a people of North Gallia. In Caesar's time (B. G.
4.4) the Menapii were on both sides of the lower Rhine, where they had arable farms, buildings, and small towns. The Usipetes and and Tenctheri, who were Germans, being hard pressed by the Suevi, came to the Rhine, surprised and massacred the Menapii on the east bank, and then crossing over spent the winter on the west side, and lived at free cost among the Menapii.
The history of these marauders is told elsewhere. [USIPETES
] On the west side of the Rhine the Eburones were the immediate neighbours of the Menapii (B. G.
6.5), and they were between the Menapii and the Treviri. The Menapii were protected by continuous swamps and forests. On the south and on the coast the Menapii bordered on the Morini. Caesar does not state this distinctly; but he mentions the Menapii (B. G.
2.4) among the Belgian confederates next to the Morini; and the Menapii were said to be able to raise 7000 fighting men.
As the Veneti sought the aid of the Morini and Menapii in their war with Caesar, we must conclude that they had ships, or their aid would have been useless (B. G.
3.9). Caesar describes all Gallia as reduced to obedience at the close of the summer of B.C. 56, except the Morini and Menapii (B. G.
3.28), who were protected against the Roman general for this season by their forests and the bad weather.
The next year (B.C. 55), immediately before sailing for Britannia, Caesar sent two of his legati to invade the country of the Menapii and those Pagi of the Morini which had not made their submission (B. G.
After his return from Britannia Caesar sent Labienus against the Morini with the legions which had been brought back from Britannia.
The summer had been dry, and as the marshes did not protect the Morini, as in the year before, most of them were compelled to yield.
The troops which had been sent against the Menapii under the two legati ravaged the lands, destroyed the corn, and burnt the houses; but the people fled to the thickets of their forests, and saved themselves from their cruel enemy. (B. G.
In B.C. 53 Caesar himself entered the country of the Menapii with five legions unincumbered with baggage. The Menapii were the only Galli who had never sent ambassadors to Caesar about peace, and they were allies of Ambiorix, king of the Eburones, Caesar's enemy. Trusting to the natural protection of their country, the Menapii did not combine their forces, but fled to the forests and marshes, carrying their property with them. Caesar entered their country with his army in three divisions, after having with great rapidity made his bridges over the rivers, but he does not mention any names.
The buildings and villages were burnt, and a great number of cattle and men were captured. The Menapii prayed for peace, gave hostages, and were told that their hostages would be put to death, if they allowed Ambiorix to come within their borders.
With this threat Caesar quitted the country that he had ravaged, leaving Comm the Atrebat, one of his slavish Gallic tools, with a body of cavalry to keep watch over the Menapii. (B. G.
It appears from Caesar's narrative that this people had farms, arable land and cattle; and probably ships. They were not savages, but a people with some civility. Caesar's narrative also leads us to infer that the Menapii on the coast bordered on the Morini, as Strabo (iv. pp. 194, 199) says. Pliny (4.17
) also makes the Menapii and Morini conterminous on the coast, but he makes the Scaldis (Schelde
) the northern limit of the Menapii; and he places the Toxandri north of the Schelde.
D'Anville (Notice, &c., Nervii
) attempts to show, against the authority of the ancient writers, that the Nervii extended to the coast, and consequently were between the Morini and the Menapii.
But it is here assumed as proved that the Morini on the coast bordered on the Menapii, who in Caesar's time at least extended along the coast from the northern boundary of the Morini to the territory of the BATAVI. [BATAVORUM INSULA.]
Walckenaer proves, as he supposes, that the river Aas,
from its source to its outlet, was the boundary between the Morini and the Menapii. The Aas is the dull stream which flows by St. Omer,
and is made navigable to Gravelines.
Accordingly he makes the hill of Cassel,
which is east of the Aas,
to be the Castellum Menapiorum of the Table.
This question is examined under CASTELLUM MORINORUM. The boundary on the coast between the Morini and Menapii is unknown, but it may, perhaps, have been as far north as Dunkerque.
As the Eburones about Tongern
were the neighbours of the Menapii of Caesar on the east, we obtain a limit of the Menapii in that direction. On the north their boundary was the Rhine; and on the south the Nervii. Under Augustus some German peoples, Ubii, Sicambri [GUGERNI
], and others, [p. 2.328]
were removed to the west side of the Rhine. The Toxandri, who were settled in North Brabant,
occupied the place of those Menapii who bordered on the Eburones.
But the Menapii still maintained themselves on the west. Tacitus (Tac. Hist. 4.28
), in his description of the rebellion of Civilis, still speaks of the “Menapios et Morinos et extrema Galliarum.” Part of the former territory of the Menapii was finally included in Germania Inferior, and the rest in Belgica.
The name Menapii subsisted for a long time. Aurelius Victor (de Caesaribus,
39) calls Carausius “Menapiae civis;” and it appears in the middle ages. D'Anville observes that though the Notitia of the Empire mentions a body of soldiers named Menapii, we see no trace of this nation in any city which represents it; but Walckenaer (Géog. &c.
vol. i. p. 460) contends that Turnacum (Tournai
) was their chief place, to which place probably belong the Belgic silver medals with the legend DVRNACVS (Bast, Recueil, &c.
) “In an act of Charles the Bald, A.D. 847, in favour of the abbey of St. Amand, which is south of Tournai, this abbey is said to be ‘in territorio Menapiorum quod nunc Mempiscum appellant.’ ” We thus obtain, as it seems, a fixed point for part of the territory of the Menapii, which under the later Empire may have been limited to the country west of the Schelde.
It is observed that “though it is very probable that Caesar never advanced into the interior of Flanders, it is, however, certain that the Romans afterwards, if they did not absolutely make themselves masters of it, at least were there for some time at different epochs. Their idols, their Dei Penates, sepulchral urns, lamps, Roman utensils, and especially the medals of almost all the emperors, discovered in great numbers, are irrefragable evidence of this.” (Bast, Recueil d'Antiquités Romaines et Gauloises, &c.,
“Ancient earthen vessels have been found in great numbers all along the coast from Dunkerque to Bruges, which shows that the sea has not gained here, and refutes the notion that in the time of Caesar and Pliny this coast was neither inhabited nor habitable.” (Walckenaer, Géog. &c.
vol. i. p. 469.)
An inscription found at Rimini, of the age of Vespasian, mentions the “Salinatores Menapiorum,” or saltmakers of the Menapii.
If the position of the Meldi of Caesar has been rightly determined [MELDI
], they were a Menapian people.
There is nothing to show whether the Menapii were Galli or Germani.