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Eth. SUESSIONES or SUE´SSONES (Οὐέσσονες, Ptol. 2.9.11), a people of Gallia Belgica. The Remi told Caesar (Caes. Gal. 2.3) in B.C. 57 that the Suessiones were their brothers and kinsmen, had the same political constitution and the same laws, formed one political body with them, and had the same head or chief: their territory bordered on the territory of the Remi, and was extensive and fertile; within the memory of man the Suessones had a king, Divitiacus, the most powerful prince in Gallia, who even had the dominion of Britannia; at this time (B.C. 57) they had a king named Galba, a very just and wise man, to whom the Belgae who were combining against Caesar unanimously gave the direction of the war. The Suessiones had twelve towns, and promised a contingent of 50,000 men for the war with Caesar.

Caesar (Caes. Gal. 2.12) took Noviodunum, a town of the Suessiones, and the people submitted [NONIODUNUM; AUGUSTA SUESSIONUM]. The Suessiones had the rich country between the Oise and the Marne, and the town of Soissons on the Aisne preserves their name unchanged. The Suessiones are mentioned (B. G. 7.75) among the peoples who sent their contingent to attack Caesar at Alesia, B.C. 52; but their force was only 5000 men. Caesar paid the Suessiones for their pains by subjecting them to their brothers the Remi (B. G. 8.6: “qui Remis erant attributi” ); in which passage the word “attributi” denotes a political dependence, and in Gallia that signified payment of money. The Remi took care of themselves [REMI].

Pliny names the Suessiones Liberi (4.17), which, if it means anything, may mean that they were released in his time from their dependence on the Remi. In Pliny's text the name “Sueconi” stands between the name Veromandui and Suessiones; but nobody has yet found out what it means.

The orthography of this name is not quite certain; and the present name Soissons is as near the truth as any other form. In Strabo (iv. p.195) it is Σουεσσιῶνες, and Lucan (1.423) has-- “Et Biturix, longisque leves Suessonles in armis:

Suessones is a correction; but there is no doubt about it (ed. Oudendorp).


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 2.12
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 2.3
    • Lucan, Civil War, 1.423
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 2.9
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