The Mannekin Pis is so Belgic that I had to include it. In the spring of 57 BC, Caesar was in Cisalpine Gaul attending to the administration of his governorship. Winchester, England today. She reads Caesar as implying a "transition zone" of mixed ethnicity and ancestry for the Menapii, Nervii, and Morini, all living in the northwest of the Belgic region, neighbours to the Germani cisrhenani in the northeast.  According to Strabo, the country of the Belgae extended along the coast where 15 tribes were living from the Rhenus (Rhine) to the Liger (Loire). The leading modern Ghentian linguist Maurits Gysseling (1919-1997), an influential Belgian and researcher into historical linguistics and paleography, has researched into and tried to determine the language of the Belgae living north of Gaul. Even Julius Caesar who wrote about them in his Commentarii De Bello Gallico and battled with them for four years before defeating them, was confused about the origin of, race, and lingustic classification of the ancient Belgae. The Belgae (/ ˈbɛldʒiː / or / ˈbɛlɡaɪ /) were a large confederation of tribes living in northern Gaul, between the English Channel and the west bank of the Rhine, from at least the third century BC. I am so glad you enjoyed reading this. ABC-CLIO 2006, p. 198. -Remi, Caesar sometimes calls them Belgae, sometimes contrasts with Belgae. , The Romans were not precise in their ethnography of northern barbarians: by "Germanic", Caesar may simply have meant "originating east of the Rhine" (the homeland of the Germani cisrhenani) with no distinction of language intended. .". It is important to note, though, that Caesar, by this time, had probably realized the only way to maintain the territories in eastern and southern Gaul, was to conquer t… The Belgae were a group of Gallo-Germanic tribes living in northern Gaul, between the English Channel and the west bank of the River Rhine, from at least the 3rd century BC.  On the other hand, at least part of the Belgae may also have had significant genetic, cultural, and historical connections to peoples east of the Rhine, including Germanic peoples, judging from archaeological, placename, and textual evidence. Wary of the numbers and bravery of the Belgae, Caesar initially avoided a pitched battle, resorting mainly to cavalry skirmishes to probe their strengths and weaknesses. -Condrusi travmaj: I have to agree with you, where did Caesar find the time? Another Greek geographer Pausanias (2nd century AD) tells us that the Gauls " originally called Celts live in the remotest region of Europe on the coast of an enormous tidal sea. The civitas capital was at Venta Belgarum (Winchester), which was built on top of an Iron Age oppidum (which was itself built on the site of two earlier abandoned hillforts), which remains the Hampshire county town to this day. Thanks so much for your input and support as always, Nell. In the spring of 57 BC, Caesar was in Cisalpine Gaul attending to the administration of his governorship. We have created a browser extension. O’Rahilly, has proposed that the Fir Bolg people came to Irish mythology as a memory of the Belgae invasion.So who were the Fir Bolg? It's the most famous statue in Belgium. An early focus, and a continued power base may have been Western Norfolk, close to the Fen Edge, from the Brecks of north west Suffolk, and south west Norfolk, up along the Fen edge to north west Norfolk. Before that, much of the Belgae world is still a mystery. it is where the name Belgium comes from and my paternal grandmother's surname was from one of the cities in Belgium so I am wondering if my sister and I have Belgic too. And, to think, all we know about this era is from his and other Roman writers. ", Apart from the Germani, the report of Caesar seems to indicate that more of the Belgae had some Germanic ancestry and ethnicity, but this is not necessarily what defines a tribe as Belgic. gvpedia.com/Belgium/Top-Sustainable-Companies-in-Best-of-Belgium.aspx, www.eupedia.com/forum/threads/24913-Pre-Roman-Belgic-tribes-of-modern-Belgium, norw-origins.blogspot.com2011/07/migration-of-gallia-belgic-tribes.html, www.historyfiles.co.uk/KingListsBritain/BritainBelgae.htm, rtw.heavenganmes.com/history/civs/Mighty_Belg/Mighty_Belgae, www.protogermanic.com/2011/06/belgian-language-belgian-is.html. They certainly had some pretty coins and put our dull ones to shame. Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on December 19, 2015: Eric: Thank you for reading this and I am glad you enjoyed it. No one can say for sure exactly who the the ancestry are of the Belgae. I have had company here from Italy for the past week or so and I have not been on HP much. While Caesar or his sources described the Belgae as distinctly different from the Gauls, Strabo stated that the differences between the Celts (Gauls) and Belgae, in countenance, language, politics, and way of life was a small one, unlike the difference between the Aquitanians and Celts. He is also well known for the editing and studies of old texts relevant to the history of the Dutch language and analyses of historical place names and probable origins of them. Between 58 and 51 B.C. )", cognate with the Dutch adjective gebelgd "very angry" (weak perfect participle of the verb belgen "to become angry") and verbolgen "being angry" (strong perfect participle of obsolete verbelgen "to make angry"), as well as the Old English verb belgan, "to be angry" (from Proto-Germanic *balgiz), derived ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European root *bhelgh- ("to swell, bulge, billow"). And, Western Flemish is also spoke in French Flanders. But why not north of Rhine in the actual Netherlands? Very informative hub and voted useful! German is the least prevalent official language of Belgium and is spoken in an area ceded by the former German Empire as part of the treaty of Versailles which concluded WWI. In the Benelux region of Gallic Belgae, an ancient language was spoken but it was an unknown independent branch of the Indo-European language on equal footing with the Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Slavic, etc., is today also believed by historians and linguists. LOL! -Segni They all differ from one another in language, institutions and laws. grand old lady: Thank you so much for your input. All of Gaul is divided into three parts: the Belgae live in one part, the Aquitani the second and in the third a group called ‘Celts’ in their own language and ‘Gauls’ in ours. lol! In other words, before the Roman conquest the Belgae spoke a language all their own termed Belgian. Fintan O'Toole suggested the Keshcarrigan Bowl represents evidence for the movement of people into Ireland following upheaval and displacement, triggered by the Belgae arriving into Britain as refugees from the Romans.. His name was Commius according to history books. Strong evidence for old Celtic placenames, though, is found in the Ardennes and to the south of them. The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple. To the northwest section of Gaul lay the land of the Belgae. The medieval Gesta Treverorum compiled by monks of Trier claims that the Belgae were descendants of Trebeta, an otherwise unattested legendary founder of Trier, the Roman Augusta Treverorum, "Augusta of the Treveri". The impressive Iron Age hillfort of Maiden Castle was not the first monument on the hilltop. There are five rounded earthworks in Norfolk, dated to the Iron Age. Language change and language structure: older Germanic languages in a Comparative Perspective. And were the Belgae tribes Celts? He lead an unsuccessful revolt against Caesar, standing in Tongeren, Belgiam today. Therefore many, if not most, of the local Brits would have been speaking a Germanic and not a Celtic tongue. wonderful hub, and voted up and shared! Caesar's informants advised him that whichever tribe Caesar attacked first, the others would come to their defence. Caesar's conquests and the historical facts he documented are a massive contribution to history. Jackie: Thanks so much. The standard form of Dutch spoken in Belgium is almost identical to that spoken in the Netherlands and colloquially is called Flemish. The Romans did however start to build their own ‘new town’ at Winchester, known as Venta Belgarum, or market place of the Belgae. Most of Britain was already speaking English before Rome. Northern Belgae then became Germanic speaking and had never been fully Celtic-speaking in the centuries before the Roman conquest. So glad to hear you guys enjoyed this article! Aquitania extends from the river Garonne to the Pyrenaean mountains and to that part of the ocean which is near Spain: it looks between the setting of … Koch, John T. 2006. He described a grouping of tribes within the Belgic alliance as the "Germani", distinguishing them from their neighbours. It's interesting to know how ethnically mixed we all are, when you look way back. There is an amazing amount of debate as to the origin of the Celts: were they Phoenician? Some of the Romans did not have time to take the covers off their shields or to even put on their helmets. Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on July 10, 2014: Suzette, your love of history shines through your writing. Recent genetic data suggests that ancient Italic tribes, including the Romans, were closely related to the Alpine Celts who founded the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures. . He writes that the Belgae were conspiring and arming themselves in response to his earlier conquests; to counter this threat, he raised two new legions and ordered his Gallic allies, the Aedui, to invade the territory of the Bellovaci, the largest and fiercest of the Belgae tribes. 1-6. So now I am wondering what my heritage exactly is. During Caesar's conquest of Gaul, anti-Roman factions of the Belgae made their way across the English Channel to south Britain and constructed settlements and cities there. Thanks so much for your visit and input - most appreciated. Would you like Wikipedia to always look as professional and up-to-date? Follows events when the emerging nouveau riche, including the Trenchard family, rub shoulders with London's established upper classes and when secrets from the past threaten to emerge. The Belgae rises from the extreme frontier of Gaul, extend to the lower part of the river Rhine; and look toward the north and the rising sun. French is the official language of Brussels, the capital city of Belgium and the second most spoken Belgian language. It will enhance any encyclopedic page you visit with the magic of the WIKI 2 technology. But what does Belgae stand for and where did these tribes come from? Since Celtic tribes were loosely tied together by language, that leaves the Belgae out as far as the Celtic world. Ruins of the Roman city of Venta Belgarum originally settled by the Belgae. So detailed and well documented with the photos. An early focus, and a continued power base may have been Western Norfolk, close to the Fen Edge, from the Brecks of north west Suffolk, and south west Norfolk, up along the Fen edge to north west Norfolk. Yes, Walloon speaks some sort of dialect and is the French speaking part of Belgium. For example Belgian also adopted the German sound-shifts that took place during a first early Germanization in the third century BC: Characteriztion of Belgian are the retaining of the p sound after the sound shifts and settlement names ending in -iom are typically Belgian as well. It was interesting for me to write! Posidonius includes the Armoricani, as well. Many of the Belgae were killed in battle. Their language was unidentifiable to Caesar and was not the same as the Gaulish language he understood from the Gauls. P.32. Dianna: Yes, the Romans, looked, saw and conquered everyone around them. He claims a variety of evidence suggests memories of this were preserved in later Irish tradition, and also makes an elaborate linguistic case. , However, most of the Belgic tribal and personal names recorded are identifiably Gaulish, including those of the Germani cisrhenani, and this is indeed also true of the tribes immediately over the Rhine at this time, such as the Tencteri and Usipetes. Excavations have discovered a complex sequence of occupation, beginning over 6,000 years ago. Other tribes that may have been included among the Belgae in some contexts were the Leuci, Treveri, and Mediomatrici. The Belgic tribes of Britain are believed to be the: Caesar writes, "The inland part of Britain is inhabited by tribes declared in their own tradition to be indigenous to the island, the maritime part by tribes that migrated at an earlier time from Belgium to seek booty by invasion . He claims the southwestern Belgic tribes in Gaul were the Suessiones, Viromandui and Ambiani and they were the true ethnic Belgae. That is a question that has been confounding scholars, historians, archaeologists, and researchers from ancient times up to modern day. Caesar described the Gauls (58-51 BC) as divided into three parts: The Belgae were described by Caesar as also having a Teutonic inter-mixture in the warrior class. (where did he find the time!) Loved the Pis, too, lol. Despite - according to Caesar - cries of great thanks from various Gallic tribes for deliverance from the Suebi, discontent was growing. There are so many dialects and languages spoken in Belgium, it is hard to keep them all straight. When it comes to the ancient Belgae tribes of continental Europe there is definitely a conundrum as to whom they really were. Love your imagery here too. The consensus among linguists is that the ethnic name Belgae comes from the Proto-Celtic root *belg- or *bolg- meaning "to swell (particularly with anger/battle fury/etc. To install click the Add extension button. During Roman times, that language boundary hit the coast of the Fretum Gallicum (the English Channel) well to the south of the modern boundary between the Flemish and the French. -Suessiones The later conquest was by the Cymric-speaking Belgae who were equipped with iron weapons.  It has also been argued based on placename studies that the older language of the area, though apparently Indo-European, was not Celtic (see Nordwestblock) and that Celtic, though influential amongst the elite, might never have been the main language of the part of the Belgic area north of the Ardennes. The sound changes described by "Grimm's law" appear to have affected names with older forms, apparently already in the second century BC. §1. However, the later historian Tacitus was informed that the name Germania was known to have changed in meaning: In other words, Tacitus understood that the collective name Germani had first been used in Gaul, for a specific people there with connections beyond the Rhine, the Tungri being the name of the people living where the Eburones had lived in later imperial times, and was later adopted as a collective name for the non-Celtic peoples beyond the Rhine, the other, better-known way that Caesar used the term. Ambiorix and his tribes killed a whole Roman legion and five cohorts. Look at the bigger picture. Pre-Roman invasion (43 AD) of Britain. He has theorized.that before the second century BC, the language of Gallia Belgica was an Indo-European language that was neither Germanic or Celtic. But, was he a Celt? They sailed across the English Channel into southern Britain in the time of Julius Caesar. The Romans did however start to build their own ‘new town’ at Winchester, known as Venta Belgarum, or market place of the Belgae. Word came to Caesar that a confederation of northern Gallic tribes was building to confront Roman presence in Gaul. -Menapii by Feitscherg (CC BY-SA) Gaul (Latin Gallia, French Gaule) is the name given by the Romans to the territories where the Celtic Gauls (Latin Galli, French Gaulois) lived, including present France, Belgium, Luxemburg and parts of the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany on the west bank of the Rhine, and the Po Valley, in present Italy. Another Greek geographer Pausanias (2nd century AD) tells us that the Gauls " originally called Celts live in the remotest region of Europe on the coast of an enormous tidal sea. The Belgae gave their name to the Roman province of Gallia Belgica and, much later, to the modern country of Belgium; today "Belgae" is also Latin for "Belgians". 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