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GALLAE´CIA or CALLAECIA (Καλλαικία, Καλαικία: Eth. Καλλαϊκοὶ, Callaïci, Callaeci, Gallaeci: Galicia and part of Portugal), a large district in the extreme NW. of Hispania Tarraconensis, N. of LUSITANIA and W. of the ASTURES and VACCAEI its boundaries being on the S. the river Durius (Douro), on the NE. the river Navia or Navilubio (Navia), and on the E. the mountains of the Astures; so that it corresponded almost exactly to the modern Gallicia, with the addition on the S. of the Portuguese provinces of Entre Douro et Minho and Tras os Montes, and, on the E., of small portions of Asturias and Leon. Sometimes a wider extent was assigned to the country, so as to include the Astures (D. C. 37.53; Plin. Nat. 3.3. s. 4, 19.1. s. 2), and even, as used by late writers, the whole of Cantabria (Oros. 6.21; Isid. 14.15; Zosim. 4.24). In the earliest times, however, Gallaecia, or at least its S part, was reckoned a part of Lusitania. (Strab. iii. p.152). The people were divided into two great tribes, the CALLAÏCI (or GALLAECI) BRACARII (Καλλαϊκοὶ οἱ Βρακάριοι), and the CALLAÏCI (or GALLAECI) LICENSES (Κ. οἱ Λουκήνσιοι), besides the ARTABRI who, though geographically belonging to the country, were regarded as a separate people. The Callaïci Bracarii received their name from their chief city, BRACARA AUGUSTA and inhabited the S. of Gallaecia, from the Durius (Douro) up to the Minius (Minho): and the Callaïci Lucenses the N. [p. 1.933]part, from. the Minius to the Navia; these received their name from their capital, LUCUS AUGUSTI It should be observed, however, that this division was not an arbitrary one, as might perhaps be inferred from the derivation of the names from the two Roman cities; but the river Minius established a natural boundary between the two tribes. Each of the two capital cities was, under the Romans, the seat of a conventus juridicus, that of Lucus including 16 peoples besides the Celtici (i. e. Artabri) and the Lebuni, and a free population of about 166,000; that of Bracara, twenty-four cities, and 175,000 persons, among whom Pliny mentions, besides the Bracarii themselves, the Bibali, Coelerini, Gallaeci, Hequaesi, Limici, Querquerni (Plin. Nat. 3.3. s. 4). Ptoiemy (2.6. § § 24--27) mentions, as minor tribes of the Callaïci Lucenses, the Capori (Καποροί), Cilini, (Κιλινοί), Lemavi (Λεμαυοί), Baedyes (Βαίδυες), and Seurri (Σεουρροί, vulgo Σεβουρροί); and, ( § § 40--49), as minor tribes of the Bracarii, the Turodi (Τουροδοί), Nemetatae (Νεμέταται), Coelerini (Κοιλερινοί, comp. Plin. Nat. 4.20, s. 34), Bibali (Βιβαλοί, comp. Plin. Nat. 3.3. s. 4), Limici (Λιμικοί, comp. Plin. l.c.) on the river Limia, Luanci (Λουαγκοί), Gruii (Γρούιοι, the Grovii of Pliny and Mela, and the Gravii of Silius Italicus, 1.235, 3.366, who assigns to them the whole country from the Durius to the Limia, while Mela gives them even a wider extent, from the Durius to some distance N. of the Minius; perhaps originally the Grovii were between the Durius and Limia, and the Bracarii between the Limia and Minius), Quacerni (Κουακερνοί, the Querquerni of Pliny, l.c., and Quarquerni of an inscription ap. Gruter, p. 245, no. 2), Lubaeni (Λουβαινοί, the Lebuni of Pliny, l.c.), and Narbasi (Ναρβασοί).

Gallaecia is a rugged, mountainous country, formed by the extreme branches of the great mountain chain which strikes off from the Pyrenees westward along the north side of the peninsula. Its chief river was the MINIUS (Minho), flowing through the plain enclosed between the range just named and its SW. branch, the mountains of the Astures, and falling into the Atlantic on the W. coast. Between this and the Durius are three smaller rivers, one of them, at least, possessing considerable interest, but of which the names are somewhat difficult to identify, probably on account of the imperfect knowledge possessed by the earlier writers. Ptolemy gives them in regular order, from S. to N., as follows:--AVUS (Αὔου ποταμοῦ ἐκβολαί, Ptol. 2.6 § 1; Mela, 3.1: Rio d'Ave; the Celadus, which Mela mentions next, seems to be the N. tributary of the Ave, now called Salha or Deste, which flows down from near Braga): NEBIS (Νήβιος ποταμοῦ ἐκβολαί, Ptol. l.c.; Mela, l.c.: R. Cavado; this would be taken, on the evidence of the name, for the Βαῖνις of Strabo (3.153), were it not that he expressly identifies the Baenis with the Minius, evidently by a confusion of names; for this, and the next to be mentioned, are the only considerable rivers that he knows in these parts): LIMIUS, or LIMIAS (Λιμίου ποταμοῦ ἐκβολαί: Lima), doubtless the river which Strabo (l.c.) calls the river of Lethe, adding that some named it Limaea and others Belion ( τῆς Λήθης, ὅν τινες Λιμαίαν, οἱ δὲ Βελιῶνα καλοῦσι), and that it flowed from the Celtiberi and Vaccaei. Mela, who transposes it to the N. of the Minius, calls it Limia, or the River of Oblivion ( “et cui Oblivionis cognomen est Limia;” where some scholars find in the word “Oblivionis” the origin of Strabo's Βελίων; comp. Plin. Nat. 4.21, s. 35, “ab Minio cc. M.P. ut auctor est Varro, abest Aeminius, quem alibi quidam intelligunt et Limaeam vocant, Oblivionis antiquis dictus, multumque fabulosus;” Sil. Ital. 1.235, 236.; comp. 16.476, 477:

Quique super Gravios lucentes volvit arenas,

Infernae populis referens oblivia Lethes


it is also mentioned under the name of Lethe by Appian (App. Hisp. 72) and Plutarch (Quaest. Rom. 34), who relate that the first Roman that crossed it was Decimus Brutus, when, after his conquest of Lusitania, he advanced against the Bracarii, as far as the Minius, B.C. 136. From Livy's history of the same event, it would seem that the river was an object of supertitious terror to the soldiers of Brutus, for they were only incited to pass it by the example of their general, who snatched a standard from the bearer, and led the way in person. (Liv. Epit. lv., where the name is “flumen Oblivionem;” comp. Flor. 2.17, “formidatumque militibus flumen Oblivionis.” ) But whether the name originated in the superstition of the soldiers, who had been taught to look for the abodes of the dead in that far west to which they seemed to be advancing, aided by some resemblance in the native name, or from the latter cause only, is all uncertain. (Comp. Strab. p. 106.) It deserves notice, however, that a trace of the name Belion, given to it by Strabo, appears to be preserved in that of the lake Beon, from which the river flows; and hence Belion may perhaps have been the true name, and Flumen Oblivionis its corruption. The names of the rivers in the country of the Callaïci Lucenses, N. of the Minius, which possess no particular interest, are obtained from Mela, Pliny, and Ptolemy, though with some uncertainty, as follows: LAERON (Ler), ULLA (Mela; Οὐΐα, Ptol.: Ulla), TAMARIS (Tambre), SARS (Sar), FLORIUS (Rio de Castro), NELUS (Rio de la Puente), VIRUS (Allones), MEARUS (Mero), IVIA (prob. the Νάβιος of Ptol.: Juvia); the two last falling into the Sinus Artabrorum (G. of Ferrol) and the NAVILUBIO (Navia).

The only natural productions for which Gallaecia was famed among the ancients were its minerals. Besides the golden sands of the Limius referred to in the passages quoted above from Silius Italicus, the country yielded abundance of tin (Strab. iii. p.147 and a sort of precious stone, called gemma Gallaïca. (Plin. Nat. 17.10. s. 59.) The people were among the least civilised in Spain; the very prototypes of the modern Gallegos. Their chief serious employment was divination, their superstitious addiction to which art alone rescued them from the imputation of Atheism. Engrossed by this occupation, or else engaged in sports, or sunk in indolence, except when roused by wars, they left all husbandry to the women. (Sil Ital. 3.344--353:

Fibrarum et pennae divinarumque sagacem
Flammarum misit dives Callaecia pubem,
Barbara nunc patriis ululantem carmina linguis,
Nunc pedis alterno percussa verbere terra,
Ad numerum resonas gaudentem plaudere cetras.
Haec requies ludusque viris, ea sacra voluptas.
Cetera femineus peragit labor: addere sulco
Semina, et impresso tellurem vertere aratro,
Segne viris; quidquid duro sine Marte gerendum,
Callaïci conjux obit irrequieta mariti.

They were a most warlike people, preferring death to flight, and even the women went armed to the battle-field, and put themselves to death when they were taken captive. (Appian, App. Hisp. 27.) Their conquest by Decimus Brutus has already been referred to. But, although he is said, in general terms, [p. 1.934]to have subdued all the peoples of Gallaecia (Flor. 2.17), yet, from the few particulars recorded, his conquests appear clearly not to have extended far, if at all, N. of the Minius, so that they included only the Callaïci Bracarii. As, at the very same time, the proconsul M. Aemilius Lepidus failed in an expedition against the Vaccaei (Liv. Epit. lvi.), and as the Astures were not subdued till the time of Augustus, the country of the Callaïci Lucenses, being only open to the Romans on the S., must have been very imperfectly, if at all, subjected, until it yielded to Augustus with the other NW. tribes.

Besides the two capitals of BRACARA AUGUSTA (Braga) and LUCUS AUGUSTI (Lugo), the following cities and towns are mentioned:--

I. Towns of the Callaïci Bracarii: 1. CALE or CALEM (Oporto), at the mouth of the Durius, and on the road from Olisipo to Bracara, 35 M. P. from the latter. 2. On the road from Bracara to Asturica, which made a great bend southwards to, and perhaps even beyond, the Durius (Itin. Ant. pp. 422, 423): SALACIA 20 M. P. (Salamonde?); PRAESIDIUM 26 M. P. (Castro de Codezoso?); CALADUNUM, 16 M. P. (Ciadia?); AD AQUAS, 18 M.P. (Triudad?); PINETUM, 20 M. P. (Pinhel?); ROBORETUM 36 M. P. (Robledo or Bragança?); COMPLEUTICA 29 M. P. (Compludo); VENIATIA 25 M. P. (Vinhaes?); the remaining stations belong to the Astures. Besides these, Ptolemy mentions TUNTOBRIGA (Τουντόβριγα) and ARADUCTA (Ἀρα-δοῦκτα), as towns of the Bracarii (2.6.39). 3. On another and more direct road, leading N. from Bracara to the Minius, and thence up the river towards Asturica (Itin. Ant. pp. 427, 428): SALANIANA 21 M.P. (Santiago de Villela); AQUAE ORIGLNIS, 18 M. P. (Bannos de Bande or Orense); AQUAE QUERQUENNAE, 14 M. P. (Ὕδατα Κουακερνῶν, Ptol. l.c. § 47: Rio Caldo); GEMINAE 16 M.P. (Baños de Molgas or Sandras?); SALIENTES, 14 M. P. (Caldelas or Orense?); PRAESIDIUM 18 M. P. (Castro de Caldelas or Rodicio?), on the border towards the Astures. 4. On the road from Bracara to Lucus (Itin. Ant. p. 429): LIMIA 19 M. P., or Forum Limicorum (Ponte de Lima), probably different from the Φόρος Λιμικῶν of Ptolemy ( § 44); TUDE 24 M. P., or Tyde (Plin. Nat. 4.20. s. 35; Sil. Ital. 3.367, 16.369; Τοῦδαι, vulgo Τοῦνδαι, Ptol. l.c. § 45: Tuy), a fortress of the Gruii or Gravii, said to have been founded by Diomed and a colony of Aetolians. (Plin., Sil. Ital., ll. cc.; Dion. Per. 485; Avien. Descr. Orb. 651: other notices of supposed Greek settlements in this quarter are found in Strabo iii. p.157.) Besides these, Ptolemy (l.c.) mentions the following: AQUAE LAEVAE (Ὕδατα Λαιά, § 40), among the Turodi; VOLOBRIGA (Οὐολόβριγα, § 41), among the Nemetatae; COELIOBRIGA (Κοιλιόβριγα, § 42), among the Coelerini; FORUM BIBALORUM (Φόρος Βιβαλῶν, § 43: prob. Viana de Bollo), the city of the Bibali; MERVA (Μερούα, § 46), that of the Luanci; CAMBAETUM (Κάμβαιτον, § 48), that of the Lubaeni; and FORUM NARBASORUM (Φόρος Ναρβασῶν, § 49), that of the Narbasi. To these must be added the baths of AQUAE FLAVIAE, the ruins of which are found E. of Bracara, at Chaves on the river Tamega, which is still crossed by the ancient Roman bridge of 18 arches. (Inscr. ap. Gruter, p. 162. no. 4, p. 245. no. 2; Florez, Esp. S. vol. xv. p. 79; Miñano, Diccion. vol. iii. p. 85; Ukert, vol. ii. pt. 1. p. 346.)

II. Towns of the Callaïci Lucenses: 1. On the road already mentioned (No. 4) from Bracara to Lucus, and thence to Asturica (Itin. Ant. pp. 429, 430): from Tude (see above), BURBIDA, 16 M. P. (Borriño?); TUROQUA 16 M. P. (Touren?); AQUAE CELENAE or CELINAE, 24 M. P. (Ὕδατα θερμὰ τῶν Κιλινῶν, Ptol. 2.6.25: Caldas del Rey); PRIA 12 M. P, which is probably an error for IRIA FLAVIA a city of the Capori (Ptol. l.c. § 24; Inscr. ap. Gruter, p. 305, no. 8: El Padron), where the road, which has thus far kept to the N. along the sea-coast, turns NE. up the valley of the Ulla or the Sar; ASSECONIA, 23 M. P. (Santiago o Compostella or Assorey?); BREVIS, 12 M. P. (Urbo or Burres?); MARCIAE 20 M. P., probably an error for PONS NARTIAE (Geog. Rav. 4.45: Narla, on the river of the same name); LUCUS AUGUSTI 13 M. P. (Lugo). 2. On the continuation of the same road to Asturica: TIMLALINUM (Fontaneira?), 22 M. P., or TALAMINA a city of the Seurri (Ταλαμίνη, Ptol. l.c. § 27, who mentions N. of it another town of the same people, AQUAE QUINTINAE, Ὕδατα Κουίντινα, Quinta?); PONS NEVIAE or NAVIAE, i. e. the Bridge of the River Navia (prob. Navia de Suarzna), whence the road turns S. to UTTARIS 20 M. P. (Cerredo or Doncos), 16 M. P. from Bergidum in Asturia. [ASTURES] 3. Another route, beginning and ending in the same general direction, but striking further to the NW. through the ARTABEI, is given in the Itinerary as follows (pp. 423--425). From Bracara by sea to Aquae Celenae, 165 stadia; thence again by sea, 195 stadia to VICUS SPACORUM (Οὔοικα Οὔικα, Ptol. l.c. § 23: Vigo); thence 150 stadia by sea to AD DUOS PONTES (prob. Pontevedra); thence 180 stadia by sea to GRANDIMIRUM or GLANDIMARIUM (Geog. Rav. 4.43; Γλανδόμιρον, Ptol. l.c.: prob. Muros, at the mouth of the Noya), whence, avoiding the promontory of Nerium (C. Finisterre), the road proceeded by land NE. to TRIGUNDUM 22 M. P. (Berreo or Aranton; apparently the Τούρριγα Τούργινα of Ptolemy, l.c.), and thence to BRIGANTIUM 30 M. P., the chief sea-port of the country (see art.); whence it struck inland to Lucus Augusti, with the intermediate station of CARANICUM, 18 M. P. from Brigantium and 17 from Lucus (prob. the Καρόνιον of Ptolemy, l.c.: Guitinez?). Ptolemy mentions, in addition to the above places, the following: among the Callaïci Lucenses ( § 23), BULUM (Βοῦρον), OLINA (Ὀλίνα), LIBUNCA (Λιβοῦγκα), PINTIA (Πιντία), TURUPTIANA (Τουρουπτίανα), OCELUM (Ὄκελον); and among the Lemavi ( § 25), DACTONIUM (Δακτόνιον); and Pliny (4.20. s. 34) mentions ABOBEICA, as a not inconsiderable place (Bayona).


hide References (8 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (8):
    • Appian, Wars in Spain, 12.72
    • Appian, Wars in Spain, 5.27
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 17.10
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.19
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.20
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.21
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.3
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 2.6
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