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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

A map of Gaul in the 1st century BC, showing the locations of the Celtic tribes

Gaul was a region of Western Europe first described by the Romans.[1]It was inhabited by Celtic and Aquitani tribes, encompassing present-day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, most of Switzerland, parts of Northern Italy, and Germany west of the Rhine.


Jat Gotras Namesake

Jat Gotras Namesake


The Greek and Latin names Galatia (first attested by Timaeus of Tauromenium in the 4th century BC) and Gallia are ultimately derived from a Celtic ethnic term or clan Gal(a)-to-.[6] The Galli of Gallia Celtica were reported to refer to themselves as Celtae by Caesar. Hellenistic folk etymology connected the name of the Galatians (Γαλάται, Galátai) to the supposedly "milk-white" skin (γάλα, gála "milk") of the Gauls.[7] Modern researchers say it is related to Welsh gallu,[8] Cornish: galloes,[9] "capacity, power",[10] thus meaning "powerful people".

Despite superficial similarity, the English term Gaul is unrelated to the Latin Gallia. It stems from the French Gaule, itself deriving from the Old Frankish *Walholant (via a Latinized form *Walula),[11] literally the "Land of the Foreigners/Romans". *Walho- is a reflex of the Proto-Germanic *walhaz, "foreigner, Romanized person", an exonym applied by Germanic speakers to Celts and Latin-speaking people indiscriminately. It is cognate with the names Wales, Cornwall, Wallonia, and Wallachia.[12]The Germanic w- is regularly rendered as gu- / g- in French (cf. guerre "war", garder "ward", Guillaume "William"), and the historic diphthong au is the regular outcome of al before a following consonant (cf. cheval ~ chevaux). French Gaule or Gaulle cannot be derived from Latin Gallia, since g would become j before a (cf. gamba > jambe), and the diphthong au would be unexplained; the regular outcome of Latin Gallia is Jaille in French, which is found in several western place names, such as, La Jaille-Yvon and Saint-Mars-la-Jaille.[13][14] Proto-Germanic *walha is derived ultimately from the name of the Volcae.[15]

Also unrelated, in spite of superficial similarity, is the name Gael.[16] The Irish word gall did originally mean "a Gaul", i.e. an inhabitant of Gaul, but its meaning was later widened to "foreigner", to describe the Vikings, and later still the Normans.[17] The dichotomic words gael and gall are sometimes used together for contrast, for instance in the 12th-century book Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib.

As adjectives, English has the two variants: Gaulish and Gallic. The two adjectives are used synonymously, as "pertaining to Gaul or the Gauls", although the Celtic language or languages spoken in Gaul is predominantly known as Gaulish.


According to 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.[18] During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, Gaul fell under Roman rule: Gallia Cisalpina was conquered in 204 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.

Roman control of Gaul lasted for five centuries, until the last Roman rump state, the Domain of Soissons, fell to the Franks in AD 486. While the Celtic Gauls had lost their original identities and language during Late Antiquity, becoming amalgamated into a Gallo-Roman culture, Gallia remained the conventional name of the territory throughout the Early Middle Ages, until it acquired a new identity as the Capetian Kingdom of France in the high medieval period. Gallia remains a name of France in modern Greek (Γαλλία) and modern Latin (besides the alternatives Francia and Francogallia).


The Gauls were made up of many tribes who controlled a particular territory and often built large fortified settlements called oppida. After completing the conquest of Gaul, the Roman Empire made most of these tribes civitates. The geographical subdivisions of the early church in Gaul were then based on these, and continued as French dioceses until the French Revolution.

The following is a list of recorded Gaulish tribes, in both Latin and the reconstructed Gaulish language (*), as well as their capitals during the Roman period.

Jat History

List of Gaulish tribes

See List of Gaulish tribes

See also


  1. Polybius: Histories
  2. Dr Mahendra Singh Arya, Dharmpal Singh Dudee, Kishan Singh Faujdar & Vijendra Singh Narwar: Ādhunik Jat Itihasa (The modern history of Jats), Agra 1998 p. 239
  3. Bhim Singh Dahiya: Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Porus and the Mauryas,p.154
  4. Dr Mahendra Singh Arya, Dharmpal Singh Dudee, Kishan Singh Faujdar & Vijendra Singh Narwar: Ādhunik Jat Itihasa (The modern history of Jats), Agra 1998 p. 239
  5. Bhim Singh Dahiya: Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Porus and the Mauryas,p.154
  6. Birkhan, H. (1997). Die Kelten. Vienna. p. 48.
  7. "The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville" p. 198 Cambridge University Press 2006 Stephen A. Barney, W. J. Lewis, J. A. Beach and Oliver Berghof.
  8. "gallu". Google Translate.
  9. Howlsedhes Services. "Gerlyver Sempel"
  10. Pierre-Yves Lambert, La langue gauloise, éditions Errance, 1994, p. 194.
  11. Ekblom, R., "Die Herkunft des Namens La Gaule" in: Studia Neophilologica, Uppsala, XV, 1942-43, nos. 1-2, p. 291-301.
  12. Sjögren, Albert, Le nom de "Gaule", in Studia Neophilologica, Vol. 11 (1938/39) pp. 210–214.
  13. Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology (OUP 1966), p. 391.
  14. Nouveau dictionnaire étymologique et historique (Larousse 1990), p. 336.
  15. Koch, John Thomas (2006). Celtic culture: a historical encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-85109-440-7. p. 532.
  16. Gael is derived from Old Irish Goidel (borrowed, in turn, in the 7th century AD from Primitive Welsh Guoidel—spelled Gwyddel in Middle Welsh and Modern Welsh—likely derived from a Brittonic root *Wēdelos meaning literally "forest person, wild man")[Koch 2006, pp. 775–776.]
  17. Linehan, Peter; Janet L. Nelson (2003). The Medieval World. Vol. 10. Routledge. p. 393. ISBN 978-0-415-30234-0.
  18. Bisdent, Bisdent (28 April 2011). "Gaul". World History Encyclopedia.