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Eth. BOII a people of Cisalpine Gaul, who migrated from Transalpine Gaul, as mentioned above. They found the plains N. of the Padus already occupied by the Insubres and Cenomani, in consequence of which they crossed that river, and established themselves between it and the Apennines, in the plains previously occupied by the Umbrians. (Liv. 5.35; Pol. 2.17; Strab. iv. p.195.) They are next mentioned as cooperating with the Insubres and Senones in the destruction of Melpum, an event which was placed by Cornelius Nepos in the same year with the capture of Veii by Camillus, B.C. 396. (Corn. Nep. ap. Plin. 3.17. s. 21.) According to Appian (Celt. 1), the Boii took part in the expedition of the Gauls into Latium in B.C. 358, when they were defeated by the dictator C. Sulpicius; but Polybius represents them as taking up arms against the Romans for the first time after the defeat and destruction of their neighbours the Senones. Alarmed at this event, they united their forces with those of the Etruscans, in B.C. 283, and were defeated together with them at the Vadimonian Lake. Notwithstanding this disaster, they took up arms again the next year, but being a second time defeated, concluded a treaty with Rome, to which they appear to have adhered for 45 years, when the occupation by the Romans of the territory that had been previously held by the Senones again alarmed them for their own safety, and led to the great Gallic war of B.C. 225, in which the Boii and Insubres were supported by the Gaesatae from beyond the Alps. (Pol. 2.20--31.) Though defeated, together with their allies, in a great battle near Telamon in Etruria, and compelled soon after to a nominal submission, they still continued hostile to Rome, and at the commencement of the Second Punic War (B.C. 218) did not wait for the arrival of Hannibal, but attacked and defeated the Romans who were founding the new colony of Placentia. (Pol. 3.40; Liv. 21.25 ; Appian, Annib. 5.) The same year they supported Hannibal with an auxiliary force at the battle of the Trebia; and two years afterwards they suddenly attacked the consul Postumius as he was marching through their territory with a force of 25,000 men, and entirely destroyed his whole army. (Pol. 3.67; Liv. 23.24.) Again, after the close of the Second Punic War, the Boii took a prominent part in the revolt of [p. 1.417]the Gauls under Hamilcar, and the destruction of Placentia, in B.C. 200 (Liv. 31.2, 10), and from this time, during a period of ten years, notwithstanding repeated defeats, they continued to carry on the contest against Rome, sometimes single-handed, but more frequently in alliance with the Insubrians and the neighbouring tribes of Ligurians. At length, in B.C. 191, they were completely reduced to submission by Scipio Nasica, who put half their population to the sword, and deprived them of nearly half their lands. (Liv. 32.29-31, 33.36, 37, 34.21, 46, 47, 35.4, 5, 22, 36.38--40.) In order to secure the territory thus acquired, the Romans soon after established there the colony of Bononia, and a few years later (B.C. 183) those of Mutina and Parma. The construction in B.C. 187 of the great military road from Ariminum to Placentia, afterwards so celebrated as the Via Aemilia, must have contributed greatly to the same result. (Liv. 37.57, 39.2, 55.)

But the conquerors do not appear to have been contented even with these precautions, and ultimately compelled all the remaining Boians to migrate from their country and recross the Alps, where they found a refuge with the kindred tribe of the Tauriscans, and established themselves on the frontiers of Pannonia, in a portion of the modern Bohemia, which derives its name from them. Here they dwelt for above a century, but were ultimately exterminated by the Dacians. (Strab. v. p.213, vii. pp. 304, 313.) Hence both Strabo and Pliny speak of them as a people that had ceased to exist in Italy in their time. (Strab. v. p.216; Plin. Nat. 3.15. s. 20.) It is therefore almost impossible to determine with any accuracy the confines of the territory which they occupied. Polybius speaks of the Ananes as bordering on them on the W., but no other author mentions that nation; and Livy repeatedly speaks of the Boii as if they were conterminous with the Ligurians on their western frontier. Nor is the exact line of demarcation between them and the Senones on the E. better marked. Livy expressly speaks of the three colonies of Parma, Mutina, and Bononia as established in the territory of the Boii, while Ariminum was certainly in that of the Senones. But the limit between the two is no--where indicated.

The long protracted resistance of the Boii to the Roman arms sufficiently proves that they were a powerful as well as warlike people; and after so many campaigns, and the repeated devastation of their lands, they were still able to bring not less than 50,000 men into the field against Scipio Nasica. (Liv. 36.40.) Cato even reported that they comprised 112 different tribes (ap. Plin. l.c.). Nor were they by any means destitute of civilization. Polybius, indeed, speaks of them (in common with the other Gauls) as inhabiting only unwalled villages, a,.nd ignorant of all arts except pasturage and agriculture (Pol. 2.17); but Livy repeatedly alludes to their towns and fortresses (castella), and his account of the triumph of Scipio Nasica over them proves that they possessed a considerable amount of the precious metals, and were able to work both in silver and bronze with tolerable skill. (Liv. 36.40.) A large portion of their territory seems, however, to have been still occupied by marshes and forests, among which last one called the LITANA SILVA was the scene of more than one conflict with the Roman armies. (Liv. 23.24, 34.22; Frontin. Strat. 1.6.4.)


hide References (21 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (21):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.15
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 34, 47
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 35, 4
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 35
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 33, 36
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 34, 22
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 35, 5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 23, 24
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 31, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 34, 21
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 35, 22
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 36, 38
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 36, 40
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 37, 57
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 39, 2
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 21, 25
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 32, 29
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 32, 31
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 31, 2
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 34, 46
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 39, 55
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