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Gallic Settlements In the Valley of the Po

To continue my description. These plains were anciently inhabited by Etruscans,1 at the same period as what are called the Phlegraean plains round Capua and Nola; which latter, however, have enjoyed the highest reputation, because they lay in a great many people's way and so got known. In speaking then of the history of the Etruscan Empire, we should not refer to the district occupied by them at the present time, but to these northern plains, and to what they did when they inhabited them. Their chief intercourse was with the Celts, because they occupied the adjoining districts; who, envying the beauty of their lands, seized some slight pretext to gather a great host and expel the Etruscans from the valley of the Padus, which they at once took possession of themselves. First, the country near the source of the Padus was occupied by the Laevi and Lebecii; after them the Insubres settled in the country, the largest tribe of all; and next them, along the bank of the river, the Cenomani. But the district along the shore of the Adriatic was held by another very ancient tribe called Venĕti, in customs and dress nearly allied to Celts, but using quite a different language, about whom the tragic poets have written a great many wonderful tales. South of the Padus, in the Apennine district, first beginning from the west, the Ananes, and next them the Boii settled. Next them, on the coast of the Adriatic, the Lingones; and south of these, still on the sea-coast, the Senones. These are the most important tribes that took possession of this part of the country.
Their character.
They lived in open villages, and without any permanent buildings. As they made their beds of straw or leaves, and fed on meat, and followed no pursuits but those of war and agriculture, they lived simple lives without being acquainted with any science or art whatever. Each man's property, moreover, consisted in cattle and gold; as they were the only things that could be easily carried with them, when they wandered from place to place, and changed their dwelling as their fancy directed. They made a great point, however, of friendship: for the man who had the largest number of clients or companions in his wanderings, was looked upon as the most formidable and powerful member of the tribe.2

1 Livy. 5. 17, 33-49; Plutarch, Camillus, 16; Mommsen, History of Rome, vol. i. p. 338 (Eng. tr.)

2 Compare the description of the Gauls given by Caesar, B. G. 6, 11-20. They had apparently made considerable progress in civilisation by that time, principally perhaps from the influence of Druidism. But the last characteristic mentioned by Polybius is also observed by Caesar (15),omnes in bello versantur atque eorum ut quisque est genere copiisque amplissimus, ita plurimos circum se ambactos clienteeque habet. Hanc unam gratiam potentiamque habent.” Even in the time of Cato they were at least beginning to add something to their warlike propensities. Or. 2, 2 (Jordan)Pleraque Gallia duas res industrissime persequitur, rem militare et argute loqui.” Cf. Diod. 5, 27 sq.

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hide References (14 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 33.37
  • Cross-references to this page (7):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ANANES
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), GA´LLIA CISALPI´NA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), LAEVI
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), LIBICII
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), LI´NGONES
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SE´NONES
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), VENETIA
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (6):
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 6.11
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 6.15
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 17
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 33
    • Plutarch, Camillus, 16
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 5.27
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