Last updated
3rd century AD Sol Invictus disk from Pessinus, then capital city of the Tolistobogii. Disc Sol BM GR1899.12-1.2.jpg
3rd century AD Sol Invictus disk from Pessinus, then capital city of the Tolistobogii.

Tolistobogii (in other sources Tolistobogioi, Tolistobōgioi, Tolistoboioi, Tolistobioi, Toligistobogioi or Tolistoagioi) is the name used by the Roman historian, Livy, for one of the three ancient Gallic tribes of Galatia in central Asia Minor, together with the Trocmi and Tectosages. The tribe entered Anatolia in 279 BC as a contingent of Celtic raiders from the Danube region, and settled in those regions of Phrygia which would later become part of the Roman province of Galatia. The Galatians retained their Celtic language through the 4th century AD, when Saint Jerome mentions that the Galatians still spoke a Celtic language in his times. [1]


Etymology and identity

The name is believed to be a karmadhāraya compound of two Proto-Celtic roots: the first, *tolisto-, is of uncertain meaning, but perhaps related to Old Irish tol "will, desire"; [2] Ludwig Rübekeil conjectures it to be an adjectival derivation from a Celtic root *tel- in an archaic and not well-attested formation of the superlative, and tentatively translates the name as "the most enduring, hardest". [3] A non-Celtic origin for the root *tolisto- is also possible. [4] The second root, *bogio-, means "beat, pound" and is a common element in Celtic personal names (cf. Gaulish Andecombogius, Combogiomārus, Namantobogius, Uercombogius; also Old Irish bong "batter" and Welsh -abwy [<Proto-Celtic *adbogio-] in names such as Rhonabwy and Iunabwy). [5]


The Tolistobogii for the greater part of their centuries-long stay in Galatia were located in what is now Eskişehir Province just to the west of Ankara.


The Tolistobogii first appear as troops in the army of Brennus on its way to plunder Delphi in Greece in 279 BC. In Dardania, it is said, some 20,000 men under Leonorius and Lutarius in these three tribes seceded from Brennus and entered Thrace, where they collected tribute from the region, including Byzantium. Subsequently, they crossed the Hellespont to fight as mercenaries for Nicomedes I of Bithynia and then left Bithynia to plunder Anatolia. The Tolistobogii received Aeolia and Ionia as territory. According to Plutach, the historian Polybius met and talked with Chiomara, wife of Ortagion, chieftain of the Tolistobogii who united them into a powerful state against Rome in 189 BC. Chiomara was captured and raped by a centurion who, when he found out her seniority, demanded a ransom from Ortagion. Whilst the ransom was being delivered, Chiomara had the centurion decapitated and took his head to her husband. [6]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Galatia</span> Ancient region of central Anatolia once inhabited by Celts

Galatia was an ancient area in the highlands of central Anatolia, roughly corresponding to the provinces of Ankara and Eskişehir, in modern Turkey. Galatia was named after the Gauls from Thrace, who settled here and became a small transient foreign tribe in the 3rd century BC, following the Gallic invasion of the Balkans in 279 BC. It has been called the "Gallia" of the East.

The Bebryces were a tribe of people who lived in Bithynia. According to Strabo they were one of the many Thracian tribes that had crossed from Europe into Asia, although modern scholars have rather argued for a Celtic origin.

Alaunus or Alaunius is a Gaulish god of healing and prophecy. His name is known from inscriptions found in Lurs, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in Southern France and in Mannheim in western Germany. In the latter inscription, Alaunus is used as an epithet of Mercury. The feminine form Alauna is at the origin of many place-names and hydronyms across Europe, including the Roman-era names of Valognes in Normandy, Maryport and Watercrook in Cumbria, Alcester in Warwickshire, Ardoch in Perthshire, and Learchild and the River Aln in Northumberland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Galatian language</span> Extinct Celtic language from Asia Minor

Galatian is an extinct Celtic language once spoken by the Galatians in Galatia, in central Anatolia, from the 3rd century BC up to at least the 4th century AD. Some sources suggest that it was still spoken in the 6th century. Galatian was contemporary with, and closely related to, Gaulish.

The Volcae were a Gallic tribal confederation constituted before the raid of combined Gauls that invaded Macedonia c. 270 BC and fought the assembled Greeks at the Battle of Thermopylae in 279 BC. Tribes known by the name Volcae were found simultaneously in southern Gaul, Moravia, the Ebro valley of the Iberian Peninsula, and Galatia in Anatolia. The Volcae appear to have been part of the late La Tène material culture, and a Celtic identity has been attributed to the Volcae, based on mentions in Greek and Latin sources as well as onomastic evidence. Driven by highly mobile groups operating outside the tribal system and comprising diverse elements, the Volcae were one of the new ethnic entities formed during the Celtic military expansion at the beginning of the 3rd century BC. Collecting in the famous excursion into the Balkans, ostensibly, from the Greek point of view, to raid Delphi, a branch of the Volcae split from the main group on the way into the Balkans and joined two other tribes, the Tolistobogii and the Trocmi, to settle in central Anatolia and establish a new identity as the Galatians.

Deiotarus of Galatia was a Chief Tetrarch of the Tolistobogii in western Galatia, Asia Minor, and a King of Galatia ("Gallo-Graecia"). He was considered one of the most adept of Celtic kings, ruling the three tribes of Celtic Galatia from his fortress in Blucium.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Senones</span> Gallic tribe

The Senones or Senonii were an ancient Gallic tribe dwelling in the Seine basin, around present-day Sens, during the Iron Age and the Roman period.

The Mandubii were a small Gallic tribe dwelling near their chief town Alesia, in modern Côte-d'Or, during the Iron Age and the Roman period.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Petrocorii</span> Gallic tribe

The Petrocorii were a Gallic tribe dwelling in the present-day Périgord region, between the Dordogne and Vézère rivers, during the Iron Age and the Roman period.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tectosages</span> Ancient Celtic tribe

The Tectosages or Tectosagii were one of the three ancient Gallic tribes of Galatia in central Asia Minor, together with the Tolistobogii and Trocmii.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lemovices</span> Gallic tribe

The Lemovīcēs were a Gallic tribe dwelling in the modern Limousin region during the Iron Age and the Roman period.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aulerci</span> Group of Gallic peoples

The Aulerci were a group of Gallic peoples dwelling in the modern region of Normandy, between the Loire (Liger) and the Seine (Sequana) rivers, during the Iron Age and the Roman period. They were divided into the Cenomani, the most powerful of them, the Eburovices, the Diablintes, and the Brannovices. The relationship that linked them together remains uncertain. According to historian Venceslas Kruta, they could have been pagi that got separated from a larger ethnic group of the pre-Roman period.

The Latobici or Latovici were a Celtic tribe dwelling in Pannonia Superior, around present-day Drnovo (Slovenia), during the Roman period.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Redones</span> Gallic tribe

The Redones or Riedones were a Gallic tribe dwelling in the eastern part of the Armorican peninsula, around their chief town Condate, during the Iron age and the Roman period.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bituriges Vivisci</span> Gallic tribe

The Bituriges Vivisci were a Gallic tribe dwelling near modern-day Bordeaux during the Roman period. They had a homonym tribe, the Bituriges Cubi in the Berry region, which could indicate a common origin, although there is no direct of evidence of this.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Galatians (people)</span> Gallic people of central Anatolia

The Galatians were a Celtic people dwelling in Galatia, a region of central Anatolia surrounding present-day Ankara, during the Hellenistic period. They spoke the Galatian language, which was closely related to Gaulish, a contemporary Celtic language spoken in Gaul.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cadurci</span> Gallic tribe

The Cadurci were a Gallic tribe dwelling in the later region of Quercy during the Iron Age and the Roman period.

The Ambisontes were a Gallic tribe dwelling in the upper Salzach valley during the Roman period.

The Vennones or Vennonetes were a Rhaetian tribe dwelling in the northern Alps, between Chur and Lake Constance, during the Iron Age and the Roman era.

The Brigianii were a Gallic tribe dwelling around present-day Briançon during the Iron Age and the Roman period.


  1. Hieronymos: Commentarius in Epistulam ad Galatas 2,3
  2. Xavier Delamarre: Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise. Editions Errance, Paris 2003, p. 298.
  3. Ludwig Rübekeil: Diachrone Studien zur Kontaktzone zwischen Kelten und Germanen. Wien 2002, ISBN   3-7001-3124-0, pp. 96 ff.
  4. Falileyev, Alexander, ed. (2007). "Tolistobogioi" (PDF). Dictionary of Continental Celtic Place-Names. Aberystwyth University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 July 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2009.
  5. Xavier Delamarre: Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise. Editions Errance, Paris 2003, pp. 81 f.
  6. Peter Berresford Ellis. The Druids. Robinson, London 1994.