Gaius Julius Civilis

Gaius Julius Civilis was the leader of the Batavian rebellion against the Romans in 69 AD. His nomen shows that he (or one of his male ancestors) was made a Roman citizen (and thus, the tribe a Roman vassal) by either Augustus or Caligula.

He was twice imprisoned on a charge of rebellion, and narrowly escaped execution. During the disturbances that followed the death of Nero, he took up arms under pretence of siding with Vespasian and induced the inhabitants of his native country to rebel. The Batavians, who had rendered valuable service under the early emperors, had been well treated in order to attach them to the cause of Rome. They were exempt from tribute, but were obliged to supply a large number of men for the army, and the burden of conscription and the oppressions of provincial governors were important incentives to revolt. The Batavians were immediately joined by several neighbouring Germanic tribes.

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn - The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis - Google Art Project
The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis, completed in 1661 by Rembrandt. It depicts a Batavian oath to Gaius Julius Civilis, the head of the Batavian rebellion against the Romans in 69 AD.

The Roman garrisons near the Rhine were driven out, and twenty-four ships captured. Two legions under Mummius Lupercus were defeated at Castra Vetera (near the modern Xanten) and surrounded. Eight cohorts of Batavian veterans joined their countrymen, and the troops sent by Vespasian to the relief of Vetera threw in their lot with them.

The result of these accessions to the forces of Civilis was a rising in Gaul. Hordeonius Flaccus was murdered by his troops (70), and the whole of the Roman forces were induced by two commanders of the Gallic auxiliaries —Julius Classicus and Julius Tutor— to revolt from Rome and join Civilis. The whole of Gaul thus practically declared itself independent, and the foundation of a new kingdom of Gaul was contemplated. The prophetess Veleda predicted the complete success of Civilis and the fall of the Roman Empire. But disputes broke out among the different tribes and rendered co-operation impossible; Vespasian, having successfully ended the civil war, called upon Civilis to lay down his arms, and on his refusal resolved to take strong measures for the suppression of the revolt.

The arrival of Quintus Petillius Cerialis with a strong force awed the Gauls and mutinous troops into submission; Civilis was defeated at Augusta Treverorum (Trier, Trèves) and Castra Vetera, and forced to withdraw to the island of the Batavians. He finally came to an agreement with Cerialis whereby his countrymen obtained certain advantages, and resumed amicable relations with Rome. From this time, Civilis disappears from history.

Tervuren - "Claudius Civilis" by Lodewijk Van Geel
Statue of Civilis by Lodewijk Van Geel (1820-21)


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Civilis, Claudius" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  • The chief authority for the history of the insurrection is Tacitus, Histories, iv., v., whose account breaks off at the beginning of Civilis's speech to Cerialis.
  • Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, vii. 4.
  • E. Meyer, Der Freiheitskrieg der Bataver unter Civilis (1856)
  • Merivale, Hist. of the Romans under the Empire, ch. 58.
  • H. Schiller, Geschichte der römischen Kaiserzeit, bk. ii. ch. 2, § 54 (1883).

External links


The suffix -lock in Modern English survives only in wedlock. It descends from Old English -lác which was more productive, carrying a meaning of "action or proceeding, state of being, practice, ritual". As a noun, Old English lác means "play, sport", deriving from an earlier meaning of "sacrificial ritual or hymn" (Proto-Germanic *laikaz). A putative term for a "hymn to the gods" (*ansu-laikaz) in early Germanic paganism is attested only as a personal name, Oslac.

AD 25

AD 25 (XXV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Lentulus and Agrippa (or, less frequently, year 778 Ab urbe condita). The denomination AD 25 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

AD 69

AD 69 (LXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Augustus and Rufinus (or, less frequently, year 822 Ab urbe condita). The denomination AD 69 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Alpinius Montanus

Alpinius Montanus (fl. 1st century CE) was one of the Treviri, a tribe of the Belgae, the indigenous peoples living in northern Gaul. He was the commander of a cohort in the army of the Roman emperor Vitellius, and was sent into Germany after the Battle of Bedriacum in the year 69. Tacitus mentions that Montanus and his men accepted the Vitellians' defeat by the Flavians and felt little attachment to either side. Together with his brother, Decimus Alpinius, he joined the revolt of Gaius Julius Civilis against Roman rule in the next year. He was one of those who crossed the Rhine to try to rally support for the rebellion among the peoples of Germania Libera.


The Cananefates, or Canninefates, Caninefates, or Canenefatae, meaning "leek masters", were a Germanic tribe, who lived in the Rhine delta, in western Batavia (later Betuwe), in the Roman province of Germania Inferior (now in the Dutch province of Zuid-Holland), before and during the Roman conquest.

Apparently, the name had its origins in the fact that the Cananefates lived on sandy soils that were considered excellent for growing Alliums such as leeks and onions.At the beginning of the Batavian rebellion under Gaius Julius Civilis in the year 69, the Batavians sent envoys to the Canninefates to urge a common policy. "This is a tribe," says Tacitus (Histories Book iv) "which inhabits part of the island, and closely resembles the Batavians in their origins, languages, and in their courageous character, but is inferior in numbers." This would imply a similar descent as the Batavians from the Chatti. In the failed uprising that followed, the Canninefates were led by their chieftain Brinno, the son of a chief who had faced down Caligula.

The capital of the civitas of the Cananefates was Forum Hadriani, modern Voorburg.

In modern times, the region Kennemerland is said to derive from the name of the Cananefates.

Castus (rebel slave)

Castus was a Gallic slave, who together with the Thracian Spartacus, the fellow Gaul Crixus, and Celt Gannicus, alongside Oenomaus, was one of the leaders of rebellious slaves during the Third Servile War (73-71 BC). He was killed along with his co-commander Gannicus and their Gallic and Germanic followers by Roman forces under Marcus Licinius Crassus at the Battle of Cantenna in Lucania in 71 BC.


Civilis may refer to:

Gaius Julius Civilis, the leader of the Batavian rebellion against the Romans in 69

Tiberius Claudius Civilis

Civilis (vicarius), a vicarius of Roman Britain in 368

Raimundas Čivilis, a former Lithuanian basketball player


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.


Gaius, sometimes spelled Gajus, Cajus, Caius, was a common Latin praenomen; see Gaius (praenomen).

Julius Briganticus

Julius Briganticus (died AD 69) was a Batavian who commanded auxiliary cavalry in the Roman Army. He was the son of the sister of Gaius Julius Civilis, the leader of the Batavian rebellion, who apparently hated his nephew. The nomen Julius indicates he was a Roman citizen. The cognomen Briganticus perhaps suggests he, or his father, gained distinction fighting against the Brigantes of northern Britain.

In 69, during the civil wars of the Year of Four Emperors, Briganticus initially fought for Otho but surrendered to Vitellius's forces after the battle of Placentia. He later commanded a picked squad of cavalry that had been formed by Vitellius but went over to Vespasian. He died fighting for the Romans under Quintus Petillius Cerialis against his uncle during the Batavian revolt.

Julius Classicus

Julius Classicus was a Gaulish nobleman and military commander of the 1st century AD, belonging to the tribe of the Treviri. He served as a commander of the Roman auxiliaries. Along with Julius Tutor, another Treviran Roman auxiliary commander, and Julius Sabinus, who claimed descent from Gaius Julius Caesar, he joined the rebellion of Gaius Julius Civilis during the disorder of the Year of the Four Emperors (69 AD).

Netherlands in the Roman era

For around 450 years, from around 55 BC to around 410 AD, the southern part of the Netherlands was integrated into the Roman Empire. During this time the Romans in the Netherlands had an enormous influence on the lives and culture of the people who lived in the Netherlands at the time and (indirectly) on the generations that followed.

Oenomaus (rebel slave)

Oenomaus was a Gallic gladiator, who escaped from the gladiatorial school of Lentulus Batiatus in Capua. Together with the Thracian Spartacus and the fellow Gauls Crixus, Castus and Gannicus, he became one of the leaders of rebellious slaves during the Third Servile War (73–71 BC)

Oenomaus was involved in one of the first major successes of the slave army, the rout of the army of the praetor Gaius Claudius Glaber, who had tried to lay siege to the slave army near Mount Vesuvius.

Oenomaus fell in an early battle, possibly during the winter of 73–72 BC when the slave armies were plundering cities and towns in the south of Italy.


Óslác is a theophoric Anglo-Saxon given name, cognate to Old Norse Ásleikr/Áslákr (Latinised Ansleicus, modern Scandinavian Aslak) and to Old High German Ansleh (Anslech, Ansleccus). It is composed of ós "god" and lác "play, sport; offering, sacrifice".Historical individuals bearing the name include:

a son of Æthelfrith of Northumbria (recorded in MS E of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle s.a. 617),

king Oslac of Sussex (8th century),

Oslac of Hampshire, butler of Æthelwulf of Wessex (9th century),

earl Oslac of Northumbria (10th century),

Anslech de Bricquebec (10th century).

Ansleicus is the name of a Dane converted to Christianity in 864 according to the Miracles de St. Riquier. This Ansleicus subsequently mediated between Charles the Bald and the Viking invaders of Normandy.The Norman French toponyms Anneville are from Anslecvilla "the farm of Ansleicus" and Annebecq too (cf. Norman patronymic Anlec still mentions in Jersey 1306 and in Hémévez around 1320).The name is attested in a medieval runic inscription on a sword scabbard found in Tangen, Hedmark (the Korsøygarden sword, dated c. 1100), reading aumutær : geþemik : aø ͡slikæramik (normalized Old Norse Auðmundr gerði mik, Ásleikr á mik) "Audmund made me, Asleik owns me".

As a given name, English Oslac unlike Norse Aslak is mostly extinct, but it survives into Modern English as a surname, besides Oslac also in the spellings Aslock, Ashlock, and Hasluck.

Based on the Anglo-Saxon, Old High German and Old Norse cognates of the name, Koegel (1894) assumes that the term *ansu-laikom may go back to Common Germanic times, denoting a Leich für die Götter, a hymn, dance or play for the gods in early Germanic paganism. Grimm (s.v. "Leich") compares the meaning of Greek χορός, denoting first the ceremonial procession to the sacrifice, but also ritual dance and hymns pertaining to religious ritual. Hermann (1906) identifies as such *ansulaikom the victory songs of the Batavi mercenaries serving under Gaius Julius Civilis after the victory over Quintus Petillius Cerialis in the Batavian rebellion of 69 (according to Tacitus), and also the "abominable song" to Wodan sung by the Lombards at their victory celebration in 579. The sacrificial animal was a goat, around whose head the Lombards danced in a circle while singing their victory hymn. As their Christian prisoners refused to "adore the goat", they were all killed (Hermann presumes) as an offering to Wodan.

Revolt of the Batavi

The Revolt of the Batavi took place in the Roman province of Germania Inferior between AD 69 and 70. It was an uprising against the Roman Empire started by the Batavi, a small but militarily powerful Germanic tribe that inhabited Batavia, on the delta of the river Rhine. They were soon joined by the Celtic tribes from Gallia Belgica and some Germanic tribes.

Under the leadership of their hereditary prince Gaius Julius Civilis, an auxiliary officer in the Imperial Roman army, the Batavi and their allies managed to inflict a series of humiliating defeats on the Roman army, including the destruction of two legions. After these initial successes, a massive Roman army led by the Roman general Quintus Petillius Cerialis eventually defeated the rebels. Following peace talks, the Batavi submitted again to Roman rule, but were forced to accept humiliating terms and a legion stationed permanently on their territory, at Noviomagus (modern day Nijmegen, The Netherlands).


The Sunuci (or Sinuci or Sunici) was the name of a tribal grouping with a particular territory within the Roman province of Germania Inferior, which later became Germania Secunda. Within this province, they were in the Civitas Agrippinenses, with its capital at Cologne. They are thought to have been a Germanic tribe, speaking a Germanic language, although they may also have had a mixed ancestry. They lived between the Meuse (Dutch Maas, Latin Mosa) and Rur rivers in Roman imperial times. In modern terms this was probably in the part of Germany near Aachen, Jülich, Eschweiler and Düren, and the neighbouring areas in the southern Netherlands, around Valkenburg, and eastern Belgium, in part of the old Duchy of Limburg. There is a town just over the Belgian border from Aachen called Sinnich, in Voeren, which may owe its name to them. In other words, they lived just north of the modern northern limits of Romance languages derived from Latin.

The origins of the tribe are unknown, but it is likely that, like their eastern neighbours the Ubii, their ancestry included Germanic immigrants from the east of the Rhine who had been arriving for generations. Like the Cugerni for example, they may descend from Sicambri. Germania Inferior was on the west of the Rhine and had been described by Julius Caesar, at the time of Roman conquest of the area, as part of Belgic Gaul. Many of the tribal names and personal names which he reported from this area, are considered to be Celtic, not Germanic. However already long before his time there appears to have been an influx of people coming from the east of the Rhine, including, in the particular area where the Sunuci lived, the tribal grouping which Tacitus later claimed to be the original tribal group which had been called "Germani", the so-called "Germani Cisrhenani". Whether these original Germani had all spoken a Germanic language is unknown. Caesar and Tacitus were more interested in the fact that tribes from the east of the Rhine, who all eventually came to be referred to as Germani (the source of the modern word "Germany"), and all eventually came to speak a Germanic language, were less softened by civilization, and therefore difficult to defeat in battle or incorporate into the Roman empire.

Some specific tribes who entered the empire later, such as the Ubii who lived between the Rur and the Rhine, are generally understood to be speakers of Germanic languages, and records exist concerning their immigration and settlement. However, for the Sunuci, there is no such clear record and it is their position which generally leads to them being understood as being a group settled during imperial times, and Germanic in the modern sense of speaking a Germanic language. On the other hand, there have been suggestions that they might represent the descendants, at least partly, of the Segni, one of the Germani tribes described by Caesar as having been in this region since at least the 2nd century BCE when the Cimbri moved through the area.

In the Naturalis Historia of Pliny the Elder described the Sunuci between the Tungri and the Frisiavones. They contributed troops to the Roman military, some of whom were stationed in Britain, including modern Wales. There is evidence from tablets found in the Rivelin Valley south of Stannington that retiring Roman auxiliaries of the Sunuci tribe stationed in Britain were made grants of citizenship and land or money in the modern day city of Sheffield, with some speculation that a Roman villa complex at Whirlow Hall Farm was part of such a land grant.Tacitus also mentioned the Sunuci, as a people of this region during the Batavian revolt. Some of them joined the revolt of Gaius Julius Civilis, and were opposed by Claudius Labeo, who held a bridge over the Meuse, with a force of Betasii, Tungri and NerviiTwo deity names have been associated with the Sunuci, a goddess Sunuxal or Sunuxsal and a god Varnenos or Varneno.What happened to Sunuci in the later part of the Roman era is uncertain. Their territory became the home of new groups who crossed the Rhine, part of the amalgamation of tribes known as the Franks. The Franks united under kings and later became semi-independent within the empire, started moving into more populated Romanized areas to their south, and then proceeded to conquer a large part of Western Europe and found the Holy Roman empire. If any of the Sunuci remained in the area, they became part of this development.

The Valkhof at Nijmegen

The Valkhof at Nijmegen is an oil painting by Dutch artist Aelbert Cuyp, likely painted between 1652 and 1654, during the Dutch Golden Age. It is currently part of the permanent collection in the Indianapolis Museum of Art.


Veleda was a priestess and prophet of the Germanic tribe of the Bructeri who achieved some prominence during the Batavian rebellion of AD 69–70, headed by the Romanized Batavian chieftain Gaius Julius Civilis, when she correctly predicted the initial successes of the rebels against Roman legions.


The term victory (from Latin victoria) originally applied to warfare, and denotes success achieved in personal combat, after military operations in general or, by extension, in any competition. Success in a military campaign is considered a strategic victory, while the success in a military engagement is a tactical victory.

In terms of human emotion, victory accompanies strong feelings of elation, and in human behaviour often exhibits movements and poses paralleling threat display preceding the combat, which are associated with the excess endorphin built up preceding and during combat.

Victory dances and victory cries similarly parallel war dances and war cries performed before the outbreak of physical violence.

Examples of victory behaviour reported in Roman antiquity, where the term victoria originated, include: the victory songs of the Batavi mercenaries serving under Gaius Julius Civilis after the victory over Quintus Petillius Cerialis in the Batavian rebellion of 69 AD (according to Tacitus); and also the "abominable song" to Wodan, sung by the Lombards at their victory celebration in 579. The sacrificial animal was a goat, around whose head the Langobards danced in a circle while singing their victory hymn.

The Roman Republic and Empire celebrated victories with triumph ceremonies and with monuments such as victory columns (e.g. Trajan's Column) and arches. A trophy is a token of victory taken from the defeated party, such as the enemy's weapons (spolia), or body parts (as in the case of head hunters).

Mythology often deifies victory, as in the cases of the Greek Nike or the Roman Victoria. The victorious agent is a hero, often portrayed as engaging in hand-to-hand combat with a monster (as Saint George slaying the dragon, Indra slaying Ahi, Thor slaying the Midgard Serpent etc.). Sol Invictus ("the Invincible Sun") of Roman mythology became an epithet of Christ in Christianity. Paul of Tarsus presents the resurrection of Christ as a victory over Death and Sin (1 Corinthians 15:55.

The Latinate English-language word victory (from the 14th century) replaced the Old English equivalent term sige (cognate with Gothic sigis, Old High German sigu and Sieg in modern German), a frequent element in Germanic names (as in Sigibert, Sigurd etc.), cognate to Celtic sego- and Sanskrit sahas.

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