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TOLO´SA or THOLO´SA (Τολώσσα, Τολῶσα, Τόλοσα, D. C. 38.100.32: Eth. Tolosates, Eth. Tolosenses, Tolosani), in Gallia, is Toulouse, in the department of Haute-Garonne, on the right bank of the Garonne.

The identity of Tolosa and Toulouse is easily proved from the Itineraries and other evidence. In Caesar's time Tolosa was within the Roman Provincia. (B. G. 1.10.) When Caesar is speaking of the intention of the Helvetii to migrate into the country of the Santones, he remarks that the Santones are not far from the territory of the Tolosates, who are in the Provincia. He considered that it would be dangerous to the Provincia if the warlike Helvetii, the enemies of Rome, should be so near to an open country, which produced a great deal of grain. The commentators have found some difficulty in Caesar's expression about the proximity of the Santones and the Tolosates, for the Nitiobriges and Petrocorii were between the Santones and the Tolosates; but Caesar only means to say that the Helvetii in the country of the Santones would be dangerous neighbours to the Provincia. In Caesar's time Tolosa and Carcaso, both in the basin of the Garonne, were fully organised as a part of the Provincia; for when P. Crassus invaded Aquitania, he summoned soldiers from the muster-rolls of these towns to join his army. (B. G. 3.20.) Tolosa being situated on the neck of land where Gallia is narrowest [GALLIA TRANSALPINA Vol. I. p. 949] and in a position easy of access from the west, north, and east, was one of the places threatened by the Galli in the great rising of B.C. 52; but Caesar with his usual vigilance protected the province on this side by placing a force at Tolosa. (B. G. 7.7.)

Tolosa was an old town of the Volcae Tectosages which existed probably many centuries before it was conquered by the Romans. A great quantity of gold and silver was collected there, the gold the produce of the auriferous region near the Pyrenees, and both the precious metals the offerings of Gallic superstition. The treasure was kept in chambers in the temples, and also in sacred tanks. This is the story of Posidonius (Strab. iv. p.188), who had [p. 2.1216]travelled in Gallia; and it is more probable than the tradition that the gold of Tolosa was the produce of the plunder of Delphi by Brennus and his men, among whom it is said there were some Tectosages (Justin, 32.100.3); for it is very doubtful if any of Brennus' soldiers got back to Gallia, if we admit that they came from Gallia. Tolosa was in some kind of alliance with Rome (D. C. 34.97) about B.C. 106; but the Teutones and Cimbri at this time had broken into Gallia, and fear or policy induced the Tolosates to side with them. Q. Servilius Caepio (consul B.C. 106) made this a pretext for attacking Tolosa, which he took and plundered of its treasures, either in B.C. 106 or in the following year. This act of sacrilege was supposed to have been punished by the gods, for Caepio was defeated by the Cimbri B.C. 105, and his army was destroyed. (Liv. Epit. 67; Orosius, 5.15; Gel. 3.9.) The treasure of Tolosa never reached Rome, and perhaps Caepio himself laid hold of some of it. However this may be, the “Aurum Tolosanum” became a proverb. All who had touched the consecrated treasure came to a miserable end. It seems that there was inquiry made into the matter at Rome, for Cicero (De Nat. Deorum, 3.30) speaks of a “quaestio auri Tolosani.”

The Tolosani or Tolosates were. that division of the Tectosages which was nearest to the Aquitani. A place called Fines, between Tolosa and Carcaso, denotes the boundary of the territory of Tolosa in that direction, as this term often indicates a territorial limit in the Roman geography of Gallia [FINES]; and another place named Fines marks the boundary on the north between the Tolosates and the Cadurci.

Pliny (3.4) mentions Tolosa among the Oppida Latina of Narbonensis, or those towns which had the Latinitas, and, as Ptolemy (2.10.9) names it a Colonia, we must suppose that it was made a Colonia Latina. Tolosa maintained its importance under the Empire. Ausonius (Ordo Nob. Urb. xii.) describes Tolosa as surrounded by a brick wall of great circuit, and as a populous city, which had sent out inhabitants enough to found four other cities. The name Palladia, which Martial (Mart. 9.101), Sidonius Apollinaris, and Ausonius give to Tolosa appears to refer to the cultivation of the liberal arts in this Gallic city--“Te sibi Palladiae antetulit toga docta Tolosae.”

(Auson. Parent. 3.6; and Commem. Profess. Burdig. 17.7.)


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.4
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 3.9
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 9.101
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 2.10
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