The Eburones (Greek: Ἐβούρωνες, Strabo), were a Gallic-Germanic tribe who lived in the northeast of Gaul, in what is now the southern Netherlands, eastern Belgium, and the German Rhineland, in the period immediately before this region was conquered by Rome. Though living in Gaul, they were also described as being both Belgae, and Germani (for a discussion of these terms, see below).

The Eburones played a major role in Julius Caesar's account of his "Gallic Wars", as the most important tribe within the Germani cisrhenani group of tribes, i. e. Germani living west of the Rhine amongst the Belgae. Caesar claimed that the name of the Eburones was wiped out after their failed revolt against his forces during the Gallic Wars. Whether any significant part of the population lived on in the area as Tungri, the tribal name found here later, is uncertain but considered likely.

A 19th century statue of Ambiorix, prince of the Eburones (1st century BCE), in Tongeren, Belgium


Belgae rivers
Map showing the Maas (dark green) between the Scheldt (light blue) and the Rhine (cyan) with Tongeren and other cities on the Maas.

Caesar is the primary source for the location of the Eburones. The exact borders are difficult to be certain about, but the region that they and their fellow Germani inhabited corresponds to some extent with the later Roman district of Germania Inferior, enclosed by the northern bend of the river Rhine, and including a stretch of the Meuse river (Dutch: Maas) stretching from the Ardennes until the river deltas of the Rhine and Meuse. In the early medieval church this evolved into the original church province of Cologne (later stretching beyond the Rhine), which included the Diocese of Liège that had evolved from the Civitas Tungrorum. This large area included large parts of what are now the southern Netherlands, eastern Belgium, and the German Rhineland.

At one point Caesar reported that the greatest part of the Eburones settled between the Mosa (Maas or Meuse) and the Rhine.[1] And "on this basis German scholars place them in the northern Eifel".[2] On the other hand, Caesar places Atuatuca, the fort of the Eburones, about the middle of the territory of the Eburones; and it is possible this was Tongeren, which had the ancient name of Aduatuca Tungrorum. (This identification is also uncertain however, because Atuatuca might have been a word for fortress, or some other type of population centre. Other sites have been proposed, including nearby Mount Saint Peter, on the Maas river itself, but also places such as Spa, in the Ardennes.) More generally Caesar's description of a narrow defile to its west, suitable for ambush, is a type of landscape less common as one goes north in this region, towards the low-lying Campine.[3]

In the same passage, Caesar describes the Segni and Condrusi as being south of the Eburones, between them and the Treviri, who lived near the Moselle.[4] This is difficult to reconcile with a territory near the Eifel because the Condrusi are the origin of the name of the Condroz region in the Ardennes, south of the Meuse, and west of the Eifel. "No cultural groupings can be isolated to suit the Eburones in the north Eifel" according to Edith Mary Wightman. In contrast, she also writes that

Keltische stammen Eburonen gouden stater
Gold stater of the Eburones.
Triskele on the obverse, Celticized horse on the reverse.

Belgian archaeologists identify them with the cultural group in northern Limburg and Kempen (Campine) which showed such strong continuity in Urnfield times. This would certainly account for the propinquity of Eburones and Menapii mentioned by Caesar; the distribution of war-time staters attributed to the Eburones (a mixture of transrhenine and Treveran elements) also corresponds with this group."[2]

Furthermore, to the north and northwest, the Eburones bordered on the Menapii, who lived near the mouth of the Rhine river, though "protected by one continued extent of morasses and woods", and had ties of hospitality with them.[5] And at one point Caesar indicates that when the Eburones went into hiding, they not only dispersed into the Ardennes and morasses, but "those who were nearest the ocean concealed themselves in the islands which the tides usually form".[6] This is also seen to indicate that at least part of the Eburones lived west of the Maas, closer to the river deltas.[7] Nico Roymans has argued, based on concentrations of coin finds, that there were Eburones as far north as the eastern part of the Dutch river-area, an area later inhabited by Batavians, a Roman-era Germanic group who may have included remnants of the older Eburonic population.[8]

When the Tencteri and Usipetes, who were Germanic tribes, crossed the Rhine from Germania in 55 BCE, Caesar reported that they first fell on the Menapii, then crossed the Maas towards a tribe called the Ambivariti (otherwise unknown) and then advanced into the territories of the Eburones and Condrusi, who were both "under the protection of" the Treveri to the south.[9]

Apart from being under the protection of the Treveri, the Eburones also had close dealings with the Nervii, a large Belgic tribe to the west of them, who much later had their Roman provincial capital in Bavay (later moved to Cambrai). Neighbouring both the Nervii and the Eburones, possibly between them, were also the Aduatuci (or Atuatuci). Caesar reported that Ambiorix had been forced to pay tribute to them before the Romans came, and that his own son and nephew had been kept by them as hostages in slavery and chains.[10] It was with these two tribes, that the Eburones could quickly form a military alliance against Caesar's forces.[11] The location of the Aduatuci is not clear, but their name appears to be related to the names of both the capital of the Eburones "Aduatuca" and the capital of the later Tungri "Aduatuca Tungrorum" (modern Tongeren) which may have been the same place.[2]

Caesar also reports that during his conflict with them, the Eburones had some sort of alliance, organized via their allies the Treveri, with the Germanic tribes over the Rhine.[12]

Linguist Maurits Gysseling proposed that placenames such as Avendoren (Tienen), Averdoingt (Arras), Averbode, and Avernas (Hannut) may be derived from the Eburones.[13]

Involvement in Caesar's Gallic Wars

Caesar's forces clashed with an alliance of Belgic tribes in 57 BCE in the Battle of the Sabis. Before that battle, information from the Remi, a tribe allied with Rome, stated that the Germani (the Condrusi, the Eburones, the Caeraesi, and the Paemani) had collectively promised, they thought, about 40,000 men. These were to join 60,000 Bellovaci, 50,000 Suessiones, 50,000 Nervii, 15,000 Atrebates, 10,000 Ambiani, 25,000 Morini, 9,000 Menapii, 10,000 Caleti, 10,000 Velocasses, 10,000 Viromandui, and 19,000 Aduatuci. The whole force was led by Galba, king of the Suessiones.[14] However, the alliance did not work. The Suessiones and Bellovaci surrendered after the Romans defended the Remi and then moved towards their lands. And after this the Ambiani offered no further resistance and the Nervii, along with the Atrebates and Viromandui, formed the most important force on the day of the battle. The Eburones are not mentioned specifically in the description of the battle itself, but after the defeat the Eburones became important as one of the tribes continuing to resist Roman overlordship.

In 54 BCE, Caesar's forces were still in Belgic territory, having just returned from their second expedition to Britain, and needed to be wintered. Crops had not been good, due to a drought, and this imposition upon the communities led to new conflict. This insurrection started only 15 days after a legion and five cohorts (one and a half legions) under the command of Caesar's legates, Quintus Titurius Sabinus and Lucius Aurunculeius Cotta arrived in their winter quarters in the country of the Eburones. The Eburones, encouraged by messages from the Treveri king Indutiomarus, and headed by their two kings, Ambiorix and Cativolcus, attacked the Roman camp; and after inducing the Romans to leave their stronghold on the promise of a safe passage, massacred nearly all of them (approximately 6000 men).[15] Encouraged by this victory, Ambiorix rode personally first to the Aduatuci and then to the Nervi, arguing for a new attack on the Roman wintering in Nervian territory under the command by Quintus Tullius Cicero, brother of the famous orator.[16] The Nervii agreed and summoned forces quickly from several tribes under their government, Centrones, Grudii, Levaci, Pleumoxii, and Geiduni.[17] Caesar reported that this was thwarted by his timely intervention, and the Belgic allies dispersed, Caesar "fearing to pursue them very far, because woods and morasses intervened, and also [because] he saw that they suffered no small loss in abandoning their position".[18]

In the meantime Labienus, one of Caesar's most trusted generals, was wintering in the territory of the Treveri, and also came under threat when news of the Eburones rebellion spread. Eventually, he killed the king of the Treveri, Indutiomarus. "This affair having been known, all the forces of the Eburones and the Nervii which had assembled, depart; and for a short time after this action, Caesar was less harassed in the government of Gaul."[19]

In the following year Caesar entered the country of the Eburones, and Ambiorix fled before him. Cativolcus poisoned himself with a concoction from a yew tree.[6] The country of the Eburones was difficult for the Romans, being woody and swampy in parts. Caesar invited the neighboring people to come and plunder the Eburones, "in order that the life of the Gauls might be hazarded in the woods rather than the legionary soldiers; at the same time, in order that a large force being drawn around them, the race and name of that state may be annihilated for such a crime".[20] The Sicambri, from east of the Rhine, were one of the main raiders. While Caesar was ravaging the country of the Eburones, he left Quintus Tullius Cicero with a legion to protect the baggage and stores, at a place called Aduatuca, which he tells us, though he had not mentioned the name of the place before, was the place where Sabinus and Cotta had been killed.[21] The plan to take advantage of the Sicambri back-fired when the Eburones explained to the Sicambri that the Roman supplies and booty, not the refugees, were the most attractive target for plundering.


Caesar reports that he burnt every village and building that he could find in the territory of the Eburones, drove off all the cattle, and his men and beasts consumed all the corn that the weather of the autumnal season did not destroy. He left those who had hid themselves, if there were any, with the hope that they would all die of hunger in the winter. Caesar says that he wanted to annihilate the Eburones and their name, and indeed we hear no more of the Eburones. Their country was soon occupied by a Germanic tribe with a different name, the Tungri. However, as discussed further below, the report of Tacitus that the Tungri were the original "Germani" that came earliest over the Rhine, and the way this matches the description by Caesar of the Eburones and their neighbours, leads to the possibility that they survived under a new name.

Under the Romans, one of the tribes associated with the Tungri, and apparently living in the north of their area, in the modern Campine, were the Toxandrians. Like the Tungri, they were never mentioned by Caesar. Like the Condrusi (whom Caesar had mentioned, and who continued to exist under Roman rule), the Texuandri or Toxandrians were recognized as a distinct grouping for the administrative purpose of mustering troops. The etymology of this name is uncertain, but it has been proposed that it may be a translation of the original Gaulish name of the Eburones, referring to the yew tree (taxus in Latin).[22]

As mentioned above, in the extreme north of the possible Eburone range, the area where the Maas and Rhine enter the Netherlands today, it has been proposed that some Eburones, together with Germanic immigrants from further east, joined the new Batavian tribal grouping who contributed an important fighting force to the Roman military.


It is probable that the Eburones contained both Gallic and Germanic elements.[23] Despite being regarded as Belgae, a type of Gaul, Julius Caesar says that the Condrusi, Eburones, Caeraesi, Paemani, and Segni were called by the collective name of Germani and had settled there some generations ago having come from the other side of the Rhine.[14][24] The Eburones are therefore amongst the so-called Germani cisrhenani 'Germans on this side of the Rhine', i. e. Germanic peoples who lived south and west of the Rhine and may have been distinct from the Belgae. It is clear that the Belgic tribes of Gaul were culturally influenced by both Gaulish and Germanic neighbours, but the details, for example which languages they spoke, remains uncertain.

Tacitus suggests that it was in this very region that the term Germani started to be used, even though he mentions a tribe Caesar did not mention, the Tungri.

The name Germany, on the other hand, they say, is modern and newly introduced, from the fact that the tribes which first crossed the Rhine and drove out the Gauls, and are now called Tungrians, were then called Germans [Germani]. Thus what was the name of a tribe, and not of a race, gradually prevailed, until all called themselves by this self-invented name of Germans, which the conquerors had first employed to inspire terror.[25]

This is often interpreted as implying that the Tungri, a name later used to refer to all the tribes of this area, were descendants of several tribes including the ones Caesar said were called Germani collectively.[7] The name may even be an artificial name meaning "the sworn ones" or confederates.[22]

There is still discussion about the possibility of these Germani not being "German" in terms of language and ancestry. A number of arguments have been proposed in favour of them having spoken a Celtic language.

  • Although the term Germanic has a linguistic definition today, Roman authors such as Caesar and Tacitus did not clearly divide the Celts from what they called the Germans based on languages. On the contrary, both authors tended to emphasize, partly for political reasons, the differences in terms of the levels of civilization which had been attained, with Germanic peoples being wilder and less civilized peoples, requiring military and political considerations.
  • The names of their kings, such as Ambiorix and Catuvolcus, are undoubtedly Celtic. Also the material culture of the region, has been found by archaeologists to be highly Celtised, clearly in contact with the Celts of central Gaul, though far less rich in terms of Mediterranean luxury goods. They were not so strongly linked to the east of the Rhine. This would at the very least seem to suggest that at least the upper echelons were Celtic or had adopted a Celtic language and culture.[26]
  • The tribal name has also been explained as being Celtic, *eburo- meaning 'yew(-tree)', which is also attested in personal names and place-names such as Eboracum (York), Ebora (Évora) and Eburobrittium.[27] This etymological derivation would give Caesar's story in which King Catuvolcus committed suicide by taking in the poisonous juice from the yew-tree an extra layer of meaning. The etymology is rendered somewhat less certain by the existence of Germanic *ebura 'boar', although this element is not as well represented in the contemporary onomastic record.
  • There are clues which are sometimes taken to indicate that the local peoples in former Eburonic territories spoke or adopted Gaulish, or some form of it. One of the basic influences on the pronunciation of Dutch is a Gallo-Romance accent. This means that in the Gallo-Roman period, when the Eburones had officially ceased to exist, the Latin which was then spoken was strongly influenced by a Gaulish substrate.[28]

On the other hand, studies of placenames such as those of Maurits Gysseling, have been argued to show evidence of the very early presence of early Germanic languages throughout the area north of the Ardennes. The sound changes described by "Grimm's Law" appear to have affected names with older forms, apparently already in the 2nd century BCE. It is argued furthermore that the older language of the area, though apparently Indoeuropean was not Celtic (see Nordwestblock) and therefore that Celtic, though influential amongst the elite, might never have been the language of the area where the Eburones lived.[29]

A further complication is that the population of the Eburones may have been made up of different components. As mentioned above, archaeological evidence implies continuity going back to Urnfield times, but with signs that militarized elites had moved in more than once, bringing forms of the Celtic-associated cultures known as Hallstatt and later La Tène. No clear archaeological evidence has been found to confirm Caesar's account that the Eburones came specifically from over the Rhine. However, these Celtic cultures were also present there, and in the period when Caesar supposes that they arrived, the peoples immediately over the Rhine were most likely not speakers of a Germanic language.[30]

See also


  1. ^ Julius Caesar, Gallic War V.24
  2. ^ a b c Wightman, Edith Mary (1985), Gallia Belgica, University of California Press, page 30-31.
  3. ^ Wightman, Edith Mary (1985), Gallia Belgica, University of California Press, page 40.
  4. ^ Julius Caesar, Gallic War VI.32.
  5. ^ Julius Caesar, Gallic War VI.5
  6. ^ a b Julius Caesar, Gallic War VI.31
  7. ^ a b Vanderhoeven, Alain; Vanderhoeven, Michel, "Confrontation in Archaeology: Aspects of Roman Military in Tongeren", in Vermeulen, Frank; Sas, Kathy; Dhaeze, Wouter (eds.), Archaeology in Confrontation: Aspects of Roman Military Presence in the Northwest (Studies in Honour of Prof. Em. Hugo Thoen), Ghent University, p. 143
  8. ^ Nico Roymans, Ethnic Identity and Imperial Power. The Batavians in the Early Roman Empire. Amsterdam Archaeological Studies 10. Amsterdam 2004, chapter 4; also see page 249.
  9. ^ Julius Caesar, Gallic War II.6
  10. ^ Julius Caesar, Gallic War V.27
  11. ^ "Gallic War" V.38 - V.39.
  12. ^ "Gallic War" VI.5
  13. ^ Gysseling, Maurits (1960), Toponymisch Woordenboek van België, Nederland, Luxemburg, Noord-Frankrijk en West-Duitsland
  14. ^ a b Julius Caesar, Gallic War II.4
  15. ^ Julius Caesar, Gallic War V.24-V.37
  16. ^ Julius Caesar, Gallic War V.38
  17. ^ Julius Caesar, Gallic War V.39
  18. ^ Julius Caesar, Gallic War V.40 and V.52.
  19. ^ Julius Caesar, Gallic War V.58
  20. ^ Julius Caesar, Gallic War VI.34
  21. ^ Julius Caesar, Gallic War VI.32, VI.35 and VI.37
  22. ^ a b Wightman, Edith Mary (1985), Gallia Belgica, University of California Press, page 53-54.
  23. ^ Waldman, Carl; Mason, Catherine (2006). Encyclopedia of European Peoples. Infobase Publishing. p. 225. ISBN 1438129181.
  24. ^ Julius Caesar, Gallic War VI.32
  25. ^ Tacitus, Germania, II 2. ceterum Germaniae vocabulum recens et nuper additum, quoniamqui primi Rhenum transgressi Gallos expulerint ac nunc Tungri, tunc Germani vocati sint: ita nationis nomen, nongentis, evaluisse paulatim, ut omnes primum a victore obmetum, mox et a se ipsis invento nomine Germani vocarentur.
  26. ^ Lamarcq, Danny; Rogge, Marc (1996), De Taalgrens: Van de oude tot de nieuwe Belgen, Davidsfonds page 47.
  27. ^ Lauran Toorians, Keltisch en Germaans in de Nederlanden. Taal in Nederland en België gedurende de Late IJzertijd en de Romeinse periode. Memoires de la Société Belge D'Études Celtiques 13. Brussel, 2000. See also Celtic personal names of Roman Britain
  28. ^ See for instance: Schrijver, Peter, "Der Tod des Festlandkeltischen und die Geburt des Französischen, Niederländischen und Hochdeutschen." In: Sprachtod und Sprachgeburt, edited by Peter Schrijver and Peter-Arnold Mumm. Münchner Forschungen zur historischen Sprachwissenschaft 2. Bremen, 2004. 1-20. (in German)
  29. ^ Lamarcq, Danny; Rogge, Marc (1996), De Taalgrens: Van de oude tot de nieuwe Belgen, Davidsfonds page 44.
  30. ^ Wightman, Edith Mary (1985), Gallia Belgica, University of California Press pages 13-14.

External links


Ambiorix (Gaulish "king in all directions") was, together with Cativolcus, prince of the Eburones, leader of a Belgic tribe of north-eastern Gaul (Gallia Belgica), where modern Belgium is located. In the nineteenth century Ambiorix became a Belgian national hero because of his resistance against Julius Caesar, as written in Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico.

Ambiorix's revolt

Ambiorix's revolt was an episode during the Gallic Wars between 54 and 53 BC in which the Eburones tribe, under its leader, Ambiorix, rebelled against the Roman Republic.

Discontent among the subjugated Gauls prompted a major uprising amongst the Belgae against Julius Caesar in the winter of 54–53 BC, when the Eburones of north-eastern Gaul rose in rebellion under their leader Ambiorix. Fifteen Roman cohorts were wiped out at Atuatuca Tungrorum (modern Tongeren in Belgium) and a garrison commanded by Quintus Tullius Cicero narrowly survived after being relieved by Caesar in the nick of time. The rest of 53 BC was occupied with a punitive campaign against the Eburones and their allies, who were said to have been all but exterminated by the Romans.


Atuatuca (or Aduatuca) was the name of one or more fortified settlements in the region between the Scheldt and Rhine rivers, during the "Gallic wars" of Julius Caesar. The word itself possibly meant "fortress". The pronunciation "Atuatuca" with a "t" is considered to be the original, despite many Latin documents using a "d". The modern city of Tongeren, referred to as Aduatuca Tungrorum in later Roman imperial times, is at least one of these places, and if there were more places with this same name they were all in the same general region to the north of the Ardennes, and in or near eastern Belgium. At the time, this region was inhabited mainly by the Eburones.


The Caeroesi (spelling variants include Caeraesi, Ceroesi, Cerosi) were a tribe living in Belgic Gaul when Julius Caesar's Roman forces entered the area in 57 BCE. They are known from his account of the Gallic War. They are generally also equated with the Cæracates mentioned briefly by Tacitus in his Histories.They were one of a group of tribes listed by his local informants as the Germani, along with the Eburones, Condrusi, Paemani (or Caemani), and Segni. These tribes are referred to as the "Germani Cisrhenani", to distinguish them from Germani living on the east of the Rhine, outside of the Gaulish and Roman area.

Whether this meant that they actually spoke a Germanic language or not, is still uncertain, but it was claimed by Tacitus that these Germani were the original Germani, and that the term Germani as it came to be widely used was not the original meaning. He also said that the descendants of the original Germani in his time were the Tungri.The general area of the Belgian Germani was between the Scheldt and Rhine rivers, and north of Luxemburg and the Moselle, which is where the Treverii lived. In modern terms this area includes eastern Belgium, the southern parts of the Netherlands, and a part of Germany on the west of the Rhine, but north of Koblenz. The Caeroesi appear to have lived in the south of this range, in the Eifel region, in the area which later because the Roman pagus of Carucum, a sub-division of the Treveri. Later this became the Frankish pagus called Caroascus.

A Roman era boundary marker has been found near Neidenbach bei Kyllburg marked "FINIS PAGI CARV CVM" (the boundary or end of the Carucum pagus). This was on the Roman road between Trier, the main Roman city of the Treverii, and Cologne.

This was a wooded area, forming a boundary between regions. To the east of Neidenbach, the Vinxtbach, a small river flowing eastwards to the Rhine, marked the boundary between the Roman provinces of Germania Superior and Germania Inferior. The name Vinxtbach is in fact thought to derive from the Latin word finis, meaning an end or boundary. Today the Vinxtbach is still a boundary between modern German dialects, with Ripuarian to the north, and Moselle Frankish to the south. Also nearby is the modern boundary of modern German Länder of Rheinland-Pfalz and Nordrhein-Westfalen.

Their name is believed to mean "sheep people", and to be Celtic in origin.


Cativolcus or Catuvolcus (died 53 BC) was king of half of the country of the Eburones, a people between the Meuse and Rhine rivers, united with Ambiorix, the other king, in the insurrection against the Romans in 54 BC; but when Julius Caesar in the next year proceeded to devastate the territories of the Eburones, Cativolcus, who was advanced in age and unable to endure the labours of war and flight, poisoned himself, after imprecating curses upon Ambiorix.


The Condrusi were a Germanic tribe of ancient Belgium, which takes its name from the political and ethnic group known to the Romans as the Belgae. The Condrusi were probably located in the region now known as Condroz, named after them, between Liège and Namur. The terrain is wooded hills on the northeastern edge of the Ardennes.

The Belgae were distinguished from the Celts and apparently claimed to be of Germanic descent. From Belgic names we know that the Belgae were heavily influenced by the Gaulish language, but from other information we know that they were also heavily influenced by Germanic peoples on the east of the Rhine river. In particular, the Condrusi were in the tribal group known as the Germani cisrhenani, who are amongst the Belgae most strongly associated with Germanic ancestry.

We learn all we know about the Condrusi from Julius Caesar in Commentarii de Bello Gallico. In 2.4, Caesar states that the Belgian Germani had crossed the Rhine long ago to take control of the fertile land on the other side. They kept a distinct identity, and a reputation for military strength, because they were the only Gauls who successfully resisted the Cimbri and Teutones during their migrations in the second century BCE.Whether the Germani cisrhenani in Belgium actually spoke a Germanic language, is uncertain, but in any case it was claimed by Tacitus that these Germani were the original Germani, and that the term Germani as it came to be widely used was not the original meaning. He also said that the descendants of the original Germani in his time were the Tungri.In chapter 2.4 of Caesar's commentaries the Condrusi are specifically listed amongst the Germani, along with the Eburones, the Caeroesi, and the Paemani. At that time, in 57 BCE, they were joining an alliance of Belgic tribes against Caesar. The alliance met with defeat at the Battle of the Sabis, but some, including many of the Germani, most notably the Eburones, renewed fighting in 54 BCE.

In 4.6 Caesar reports that the Condrusi were under the protection of the Treveri along with the Eburones. How this circumstance came about is not known, but their territories were thereby not invaded by the Usipetes and Tencteri who had lost their own lands to Suebi and then crossed the Rhine into the lands of the Menapii.In 6.32 the Condrusi are again mentioned as Germani "on this side of the Rhine" (citra Rhenum), this time along with the Segni (or Segui), as a German tribe claiming not to be involved in the rebellion. Both tribes were reported to live between the Eburones and the Treviri.After their defeat or capitulation, the Germani cisrhenani became part of the civitas Tungrorum in Roman province of Gallia Belgica. But this civitas was eventually split out to become part of Germania Inferior. An inscription in Scotland shows that soldiers from the pagus Condrustis served within the second cohort of the Tungrian civitas, and worshipped a goddess named Viradecthis.

The name of the pagus Condrustis survived not only into Roman times but into the Carolingian era also, being mentioned as a county in the early Middle Ages. In this way, the name, like many medieval county names, has managed to survive down to the present day, at least as a geographical term.


The Cugerni (or Cuberni or Guberni) was Germanic tribal grouping with a particular territory within the Roman province of Germania Inferior, which later became Germania Secunda. More precisely they lived near modern Xanten, and the old Castra Vetera, on the Rhine. This part of Germania Secunda was called the Civitas or Colonia Traiana (polity or colony of Trajan), and it was also inhabited by the Betasii.The Cugerni are amongst the Germanic tribes who crossed the Rhine from east to west, and were settled in the Roman Empire. Similarly, to their south were the Ubii who also lived on the Rhine, around the modern city of Cologne in their Colonia Agrippenses. To the west of the Cugerni and Betasii were the Batavi, and to their southwest were the Tungri, along with other tribes such as the Toxandri, living in the Civitas Tungrorum.

Apart from the area of Xanten, places which were apparently in their region were Gelduba (Gellep near Krefeld), Asciburgium (Asberg, also near Krefeld), Burginatium (near Kalkar), and Quadriburgium (Qualberg near Kleve). However nearby Neuss was in the region of the Ubii, with its capital at Cologne.The name of the Cugerni is not recorded as one which ever existed on the east of the Rhine, unlike the Ubii, but the Cugerni are thought to descend at least partly from a part of the Sicambri, who had already been present just over the Rhine in the time of Caesar, and then moved over the Rhine. However as with the Batavi and Tungri and other tribes of the region during Roman times, the ancestry of the Cugerni was probably mixed, and may have included other tribes from the east of the Rhine, plus survivors of the Menapii or Eburones who lived in this region in the time of Caesar, when it was considered to be part of Gaul, and not yet part of the Roman Empire.

The region of the Cugerni was in the centre of action during the Batavian revolt, with different tribal groups taking different sides. The Cugerni took the side of Gaius Julius Civilis.

The population of Germania Inferior reduced significantly in late Roman times, as new waves of Germanic tribes raided, and the Roman empire lost military control. Tribes such as the Chamavi, Chattuarii, and Sallii were eventually allowed to settle semi-independently within Germania Inferior, and were referred to as Franks. They united under kings and then proceeded to conquer a large part of Western Europe. Therefore any surviving Cugerni who stayed in the area were later absorbed into the Frankish kingdom.

Dalla eburones

Dalla eburones is a butterfly in the family Hesperiidae. It is found in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.

Germani cisrhenani

The Germani cisrhenani (Latin cis-rhenanus "on the hither side of the Rhine", also "Left bank Germani".), were a group of tribes who lived west of the Lower Rhine at the time of the Gallic Wars (mid-1st century BC).

The name is first mentioned by Julius Caesar, who was writing specifically about tribes near the Meuse river, who had settled among the Belgae before Roman intrusion into the area. Tribes who were certainly considered to be among the original Germani cisrhenani include the Eburones, the Condrusi, the Caeraesi, the Segni and the Paemani, who collectively form a group which apparently later came to be referred to as Tungri, in order to avoid confusion with other "Germani" once, by the time of Tacitus, the term had been extended to include, or more strongly associated with, the vast area of Germania magna beyond the limits of the Roman Empire.

List of massacres in Belgium

This is a list of massacres which have occurred in the territory now covered by the modern country of Belgium.

Lucius Aurunculeius Cotta

Lucius Aurunculeius Cotta (died 54 BC) was an officer in the Gallic army of Gaius Julius Caesar. The little we know of Cotta is found in Book V of Caesar's De Bello Gallico. In 54 BC, when Caesar returned from his second expedition to Britain, he found food in short supply so he distributed his eight legions amongst a larger number of Gallic states from which to draw their sustenance during the winter. To the eighth legion, which had recently been raised from across the Po (trans Padum) he added another five cohorts. In command of this legion and the other cohorts, he put Quintus Titurius Sabinus and Lucius Aurunculeius Cotta. These two were appointed Legati (Lieutenant-Generals).


The Nervii were one of the most powerful Belgic tribes of northern Gaul at the time of its conquest by Rome. Their territory corresponds to the central part of modern Belgium, including Brussels, and stretched southwards into French Hainault. During their 1st century BC Roman military campaign, Julius Caesar's contacts among the Remi stated that the Nervii were the most warlike of the Belgae. In times of war, they were known to trek long distances to take part in battles. Being one of the distant northern Belgic tribes, with the Menapii to the west, and the Eburones to their east, they were considered by Caesar to be relatively uncorrupted by civilization.


The Paemani (or Poemani or Caemani) were a tribe of Belgae in Gallia Belgica, mentioned by Julius Caesar in his commentary of his Gallic Wars. They were one of a group of tribes listed by his local Remi informants as the Germani, along with the Eburones, Condrusi, Caeraesi (or Caeroesi), and Segni. These tribes are therefore referred to as the "Germani Cisrhenani", to distinguish them from Germani living on the east of the Rhine, outside of the Gaulish and Roman area.

Whether this meant that they spoke a Germanic language or not, is still uncertain, but it was claimed by Tacitus that these Germani were the original Germani, and that the term Germani had come to be used broadly, having once only referred to this one people. He also said that the descendants of the original Germani in his time were the Tungri, who had changed their name.The Paemani are frequently associated with the present-day Famenne region of central Wallonia. The proposal that the name Famenne itself derives from Paemani is no longer widely accepted, but the region is thought to be one reasonable proposal for where they lived.It has been argued that their name was the "Caemani". This was the spelling found in a paraphrase of Caesar by Orosius.

In later records, during the time of the Roman empire, the Paemani are no longer mentioned. The old districts of the Condrusi and the Caeroesi are thought to have kept their names into the Middle Ages.

Segni (tribe)

The Segni (sometimes Segui) were a tribe living in Belgic Gaul when Julius Caesar's Roman forces entered the area in 57 BCE. They are known from his account of the Gallic War. They were one of a group of tribes listed by his local informants as the Germani of Belgian Gaul, along with the Eburones, Condrusi, Paemani (or Caemani), and Caeroesi (or Caeraesi). The Segni do not appear in the first listing of the Germani, which was a listing of Germani sending men to fight Caesar. But they appear in a later mention, after the defeat of the Eburones: The Segui and Condrusi, of the nation and number of the Germans [Germani], and who are between the Eburones and the Treviri, sent ambassadors to Caesar to entreat that he would not regard them in the number of his enemies, nor consider that the cause of all the Germans on this side the Rhine was one and the same; that they had formed no plans of war, and had sent no auxiliaries to Ambiorix. Caesar, having ascertained this fact by an examination of his prisoners, commanded that if any of the Eburones in their flight had repaired to them, they should be sent back to him; he assures them that if they did that, he will not injure their territories.

These tribes are referred to as the "Germani Cisrhenani", to distinguish them from Germani living on the east of the Rhine, outside of the Gaulish and Roman area. Whether they actually spoke a Germanic language or not, is still uncertain. The region was strongly influenced by Gaul, and many of the personal names and tribal names from these communities appear to be Celtic. But on the other hand it was claimed by Tacitus that these Germani were the original Germani, and that the term Germani as it came to be widely used was not the original meaning. He also said that the descendants of the original Germani in his time were the Tungri.The general area of the Belgian Germani was between the Dijle (Dyle) and Rhine rivers, and north of Luxemburg and the southern parts of the Eifel. In modern terms this area includes eastern Belgium, the southeastern parts of the Netherlands, and a part of Germany on the west of the Rhine, but north of the Moselle valley.

The specific location of the Segni, as can be seen from the brief mention of Caesar, quoted above, was between the Eburones and the Treverii, somewhere in the region of the Ardennes. The Condrusi, mentioned as living in the same area and being part of the same embassy to Caesar, are thought to have lived in the Condroz region in the north of the Ardennes.

In the 19th century, it was sometimes claimed that the name of the Segni is preserved in a modern town of "Sinei or Signei", on the Meuse river, in the Belgian province of Namur.

It has also occasionally been claimed that the Segni appear as the "Sunuci" or "Sinuci" in later Roman records, such as the Naturalis Historia of Pliny the Elder. If so, then we have more records to refer to. Pliny described them between the Tungri and the Frisiavones. Tacitus, for example, also mentioned the Sunuci, as a people of this region during the Batavian revolt. They probably lived between the Tungri and the Ubii in Roman imperial times.

The Sunuci are thought to have lived in what is now the area of Germany where it touches eastern Belgium, and the southern Netherlands. One proposal would place the Sunuci in Kornelimünster in the region of modern Aachen.


The Sicambri, also known as the Sugambri or Sicambrians, were a Germanic people who during Roman times lived on the east bank of the Rhine river, in what is now Germany, near the border with the Netherlands. They were first reported by Julius Caesar.

Whether or not the Sicambri spoke a Germanic or Celtic language, or something else, is not certain, because they lived in the so-called Nordwestblock zone where these two language families came into contact and were both influential.

By the 3rd century the region, in which they and their neighbours had lived, had become part of the territory of the Franks, which was a new name that possibly represented a new alliance of older tribes, possibly including the Sicambri. Many Sicambri had however been moved into the Roman empire by this time.


Tongeren (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈtɔŋərə(n)], French: Tongres [tɔ̃gʁ], German: Tongern [ˈtɔŋɐn]) is a city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Limburg, in the southeastern corner of the Flemish region of Belgium. Tongeren is the oldest town in Belgium, as the only Roman administrative capital within the country's borders. As a Roman city, it was inhabited by the Tungri, and known as Atuatuca Tungrorum, it was the administrative centre of the Civitas Tungrorum district. The city is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.


The Toxandri (or Texuandri, Taxandri, Toxandrians etc.) were a people living at the time of the Roman empire. Their territory was called Toxandria, Toxiandria or Taxandria, a name which survived into the Middle Ages. It was roughly equivalent to the modern Campine (Dutch Kempen) geographical region of northeastern Flanders and southern Netherlands. In modern terms this covered all or most of North Brabant, the east of Antwerp Province, and the north of Belgian Limburg.

Their name is also preserved in modern placenames such as Tessenderlo, which is in the modern Belgian province of Limburg where it borders upon the provinces of Antwerp and Flemish Brabant.


The Tungri (or Tongri, or Tungrians) were a tribe, or group of tribes, who lived in the Belgic part of Gaul, during the times of the Roman empire. Within the Roman empire, their territory was the Civitas Tungrorum. They were described by Tacitus as being the same people who were first called "Germani" (Germanic), meaning that all other tribes who were later referred to this way, including those in Germania east of the Rhine river were named after them. More specifically, Tacitus was thereby equating the Tungri with the "Germani Cisrhenani" described generations earlier by Julius Caesar. Their name is the source of several place names in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, including Tongeren, and several places called Tongerloo, and Tongelre.


The Ubii were a Germanic tribe first encountered dwelling on the east bank of the Rhine in the time of Julius Caesar, who formed an alliance with them in 55 BC in order to launch attacks across the river. They were transported in 39 BC by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa to the west bank, apparently at their own request, as they feared the incursions of their neighbors, the Chatti.A colony for Roman veterans was founded in 50 AD under the patronage of Agrippa's granddaughter, Agrippina the Younger, who had been born at Ara Ubiorum, the capital of the Ubii. The colony derived its title from the names of Agrippina and her husband, the emperor Claudius, and received the name Colonia Claudia Ara Augusta Agrippinensium, which is the origin of the city's modern name, Cologne. Alongside the allotment of land to veterans, the existing town of Ara Ubiorum was elevated to the status of a colonia, which would have conferred many privileges on the inhabitants. The Ubii were also at Bonna (Bonn) of the Eburones.

The Ubii remained loyal allies of Rome; they were instrumental in crushing the Batavian rebellion in 70 and, although some of them made part of the invasion of Pannonia in 166, they become foederati supporting Roman troops in the Marcomannic Wars in 166-67.

They seem to have been so thoroughly Romanized that they adopted the name Agrippinenses in honour of their "founder", and their later history is submerged with other Franks in that of eastern Gaul as a whole.


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