By the time of the Roman conquest in 52 BC the city according to Julius Caesar had a population of 40,000 people.

Bellovesus

Bellovesus (Bellouesu in Gaulish) was a Gallic king. He lived around 600 BCE and is credited to have led the invasion of northern Italy by Gallic tribes during the legendary reign of the 5th king of Rome, Tarquinius Priscus (from 616 BCE to 579 BCE), although archeology associate Gallic expansion into Italy to around 500 BCE.

The historical writer Livius marks that he was the son of the sister of the king Ambigatus. His family belonged to the tribe of Bituriges, which were at this time the most powerful Gallic tribe. In this time, the Gallic people were suffering from overpopulation, so that it became necessary to open new settlement areas. Bellovesus and his brother Segovesus were entrusted with this task. While Segovesus was chosen by the gods — that is, by lot, got an indication to look in the Hercynian Forest for new areas to settle — Bellovesus was led to upper Italy.

Bellovesus allegedly led a group of six surplus tribes forward over the Alps: Bituriges, Arverni, Senones, Aedui, Ambarri, Carnutes, and Aulerci. The Alps represented an insurmountable hurdle for the course however first. Only after Bellovesus received support from the Greeks, who in the area of the Salyes had landed and established the port-city of Massilia (Marseille) in c. 600 BCE, did Bellovesus follow a divine sign and succeed in the crossing of the Alps through a pass in the area of Taurini. Having arrived in Italy, the Gauls defeated the Etruscans at the Ticino River and settled in an area which was later called Insubria. Here Bellovesus founded the city of Mediolanum, the modern Milan.

Berry, France

Berry is a region located in the center of France. It was a province of France until départements replaced the provinces on 4 March 1790, when Berry became divided between the départements of Cher (High Berry) and Indre (Low Berry).

The Berry region now consists of the départements of Cher, Indre and parts of Creuse. The city Bourges functioned as the capital of Berry. Berry is notable as the birthplace of several kings and other members of the French royal family, and was the birthplace of the famous knight Baldwin Chauderon, who fought in the First Crusade. In the Middle Ages, Berry became the centre of the Duchy of Berry. It is also known for an illuminated manuscript produced in the 14th–15th century called Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.

Bituriges Vivisci

The Bituriges Vivisci were one of the tribes of Gaul. The tribe's capital was in Burdigala, modern-day Bordeaux. The Vivisci traded wine which they produced themselves.

Bituriges is often taken to mean Kings of the World but whether there was any link to the Bituriges Cubi of the Berry region is not known. Some believe that the Bituriges Vivisci and the Bituriges Cubi once made up one single tribe, but seemed to have fallen apart, with the Vivisci staying in Burdigala, and the Cubi founding a new capital, Avaricum in the Berry region. The latter defended Avaricum against the Roman armies under Julius Caesar, who destroyed the town and its inhabitants.According to Strabo their territory was surrounded by that of the Aquitanian people, but the Bituriges Vivisci were not themselves Aquitanian and took no part in their political affairs.

Carnutes

The Carnutes, a powerful Gaulish people in the heart of independent Gaul, dwelt in an extensive territory between the Sequana (Seine) and the Liger (Loire) rivers. Their lands were later organized as the Catholic dioceses of Chartres, Orléans and Blois, that is, the greater part of the modern departments of Eure-et-Loir, Loiret and Loir-et-Cher. The territory of the Carnutes had the reputation among Roman observers of being the political and religious center of the Gaulish nations. The chief fortified towns were Cenabum (mistakenly "Genabum"), the modern Orléans, where a bridge crossed the Loire, and Autricum (or Carnutes, thus Chartres). The great annual druidic assembly mentioned by Caesar took place in one or the other of these towns. Livy's history records the legendary tradition that the Carnutes had been one of the tribes that accompanied Bellovesus in his invasion of Italy during the reign of Tarquinius Priscus.

In the 1st century BC, the Carnutes minted coins, usually struck with dies, but sometimes cast in an alloy of high tin content called potin. Their coinage turns up in hoards well outside their home territories, in some cases so widely distributed in the finds that the place of coinage is not secure. The iconography of their numismatics includes the motifs of heads with traditional Celtic torcs; a wolf with a star; a galloping horse; and the triskelion. Many coins show an eagle with the lunar crescent, with a serpent, or with a wheel with six or four spokes, or a pentagrammatic star, or beneath a hand holding a branch with berries, holly perhaps. The wheel with four spokes forms a cross within a circle, an almost universal image since Neolithic times. Sometimes the circle is a ring of granules. Among the Celts, the ring and spokes may represent the cycle of the year divided in its four seasons, rather than the sun, which is a common meaning among cultures. See Cross.

In the time of Caesar, the Carnutes were dependents of the Remi, who on one occasion interceded for them. In the winter of 58–57 BC, Caesar imposed a protectorate over the Carnutes and set up Tasgetius as his choice of king, picked from the ruling clan. Within three years, the Carnutes assassinated the puppet king. On 13 February 53 BC, the Carnutes of Cenabum massacred all the Roman merchants stationed in the town as well as one of Caesar's commissariat officers. The uprising became a general one throughout Gaul, under the leadership of Vercingetorix. Caesar burned Cenabum, where he had the men killed and women and children sold as slaves. The booty was distributed among his soldiers, an effective way of financing the conquest of Gaul. During the war that followed, the Carnutes sent 12,000 fighting men to relieve Alesia, but shared in the defeat of the Gallic army. Having attacked the Bituriges Cubi, who appealed to Caesar for assistance, they were forced to submit. Cenabum was left for years as a mass of ruins for example, with two Roman legions garrisoned there.

After they had been pacified, though not Romanized, under Augustus, the Carnutes, as one of the peoples of Gallia Lugdunensis, were raised to the rank of civitas socia or foederati. They retained their self-governing institutions, and minted coins; their only obligation was for the men to render military service to the emperor. Up to the 3rd century, Autricum (later Carnutes, whence Chartres) was the capital. In 275 Aurelian refounded Cenabum, ordaining it no longer a vicus but a civitas; he named it Aurelianum or Aurelianensis urbs (which eventually became Orléans).

See Livy, v. 34; Julius Caesar, Belli Gall. v. 25, 29, vii. 8, II, 75, viii. 5, 31 (see under "cenabuns); Strabo Geographia iv.2 - 3; Ptolemy Geographia, ii.8.

Celtici

The Celtici (in Portuguese, Spanish, and Galician languages, Célticos) were a Celtic tribe or group of tribes of the Iberian peninsula, inhabiting three definite areas: in what today are the regions of Alentejo and the Algarve in Portugal; in the Province of Badajoz and north of Province of Huelva in Spain, in the ancient Baeturia; and along the coastal areas of Galicia. Classical authors give various accounts of the Celtici's relationships with the Gallaeci, Celtiberians and Turdetani.

Cohors II Aquitanorum equitata c.R.

Cohors secunda Aquitanorum equitata civium Romanorum ("2nd part-mounted Cohort of Aquitani Roman citizens") was a Roman auxiliary mixed infantry and cavalry regiment. It was probably originally raised in Gallia Aquitania in the reign of founder-emperor Augustus after the revolt of the Aquitani was suppressed in 26 BC. Unlike most Gauls, the Aquitani were not Celtic-speaking but spoke Aquitanian, a now extinct non Indo-European language closely related to Basque. The regiment was also known as cohors II Biturigum. The Bituriges were a Celtic-speaking tribe whose territory was included in Gallia Aquitania. It is believed that when the Aquitani regiments were originally raised (probably in two series), some were made up of mixed Aquitani and Bituriges recruits.The regiment was probably stationed on the Rhine frontier from an early stage. It first appears in the datable epigraphic record in Germania Superior (Pfalz/Alsace) in 82 AD. Not later than 116 it was transferred to Raetia (Germany S of Danube). It was still in Raetia on its last attested date, 166. There is no certain information as to which forts it occupied in Raetia.

The origins of the three attested personnel are unknown. The honorific title civium Romanorum (c.R. for short) first appears in the record in 116. It was normally awarded by the emperor for valour to an auxiliary regiment as a whole. The award would include the grant of Roman citizenship to all the regiment's men, but not to subsequent recruits to the regiment. The regiment, however, would retain the prestigious title in perpetuity. Until 212, only a minority of the empire's inhabitants (inc. all Italians) held full Roman citizenship. The rest were denoted peregrini, a second-class status. Since the legions admitted only citizens, peregrini could only enlist in the auxilia. Citizenship carried a number of tax and other privileges and was highly sought-after. It could also be earned by serving the minimum 25-year term in the auxilia.

Cohors IV Aquitanorum equitata c.R.

Cohors quarta Aquitanorum equitata civium Romanorum ("4th part-mounted Cohort of Aquitani Roman citizens") was a Roman auxiliary mixed infantry and cavalry regiment. It was probably originally raised in the Julio-Claudian era, perhaps under Augustus after the subjugation of the Aquitani in 26 BC. Alternatively, it may have been raised in a later levy of Aquitani after 14 AD. Unlike most Gauls, the Aquitani were not Celtic-speaking but spoke Aquitanian, a now extinct non Indo-European language closely related to Basque. Some tribes in Aquitania were Celtic-speaking, however e.g. the Bituriges.

The regiment first appears in the datable epigraphic record in Germania Superior (Pfalz-Alsace) in 74 AD. It remained based in Germania Superior for all its recorded existence. Its last datable attestation is a building inscription of 210. The regiment's inscriptions have been found at the following Roman forts: Friedburg; Ingelheim; Mainz (210); Obenburg (162).The names of 2 praefecti (regimental commanders) are preserved, one of whom, Lucius Petronius Florentinus, is recorded as from Saldas. Also recorded are a centurio (infantry officer), Ti. Iulius Niger, on a tombstone in St. Lizier in Aquitania, so presumably this soldier was from the original recruitment area of the regiment. The inscription is therefore probably early 1st century. The stone mentions Niger's brother, Dunomagius son of Toutannorix, clearly a Gaulish name. (Niger must have adopted a Roman name on becoming a Roman citizen). A regimental medicus (doctor) is recorded, M. Rubrius Zosimus from Ostia, the port of the city of Rome. The last name is Greek, as were many army medics. Finally, a cornicen (hornblower) is recorded (210).

The honorific title civium Romanorum (c.R. for short) was normally awarded by the emperor for valour to an auxiliary regiment as a whole. The award would include the grant of Roman citizenship to all the regiment's men, but not to subsequent recruits to the regiment. The regiment, however, would retain the prestigious title in perpetuity. Until 212, only a minority of the empire's inhabitants (inc. all Italians) held full Roman citizenship. The rest were denoted peregrini, a second-class status. Since the legions admitted only citizens, peregrini could only enlist in the auxilia. Citizenship carried a number of tax and other privileges and was highly sought-after. It could also be earned by serving the minimum 25-year term in the auxilia.

Gorgobina

Gorgobina was a Celtic oppidum (fortified city) on the territory of the Aedui tribe. After the defeat of the Helvetii in 58 BC at nearby Bibracte, the Helvetians' Boii allies settled there (Caes. Bell. Gall, I., 28). If this really was an act of clemency on Julius Caesar's part may be disputed. With the Aedui being allies of Rome, Vercingetorix besieged Gorgobina in the course of his campaign:

Hac re cognita Vercingetorix rursus in Bituriges exercitum reducit atque inde profectus Gorgobinam, Boiorum oppidum, quos ibi Helvetico proelio victos Caesar collocaverat Haeduisque attribuerat, oppugnare instituit.

(Translation by the author: 'With this in mind, Vercingetorix led his army back to the territory of the Bituriges and advanced from there to Gorgobina, the oppidum of the Boii - whom, defeated in the battle of the Helvetians, Caesar had installed there and assigned to the Aedui -, and laid siege to it.')

In the last great battle of the Gallic War, the Boii of Gorgobina sent two thousand warriors to support Vercingetorix (Caes. Bell. Gall., VII, 75).

Historicity of King Arthur

The historicity of King Arthur is a source of considerable debate among historians, some of whom have suggested that Arthur was a mythological or folkloric figure. Arthur first appears in historical context as a leader fighting against the invading Saxons in 5th- to 6th-century Sub-Roman Britain at the Battle of Badon in a text written more than three centuries after his activity. He develops into a legendary figure in the Matter of Britain from the 12th century, following Geoffrey of Monmouth's influential Historia Regum Britanniae.

Modern theories concerning the historical origin of Arthur include Dál Riata king Áedán mac Gabráin's son Artúr mac Áedáin in the 6th century, Ambrosius Aurelianus who led the Romano-British resistance against the Saxons, a 2nd-century Roman commander of Sarmatian cavalry named Lucius Artorius Castus, British king Riothamus who fought alongside the last Gallo-Roman commanders against the Visigoths in an expedition to Gaul in the 5th century, or an amalgamation of any of them as well as other figures and myths.

Laevi

The Laevi, or Levi (who are not to be confused with descendants of Levi), were Celtic-Ligurian people in Gallia Transpadana, on the river Ticinus, who, in conjunction with the Marici, built the town of Ticinum (the modern Pavia).

They joined Bellovesus' migrations towards Italy, together with the Aeduii, Bituriges, Ambarri, Arverni, Aulerci, Carnutes and Senones.

Noviodunum

Noviodunum is a name of Celtic origin, meaning "new fort": It comes from nowyo, Celtic for "new", and dun, the Celtic for "hillfort" or "fortified settlement", cognate of English town.

Several places were named Noviodunum. Among these:

Jublains, Mayenne, France, capital of the Aulerci Diablintes

Neung-sur-Beuvron, Loir-et-Cher, as Noviodunum Biturigum; the capital of the Bituriges, where Vercingetorix fought Julius Caesar in 52 BC.

Nevers, Nièvre, France

Pommiers, Aisne, France (oppidum of the Suessiones, situated on the nearby heights of Soissons)

Nyon, Vaud, Switzerland (formed the city centre of Julius Caesar's 45 BC foundation of Colonia Iulia Equestris)

Castra Noviodunum, a large Roman fortress and naval base near what is now Isaccea, Romania

Saint-Benoît-du-Sault

Saint-Benoît-du-Sault is a commune in the Indre department in central France.

It is a medieval village, perched in a curve on a rocky butte overlooking the Portefeuille River in the former province of Berry.

In 1988, it was named one of "the most beautiful villages of France."

Salyes

The Salyes (Greek: Σάλυες) or Salluvii in ancient geography, were a Gallic confederation that occupied the plain of the Druentia (Durance) in southern Gaul between the Rhône River and the Alps. They are said to have been the first transalpine people subdued by the Romans.The hill-top oppida originally inhabited by Ligures at the time of Massilia's foundation about 600 BC, which were strung out between the fords of the Rhône and Durance and the approaches to the Alpine passes, were not bound together by any uniting force; according to Strabo the older Greeks called these people Ligyes, and their territory Ligystike. Celtic cultural encroachments from the mid-3rd century BC are revealed in the archaeological record, and by the time of Strabo some authorities considered them a "mixed race" of Galli and Ligurians (hence Celtoligyes).They joined Bellovesus' migrations towards Italy, together with the Aeduii, Bituriges, Ambarri, Arverni, Aulerci, Carnutes and Senones.In 154 BC the Hellenic inhabitants of Massilia, who had been connected with the Romans by ties of friendship since the Second Punic War, appealed for aid against the Oxybii, who controlled the Argens valley and Decietes (or Deciates). These people, called by Livy "transalpine Ligurians", were perhaps two smaller tribes included under the general name of Salyes. They were defeated by the Roman consul Quintus Opimius. In 125–124 hostilities broke out once more between the Romans and the Salyes from the same cause. The successful operations of Marcus Fulvius Flaccus were continued by Gaius Sextius Calvinus (123–122), who definitely subdued the Salyes, destroyed their chief town at the site of Entremont, north of Marseille, which reverted to rural occupation, and founded near its ruins the colony of Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence). Part of their territory was handed over to the Massaliotes. Their king, Tutomotulus (or Teutomalius), took refuge with the Allobroges. From this time the Salyes practically disappear from history.In addition to the capital of the Salyes at Entremont, where two major routes crossed, the inland route from the fords of the Durance to the Alpine valleys and the natural coastal route linking Italy and Hispania, among other important Roman towns in their territory may be mentioned Tarusco or Tarasco (Tarascon), Arelate (Arles), Glanum (Saint-Rémy-de-Provence) and Ernaginum (Saint-Gabriel, now part of Tarascon).

Scrofa semilanuta

The scrofa semilanuta (in Italian: "half-woollen boar") is an ancient emblem of the city of Milan, Italy, dating back at least to the Middle Ages — and, according to a local legend, to the very foundation of Milan. Several ancient sources (including Sidonius Apollinaris, Datius, and, more recently, Andrea Alciato) have argued that the scrofa semilanuta is connected to the etymology of the ancient name of Milan, "Mediolanum", and this is still occasionally mentioned in modern sources, although this interpretation has long been dismissed by scholars.The adoption of the half-woolly sow as an emblem of Milan is associated to a legend about the foundation of the city. According to this legend (which partially draws from Livy's writings), the founder of Milan was a Gaul prince named Belloveso. Belloveso reached the Po Valley following a vision he had had in a dream, where a goddess showed him the place where the city would rise. In this dream, he saw a sow with unusually long wool on the front half of its body. Other ancient sources (most notably the aforementioned Alciato, who in turns credits Ambrose for his account) report that the half-woolly sow is actually a sort of "chimera" — half boar and half ram — and that the emblem came about when the Bituriges and the Aedui, having as their emblems a ram and a boar respectively, joined in the Po Valley.

The origin of the legend of scrofa semilanuta and the circumstances of its adoption as an emblem of Milan are a very controversial matter for scholars. A key element of this controversy is a bas relief affixed to the walls of the Palazzo della Ragione, former "broletto" (administrative building) of the medieval commune of Milan. The bas relief is reportedly a medieval copy of an older one, found during the excavations when the Palazzo was built (1228-1233). It has been argued that the legend of the scrofa semilanuta, in its current form, might have come about as a consequence of that particular finding as well as the patriotic enthusiasm for the newly conquered independence of Milan as a commune, elaborating on the old legends about the etymology of "Mediolanum". The bas relief itself might just represent a boar, which in turn was a very common emblem in Western Europe. In any case, the "scrofa semilanuta" was thereafter adopted as the main emblem of Milan, at least until the advent of the biscione of the House of Visconti. Another (more recent) representation of the "scrofa semilanuta" is found in the internal courtyard of Palazzo Marino (Milan's city hall).

Belgica
Celtica
Aquitania
Narbonensis

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