Gallia Narbonensis

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Provincia Gallia Narbonensis
Province of the Roman Empire
121 BC [1] –5th century
Roman Empire Gallia Narbonensis.svg
The province of Gallia Narbonensis within the Roman Empire, c. 117 AD
Capital Narbo Martius
Historical era Antiquity
 Established
121 BC [1]
 Visigothic conquest
5th century
Succeeded by
Visigothic Kingdom Blank.png
Today part ofFlag of France.svg  France
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
Flag of Monaco.svg  Monaco
The Roman Provinces in Gaul around 58 BC; note that the coastline shown here is the modern one, different from the ancient coastline in some parts of the English Channel. Map Gallia Tribes Towns.png
The Roman Provinces in Gaul around 58 BC; note that the coastline shown here is the modern one, different from the ancient coastline in some parts of the English Channel.
Gallia Narbonensis can be seen in the south of modern-day France as a Roman province. Gaul in the Time of Caesar.jpg
Gallia Narbonensis can be seen in the south of modern-day France as a Roman province.

Gallia Narbonensis (Latin for "Gaul of Narbonne", from its chief settlement) [n 1] was a Roman province located in what is now Languedoc and Provence, in southern France. It was also known as Provincia Nostra ("Our Province"), from its having been the first Roman province north of the Alps, and as Gallia Transalpina ("Transalpine Gaul"), distinguishing it from Cisalpine Gaul in northern Italy. It became a Roman province in the late 2nd century BC. Its boundaries were roughly defined by the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the Cévennes and Alps to the west and north. The western region of Gallia Narbonensis was known as Septimania.

Contents

Names

The province of Gallia Transalpina ("Transalpine Gaul") was later renamed Gallia Narbonensis, after its newly established capital of Colonia Narbo Martius (colloquially known as Narbo, at the location of the modern Narbonne), a Roman colony founded on the coast in 118 BC. The Romans had called it Provincia Nostra ("our province") or simply Provincia ("the province"). The term has survived in the modern French and Occitan names of the eastern part of the area (French Provence , Occitan Provença), now a région of France.

Founding

By the mid-2nd century BC, Rome was trading heavily with the Greek colony of Massalia (modern Marseille) on the southern coast of Gaul. Massalia, founded by colonists from Phocaea, was by this point centuries old and quite prosperous. Rome entered into an alliance with Massalia, by which it agreed to protect the town from local Gauls, nearby Aquitani, sea-borne Carthaginians and other rivals, in exchange for a small strip of land that it wanted in order to build a road to Hispania, to assist in troop transport. The Massalians, for their part, cared more for their economic prosperity than they did for territorial integrity.

During this period, the Mediterranean settlements on the coast were threatened by the powerful Gallic tribes to the north, especially the tribes known as the Arverni and the Allobroges. In 123 BC, the Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus (later additionally named Allobrogicus) campaigned in the area and defeated the Allobroges and the Arverni under King Bituitus. This defeat substantially weakened the Arverni and ensured the further security of Gallia Narbonensis.

In this strip of land, the Romans founded the town of Narbonne in 118 BC. At the same time, they built the Via Domitia, the first Roman road in Gaul, connecting Gaul to Hispania, and the Via Aquitania, which led toward the Atlantic through Tolosa (Toulouse) and Burdigala (Bordeaux). Thus the Romans built a crossroads that made Narbonne an optimal trading center, and Narbonne became a major trading competitor to Massalia. From Narbonne, the Romans established the province of Transalpine Gaul, later called Gallia Narbonensis.

Later history

Control of the province, which bordered directly on Italia, gave the Roman state several advantages: control of the land route between Italy and the Iberian peninsula; a territorial buffer against Gallic attacks on Italy; and control of the lucrative trade routes of the Rhône valley between Gaul and the markets of Massalia. It was from the capital of Narbonne that Julius Caesar began his Gallic Wars.

The area became a Roman province in 121 BC, [1] originally under the name Gallia Transalpina (Transalpine Gaul). The name distinguished it from Cisalpine Gaul on the near side of the Alps to Rome. In 40 BC, during the Second Triumvirate, Lepidus was given responsibility for Narbonese Gaul (along with Hispania and Africa), while Mark Antony was given the balance of Gaul. [2]

Emperor Diocletian's administrative reorganization of the Empire in c.AD 314 merged the provinces Gallia Narbonensis and Gallia Aquitania into a new administrative unit called Dioecesis Viennensis (Diocese of Vienne) with the capital more to the north in Vienne. The new diocese's name was later changed to Dioecesis Septem Provinciarum (Diocese of the Seven Provinces), indicating that Diocletian had demoted the word "province" to mean a smaller subdivision than in traditional usage.

Galla Narbonensis and surrounding areas were incorporated into the Visigothic Kingdom between AD 462 and 477, permanently ending Roman political control. After the Gothic takeover, the Visigothic dominions were to be generally known as Septimania, while to the east of the lower Rhone the term Provence came into use.

List of Proconsular governors of Gallia Narbonensis

(This list is based on A.L.F. Rivet, Gallia Narbonensis (London: Batsford, 1988), pp. 79, 86f.)

Notes

  1. The name is also variously expressed as Narbonese or Narbonnese Gaul, Narbonian Gaul, and Narbonensian Gaul.

Related Research Articles

Gaul region of ancient Europe

Gaul was a historical region of Western Europe during the Iron Age that was inhabited by Celtic tribes, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Switzerland, and parts of Northern Italy, Netherlands, and Germany, particularly the west bank of the Rhine. It covered an area of 494,000 km2 (191,000 sq mi). According to the testimony of Julius Caesar, Gaul was divided into three parts: Gallia Celtica, Belgica, and Aquitania. Archaeologically, the Gauls were bearers of the La Tène culture, which extended across all of Gaul, as well as east to Raetia, Noricum, Pannonia, and southwestern Germania during the 5th to 1st centuries BC. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, Gaul fell under Roman rule: Gallia Cisalpina was conquered in 203 BC and Gallia Narbonensis in 123 BC. Gaul was invaded after 120 BC by the Cimbri and the Teutons, who were in turn defeated by the Romans by 103 BC. Julius Caesar finally subdued the remaining parts of Gaul in his campaigns of 58 to 51 BC.

Gallia, was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age occupied by present-day France, Belgium and other neighbouring countries.

Haute-Loire Department of France

Haute-Loire is a department in south-central France named after the Loire River. Haute-Loire is part of the current region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and is surrounded by the departments of Loire, Ardèche, Lozère, Cantal, and Puy-de-Dôme. The inhabitants of the department are called Altiligériens.

Via Domitia Roman road linking Italy and Hispania through Gallia Narbonensis

The Via Domitia was the first Roman road built in Gaul, to link Italy and Hispania through Gallia Narbonensis, across what is now southern France. The route that the Romans regularised and paved was ancient when they set out to survey it, so old that it traces the mythic route travelled by Heracles.

Roman province Major Roman administrative territorial entity outside of Italy

The Roman provinces were the lands and people outside of Rome itself that were controlled by the Republic and later the Empire. Each province was ruled by a Roman who was appointed as governor. Although different in many ways, they were similar to the states in Australia or the United States, the regions in the United Kingdom or New Zealand, or the prefectures in Japan. Canada refers to some of its territory as provinces.

Gallia Aquitania Roman province

Gallia Aquitania, also known as Aquitaine or Aquitaine Gaul, was a province of the Roman Empire. It lies in present-day southwest France, where it gives its name to the modern region of Aquitaine. It was bordered by the provinces of Gallia Lugdunensis, Gallia Narbonensis, and Hispania Tarraconensis.

Arverni people of ancient Gaul

The Arverni were a Celtic tribe. The tribe was located in what is today the French Auvergne region, which derives its name from the Arverni. One of the most powerful tribes in ancient Gaul, the Arverni opposed the Romans on several occasions. One of their most important strongholds was Gergovia, near the present-day commune of Clermont-Ferrand.

Battle of Alesia Decisive Roman victory in which Rome secured its conquest of Gaul

The Battle of Alesia or Siege of Alesia was a military engagement in the Gallic Wars that took place in September, 52 BC, around the Gallic oppidum of Alesia, a major centre of the Mandubii tribe. It was fought by the army of Julius Caesar against a confederation of Gallic tribes united under the leadership of Vercingetorix of the Arverni. It was the last major engagement between Gauls and Romans, and is considered one of Caesar's greatest military achievements and a classic example of siege warfare and investment. The battle of Alesia marked the end of Gallic independence in France and Belgium.

Cisalpine Gaul Roman province

Cisalpine Gaul was the part of Italy inhabited by Celts (Gauls) during the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. After its conquest by the Roman Republic in the 220s BC it was considered geographically part of Roman Italy but remained administratively separated. It was a Roman province from c. 81 BC until 42 BC, when it was de jure merged into Roman Italy as indicated in Caesar's unpublished acts. Cisalpine means "on the hither side of the Alps", as opposed to Transalpine Gaul.

Allobroges historical ethnical group

The Allobroges were a Gallic tribe of ancient Gaul, located between the Rhône River and Lake Geneva in what later became Savoy, Dauphiné, and Vivarais. Their cities were in the areas of modern-day Annecy, Chambéry and Grenoble, the modern departement of Isère, and modern Switzerland. Their capital was today's Vienne.

<i>Via Aquitania</i>

The Via Aquitania was a Roman road created in 118 BC in the Roman province of Gaul. It started at Narbonne, where it connected to the Via Domitia. It then went toward the Atlantic Ocean, via Toulouse and Bordeaux, covering approximately 400 kilometres (250 mi).

Roman Gaul

Roman Gaul refers to Gaul under provincial rule in the Roman Empire from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD.

Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus was consul of Rome in 122 BC. He was the son of the Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus who was consul in 162 BC.

Gaius Valerius Flaccus (consul) politician

Gaius Valerius Flaccus was a Roman general, politician and statesman. He was consul of the Roman Republic in 93 BC and a provincial governor in the late-90s and throughout the 80s. He is notable for his balanced stance during the Sullan civil wars, the longevity of his term as governor, and his efforts to extend citizenship to non-Romans.

The Vocontii were a Ligurian people who lived to the east of the River Rhône in modern south-eastern France.

Quintus Fabius Maximus Allobrogicus, was a Roman statesman and general who was elected consul in 121 BC. During his consulship he fought against the Arverni and the Allobroges whom he defeated in 120 BC. He was awarded a triumph and the agnomen Allobrogicus for his victory over the Gauls.

Helvii

The Helvii were a relatively small Celtic polity west of the Rhône river on the northern border of Gallia Narbonensis. Their territory was roughly equivalent to the Vivarais, in the modern French department Ardèche. Alba Helviorum was their capital, possibly the Alba Augusta mentioned by Ptolemy, and usually identified with modern-day Alba-la-Romaine. In the 5th century the capital seems to have been moved to Viviers.

The military campaigns of Julius Caesar constituted both the Gallic War and Caesar's civil war. The Gallic War mainly took place in what is now France. In 55 and 54 BC, he invaded Britain, although he made little headway. The Gallic War ended with complete Roman victory at the Battle of Alesia. This was followed by the civil war, during which time Caesar chased his rivals to Greece, decisively defeating them there. He then went to Egypt, where he defeated the Egyptian pharaoh and put Cleopatra on the throne. He then finished off his Roman opponents in Africa and Hispania. Once his campaigns were over, he served as Roman dictator until his assassination on March 15, 44 BC. These wars were critically important in the transition of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.

Roman Republican governors of Gaul

Roman Republican governors of Gaul were assigned to the province of Cisalpine Gaul or to Transalpine Gaul, the Mediterranean region of present-day France also called the Narbonensis, though the latter term is sometimes reserved for a more strictly defined area administered from Narbonne. Latin Gallia can also refer in this period to greater Gaul independent of Roman control, covering the remainder of France, Belgium, and parts of the Netherlands and Switzerland, often distinguished as Gallia Comata and including regions also known as Celtica, Aquitania, Belgica, and Armorica (Brittany). To the Romans, Gallia was a vast and vague geographical entity distinguished by predominately Celtic inhabitants, with "Celticity" a matter of culture as much as speaking gallice.

The gens Sennia was an obscure plebeian family at ancient Rome. Few members of this gens are mentioned in history, but others are known from inscriptions.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Maddison, Angus (2007), Contours of the World Economy 1–2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.  41 .
  2. Boatwright et al., The Romans, From Village to Empire, p.272 ISBN   978-0-19-511876-6

Further reading

Coordinates: 44°00′00″N4°00′00″E / 44.0000°N 4.0000°E / 44.0000; 4.0000