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Battle of Telamon » Origins

Ancient Civilizations

Author: Ludwig Heinrich Dyck

Ever since the 4th century BCE, the Gallic tribes of northern Italy clashed with the expanding Roman Republic. In 225 BCE, the Boii forged alliances with fellow Gallic tribes of northern Italy and with tribes from across the Alps. The pan -Gallic army struck for Rome, but they were intercepted by three mighty Roman armies. Trapped at Cape Telamon, the outnumbered Gauls put up a hard fight but were ultimately defeated. The battle of Telamon marked the decline of Gallic fortunes in the warwith Rome for northern Italy.

PROLOGUE

After burning and sacking Rome in 390 BCE, the Gallic tribes of northern Italy repeatedly clashed with the resurgent and expanding Roman Republic. Rome took the war to the Gauls and in 284 BCE vanquished the Senones and utterly devastated their lands (modern Romagna). The powerful Boii, who lived north of the Senones, in turn invaded the Roman heartland. The Boii suffered defeats, however, and in 282 BCE agreed to a peace treaty.
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Gallic Wars

50 years passed before the Senones lands recovered sufficiently for the settlement of Roman citizens. The establishment of the Roman colony of Sena Gallacia along the coast worried the Boii, who justifiably feared further Roman inroads into GalliaCisalpina ( Gaul south of the Alps). A new generation of Boii had grown up, “full of unreflecting passion and absolutely without experience in suffering and peril” ( Polybius, The Histories, II. 21). They were ready to renew the war with Rome. The Boii looked for help from Gallic tribes north of the Alps (Gallic Transalpina), but their first attempt ended in a quarrel during which two of the Transalpina kings were killed. In north-western Italy, however, the powerful Insubres were ready to fight with the Boii.
Together the Boii and Insubres sent ambassadors across the Alps, this time soliciting help from the Gaesatae who dwelt near the Rhone. The ambassadors enticed the Gaesatae kings Concolitanus and Aneroestus with tales of Gallic valor and gifts of gold, a small sample of what could be looted from the Romans. “On no occasion has that district of Gaul sent out so large a force or one composed of men so distinguished or so warlike,” wrote Polybius (Polybius, The Histories, II. 22).

PREPARATION FOR WAR

In 225 BCE, the Gaesatae crossed the Alps to join their allies - now including a contingent of Taurisci from the Alps' southern slopes - on the Po River plain. Not all the tribes of Gallia Cisalpina wanted war with Rome, though. The pro-Roman Veneti and Cenomani threatened the lands of the tribes marching off to fight Rome. The Boii coalition thus had to ensure that enough warriors remained behind to protect their homelands. Even so, the army that assembled was the biggest the pan-Gallic army ever to march on Rome, with over 20,000 cavalry and 50,000 infantry.
THE ARMY THAT ASSEMBLED WAS THE BIGGEST THE PAN-GALLIC ARMY EVER TO MARCH ON ROME, WITH OVER 20,000 CAVALRY & 50,000 INFANTRY.
Unlike two centuries ago when Rome was sacked by the Gauls, Rome was no longer a mere city-state but a republic that had laid the foundation of an empire. After consolidating its hold on peninsular Italy, Rome emerged victorious in the First Punic War (264-241 BCE) and established itself as a major power in the Mediterranean. Tempered in battle with a myriad of nations, the Roman army had become bigger and better.
The threat of the Gallic army terrified all of peninsular Italy into raising tens of thousands of soldiers to aid the Romans. Allied Sabines, Samnites, Lucanians, Marsi and a host of other infantry and cavalry, joined the Roman legions. Over 150,000 men stood ready to fight under the Roman banner, stationed in three armies; in Etruria, on the Adriatic coast, and on Sardinia.

AMBUSH AT FAESULAE

The Gauls entered Etruria over a path in the northern Apennines Mountains. Having encountered no opposition, they plundered along the way to Rome. They were within three days of the city when their scouts reported that a large Roman army was behind them. It was the one from Etruria, and by sunset, it had drawn into the sight of the Gauls.
As both armies settled down to camp for the night, the Gauls contemplated what to do. The Roman army must have been of considerable size, for instead of offering battle the Gauls came up with a ruse. At night the Gallic infantry departed towards the nearby town of Faesulae. The cavalry remained behind at the campfires so that in the morning the Romans did not know where the Gallic infantry had gone. Assuming the latter had fled, the Romans advanced on the Gallic cavalry, which took off towards Faesulae. Following in pursuit, the Romans were ambushed by the Gallic infantry attacking out of the woods and shrubs near Faesulae. The Gallic cavalry now wheeled around so that the Romans were caught between infantry and cavalry.
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Celtic Warrior

The Romans were now in a real bind, but discipline and training paid off. The legions and their allies were able to carry out a fighting retreat. Although they suffered a loss of 6,000, the bulk of the army was able to reach a defensible position on a nearby hill. Here they fought off the Gauls, who, having slept little the night before, were further exhausted by fighting uphill.Unable to dislodge the Romans, the Gauls fell back and retired to recuperate from the fighting, leaving some cavalry to keep an eye on the Romans.
Meanwhile, Consul Lucius Aemilius Papus, commander of the Roman army on the Adriatic, got wind of the Gallic inroads and force-marched his men over the Apennines. He arrived just after the battle at Faesulae. As night was descending upon the land, Papus set up camp. His arrival naturally encouraged the Romans on the hill and, conversely, presented a major problem for the Gauls. Since the Gauls had already taken numerous slaves, cattle, and plunder, King Aneroestes of the Gaesatae thought that it would be wiser to return to their homelands with what they already had and return to deal with the Romans at a later date. Thus, at night, the Gallic army once again slipped away into the darkness. Blocked by the Romans to the north and by wooded hills to the east and west, the Gauls headed south.
The next day the two Roman armies combined and followed the retreating Gauls. When the terrain opened up at Lake Bolsena, the Gauls struck west for the Eturian coast. Once they reached the coast, they headed back north, hoping to reach the River Po and their homelands. The Roman army, just as cumbersome with its own supply train, draft animals, livestock, and hangers-on, followed in the Gallic army's wake.

CAPE TELAMON

By this time, the third Roman army from Sardinia had sailed north, past Corsica, and crossed to the mainland landing at Pisae.Probably at this point, the Roman army commander, Consul Gaius Atilius Regulus realized that the Gauls were no longer a threat to Rome but had taken captives and plunder and were trying to escape back to their homelands. Regulus marched south, hoping to intercept the Gauls. A Roman reconnaissance party scouted ahead and captured Gallic scouts who were forced to divulge the current position of their army. Regulus was pleased; the Gallic army would be squeezed and annihilated between two Roman armies. He ordered his tribunes to march forward in fighting order.
Between the Roman and Gallic armies, in the vicinity of Cape Telamon, a gentle hill rose beside the road. Eager to gain the hill before the Gauls, Regulus personally led his cavalry toward the hill. The Gallic army was still not aware of the new Roman threat from the north. Espying the Roman cavalry headed for the hill, the Gauls thought that they had been outflanked by Papus' cavalry coming from behind. The Gauls sent their own cavalry and light skirmishers to take the hill and took some prisoners in the fight. The prisoners told them the grim truth; they were about to get caught between two gigantic Roman armies.
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Roman Cavalryman

This time there was no escape for the Gauls. The Boii and Taurisci formed up to meet Regulus' army approaching from ahead.The Gaesatae and Insubres wheeled to face Papus' army coming up from behind. The Gallic chariots and wagons formed up on the flanks while a small detachment took the booty to the neighboring hills.
On the roadside hill, the cavalry melee raged on. Regulus was struck a mortal blow, and the macabre trophy of his head was carried back to the Gallic kings. The Gauls, however, had little time to gloat about Regulus' death for Papus' army forthwith arrived on the scene. Papus drew up his legions to face the Gauls and sent his cavalry to aid the Roman cavalry engaged on the hill.
The Roman infantry now sized up their foes. While they were well trained and armed, the Roman legionaries were citizens levied from the population during times of war. Though honor-bound to fight for Rome, they were not professional soldiers. To them, the enemy were savage barbarians.
[The Romans] were terrified by the fine order of the Celtic host and the dreadful din, for there were innumerable horn-blowers and trumpeters, and, as the whole army were shouting their war-cries at the same time, there was such a tumult of sound that it seemed that not only the trumpets and the soldiers but all the country round had got a voice and caught up the cry. (Polybius, The Histories, II. 29)
The tall, tawny, and red-haired Gallic warriors worked up their courage, shouting and gesturing with their spears, swords, and shields. The latter was their main defense, usually being oval and painted with swirling patterns. Many also wore bronze helmets, adorned with horns, plumes, or the Celtic symbol of war, the wheel. Only the chiefs and warriors of note boasted mail armor. Most wore the typical multicolored, checkered trousers and cloaks popular among the Gauls. Not so the Gaesatae, who in a show of courage and oneness with nature went into battle naked, wearing only their torques, armlets and bracelets.
The Roman consuls opened the battle with the light troops which streamed through the gaps of the maniples, the 60-120-men-strong primary tactical units of the Roman legions. Thousands of troops wearing wolf, badger, and other animals skins on their helmets, and carrying small round shields, hurled their small javelins upon the front rank of the Gauls. The spears and slings of the Gauls lacked the range to fire back, and so the Gallic warriors crouched behind their large shields while the deadly Roman missiles whistled among them. The naked Gaesatae suffered most of all. Enraged at their impotence, the bravest of them charged forward but were impaled by javelins before they could close in on their foes.
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Gallic Warriors

Trumpets blared, and the ground shook beneath the tramp of tens of thousands of legionaries as the maniples advanced upon the Gallic horde. The first manipli line, the hastati, unleashed another javelin volley upon the Gauls. The iron heads of their heavy pilum javelin were barbed and remained stuck in the Gallic shields. While the Gauls tried to pry the javelins out of their shields the hastati drew their short swords and charged.
The Gauls swung their powerful swords in great arcs, splintering shields, and biting into the bronze of the Roman helmets. The Romans, in turn, stabbed with their short swords. Needing less space per warrior, they presented a tighter shield wall. The Romans enjoyed the further advantage in that their oblong scutum, a shield bent backward, enclosing part of the bearer's body. Below the shield, the exposed forward Roman leg was protected by greaves. The hastati also wore breastplates while the second and third Roman lines, the principes and triarii, wore chainmail.
With skill, brute force, and courage, the outnumbered and surrounded Gauls held on. For a while it even looked like the battle could go either way. However, the cavalry battle on the hill had already ended in a Roman victory. The Gallic cavalry had fled, leaving the Roman horsemen free to come to the aid of their comrades on the plain below. Down the hill the Roman horses thundered, their spears slicing into the flanks of the Gallic infantry. The Gauls broke in panic but, hemmed in from all sides, were cut to pieces.

AFTERMATH

40,000 Gauls were killed and 10,000 captured for the slave markets. Among the captives was King Concolitanus. King Aneroestes escaped but overcome by grief ended up taking his own life. Papus sent the Gallic booty to Rome, to be returned to its owners. He then led his army towards the lands of the Boii to exact vengeance, burning and killing. Papus returned home to celebrate a Roman triumph, displaying his loot and captives.
In a series of campaigns that followed the battle at Telamon, the Romans shattered Gallic resistance in northern Italy. After the Roman victory at Clastidium, in 222 BCE, most of the Gauls submitted to Roman rule. Gallic resistance revived with Hannibal's invasion of Italy and continued for another ten years after the Second Punic War (218-201 BCE). The Boii were the last to give up in 191 BCE. Refusing to live under the Roman yoke, they wandered to the Danube region where they gave their name to Bohemia. Roman roads and colonies spread across Gallia Cisalpina, which by the mid-2nd century BCE had already become Italianized.

Roman Gaul » Origins

Definition and Origins

Author: Donald L. Wasson

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Roman Gaul is an umbrella term for several Roman provinces in western Europe :
Cisalpine Gaul or Gallia Cisalpina, comprised a territory situated in the northernmost part of the Italian peninsula ranging from the Apennines in the west northward to the Alps, specifically the plains of the Po River. It was an area that most Romans did not consider to be part of Italy ; to them, Italy only extended to the foothills of the Apennines. The territory was conquered following the capture of Mediolanum (Milan) in 222 BCE, however, it was not until the Social War that the established colonies were organized into a province.
Further north, across the Alps, was Transalpine Gaul or Gallia Transalpina. It spread from the Pyrenees, a mountainous range along the northern border of Roman-controlled Spain, northward to the English Channel - much of modern-day France and Belgium. As the home to a number of Celtic people, many Roman citizens viewed the area with fear and wonder; it was a land of barbarians. The area to the far south from the Mediterranean Sea to Lake Geneva - the closest to Roman Spain (land acquired in the Punic Wars ) - had been formed into a province in 121 BCE. In 58 BCE, the future dictator-for-life Julius Caesar would march into Transalpine Gaul, subjugating the whole territory after a decade-long campaign.

A LAND OF BARBARIANS

While the Romans were busy displacing a king and building a republic, a number of tribes of Celtic people, who were said to have a warrior aristocracy, migrated across the Alps into the Po Valley. While historical descriptions are scant ( Livy wrote briefly of it), archaeological accounts verify the arrival of a number of these tribes: the Insubres in the 6th century BCE, the Cenomani, Boii, Lingones, and lastly the Senones in the 5th and 4th centuries BCE. By the end of the 4th century BCE, while making occasional raids across the Apennines into Italy, the Celts completely displaced the Etruscans of Etruria, a small territory located in central Italy, north of Rome. Etruria turned to Rome for help. Unfortunately, Rome's response would bring unrest to the small emerging republic.
AS THE HOME TO A NUMBER OF CELTIC PEOPLE, MANY ROMAN CITIZENS VIEWED THE AREA WITH FEAR & WONDER; IT WAS A LAND OF BARBARIANS.
From the founding of the Republic through the 3rd century BCE, while the city ’s government coped with a number of internal political issues, Rome had grown to become a principal power on the Italian peninsula, so it was natural for the Etruscans to appeal to the city for help against the invading Celts. Around 386 BCE (dates vary), the Celts pushed through Etruria and into the heart of the unwalled city of Rome. However, this raid on Rome was not completely without provocation. 15,000 men - Rome's entire army - were sent to face an army twice its number. Sending a small delegation to meet the Celts, Rome hoped for a peaceful solution. Unfortunately, a Celtic delegate was killed by a Roman. In retaliation, the now defenseless Rome was sacked.
According to ancient sources (Roman of course), people quickly fled the city as the last defenders fought heroically, eventually seeking refuge on Capitoline Hill. Senators were butchered where they stood. Forced to pay tribute, the city was torched.There were many who wanted to completely abandon Rome and move to Veii, a city to the northwest, but wiser heads prevailed. Under the leadership of Marcus Furius Camillus, who had assumed the position of dictator, the city was quickly rebuilt. The Celtic raids would continue until the Romans prevailed at the Battle of Telamon in 225 BCE. The destruction, however, had a two-fold effect on the citizens of Rome: the incentive to build the Servian Wall and an intense loathing for the Celts and Gaul, a hatred Julius Caesar would later use as a ploy for his invasion.

THE FIRST ROMAN COLONIES

From Telamon, the confident Romans, together with their allies, advanced into Cisalpine Gaul in a three-year campaign capturing Mediolanum (Milan) in 222 BCE. In 218 BCE, Roman colonies were established at Placentia and Cremona on the banks of the Po River. Unfortunately, further advancement was halted during the Second Punic War (218-201 BCE) when Hannibal Barca and his army of 30,000 infantry, 9,000 cavalry, and 37 elephants crossed the Alps, advancing towards Rome.His invasion prompted many of the newly conquered Celts to join him; however, following the defeat of Carthage at Zama in 202 BCE, the Romans would resume their attack against Cisalpine Gaul, ending with the both the massacre of the fiercest of all Gallic tribes, the Boii, in 191 BCE and the rebuilding of Placentia and Cremona. Other colonies were soon built at Bononia, Parma, and Mutina. Gradually, after the Social War in the early 1st century BCE, residents from the southern peninsula began to move into the area. Although much of the Gallic culture would remain, Romanization had begun. Cisalpine Gaul would soon become a Roman province with its southern border extending to the Rubicon.
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Map of Gaul

From the relative safety behind the walls of Rome, its citizens looked across the Alps into Transalpine Gaul, the vast region from the Pyrenees northward to the English Channel. After Julius Caesar returned from his decade-long subjugation in 49 BCE, the entire area would become Roman. His adopted son and heir, Emperor Augustus, would divide the vast territory into four provinces: Narbonensis in the southeast, Lugdunensis lying just north of the Pyrenees, Aquitania in the center and to the north, and Belgica - present-day Belgium. Although mostly Celtic in culture, Transalpine Gaul included several native tribes: Ligurians and Iberians to the south (an area heavily influenced by Greek colonization ) and Germans to the northeast. Not all of the territory was alien to Rome. The area to the far south from the Mediterranean Sea to Lake Geneva - the closest to Roman Spain (land acquired in the Punic Wars) - had been formed into a province in 121 BCE with its capital at Narbo. It would become the province of Gallia Narbonensis. This area, especially the city of Massalia, had served as a corridor for trade and travel from Spain to the Italian peninsula and Rome.
Still, much of Gaul was fairly unknown to Rome and simply labeled Gallia Comata or long-haired Gaul. In the opinions of many Romans, all of Gaul was barbaric, but, of course, most Romans saw anyone who was not Roman to be a barbarian. Oddly, when Julius Caesar arrived, he did not find a land of barbarians. While there may have been few roads and no aqueducts, there were walled urban or administrative centers called oppida, built on hills for easy defense. Needless to say, these centers were unlike the cities one would find in other Roman territories; there were no public baths, forums, or gladiatorial contests.The people of Gaul were excellent metalworkers, great horsemen, and skilled mariners. However, everything was soon to change, for Gaul would never experience anything like Julius Caesar again. For ten long years, the future dictator would march across Gaul earning himself both fame and fortune, returning to Rome a conquering hero.

CAESAR & THE GALLIC WAR

After his one-year term as consul had ended, he was appointed the governor - on Pompey ’s urging - of Cisalpine Gaul, Illyricum, and Transalpine Gaul. In 58 BCE Julius Caesar and his army crossed the Alps into Transalpine Gaul on a five-year campaign; it would be extended for another five years in 56 BCE. Caesar had alienated many in the Senate during his year as consul, especially his archenemy Marcus Porcius Cato (Cato the Younger). The Roman Senate conservatives who had no love for Caesar had hoped he would serve quietly in Rome after his consulship, but he chose otherwise. During his long campaign through Gaul, he would write a series of dispatches to the Senate. Written in the third person, these dispatches would become his Commentaries on the Gallic War. In the opinion of many of his contemporaries and later historians of the period, they were an attempt to rationalize his abuses, demonstrating his talents as a general and his role as a loyal servant of the Republic.
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Julius Caesar

Despite his support from the Roman people and a few in the Senate, there were others who believed he only wanted to justify his brutal tactics. In an appeal to the people, he reminded them of the savagery of the Gallic people and their invasion and sacking of Rome decades earlier. The historian Suetonius wrote in his The Twelve Caesars about a number of discussions held in the Senate while he was in Gaul. Caesar may have been disliked by many in the Senate but the people loved him.Suetonius wrote,
…some speakers went so far as to recommend that Caesar should be handed over to the enemy. But the more successful his campaigns, the more frequent the public thanksgivings voted; and the holidays that went with them were longer than any general before him had ever earned. (19)
Whatever the Senate may have believed, Caesar had a good reason - at least in his mind - to advance into Gaul. The Helvetii, a Gallic tribe from southern Germany, were planning to migrate into eastern Gaul, a plan that would threaten the safety of the region. The Helvetii marched through land occupied by the Aedui who wisely appealed to Caesar for aid. Quick to act, Caesar and his army defeated the Helvetii at the Battle of Bibracte in 58 BCE, forcing them to retreat.
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Caesar's Campaign against the Helvetii

At first, many of the Gallic tribes welcomed Caesar; however, they soon realized that the Romans were not rescuers but there to stay; their warm greeting was soon replaced by a cold shoulder. Tribe after tribe fell to the Romans. As the dispatches reached Rome, people eagerly began to follow Caesar's exploits. The Senate could no longer object, although many still believed his conquest to be nothing more than genocide. Caesar continued across Gaul with little opposition, exploiting the rivalries among the various tribes. He defeated the Germanic king Ariovistus, routed the Germans at Alsace, marched against the Belgae in 57 BCE, and crushed the Veneti of Brittany. In 55 BCE, he looked across the English Channel and chose to invade Britain. Initially, Caesar said he wanted to interrupt Belgae trade routes, but some maintain it was his ego that brought the commander across the Channel in both 55 and 54 BCE. Nevertheless, Caesar's initial contact with the Britons went poorly.In his second invasion, he pushed northward across the Thames River but soon feigned growing problems in Gaul and returned to the European mainland.

ROMANIZATION

In 52 BCE, under the leadership of Vercingetorix, the once loyal Arverni challenged Caesar, eventually defeating him at Gergovia. The king's victory was due to a number of old-fashioned maneuvers: the scorched-earth policy, basic guerilla tactics, and a simple knowledge of the terrain. Later in the same year, the two armies would meet again at Alesia with different results.As the king sat behind the well-fortified walls of the city, Caesar and his army waited patiently outside, planning to starve the Gauls out. With his reinforcements defeated by Caesar, Vercingetorix had little choice but to surrender. Many of the defeated Arverni soldiers were sold into slavery. The beaten king would spend the remainder of his life in Rome as a prisoner only to be put to death in 46 BCE.
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Monumental Arch, Glanum

This final victory spelled the end of the Gallic War in which over 1,000,000 were killed or enslaved. Caesar proudly announced that Gaul had been pacified. With Caesar returning to Rome, Romanization of Transalpine Gaul began, Latin was introduced, and many of the old settlements in Gaul were abandoned with new towns of 'brick and stone' being built, something that made for easy access and not for defense. These new cities were very Roman with bath houses, temples, and amphitheaters.Veterans of the war were granted land which caused agriculture to flourish, much appreciated by a growing Rome. New roads were built allowing for increased commerce. Although there was the occasional rebellion - one in 21 CE led by the Treveri and Aedui, and another in 69-70 CE led by the Batavian Julius Civilis - Gaul would demonstrate little resistance. However, while stability reigned for several decades in Gaul, chaos soon disrupted the peace and quiet.

POSTUMUS & THE GALLIC EMPIRE

The 3rd century CE brought disorder; the Alemanni raided Gaul and Italy while the Franks moved into Spain, destroying Tarraco. The Pax Romana - Roman Peace - was gone. Emperor after emperor rose to power through the military only to fall victim to his own troops. In a fifty-year period from 235 to 285 CE, there were at least twenty emperors with the majority either dying in battle or through assassination. In 260 CE, a military commander and governor of Germania Inferior and Germania Superior (Lower and Upper Germany) Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus (whose family was Gallic in origin) rose up against the Roman emperor Gallienus, seizing power, killing the emperor's son and protector, and establishing himself as the new emperor in Gaul, Britain, and Spain; Spain would later rebel and rejoin Rome.
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Coin Depicting Roman Emperor Postumus

Although Gallienus marched against Postumus, direct conflict was eventually aborted. While Postumus was opposed by imperial forces and suffered defeat, he and Gallienus would never meet in serious battle. The emperor was forced to withdraw, having received a serious wound. Afterwards, the new emperor of the so-called Gallic Empire would establish his capital and residence at Augusta Treverorum complete with a senate. Surprisingly, he made no attempt to march on Rome. The new empire (260 – 274 CE) would last through four emperors: Laelianus, Marius, Victorinus, and Tetricus. In 269 CE, Roman Emperor Claudius II sent a small expeditionary force against Victorinus but chose not pursue a full confrontation. In 274 CE, Emperor Tetricus and his son marched against Roman Emperor Aurelian at Chalons-sur-Marne and were defeated. Gaul and Britain were reunited with Rome.

FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

However, the next few years proved to be no better for Gaul. Emperor Probus (276 to 282 CE) saw devastation in both Gaul and the Rhineland by the Franks, Vandals, and Burgundians. It would take over two years to restore order. Two decades later the area would fall under the leadership of the future emperor in the East, Constantine. With his death in 337 CE, his eldest son Constantine II received control of Gaul, Britain, and Spain. Upon his death at Aquileia, his brother Constans took sole leadership only to fall to a palace conspiracy and yield the throne to his brother Constantius II in 353 CE. He eventually divided his power with his cousin Julian the Apostate. In 406 CE, Vandals were among many 'barbaric' tribes to cross the Rhine and ravage Gaul. Visigoths were next, and then there was Attila the Hun. By the fall of the western half of the empire in 476 CE, Gaul had already fallen into the hands of the Franks, Burgundians, and Visigoths.
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Visigothic Fibula

Both Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul proved to be of great value to both the Republic and the Empire, providing agricultural goods and soldiers for the Roman army. Unfortunately, over time, Rome was unable to maintain its borders against invasions from the north and east. By this time, like the rest of the empire, Christianity was flourishing, becoming the recognized religion of the empire. The fragile economy of the western half of the empire was in serious decline - Rome was no longer the city it once had been, even the emperor would not live there. The empire's economic and cultural dominance was in the east at Constantinople. Eventually, Gaul, Spain, and the other provinces in the west fell to a number of invading tribes, the Franks, the Burgundians, the Vandals, and Visigoths. In 476 CE Rome was sacked and the empire, at least in the west, was no more.

POST-ROMAN GAUL

Roman Gaul became Visigothic Gaul until Clovis came to the throne as king of the Franks in 481 CE. Clovis would eventually drive the Visigoths into Spain, defeat the Burgundians and Alemanni, and thereby consolidate all of Gaul. In November 511 CE, Clovis died leaving a kingdom to his sons, which was a combination of Roman and Germanic culture, language, religion, and law. By the time of his death, he had extended his authority from the north and west, southward to the Pyrenees. He is considered by many to be of both the founder of Merovingians dynasty and France.

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