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The Three Regions of Gaul (58-50 BC)


"All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, the third, those who in their own language are called Celts, and in ours, Gauls. All these differ from each other in language, customs and laws. The river Garonne separates the Gauls from the Aquitani; the Marne and the Seine separate them from the Belgae...".

Opening with these words his Commentaries on the Gallic Wars, the Roman commander Julius Caesar sets the stage for both his classic military account of the wars of 58-50 BC, and his description of the Celtic peoples of Gaul, which remains the primary source for the 1st century BC. Modern historians and archaologists have subdivided the region of the Gauls into Armorican, Central, and Eastern areas. (Note that Caesar uses the terms "Gauls" and "Celts" as synonyms.) At the time Caesar wrote, the Romanized region of Gaul included Cisalpine Gaul (near the Alps) and Transalpine Gaul (across the Alps), the latter also known as the Roman Province (today's Provence in southeast France). 

[Fig.1: The three regions of Gaul described by Caesar.]

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