The part of Gallia which bordered on Italy and was bounded on the south by the Mediterranean was Gallia Provincia (Caes. Gal. 1.19
), a term by which Caesar sometimes distinguishes this part of Gallia from the rest, which he calls “omnis Gallia” (B. G.
1.1) or “tota Gallia” (B. G.
7.66). The Provincia in Caesar's time was bounded on the north by the Rhone from the western extremity of the Lacus Lemannus (Lake of Geneva
) to the junction of the Rhone
and the Saône.
Geneva, which belonged to the Allobroges, was the furthest town in that direction [GENEVA
]. Along the southern side of the Lake of Geneva
the limit was the boundary between the Allobroges who were in the Provincia and the Nantuates who were not. (B. G.
3.6.) The Alps were the eastern boundary. Ocelum [OCELUM
] was in the Citerior Provincia or Gallia Cisalpina, and the country of the Vocontii was in the Ulterior Provincia or in the Provincia Gallia (B. G.
1.10). On the west the Mons Cevenna (Cévennes
) southward from the latitude of Lugdunum (Lyon
) was the boundary. The Volcae Arecomici were within the Provincia, and also the towns of Narbo (Narbonne
), Carcaso (Carcassone
), and Tolosa (Toulouse
), as we see from a passage in Caesar (Caes. Gal. 3.20
). Part of the Ruteni, called Provinciales (B. G.
7.7), were in the Provincia; and also the Helvii, who were separated from the Arverni by the Cevenna (B. G.
7.8). The Ruteni who were not in the Provincia, the Gabali, Nitiobriges, and Cadurci bordered on it on the west.
The Roman troops were in this country during the Second Punic War when Hannibal was on his road to Italy; but the Romans first got a footing there through the people of Massilia, who called for their help B.C. 154. In B.C. 122 the Romans made a settlement, Aquae Sextiae (Aix
), which we may consider to be the commencement of their occupation of the country east of the Rhone. [GALLIA, Vol. I. p. 953.] The conquest of the Salyes and Vocontii, and of the Allobroges, gave the Romans all the country on the east side of the Rhone.
The settlement of Narbo (Narbonne
) in B.C. 118, near the border of Spain and in a position which gave easy access to the basin of the Garonne,
secured the Roman dominion on the west side of the Rhone as far as the Pyrenees.
But the Romans had many a bloody battle to fight before they were safe on Gallic ground.
The capture of Tolosa (Toulouse
) in the country of the Volcae Tectosages by the consul Q. Servilius Caepio (B.C. 106) extended the limits of the Provincia as far as this rich town. (Dio Cass. Fr.
But the Roman dominion was not safe even in B.C. 58, when the proconsul Caesar received Gallia as one of his provinces. His subjugation of all Gallia finally secured the Romans on that side. [Vol. I. p. 954, &c.]
In the division of all Gallia by Augustus the Provincia retained its limits pretty nearly: and it was from this time generally called Narbonensis Provincia, and sometimes Gallia Braccata.
The names which occur in the Greek writers are: Κελτογαλατία Ναρβωνησία
), ἡ Ναρβωνῖτις, Γαλατία ἡ Ναρβωνησία,
and ἡ Γαλαρία ἡ περὶ Ναρβῶνα.
There is no doubt that the name Braccata or Bracata is derived from the dress of the Galli ( “eos hic sagatos bracatosque versari,” Cic. pro Fonteio,
100.15), and the word “braca” is Celtic.
Strabo (iv. p.178
that the form of the Narbonensis resembles that of a parallelogram; but his comparison is of no use, and it is founded on an erroneous notion of the position of the Pyrenees. [Vol. I. p. 949.] Ptolemy determines the eastern boundary of the Provincia by the west side of the Alps, from Mons Adulas (perhaps Mont St. Gothard
) to the mouth of the Varus (Var
), which separated Narbonensis from Italia. Part of the southern boundary was formed by that part of the Pyrenees which extended from the boundary of Aquitania to the promontory on the Mediterranean where the temple of Venus stood, by which Ptolemy means Cap Creux
The rest of the southern boundary was the sea, from the Aphrodisium to the mouth of the Var.
The western boundary remained as it was in the time of Caesar, as it seems; for Carcaso and Tolosa are placed in Narbonensis by Ptolemy and Pliny (3.100.4
). Ptolemy places Lugdunum or Convenae, which is on the Garonne
and near the Pyrenees, within the limits of Aquitania, and he mentions no place in Aquitania east of Lugdunum [CONVENAE
]. East of the Convenae and at the foot of the Pyrenees were the Consorani, part of whom were probably in Aquitania and part in Narbonensis [CONSORANI
The western boundary of Narbonensis therefore ran from the Pyrenees northwards, and passed west of Toulouse.
Perhaps it was continued northwards to the Tarnis (Tarn.
) We cannot determine the point where the Cévennes
became the boundary ; but if part of the Ruteni were still in the Narbonensis, the boundary may have run along the Tarn
to the Cévennes
and the Mons Lesura, one of the highest points of the range (La Lozère
). From the Lozère
northwards the mountain country borders the Rhone as far as Lugdunum, which was not in Narbonensis.
The northern boundary of Narbonensis ran along the Rhone from Lugdunum to Geneva at the west end of the Leman lake. Pliny mentions the Gebenna (Cebenna) and the Jura as northern boundaries of the Provincia ; but his notion of the direction, of the Jura was not exact, though it is true that the range touches a part of the northern boundary. Ptolemy makes the Adulas the southern limit of the eastern boundary of Belgica (2.9.5); and Adulas is also the northern limit of the eastern boundary of Narbonensis.
The southern boundary of Belgica from the Adulas westward was the northern boundary of Narbonensis.
It is difficult to say whether the geographer is making a boundary of his own or following an administrative division ; but we may certainly conclude that the Narbonensis contained the upper valley of the Rhone (the Valais
), for the Bernese Alps
which form the northern side of this great valley are a natural boundary, and the Helvetii were not in the Valais
]. We may conclude then that the Seduni, Veragri, and Nantuates, who were not within the Provincia as defined by Caesar, were within the limits of the Narbonensis. One of the common roads to Italy was from Octodurus (Martigny
in the Valais
) over the Alpis Pennina (Great St. Bernard
). The Narbonensis is thus a natural division comprehending the upper valley of the Rhone, the Leman lake and the countries south of it to the Alps, the country on the south side of the Rhone from the lake to [p. 2.673]Lyon,
and the country south of Lyon.
The part of the Provincia south of Lyon
is a valley between the Alps on the east and the Cévennes
on the west, which becomes wider as we advance south. On the east side the lower Alps and the Alpine valleys cover a large part of the country. On the west, the Cévennes
and the lower ranges connected with them leave a very narrow tract between the Rhone and the mountains till we come to the latitude of Avignon
The southern part of the Rhone valley between Massilia and the Pyrenees contains a large extent of level country.
The southern part of this great valley is more Italian than Gallic in position, climate, and products. The Rhone, which cuts it into two parts, has numerous branches which join it from the Alps; but the mountain streams which flow into it from the Cévennes
are few [RHODANUS
The rivers of the Provincia west of the Rhone flow from the Cévennes
and from the Pyrenees into the Mediterranean. They are all comparatively small. The Classius of Avienus is probably the Caulazon,
so far as we can conclude from the name ; the Ledus is the Lez,
which flows by Montpellier;
the Arauris (Hérault
) flows past Agathe (Agde
); the Libria or Liria may be the Livron
]; the Obris or Orbis (Orbe
); the Narbo or Atax (Aude
), which passes Narbonne;
the Ruscino or Tetis (Tet
), and the Tichis (Tech
), which enters the Mediterranean a few miles north of Portus Veneris (Port Vendre
). Between the Var
and the Rhone there are very few streams, for the form of the surface is such that nearly all the drainage runs into the Rhone.
There is the Argenteus (Argens
), and a few insignificant streams between the Argenteus and the delta of the Rhone.
The extreme western part of the Provincia comprehends a portion of the basin of the Garonne,
is on this river.
The valley of the Aude
between the Cévennes
and the Pyrenees forms an easy approach from the Mediterranean to the waters of the Garonne
and to the Atlantic,--a circumstance which facilitated the commerce between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and made this a commercial route at a very early period. [NARBO.]
The coast from the Pyrenaeum Promontorium to a point a few miles south of Massilia forms a great bay called the Gallicus Sinus: it is generally flat, and in many places it is lined by marshes and lakes.
This part of the coast contains the Delta of the Rhone. East of Massilia the country is hilly and dry.
The port of Massilia is naturally a poor place. East of it is the port of Telo Martius (Toulon),
and a few other ports of little value. Mela's remark (2.5) is true: “On the shore of the Provincia there are some places with some names; but there are few cities, because there are few ports and all the coast is exposed to the Auster and the Africus.” There are a few small islands along the eastern coast, the Stoechades, Planasia, Leron, and other rocky islets.
The dimensions of the Provincia, according to Agrippa's measurement, are said to be 270 M. P. in length and 248 M. P. in breadth.
But we neither know how the measures were taken, nor whether the numbers in Pliny's text (3.4) are correct. However we learn that this, like many other parts of the empire, was surveyed and measured under Agrippa's orders.
The length of the coast of Narbonensis is above 260 miles.
The direct distance from Toulouse
to the mouth of the Var
is near 300 miles; and from the junction of the Rhone and the Saône,
the direct distance to the sea measured along a meridian is about 180 miles.
But these measures give only an imperfect idea of the area of the country, because the outline is irregular. Strabo (iv. pp. 178, 179) has preserved a measurement which has followed a Roman road from the Pyrenees to the Var.
The distance from the temple of Aphrodite at the Pyrenees to Narbo is 63 Roman miles; thence to Nemausus 88; from Nemausus through Ugernum and Tarasco to the warm springs called Sextiae (Aquae Sextiae), which are near Massilia, 53; and thence to Antipolis and to the Varus, 73; the whole making 277 miles. Some reckon, he says, from the Aphrodisium to the Varus 2600 stadia, and some add 200 more, for they do not agree about the distance. Two thousand six hundred stadia are 325 Roman miles. When Strabo wrote, the distance along the road from Narbo to the Var was not measured, or he did not know it.
The other great road which he describes is a road through the Vocontii and the territory of Cottius: “As far as Ugernum and Tarasco the road from Nemausus is the same as the route just described; but from Tarasco to the borders of the Vocontii over the Druentia and through Caballio (Cavaillon
on the Durance
) is 63 miles; and again, from Caballio to the other limit of the Vocontii toward the land of Cottius to the village Epebrodunum (Embrodunum, Embrun
) is 99 miles; then 99 more through the village Brigantium (Briançon
) and Scincomagus and the passage of the Alpes (the pass of Mont Genèvre
) to Ocelum [OCELUM
], the limit of the land of Cottius; the country from Scincomagus is reckoned a part of Italy, and from there to Ocelum is 27 miles.” He says in another place (iv. p. 187) that this road through the Vocontii is the shorter, but though the other road along the Massiliotic coast and the Ligurian territory is longer, the passes over the hills into Italy are easier, for their mountains in those parts sink lower.
These were the two great roads in the Provincia.
There was a road in the west from Narbo through Carcaso to Tolosa.
There was also a road from Arelate (Arles
) at the bifurcation of the Rhone northward on the east side of the Rhone, through Avenio, Arausio, Valentia, and Vienna (Vienne
), to Lugdunum: this was one of Agrippa's roads (Strab. iv. p.208
There was no road on the opposite side of the river, or no great road, the land on that side not being well adapted for the construction of a road.
There were other roads over the Alps.
There was a road from Lugdunum and Vienna up the valley of the Isara (Isère
) to the Alpis Graia (Little St. Bernard
), which in the time of Augustus was much used (Strab. iv. p.208
); and there was the road from Augusta Praetoria (Aosta
) in Italy over the Great St. Bernard
to Octodurus ((Martigny
) and Pennilucus, at the east end of the Lake of Geneva;
and thence into the country of the Helvetii.
Within the limits of Narbonensis there is every variety of surface and climate, Alpine mountains and Alpine valleys, sterile rocky tracts and fertile plains, winter for nine months in the year and summer for as many months. Pliny says of it: “Agrorum cultu, virorum morumque dignatione, amplitudine opum, nulli provinciarum postferenda breviterque Italia verius quam provincia.” (Pliny, 3.4
The climate is only mild in the south part and in the lowlands.
As we descend the Rhone a difference is felt. About Arausio (Orange
) the olive appears, a tree that marks a warm climate. “All [p. 2.674]
the Narbonitis,” says Strabo, “has the same natural products as Italia; but as we advance towards the north and the Cemmenon (Cévennes
), the land planted with the olive and the fig terminates, but all the other things are grown.
The grape also does not ripen well as we advance further north” (iv. p. 178). Strabo's remark about the olive is true.
As we advance from Nîmes
by the great road to Clermont Ferrand
in the Auvergne,
we ascend gradually in a north-west direction to a rocky country well planted with vines, mulberry trees, and olives.
After proceeding a few miles further the olives suddenly disappear, a sign that we have passed the limits of the temperature which they require.
The country is now an irregular plateau, rocky and sterile, but in parts well planted with mulberries and vines; and there is a little wheat.
Before descending to Andusia (Anduse
), which is deep sunk in a gorge of the Vardo (Gardon
), a few more olives are seen, but these are the last. We are approaching the rugged Cévennes.
The native population of the Provincia were Aquitani, Celtae, and Ligures. The Aquitani were in the parts along the base of the Pyrenees. The Ligures in the historical period occupied the south-east part of the Provincia, north and east of Marseille,
and it is probable that they were once on the west side of the Rhone also. The Greeks were on the coast, east and west of the city of Massilia [MASSILIA
After the country was reduced to the form of a Provincia, the Italians flocked to the Provincia to make money. They were petty dealers (mercatores), bankers, and money-lenders (negotiatores), sheep-feeders, agriculturists, and traders. (Cic. pro P. Quintio,ch. 3
, pro M. Fonteio,
The wine of Italy was imported into the Provincia in Cicero's time, and a duty was levied on it, if not at the port, at least in its transit through the country (pro Fonteio,
100.9). Cicero sneeringly says, “We Romans are the most just of men, for we do not allow the Transalpine nations to plant the olive and the vine, in order that our olive plantations and vineyards may be worth more” (de Re Publica,
It does not appear from Cicero when this selfish order was made.
But the vine is a native of Narbonensis, and the Greeks made wine, as we might safely assume, and they sold it to the Galli. Posidonius, whom Cicero knew, and who had travelled in the country, says that the rich Galli bought Italian wine and wine from the Massaliots. (Posidonius, ap. Athen. 4.152
.) If any of the Galli got this wine, the Galli of the Provincia would have it.
This favourite province of the Romans was full of large cities, which under the Empire were ornamented with works both splendid and useful, amphitheatres, temples, theatres, and aqueducts. Many of these buildings have perished, but the magnificent monuments at Arles
and the less striking remains in other cities, show what this country was under Roman dominion.
The tribes or peoples within the limits of the Provincia are very numerous. Pliny has a long list. On the west side of the Rhone at the foot of the Pyrenees were the Consorani and Sordones or Sordi. North of them were the Volcae Tectosages, whose capital was Tolosa; and the Ruteni Provinciales. The Volcae Arecomici occupied the country east of the Tectosages and extended to the Rhone.
The position of the Tasconi, a small people mentioned by Pliny, is only a matter of conjecture [TASCONI
]. North of the Arecomici only one people is mentioned between the Cévennes
and the Rhone, the Helvii [HELVII
]. The Ardèche
(a mountain stream from the Cévennes
) flows through their country into the Rhone.
It was by the valley of the Ardèche
that Caesar got over the Cévennes
into the country of the Arverni through the snow in the depth of winter (B. G.
He could go no other way, for he tells us that he went through the territory of the Helvii.
East of the Rhone the tribes were very numerous for the surface is larger and full of valleys.
It has been already observed that the Seduni, Veragri, and Nantuates must have been included in the Narbonensis of Augustus. The Allobroges occupied the country south-west of Geneva, to the Isère
and the Rhone. Pliny's list of names in the Provincia comprises all Ptolemy's, with some slight variations, except the Commoni, Elicoci, and Sentii. Some of the names in Pliny are probably corrupt, and nothing is known about some of the peoples.
The following are the principal peoples south of the Nantuates and Allobroges: the Centrones, Graioceli, Medulli, Caturiges, Tricorii, Segovellauni, Tricastini, Cavares, Vocontii, Vulgientes, Bodiontici, and Albici, all of them north of the Druentia or its branches. South of them were the Salyes or Salluvii, the neighbours of Massilia; the Suetri, Oxybii, Deciates, and the Nerusi, who were separated from Italy by the Var.