previous next


NEXT in order after Aquitaine and the Narbonnaise, is that portion [of Gaul] extending as far as the Rhine from the river Loire, and the Rhone, where it passes by Lugdunum:1 in its descent from its source. The upper regions of this district from the sources of the Rhine and Rhone, nearly to the middle of the plains, pertain to Lugdunum; the remainder, with the regions next the ocean, is comprised in another division which belongs to the Belgæ. We will describe the two together. [2]

Lugdunum itself, situated on2 a hill, at the confluence of the Saone3 and the Rhone, belongs to the Romans. It is the most populous city after Narbonne. It carries on a great commerce, and the Roman prefects here coin both gold and silver money. Before this city, at the confluence of the rivers, is situated the temple dedicated by all the Galatæ in common to Cæsar Augustus. The altar is splendid, and has inscribed on it the names of sixty people, and images of them, one for each, and also another great altar.4

This is the principal city of the nation of the Segusiani who lie between the Rhone and the Doubs.5 The other nations who extend to the Rhine, are bounded in part by the Doubs, and in part by the Saone. These two rivers, as said before, descend from the Alps, and, falling into one stream, flow into the Rhone. There is likewise another river which has its sources in the Alps, and is named the Seine.6 It flows parallel with the Rhine, through a nation bearing the same name as itself,7 and so into the ocean. The Sequani are bounded on the east by the Rhine, and on the opposite side by the Saone. It is from them that the Romans procure the finest salted-pork. Between the Doubs and Saone dwells the nation of the Ædui, who possess the city of Cabyllinum,8 situated on the Saone and the fortress of Bibracte.9 The Ædui10 are said to be related to the Romans, and they were the first to enter into friendship and alliance with them. On the other side of the Saone dwell the Sequani, who have for long been at enmity with the Romans and Ædui, having frequently allied themselves with the Germans in their incursions into Italy. It was then that they proved their strength, for united to them the Germans were powerful, but when separated, weak. As for the Ædui, their alliance with the Romans naturally rendered them the enemies of the Sequani,11 but the enmity was increased by their contests concerning the river which divides them, each nation claiming the Saone exclusively for themselves, and likewise the tolls on vessels passing. However, at the present time, the whole of it is under the dominion of the Romans. [3]

The first of all the nations dwelling on the Rhine are the Helvetii, amongst whom are the sources of that river in Mount Adula,12 which forms part of the Alps. From this mountain, but in an opposite direction, likewise proceeds the Adda, which flows towards Cisalpine Gaul, and fills lake Larius,13 near to which stands [the city of] Como; thence it discharges itself into the Po, of which we shall speak afterwards. The Rhine also flows into vast marshes and a great lake,14 which borders on the Rhæti and Vindelici,15 who dwell partly in the Alps, and partly beyond the Alps. Asinius says that the length of this river is 6000 stadia, but such is not the case, for taken in a straight line it does not much exceed half that length, and 1000 stadia is quite sufficient to allow for its sinuosities. In fact this river is so rapid that it is difficult to throw bridges across it, although after its descent from the mountains it is borne the remainder of the way through level plains; now how could it maintain its rapidity and vehemence, if in addition to this level channel, we suppose it also to have long and frequent tortuosities? Asinius like- wise asserts that this river has two mouths, and blames those who say that it has more.16 This river and the Seine embrace within their tortuosities a certain extent of country, which however is not considerable. They both flow from south to north. Britain lies opposite to them; but nearest to the Rhine, from which you may see Kent, which is the most easterly part of the island. The Seine is a little further. It was here that divus Cæsar established a dock-yard when he sailed to Britain. The navigable portion of the Seine, commencing from the point where they receive the merchandise from the Saone, is of greater extent than the [navigable portions] of the Loire and Garonne. From Lugdunum17 to the Seine is [a distance of] 1000 stadia, and not twice this distance from the outlets of the Rhone to Lugdunum. They say that the Helvetii,18 though rich in gold, nevertheless devoted themselves to pillage on beholding the wealth of the Cimbri,19 [accumulated by that means;] and that two out of their three tribes perished entirely in their military expeditions. However, the multitude of descendants who sprang from this remainder was proved in their war with divus Cæsar, in which about 400,000 of their number were destroyed; the 8000 who survived the war, being spared by the conqueror, that their country might not be left desert, a prey to the neighbouring Germans.20 [4]

After the Helvetii, the Sequani21 and Mediornatrici22 dwell along the Rhine, amongst whom are the Tribocchi,23 a German nation who emigrated from their country hither. Mount Jura, which is in the country of the Sequani, separates that people from the Helvetii. To the west, above the Helvetii and Sequani, dwell the Ædui and Lingones; the Leuci and a part of the Lingones dwelling above the Mediomatrici. The nations between the Loire and the Seine, and beyond the Rhone and the Saone, are situated to the north near to the Allobroges,24 and the parts about Lyons. The most celebrated amongst them are the Arverni and Carnutes,25 through both of whose territories the Loire flows before discharging itself into the ocean. The distance from the rivers of Keltica to Britain is 320 stadia; for departing in the evening with the ebb tide, you will arrive on the morrow at the island about the eighth hour.26 After the Mediomatrici and Tribocchi, the Treviri27 inhabit along the Rhine; in their country the Roman generals now engaged in the German war have constructed a bridge. Opposite this place on the other bank of the river dwelt the Ubii, whom Agrippa with their own consent brought over to this side the Rhine.28 The Nervii,29 another German nation, are contiguous to the Treviri; and last the Menapii, who inhabit either bank of the river near to its outlets; they dwell amongst marshes and forests, not lofty, but consisting of dense and thorny wood. Near to these dwell the Sicambri,30 who are likewise Germans. The country next the whole [eastern] bank is inhabited by the Suevi, who are also named Germans, but are superior both in power and number to the others, whom they drove out, and who have now taken refuge on this side the Rhine. Other tribes have sway in different places; they are successively a prey to the flames of war, the former inhabitants for the most part being destroyed. [5]

The Senones, the Remi, the Atrebates, and the Eburones dwell west of the Treviri and Nervii.31 Close to the Menapii and near the sea are the Morini, the Bellovaci, the Ambiani, the Suessiones, and the Caleti, as far as the outlet of the river Seine.32 The countries of the Morini, the Atre- bates, and the Eburones are similar to that of the Menapii. It consists of a forest filled with low trees; of great extent, but not near so large as writers have described it, viz. 4000 stadia.33 It is named Arduenna.34 In the event of warlike incursions the inhabitants would interweave the flexible brambly shrubs, thus stopping up the passages [into their country]. They also fixed stakes in various places, and then retreated with their whole families into the recesses of the forest, to small islands surrounded by marshes. During the rainy season these proved secure hiding-places, but in times of drought they were easily taken. However, at the present time all the nations on this side the Rhine35 dwell in peace under the dominion of the Romans. The Parisii dwell along the river Seine, and inhabit an island formed by the river; their city is Lucotocia.36 The Meldi and Lexovii border on the ocean. The most considerable, however, of all these nations are the Remi. Duricortora, their metropolis, is well populated, and is the residence of the Roman prefects.

1 Lyons.

2 MSS. read ὑπὸ, ‘under,’ we have not hesitated to translate it ἐπὶ, like the Italian, French, and German versions; although Kramer remarks ‘paulo audacius,’ of Coray's reading ἐπὶ in the Greek.

3 ῎αοͅαοͅ.

4 Kramer says that ἄλλος is manifestly corrupt.—I have ventured to translate it another altar.

5 Kramer concurs with Falconer and Gosselin in understanding this passage to have been originally between the Rhone and the Loire.

6 σηκοάνος.

7 The Sequani.

8 Châlons-sur-Saone.

9 Autun, according to Gosselin. Beurect, according to Ferrarius.

10 Cæsar, Tacitus, and other writers, also speak of this relationship of the Ædui with the Romans.

11 Lit. ‘As for the Ædui on these accounts indeed.’

12 The sources of the Rhine take their rise in Mount St. Gothard and Mount Bernardin, while the Adda rises in the glaciers of the Valteline. Adula, however, may have been the name of the Rhætian Alps.

13 The Lake of Como.

14 The Lake of Constance.

15 The Rhæti occupied the Tirol; the Vindelici that portion of Bavaria south of the Danube.

16 Ptolemy says it has three. It appears that the ancient mouths of this river were not the same as the present.

17 Lyons.

18 The Swiss.

19 Gosselin identifies the Cimbri as the inhabitants of Jutland or Denmark.

20 Casaubon remarks that the text must be corrupt, since Strabo's account of the Helvetii must have been taken from Cæsar, who (lib. i. c. 29) states the number of slain at 258,000, and the survivors at 110,000.

21 The Sequani occupied La Franche-Comté.

22 Metz was the capital of the Mediomatrici.

23 These people dwe'; between the Rhine and the Vosges, nearly from Colmar to Hagenau.

24 The Allobroges dwelt to the left of the Rhone, between that river and the Isère.

25 The Arverni have given their name to Auvergne, and the Carnutes to Chartrain.

26 Strabo here copies Cæsar exactly, who, speaking of his second passage into Britain, (lib. v. c. 8,) says: ‘Ad solis occasum naves solvit . . . . accessum est ad Britanniam omnibus navibus meridiano fere tempore.’

27 The capital of these people is Trèves.

28 Viz. to the western bank of the river.

29 The Nervii occupied Hainault, and the Comté de Namur.

30 The Sicambri occupied the countries of Berg, Mark, and Arensberg. They afterwards formed part of the people included under the name of Franci or Franks.

31 Bavai, to the south of Valenciennes, was the capital of the Nervii Duricortora, now Rheims, of the Remi; Arras of the Atrebates, and Ton- gues of the Eburones.

32 Térouane was the principal city of the Morini, Beauvais of the Bellovaci, Amiens of the Ambiani, Soissons of the Suessiones, and Lilebonne of the Caleti.

33 Cæsar (lib. vi. c. 29) describes the forest of Ardennes as 500 miles in extent.

34 Ardennes.

35 West of the Rhine.

36 Ptolemy names it Lucotecia; Cæsar, Lutetia. Julian, who was proclaimed emperor by his army in this city, names it Leucetia.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1877)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: