GAUL, Lat. Gallia, the name of the two chief districts known to the Romans as inhabited by Celtic-speaking peoples, (a) Gallia Cisalpina or Citerior, i.e., North Italy between Alps and Apen nines and (b) the far more important Gallia Transalpine or Ul terior, usually called Gallia simply, the land bounded by the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Pyrenees, the Atlantic and the Rhine, i.e., modern France and Belgium with parts of Holland, Germany and Switzerland.
(a) Gallia Cisalpina (q.v.) was mainly conquered by Rome by 222 B.C. ; later it adopted Roman civilization, whence it was often known as "Gallia Togata"; about 42 B.C. it was united with Italy. Its chief distinctions are that during the later Republic and earlier Empire it yielded excellent soldiers, and that it produced Virgil (by origin a Celt), Livy, Catullus, Cornelius Nepos, the elder and the younger Pliny and other distinguished writers.
(b) Gaul proper first enters ancient history when the Greek colony of Massilia was founded (?600 B.C.). During the Punic Wars it became important to Rome as the highway to Spain (q.v.). In 121 B.C. the coast from Montpellier to the Pyrenees (i.e., all that was not Massiliot), with its port of Narbo (mod. Narbonne) and its trade route by Toulouse to the Atlantic, was formed into the province of Gallia Narbonensis and Narbo itself into a Roman municipality. Gradually the province was extended north of Massilia, up the Rhone, while the Greek town itself be came weak and dependent on Rome. Narbonensis was distin guished from "Gallia Togata" as "Gallia Bracata," from the long trousers (bracae, incorrectly braccae) worn by its inhabitants.
We owe our earliest detailed knowledge of pre-Roman Gaul to the Commentaries of Julius Caesar. Gallia Narbonensis apart, Gaul was at that time divided among three more or less distinct peoples, the Aquitani, the Gauls (who called themselves Celts), and the Beigae. These occupied respectively the south, the centre and the north of the country between the Pyrenees and the Rhine. The tribes were numerous. Prominent among them were the Hel vetii, the Sequani and the Aedui in the basins of the Rhone and the Saone; the Arverni in the Cevennes ; the Senones and Carnutes in the basin of the Loire; the Veneti and other Armorican tribes between the mouths of the Loire and the Seine. These were all Celts. The Nervii, Bellovaci, Suessiones, Remi, Morini, Menapii and Aduatuci were Belgic ; the Tarbelli and others were Aquitani ; while the Allobroges inhabited the north of Gallia Bracata, having been conquered in 121 B.C. The ethnological divisions thus set forth by Caesar have been much discussed (see CELT and articles on the chief tribes).
As the result of the Gallic wars (58-51) of Caesar (q.v.) the whole of Gaul to the Rhine and the ocean became Roman terri tory, and in 49 Massilia was annexed. But Roman territory had still to be romanized. Caesar had no time to organize his con quest ; this was left to Augustus. As settled by him, and in part perhaps also by his successor Tiberius, Gaul fell into five admin istrative areas : (i.) Narbonensis, that is, the land between Alps, sea and Ce vennes, extending up the Rhone to Vienne, is by nature distinct in many ways from the rest of Gaul. It is a sun-steeped southern region, the home of the vine and olive, of the minstrelsy of the Provençal and the exuberance of Tartarin, distinct from the colder and more sober north. Augustus found it already familiar with Roman ways and civilized enough to need no garrison. Accord ingly, it was henceforward governed by a proconsul (appointed by the senate) and freed from the burden of troops, while its local government was assimilated to that of Italy. The old Celtic tribes were broken up; instead, municipalities of Roman citizens were founded to rule their territories. Thus the Allobroges now disappear and the colonic of Vienna (Vienne) takes their place; the Volcae vanish, and we find Nemausus (Nimes). By A.D. 70 the area was "Italia veTfius quam provincia" (Pliny). The Gauls obviously had a natural bias towards the Italian civilization, and there soon became no difference between Italy and southern Gaul. But, though education spread, the results were somewhat disap pointing. Trade flourished ; the many towns grew rich and could afford splendid public buildings. But no great writer and no great administrator came from Narbonensis.
(ii.-iv.) Across the Cevennes lay Caesar's conquests, Atlantic in climate, new to Roman ways. The whole area, often collec tively styled "Gallia Comata," from the inhabitants wearing their hair long, often "Tres Provinciae," was divided into three prov inces, each under a legatus pro praetore appointed by the em peror, with a common capital at Lugdunum (Lyons). The three were : Aquitania, reaching from the Pyrenees almost to the Loire; Lugdunensis, the land between Loire and Seine, reaching from Brittany in the west to Lyons in the south-east ; and Belgica in the north. Here also it was found possible to dispense with garrisons, not because the provinces were as peaceful as Narbonensis, but because the Rhine army was close at hand, while the splendid sys tem of roads rendered the movement of troops easy. As befitted an unromanized region, the local government was unlike that of Italy or Narbonensis. Roman municipalities were not unknown, though very few; the local authorities were the magistrates of the old tribal districts. Local autonomy was carried to an extreme, but the policy succeeded. If the Gauls of the Three Provinces, or some of them, revolted in A.D. 2I under Florus and Sacrovir, in 68 under Vindex, and in 7o under Classicus and Tutor (see CIVILIS, CLAUDIUS), all five leaders were romanized nobles, with Roman names and Roman citizenship, and their risings were directed rather against the Roman government than the Roman empire. In general, Roman civilization was accepted more or less rapidly; in particular, the worship of "Augustus and Rome," de vised by the first emperor as a bond of state religion connecting the provinces with Rome, was eagerly welcomed. It agrees with the vigorous development of this worship that the Three Prov inces, though romanized, retained their own local feeling. As late as the 3rd century the cults of Celtic deities (Hercules Mag usanus, Deusoniensis, etc.) were revived, the Celtic leuga reintro duced instead of the Roman mile on official milestones, and a brief effort made to establish an independent, though romanized, Gaul under Postumus and his short-lived successors (A.D. 259-273). The area was too large and strong to lose its individuality; it was also too rural and too far from the Mediterranean to be roman ized as fully and quickly as Narbonensis. Even the Celtic lan guage lingered on in forest districts into the 4th century A.D. Town life, however, grew. The the f s-lieux of the tribes became practically, though not officially, municipalities, and many of these towns reached considerable size and magnificence of public build ings. But they attest their tribal relations by their appellations, which are commonly drawn from the name of the tribe and not of the town itself ; to this day Amiens, Paris, Rheims, Soissons and others perpetuate the memory of tribes like the Ambiani, the Parisii, the Remi, and the Suessiones. Literature also flourished. In the latest empire Ausonius, Symmachus, Sidonius, Apollinaris and other Gaulish writers, chiefly of Gallia Comata, kept alive the classical literary tradition, not only for Gaul but for the world.
(v.) The fifth division of Gaul was the Rhenish military fron tier, which was organized as two military districts. The northern one was the valley of the Meuse and that of the Rhine to a point just south of Bonn ; the southern was the rest of the Rhine valley to Switzerland. Each district was garrisoned at first by four, later by fewer, legions, which were disposed at various times in some of the following fortresses: Vetera (Xanten), Novaesium (Neuss), Bonna (Bonn), Moguntiacum (Mainz), Argentorate (Strasbourg) and Vindonissa (Windisch in Switzerland). At first the districts, being purely military, were called after the garrisons "exercitus Germanicus superior" (south) and "inferior" (north). Later one or two municipalities were founded—the oldest, Colonia Agrip pinensis, at Cologne in A.D. 51—and about A.D. 80-90 the two "Exercitus" were turned into the two provinces of Upper and Lower Germany (see GERMANY).
These provincial divisions were modified by Diocletian, but without seriously affecting the life of Gaul. The whole country continued Roman and fairly safe from barbarian invasions till after 400. In A.D. 407 a multitude of Franks, Vandals, etc., broke in ; Roman rule practically ceased, and the three kingdoms of the Visigoths, Burgundians and Franks began to form. There were still a Roman general and Roman troops when Attila was defeated in the campi Catalaunici in A.D. 451, but the general, Aetius, was "the last of the Romans," and in A.D. 486 Clovis the Frank brought Roman rule in Gaul to a final end.