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Eth. CARNU´TES or CARNU´TI (Eth. Καρνοῦτοι). Tibullus (1.7,12) has the form Carnūti. Plutarch (Caes. c. 25) calls them Carnutini. A Celtic people who are mentioned by Livy (5.34), among the tribes that invaded Italy under Bellovesus, in the time of Tarquinius Priscus. In Caesar's time, the Carnutes occupied a considerable territory, extending from the Seine to the Loire, and south of the Loire. Their principal town, Genabum (Orleans), was on the north side of the Loire (B. G. 7.11); and they had another town, Autricum (Chartres, Ptol. 2.8), which derives its modern name from that of Carnutes, which was the name of Autricum under the later Roman empire. Strabo (p. 191) describes the position of Orleans pretty correctly by saying that it is about the middle of the course of the Loire. Caesar says, that the territory of the Carnutes was reckoned the central part of all Gallia (B. G. 6.13), and that the Gallic Druids met in this country once a year in a consecrated place. The territory comprehended the dioceses of Chartres, Orlèans, and Blois. Two places called Fins (Fines), on the borders of the diocese of Chartres and Orleans, and a place called Terminier, show that the division of the territory of the Carnutes belongs to the Roman period: The Chartrain of the ante-revolutionary divisions of France, in which Chartres was included, is derived from the ancient Celtic name.

The Bituriges were the neighbours of the Carnutes on the south, and the Senones on the east. The Carnutes had kings before Caesar's invasion, but it seems that they had got rid of them. Tasgetius, a member of the royal family, did Caesar service in the early part of his Gallic war, and he set up Tasgetius on the seat of his ancestors. The new king was murdered by his subjects in the third year of his reign. (B. G. 5.25.) The Carnutes afterwards gave Caesar hostages (B. G. 6.4), and the Remi interceded for them with the Roman proconsul. At this time they are described by Caesar as being dependent on the Remi (in clientele), the meaning of which we are not told, but it may be conjectured from comparing this with other passages in his history of the Gallic war, that Caesar had assigned them (attribuit) to his friends the Remi, who would get something out of them. Yet the Remi were not the neighbours of the Carnutes, for the Senones and some other tribes lay between them. Perhaps this clientele did not exist till after the death of Tasgetius. In the seventh year of the war (B.C. 52), the Carnutes began the general rising against Caesar (7.8), by murdering the Roman negotiatores at Genabum, and a Roman eques who was in Caesar's commissariat department. The proconsul paid them back very soon by burning Genabum, and giving the plunder to his soldiers (7.11). The Carnutes sent 12,000 men with the other Galli to relieve Vercingetorix, when Caesar was besieging him in Alesia (7.75), and they were routed with the rest of the Gallic army. They were in arms again in the following winter (B. G. 8.5), and had to endure the horrors of war in a campaign with the Romans during a very severe season. Again they submitted and gave hostages, and their example induced the Celtae west of them finally to yield to the Roman governor (8.31). The last event in the history of the Carnutes mentioned by the author of the eighth book of the Gallic War, is Caesar's flogging to, death Gutruatus, a Carnut, who had excited his countrymen to rise against the Romans in B.C. 52.

Pliny (4.18) places the Carnuti, as he calls them, in the division of Gallia Lugdunensis, and he entitles them “foederati,” a term which we know the meaning of in the time of Cicero; but as we have no records of the history of Gallia of this period, it is difficult to say what is the precise import of the term in Pliny.

The territory of the Carnutes contained a few other small places: Durocasis (Dreux); Diodurum; the places called Fines; and Belca.


hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.18
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 34
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 2.8
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