Obrazy na stronie
PDF

been styled Gallia Provincia, was distinguished by the name of Narbonensis, from the city of Narbo or Narbonne. This province was anciently called also Gallia Braccata, from the bracca or under-garments worn by the inhabitants; while Gallia Celtica was styled Comata, from the long hair worn by the natives. These four great provinces, in later ages, were called the four Gauls, and subdivided into 17 others.

1. General remarks on the Gallic race.

As far back as we can penetrate into the history of the West, we find the race of the Gauls occupying that part of the continent comprehended between the Rhine, the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Pyrenees, and the Ocean, as well as the two great islands situate to the northwest, opposite the mouths of the Rhine and Seine. Of these two islands, the one nearer the continent was called Alb-in, “White Island.” (Alb signifies “high” and “white:” inn, contracted from innis, means “island.”—Compare the remark of Pliny, 14, 16, “Albion insula, sic dicta ab albis rupibus quas mare alluit.”) The other island bore the name of Er-in, “Isle of the West” (from Eir or Iar, “the west”). The continental territory received the special appellation of Galltachd, “Land of the Galls.” The term Gaeltachd, or, more correctly, Gaidhealtachd, is still applied to the highlands of Scotland. From this word the Greeks formed Tažaria (Galatia), and from this latter the generic name of Tažárat. The Romans proceeded by an inverse method, and from the generic term Galli deduced the geographical denomination Gallua. The population of Gaul was divided into families or tribes, forming among themselves many distinct communities or nations. These nations generally assumed names deduced from some feature of the country in which they dwelt, or from some peculiarity in their social state. Oftentimes they united together, in their turn, and formed confederations or leagues. Such were the confederations of the Celtae, Ædui, Armorici, Arverni, &c.—The Gaul was robust and of tall stature. His complexion was fair, his eyes blue, his hair of a blond or chestnut colour, to which he endeavoured to give a red or flaming hue by certain applications. (Plin., 28, 12.—Martial, 8, 33.) The hair itself was worn long, at one time floating on the shoulders, at another gathered up and confined on the top of the head. (Diod. Sic., 5, 28.) The beard was allowed to grow by the people at large: the nobles, on the other hand, removed it from the face, excepting the upper lip, where they wore thick mustaches. (Diod. Suc., l.c.) The attire common to all the tribes consisted of pantaloons or bracca: (braca, bracca, braga; brykan in Cymraig ; bragu in Armoric). These were of striped materials. (In Celtic breac means “a stripe.”) They wore also a short cloak, having sleeves, likewise formed of striped materials, and descending to the middle of the thigh. (Strabo, 196.) Over this was thrown a short cloak or sagum (sae, Armoric.—Compare Isidor., Origin., 19, 24), striped like the shirt, or else adorned with flowers and other ornamental work, and, among the rich, superbly embroidered with silver and gold. (Virg., AEn, 8, 660.-Sil. Ital., 4, 152–Diod. Sic., 5, 28.) It covered the back and shoulders, and was secured under the chin by a clasp of metal. The lower classes, however, wore in place of it the skin of some animal, or else a thick and coarse woollen covering, called, in the Gallo-Kimric dialects, linn or lenn. (In Armoric ten means “a covering ;” and in Gaelic lein signifies “a soldier's cloak.”—Compare the Latin lana and the Greek Waiva and to aiva.)—The Gauls possessed a strong taste for personal decoration : it was customary with the rich and powerful to adorn themselves with a profusion of collars, bracelets, and rings of gold. (Strabo, 196.)—The offensive arms of the nation were, at first, hatchets and knives of stone; arrows pointed

with flint or shells; clubs; spears hardened in the fire, and named gais (in Latin gapsum, in Greek yatgów and yatačc); and others called cateies, which they hurled all on fire against the enemy. (In Gaelic, gathteth, pronounced ga-te, signifies “a fiery dart.”) Foreign traffic, however, made them acquainted, in process of time, with arms of iron, as well as with the art of manufacturing them for themselves from the copper and iron of their own mines. Among the arms of metal which thenceforward came into use, may be mentioned the long sabre of iron or copper, and a pike resembling our halberds, the wound inflicted by which was considered mortal. For a long time the Transalpine, as well as the Cisalpine, warriors of the Gallic race had rejected the use of defensive armour as inconsistent with true courage; and, for a long period, an absurd point of honour had induced them even to strip off their vestments, and engage naked with the foe. This prejudice, however, the fruit of an ostentatious feeling natural to the race, was almost entirely effaced in the second century. The numerous relations formed between the Gauls and the Massiliots, Italians, and Carthaginians, had at first spread a taste for armour, as a personal decoration, among the Gallic tribes; in a short time the conviction of its utility was superadded; and the military costume of Rome and Greece, adopted on the banks of the Loire, the Rhone, and the Saône, formed a singular combination with the ancient array of the Gaul. To a helmet of metal, of greater or less value according to the fortune of the warrior, were attached the horns of an elk, buffalo, or stag; while for the rich there was a headpiece representing some bird or savage beast; the whole being surmounted by a bunch of plumes, which gave to the warrior a gigantic appearance. (Diod. Sic., 5, 28 ) Similar figures were attached to their bucklers, which were long, quadrangular, and painted with the brightest colours. These representations served as devices for the warriors; they were emblems by means of which each one sought to characterize himself or strike terror into the soe. (Compare Vegetius, 2, 18.—Sil. Ital., 4, 148.)—A buckler and casque after this model; a cuirass of wrought metal, after the Greek and Roman fashion, or a coat of mail formed of iron rings, after the manner of Gaul (Varro, L. L., 4, 20); an enormous sabre hanging on the right thigh, and suspended by chains of iron or brass from a belt glittering with gold and silver, and adorned with coral ; a collar, bracelets, rings of gold around the arm and on the middle finger (Plin., 33, 1); pantaloons; a sagum hanging from the shoulders; in fine, long red mustaches; such were the martial equipments and such the appearance of an Arvernian, AEduan, or Biturigan noble.—Hardy, daring, impetuous, born, as it were, for martial enterprises, the Gallic race possessed, at the same time, an ingenious and active turn of mind. They were not slow in equalling their Phoenician and Grecian instructers in the art of mining. The same superiority to which the Spaniards had attained in tempering steel, the Gauls acquired in the preparation of brass. Antiquity assigns to them the honour of various useful inventions, which had hitherto escaped the earlier civilization of the East and of Italy. The process of tinning was discovered by the Bituriges; that of veneering by the AEdui. . . (Plin, 34, 17.) The dyes, too, of Gaul were not without reputation. (Plin, 8, 48.) In agriculture, the wheel-plough and boulter were Gallic discoveries. (Plin., 18, 18. – Id, ibid., 18, 11.) With the Gauls, too, originated the employment of marl for enriching the soil. (Plin., 18, 6. scqq.) The cheeses of Mount Locore, among the Gabai; those of Nemausus; and two kinds made among the Alps, became, in time, much sought after by the inhabitants of Italy (Plin. 11, 49); although the Italians generally ascribed to the Gallic cheese; a jour

of too acid a nature and somewhat mo (Plin, l. c.) The Gauls also prepared various kinds of fermented drinks; such as barley-beer, called cerevisia (Plin., 22, 15.-In old French, Cerroise; in Cymraig, Curv.); and likewise another kind of beer, made from corn, and in which honey, cumin, and other ingredients were mingled. (Posulon., ap Athen, 4, 13.) The froth of beer was employed as a means for leavening bread: it was used also as a cosmetic, and the Gallic females frequently applied it to the visage, under the belief that it imparted a freshness to the complexion. (Plin., 22, 25.) As regarded wine, it was to foreign traders that the Gauls and Ligurians were indebted for its use; and it was from the Greeks of Massilia that they learned the process of making it, as well as the culture of the vine.—The dwellings of the Gauls, spacious and of a round form, were constructed of posts and hurdles, and covered with clay both within and without; a large roof, composed of oakshingles and stubble, or of straw cut and kneaded with clay, covered the whole. (Strabo, 196.-Wuruv., 1, 1.) —Gaul contained both open villages and cities: the latter, surrounded by walls, were defended by a system of fortification, of o we find no example elsewhere. Caesar gives the following description of these ramparts (B. G., 7, 23). “Straight beams, placed lengthwise at equal intervals, and two feet distant from each other, are laid along the ground. These are mortised together on the inside, and covered deep with earth; but the intervals are stopped in front with large stones. These being fixed and cemented together, another range is put over, the same distance being preserved, and the beams not touching each other, but intermitting at equal spaces, and each bound close together by a single row of stones. In this manner the whole work is intermixed till the wall is raised to its full height. By this means the work, from its appearance and variety, is not displeasing to the eye : the beams and stones being placed alternate, and keeping their own places in exact right lines: and besides, it is of great advantage in the defence of cities; for it is secured by the stone from fire, and from the batteringram by the wood, which, consisting of entire beams, forty feet long, for the most part mortised on the inside, could neither be forced in nor torn asunder.”— Such would seem to have been the fortifications of the cities in the civilized and populous part of Gaul. To the north and east, among the more savage tribes, there were no cities properly so called; the inhabitants resided for the most part in large enclosures, formed of trunks of trees, and calculated to repel by these rude intrenchments the assaults of a disciplined as well as undisciplined foe.—Besides his habitation in the city, the rich Gaul generally possessed another in the country, amid thick forests and on the banks of some river. (Cas., B. G., 6, 30.) Here, during the heat of summer, he reposed from the fatigues of war; but he brought along with him, at the same time, all his equipments and retinue, his arms, his horses, his esquires. In the midst of the storms of faction and the civil dissensions, which marked the history of Gaul in the first and second centuries, these precautions were anything else but superfluous.

2. General habits of the Gallic race.

It was, as we have already remarked, in war, and in the arts applicable to war, that the genius of the Gauls displayed itself to most advantage. This people made war a regular profession, while the management of arms became their favourite employment. To have a fine martial mien, to retain for a long period strength and agility of body, was not only a point of honour for individuals, but a duty to the state. At regular intervals, the young men went to measure their size by a girdle deposited with the chief of the village, and those whose corpulence exceeded the of. ficial standard were severely reprimanded as idle and

intemperate persons, and were, besides, punished with a heavy fine. (Strabo, 196.)—in preparing for soreign expeditions, a chieftain of acknowledged valour generally formed a small army around him, consisting, for the most part, of adventurers and volunteers who had flocked to his standard: these were to share with him whatever booty might be obtained. In interual wars, however, or defensive ones of any importance, levies of men were forcibly made; and severe punishments were inflicted on the refractory, such as the loss of noses, ears, an eye, or some one of the limbs. (Cas., B. G., 7, 4.) If any dangerous conjuncture occurred; if the honour or safety of the state were about to be compromised, then the supreme chief convened an armed counsel (Caes., B. G., 5, 66). This was the proclamation of alarm. All persons able to bear arms, from the youth to him advanced in years, were compelled to assemble at the place and day indicated, for the purpose of deliberating on the situation of the country, of electing a chief, and of discussing the plan of the campaign. It was expressly provided by law, that the individual who came last to the place of rendezvous should be cruelly tortured in the presence of the assembled multitude. (Caes., B. G., 5, 66.) This form of convocation was of rare occurrence; it was only resorted to in the last extremity, and more frequently in the democratic cities than in those where the aristocracy had the preponderance. Neither infirmities nor age freed the Gallic noble from the necessity of accepting or sueing sor military commands. Ostentimes were seen, at the head of the forces, chieftains hoary and almost enfeebled by age, who could even scarcely retain their seats on the steed which supported them. (Hirt., B. G., 8, 12.) This people would have believed that they dishonoured their aged warriors by making them die elsewhere than on the field of battle.—To the fierce vivacity of the attack and to the violence of the first shock, were reduced nearly all the military tactics of the Gauls, on level ground and in pitched battle. In the mountainous regions, on the other hand, and especially in the vast and thick forests of the north, war had a close resemblance to the chase: it was prosecuted in small parties, by ambuscades and all sorts of stratagems; and dogs, trained up to pursue men, tracked out, and aided in conquering the foe. These dogs, equally serviceable for the chase and for war, were obtained from Belgic Gaul and from Britain. (Strabo, 196. —Sil. Ital., 10, 77.—Ovid, Met., 1, 533.-Martial, 3, 47.) A Gallic army generally carried along with it a multitude of chariots for the baggage, which embarrassed its march. (Hirt., B. G., 8, 14.—Cas., B. G., 1, 51.) Each warrior bore a bundle of straw, put up like a sack, on which he was accustomed to sit in the encampment, or even in the line of battle while waiting the signal to engage. (Hirt., B. G., 8, 15.)—The Gauls, like other nations, for a long period were in the habit of killing their prisoners of war, either by crucifixion, or by tying them to trees as a mark for their weapons, or by consigning them to the flames amid horrid rites. Long prior, however, to the second century of our era, these barbarous practices were laid aside, and the captives of transalpine nations had nothing to fear but servitude. Another custom, not less savage, that of cutting off the heads of their slain enemies on the field of battle, was not slower in disappearing. It was long a settled rule in all wars, that the victorious army should possess itself of such trophies as these; the common soldiers fixed them on the points of their spears, the horsemen wore them suspended by the hair from the poitrels of their steeds; and in this way the conquerors returned to their homes, making the air resound with their triumphal acclamations. (Straho, 197.) Each one then hastened to nail up these hideous testimonials of his valour to the gate of his dwelling; and, as the same thing was done with the trophies of the chase, a Gallic village bore no faint resemblance to a large charnel-house. Carefully embalmed, and saturated with oil of cedar, the heads of hostile chieftains and of famous warriors were deposited in large coffers, and arranged by their possessor according to the date of acquisition. (Strabo, 198.) This was the book, in which the young Gallic warrior loved to study the exploits of his forefathers; and each generation, as it passed onward, strove to add to the contents. To part, for money, with the head of a foe, acquired either by one's own exertions or those of his ancestors, was regarded as the height of baseness, and would have fixed a lasting stain on him who should have been guilty of the deed. Many even boasted of having refused, when offered by the relations or countrymen of the deceased, an equal weight of gold for a head thus obtained. (Diod. Sic., 5, 29.) Sometimes the scull, cleansed and set in gold or silver, served as a cup in the temples, or circulated in the festivities of the banquet, and the guests drank out of it to the glory of the victor and the triumphs of their country. These fierce and brutal manners prevailed for a long period over the whole of Gaul. Civilization, in its onward march, abolished them by degrees, until, at the commencement of the second century, they were confined to the savage tribes of the North and West. It was there that Posidonius found them still existing in all their vigour. The sight of so many human heads, disfigured by outrages, and blackened by the air and the rain, at first excited in his bosom the mingled emotions of horror and disgust : “however,” adds the stoic traveller, with great naïveté, “my eyes became radually accustomed to the view.” (Strabo, 198.)— he Gauls affected, as more manly in its character, a strong and rough tone of voice (Diod. Sic., 5, 31), to which, moreover, their harsh and guttural idioms greatly contributed. They conversed but little, and by means of short and concise phrases, which the constant use of metaphors and hyperboles rendered obscure and almost unintelligible to strangers. (Diod. Sic, l.c.) But, when once animated by dispute, or incited by something that was calculated to interest or arouse, at the head of armies or in political assemblies, they expressed themselves with surprising copiousness and fluency, and the habit in which they indulged, of employing figurative language, furnished them, on such occasions, with a thousand lively and picturesque images, either for exalting their own merit or putting down an opponent.—The Gauls, in general, were accused of drinking to excess; a habit which took its rise both in the grossness of their manners and in the wants of a cold and humid climate. The Massilian and Italian traders were not slow in furnishing the necessary aliment for the indulgence of this baneful vice. Cargoes of wine found their way, by means of the navigable rivers, into the very heart of the country. The tempting beverage was also conveved over land in wagons (Diod. Sic, 5, 26), and in various quarters regular establishments were opened for vending the article. To these places the Gauls flocked from every part, and gave, in exchange for the wines of the south, their metals, peltries, grain, cattle, and slaves. So lucrative was this traffic to the vender, that oftentimes a young slave could be procured for a jar of the inebriating liquor. (Diod. Sic, 5, 26.) About the first century, however, of our era, this vice began gradually to disappear from among the higher classes, and to be confined to the lower orders, at least with the nations of the south and east.—Milk and the flesh of animals, especially that of swine, formed the principal aliment of the Gauls. A curious account of their repasts, traced by one who had often sat with them at table, is given by Posidonius (Ap. Athen., 4, 13). After an excessive indulgence in the pleasures of the banquet, they loved to seize their

arms and defy each other to the combat. At first it was a mere sportive encounter; but, if either party chanced to be wounded, passion got so far the better of them, that, unless separated by their friends, they continued to engage till one or the other of them was slain. So far, Indeed, did they carry their contempt of death and their ostentatious display of courage, that they might be seen agreeing, for a certain sum of money or for so many measures of wine, to let themselves be slain by others; mounted on some elevated place, they distributed the liquor or gold among their most intimate friends, and then reclining on their bucklers, presented their throats to the steel. (Posidonius, ap. Athen, 4, 13.) Others made it a point of honour not to retire from their dwellings when falling in upon them, nor from the flames, nor from the tides of ocean and the inundations of rivers; and it is to these foolish bravadoes that the Gauls owed their fabulous renown of being an impious race, who lived in open war with nature, who drew the sword against the waves, and discharged the arrow at the tempest.—The working of mines, and certain monopolies enjoyed by the heads of tribes, had placed in the hands of some individuals enormous capitals; hence the reputation for opulence which Gaul enjoyed at the period of the Roman invasion, and even still later. It was the Peru of the ancient world. The riches of Gaul even passed into a proverb. (Cic., Phil., 12.-Josephus, 2, 28.-Plut., Wit. Caes.—Suet., Caes., &c.) The sight of the various articles in use among the people at large, both plated and tinned, whether for domestic use or for war, such as utensils for cooking, arms, harness for horses, yokes for mules, and even sometimes entire chariots (Florus, 3, 2), could not fail to inspire the first travellers into this country with an exaggerated idea of its wealth, and contributed, no doubt, to spread a romantic colouring over the accounts that were given of it. To this was added the lavish prodigality of the Gallic chieftains, who freely spent the resources of their families, and also those of their dependants, for the purpose of attaining to office or securing the favour of the multitude. Posidonius makes mention of a certain Luern or Luer (Aovépwtoc, Posidon., ap. Athen., 4, 13–Aovéptog, Strabo, 191), king of the Arverni, who caused a shower of gold and silver to descend upon the crowd as often as he o in public. He also gave entertainments in a rude style of barbarian magnificence; a large space of ground was enclosed for the purpose, and cisterms were dug in it, which were filled with wine, inead, and beer. (Posidon., l.c.)—Properly speaking, there was no domestic union or family intercourse among the Gallic nations; the females were held in that dependance and servitude which denotes a very imperfect condition of the social state. The husband. had the power of life and death over his wife as well as over his offspring. When a person of high rank suddenly died, and the cause of his decease was not clearly ascertained, his wife or wives (for polygamy was practised among the rich) were seized and put to the torture; if the least suspicion was excited of their having been privy to his death, the unfortunate victims perished in the midst of the flames, after the most frightful punishments. (Caes., B. G., 6, 19.) A custom, however, which prevailed in this country about the commencement of our era, shows that even then the condition of females had undergone some degree of melioration: this was the community of goods between husband and wife. Whatever sum the husband received with his wife as a dowry, the same amount he added to it from his own resources; a common stock was thus formed, the interest or profits resulting from which were preserved, and the whole fell to the lot of the surviver. The children remained under the care of their mother until the age of puberty; a father

would have blushed to allow his son to "..." publicly in his presence, before the latter could wield a sabre and make a figure on the list of warriors. (Caes., B. G., 6, 18.)—Among some nations of Belgic Gaul, where the Rhine was an object of superstitious adoration, a whimsical custom prevailed; the river was made the means of testing the fidelity of the conjugal state. When a husband had doubts respecting his paternity, he took the new-born infant, placed it on a board, and exposed it to the current of the stream. If the plank and its helpless burden floated safely upon the waters, the result was deemed favourable, and all the father's suspicions were dissipated. If, on the contrary, the plank began to sink,’ the infant perished, and the parent's suspicions were confirmed. (Julian, Epist., 15, all Marim. philos.-Id., Orat., 2, in Constant. imp. —Anthol. Gr., 1,43, 1.)

3. Ciril and Religious Institutions of the Gauls.

Two privileged orders ruled in Gaul over the rest of the population: the priests and nobles. The people at large were divided into two classes, the inhabitants of the country and the residents of cities. The former of these constituted the tribes or clients appertaining to noble families. The client cultivated his patron's domains, followed his standard in war, and was bound to defend him with his life. To abandon his patron in the hour of peril was regarded as the blackest of crimes. The residents of cities, on the other hand, found themselves beyond the control of this system of clientship, and, consequently, enjoyed greater sreedom. Below the mass of the people were the slaves, who do not appear, however, to have been at any time very numerous. The two privileged orders of which we have just made mention, imposed each in its turn a heavy yoke of despotism upon Gaul; and the government of this country may be divided into three distinct forms, prevailing at three distinct intervals of time; that of the priests, or a theocracy; that of the chieftains of tribes, or a military aristocracy; and that, finally, of the popular constitutions, founded on the principle of free choice by a majority of voters.—When we examine attentively the character of the facts relative to the religious belief of Gaul, we are led to acknowledge the existence of two classes of ideas, two systems of symbols and superstitions entirely distinct from each other; in a word, two religions: one, altogether sensible in its character, based on the adoration of natural phenomena, and recalling by its forms much of the polytheism of Greece; the other, founded on a material, metaphysical, mysterious, and sacerdotal pantheism, presenting the most astonishing conformity with the religions of the East. This latter has received the name of Druidism, from the Druids, who were its first founders and priests; the other system has been called the Gallic Polytheism. Even if no other testimony existed to prove the priority of the latter, in point of time, to Druidism, the natural and invariable progress of religious ideas among all the nations of the globe would tend to establish the fact. It is not so, however. The old and valuable traditions of the Cymric race attribute to this people, in the most formal and exclusive manner, the introduction of the Druidical doctrines into Gaul and Britain, as well as the organization of sovereign priesthood. According to these traditions, it was the chief of the first invasion, Hu, Heus, or Hesus, surnamed “the powerful,” who implanted in this territory, which had been conquered by his horde, the religious and political system of Druidism. A warrior, a priest, and a legislator during his life, Hesus enjoyed, besides this, a privilege common to all founders of theocracies: he became a god after death. If the question be now put, how Druidism arose among the Cymric race, and from what source originated those striking points of resemblance between its fundamental doctrines and those of the secret religions of the East, between many of its ceremonies and those

practised in Samothrace, in Asia, and in India, we find no light thrown upon this subject by history. Neither the facts collected by foreign writers, nor any national traditions, furnish us with a positive solution of the difficulty. It may be reasonably conjectured, however, that the Cymri, during” their long sojourn either in Asia or on the borders of Asia and Europe, were initiated into religious ideas and institutions, which, circulating at that time from one people to another, eventually spread themselves over all the eastern quarter of the world. Druidism, introduced into Gaul by con quest, organized itself in the domains of the conquerors with greater energy than it had ever done elsewhere; and after it had converted to its dogmas the whole Gallic population, and probably a portion of the Ligures, it continued to have, in the midst of the Cymri, in Armorica, and in Britain, its most powerful colleges of priests and its most secret mysteries. The empire of Druidism, however, did not completely shifle that religion of nature which prevailed before its introduction in Britain and Gaul. Every wise and mysterious system of religion tolerates a fetichism more or less gross in its character, and calculated to take hold of and keep alive the superstition of the multitude; and this fetichism it seeks to hold always stationary. Stationary it therefore remained in the island of Britain. In Gaul, therefore, in the eastern and southern sections of the country, where Druidism had not been imposed by arms, although it had become the ruling religion, the early national form of worship preserved more independence, even under the ministry of the Druids who had constituted themselves its priests. It continued, then, to be here cultivated, and, following the progressive march of civilization and intelligence, it gradually elevated itself from the rudeness of mere fetichism to religious conceptions which became more and more elevated in character. Thus the immediate adoration of brute matter, of natural agents and phenomena, such as stones, trees (Mar. Tyr., 38), winds, and, in particular, the terrible blast denominated Kirk or Circius (Senec., Quaest. Nat., 5, 17), lakes, rivers (Posidon., ap. Strab., 188.—Oros., 4, 16.--Greg. Turon., de Glor. confess., c. 5), thunder, the sun, &c., gave place, in process of time, to the abstract notion of spirits or divinities regulating these phenomena, and imprinting a will on these agents. Hence we have, in a later age, the god Tarann, the spirit of the thunder (Lucan, Pharsal., 1, 466. — Torann in Gaelic, and Tarann in Cymraig and Armoric, mean “thunder"); the god Pennin, the deity of the Alps (Liv., 21, 38); the goddess Arduinna, presiding divinity over the forest of Ardennes, and numerous others. By a still farther effort of abstraction, the general powers of nature, that of the human soul, and even of civil society, were also deified. Tarann became the god of the skies, the mover of the universe, the supreme judge who hurled his angry thunder at mortals. The sun, under the name of Bel and Belen (Auson., Carm., 2, de Profess. Burdigal. Tertull., Apoll., c. 24.— Herodian, 8, 3), became a beneficent deity, causing salutary plants to spring up and presiding over medicine. Heus or Hesus, notwithstanding his Druidic origin, took a station in the polytheism of Gaul, as the god of war and conquests; this was probably an intercalation of the Druids. In the Cymric traditions Heus has the character of chief deity, the supreme being. (Daries, Welsh Archaeol., p. 110.) The genius of commerce also received the adoration of the Gauls under the name of Tuetates (Lactant., Div. Inst., 1, 21.—Min. Felix, c. 30); he was regarded as the inventor of all arts and the protector of routes. The manual arts had also their particular divinities. In fine, the symbol of the liberal arts, of eloquence, and of poesy, was deified under the form of an old man, armed like the Grecian Hercules with a club and bow, but whom his captives gayly followed, attached by the ear to chains of gold and amber, which proceeded from his mouth. He was named Ogmius. (Lucian, Herc. Opp., ed. Bip., vol. 7, p. 312. —Compare Rutter, Vorhalle, p. 368, seqq.)—Coincidences of so striking a nature with their own mythology could not fail to surprise Roman observers, nor was it difficult for them to discover, as they thought, all their own gods in the polytheism of Gaul. Caesar consequently informs us, that they acknowledged among their divinities Mercury, Apollo, Mars, Jupiter, and Minerva. “Mercury,” observes this writer, “is the deity whom they chiefly adore: they have many images of him: they axcount him the inventor of arts; their guide in travelling and journeys; and imagine that he has a very great influence over trade and merchandise. After him they adore Apollo, Mars, Jupiter, and Minerva, of whom they have the same opinion with other nations: that Apollo averts diseases; that Minerva first introduced needlework and manufactures; that Jupiter holds the supreme power of the heavens; that Mars presides over war. To him, whenever they have determined on going to battle, they usually devote the spoil they have taken.” (Caes., B. G., 6, 17.)—This resemblance between the two systems of religion changed into identity when Gaul, subjected to the dominion of Rome, had felt for some years the influence of Roman ideas. It was then that the Gallic polytheism, honoured and favoured by the emperors, ended its career by becoming totally merged in the polytheism of Italy; while, on the other hand, Druidism, its mysteries, its doctrine, and its priesthood, were cruelly proscribed, and extinguished amid streams of blood.

4. Origin of the Gauls.

The question to be considered here is this, whether there existed a Gallic family distinct from the other families of nations in the West, and whether it was divided into two races. The proofs which we shall adduce in favour of the affirmative are of three kinds: 1st, philological, deduced from an examination of the primitive languages of the west of Europe: 2d, historical, drawn from the Greek and Roman writers: 3d, likewise historical, deduced from national traditions among the Gauls.

I. Proofs drawn from an examination of languages.

In the countries of Europe, called by the ancients Transalpine Gaul and Britain, embracing, at the present day, France, Switzerland, the Low Countries, and the British Isles, various languages are spoken, which all, however, range themselves under two great classes: one, that of the languages of the South, draws its orifl. from the Latin, and embraces all the dialects of the Romans and French ; the other, that of the Northern languages, is descended from the ancient Teutonic or German, and prevails in a part of Switzerland and the Low Countries, in England, and in the lowlands of Scotland. Now we know historically that the Latin language was introduced into Gaul by the Roman arms; we know, also, that the Teutonic languages, spoken in Gaul and in Britain, may be in like manner traced to the conquests of the Teutonic or German tribes: these two main languages, therefore, introduced from without, are strangers to the primitive population, that is to say, to the population which occupied the countries in question anterior to these conquests. But in the midst of so many new-Latin and new-Teutonic dialects, we find in some parts of France and Britain the remains of primitive languages, completely distinct from the two great classes of which we have just made mention. Of these, France contains two, the Basque, spoken in the western Pyrenees, and the Bas-Breton, more extensively spread not long ago, but at present confined to the extremity of ancient Armorica. Britain likewise possesses two, the Welsh,

spoken in the principality of Wales, and called by : those who speak it the Cymraig; and the Gaelic, used in the highlands of Scotland and in Ireland. History gives us no information relative to these original languages, whether they were introduced into the countries where they are spoken posterior to the Roman and German conquests; neither does it surnish us with any grounds for surmising by whom they might have been so introduced: we are led, therefore, to regard them as anterior to these conquests, and, consequently, as belonging to the primitive population. The question of antiquity being thus disposed of, two other inquiries present themselves. 1. Did these languages belong to the same people or to different ones 2. Have we any historical proofs that they were spoken anterior to the establishment of the Romans, and, consequently, of the Germans, and in what portions of territory ! We will attempt to solve these two questions by examining each of these languages in succession ; and first, we will remark, that the Bas-Breton attaching itself very closely to the Cymraig, the original idioms, of which we are speaking, are reduced in fact to three. 1. The Basque. 2. The Gaëlic or Gallic. 3. The Cymraig or Cymric.

1. Of the Basque Language.

This language, called Euscara by the people who speak it, is used in some cantons in the southeast of France and northeast of Spain, on both sides of the Pyrenees: the singularity of its radicals and its grammatical construction distinguish it no less from the Cymric and Gallic tongues, than from the derivatives of the Latin and Teutonic. Its antiquity cannot be doubted, when we see that it has furnished the oldest appellations for the rivers, mountains, cities, and tribes of ancient Spain. Its great extension is no less certain. The learned researches of Humboldt have discovered its imprint in the geographical momenclature of almost the whole of Spain, especially the eastern and southern provinces. (Humboldt, Prüfung der Untersuchungen über die Urbewohner Hispaniens, vermittelst der Vaskischen Sprache, Berlin, 1821.) In Gaul, the province called Aquitania by the Romans, and comprehended between the Pyrenees and the course of the Garonne, presents also, in its earliest geography, numerous traces of this language. Similar traces may be found, more altered and of rarer occurrence, it is true, along the Mediterranean, between the Oriental Pyrenees and the Arno, in the region called by the ancients Liguria, Celto-Liguria, and Ibero-Liguria. A large number of names of men, dignities, and institutions, mentioned in history as belonging to the Iberians, or else to the Aquitani, are easily explained by the aid of the Basque language. From all this we may deduce the legitimate presumption that the Basque is a remnant of the ancient Spanish or lberian language, and the population who speak it at the present day are a fragment of the Iberian race. 2. That this race, in language at least, had nothing in common with the nations speaking the Gaelic and Cymric. 3. That they occupied, in Gaul, the two great cantons of Aquitania and Gallic Liguria.

2. Of the Gaelic or Gallic tongue.

The Gaelic or Gallic, according to the mode of pronouncing the name, is spoken in the highlands of Scotland, in Ireland, the Hebrides, and the Isle of Man. There is no trace of any other idiom having been in use previously in these quarters, since most of the denominations of places, communities, and individuals belong exclusively to this language. If we follow its vestiges by means of geographicai and historical nomenclatures, we will find that the Gaelie has prevailed in the whole of the lowlands of Scotland and in England, whence it appears to have been driven out by the Cymric tongue: we may *...* it also

« PoprzedniaDalej »