Enslaved Gaul, Arch of Glanum

Enslaved Gaul, Arch of Glanum

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TRUTH EXPOSED: Do You Know About The Irish Slave Trade? If Not, You NEED To See THIS NOW

The truth about white slaves and Irish slaves are the dirty secret that Marxist liberal progressives do not want you to know about. The have dedicated a great deal of effort to discredit and deny that the Irish and whites had been enslaved too. If the truth about white slaves and Irish slaves were well known their whole plan to obtain “slave reparations” would totally unravel.

White Slavery In Early America

You probably have seen the white Irish slave meme below on social media. It has caused quite a stir especially amongst the progressive liberals and the black slave reparations movement. Why? Because it brings to light a very very uncomfortable subject that has long since been dropped from school curriculums as it does not serve the progressive white liberal guilt agenda and the race pimp industry talking points. White slavery and Irish slavery is being denied and covered up. After all, where would the main source of progressive division be without the black slavery grievance? It is not like a man of African descent just occupied the highest office in the land for eight years. It is not like a black woman just held the highest office in law enforcement. Oh, wait Never mind.

White Slavery and Irish Slaves Are Very Real And There Are Plenty Of Facts To Prove It

Let’s discuss the very real history of white slavery and Irish slavery in America. Today, not a tear is shed for the sufferings of millions of our own enslaved forefathers. 200 years of White slavery in America have been almost completely obliterated from the collective memory of the American people. Who wants to be reminded that half or perhaps as many as two-thirds of the original American colonists came here, not of their own free will, but kidnapped, shanghaied, impressed, duped, beguiled, and yes, in chains? We will lay out the facts about white slavery and we will cite references from numerous sources all verifiable. After reading this article there will be no room left to debate the validity of white and Irish slavery.

The fraud of the grievance industry successfully established the definition of the word slave as label for blacks, while labeling descriptions of the historic experience of whites in slavery a fallacy. Yet the very word slave, which the establishments consensus school of history pretends cannot legitimately be applied to Whites, is derived from the word Slav. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word slave is another name for the White people of eastern Europe, the Slavs. (Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, p. 2,858).

In other words, slave has always been a term for and a definition of a servile condition of white people. Yet we are told by the liberal academics and those in the race pimp industry, that it is not correct to refer to whites as slaves but only as servants, even though the very root of the word is derived from the historical fact of white slavery.

A correct understanding of the authentic history of the enslavement of whites in America could have profound consequences for the future of the races: We cannot be sure that the position of the earliest Africans differed markedly from that of the white indentured servants. The debate has considerable significance for the interpretation of race relations in American history (Eugene D. Genovese, Roll, Jordan Roll: The World the Slaves Made, p. 31)

Most of the books on white labor in early America are titled with words like white indentured servitude, white bondservants, white servants etc. It is interesting that white people who were bound to a condition of what became in many cases permanent chattel slavery until death, are not referred to as slaves by academics.

With the massive amount of educational and media resources on the black experience of slavery, the unspoken assumption has been that only blacks have been enslaved to any degree or magnitude worthy of memorial. The historical record reveals that this is not the case. White people have been sold as slaves for centuries.

Glanum, Mausoleum

Glanum: Roman village in southern France, modern St.Rémy-de-Provence.

Several monuments of the Roman city of Glanum have survived. In the area that is called “Les antiques”, you can see Glanum's southern gate and an ancient mausoleum.

The mausoleum, 18 meters high, can be found at the beginning of the road to Arles and Nîmes, and is dated to 30 to 20 BCE. The dedicatee was a warrior in the armies of Julius Caesar and/or the emperor Augustus, who awarded him with the Roman citizenship. The inscription says that the tomb was erected by Sextus, Lucius and Marcus Julius, the sons of Gaius, and dedicated to their father and grandfather hence its alternative name, Cenotaph of the Julii. The fourfold arch that is the lower part of the mausoleum reminds of a triumphal arch, a fitting symbol for a warrior.

The top of the monument reminds one of a round temple or tholos. There may have been statues of the deceased and his father as heroes. No urn was found inside the monument, so perhaps it was placed in this temple - if the monument was not dedicated to someone who was missing in action.

At the bottom are historical and mythical reliefs, showing scenes from ancient legends. The combination suggests that deceased warrior and his family were compared to the heroes of old.

The northern relief shows an unidentified cavalry fight. The eastern relief is certainly inspired by common representations of the war between the Greeks and the Amazons, but in fact shows a famous war deed by the dedicatee: in the center, he takes the spoils from an enemy, who may have died in single combat. To the left, his family receives the news.

Glanum, Mausoleum, east reliëf

Glanum, Mausoleum, north reliëf

Glanum, Mausoleum, west reliëf

Glanum, Mausoleum, south reliëf

The southern relief shows the legend of the Calydonian hunt, conducted by Meleager. The two horsemen are Castor and Pollux several people are wounded. The western relief, finally, shows a battle scene from the Trojan War: the struggle over the possession of the corpse of Patroclus.


A meretrix (plural: meretrices) was registered female prostitute a higher class—the more pejorative scortum could be used for prostitutes of either gender. Unregistered or casual prostitutes fell under the broad category prostibulae, lower class. [10] Although both women and men might engage male or female prostitutes, evidence for female prostitution is the more ample. [11]

There is some evidence that slave prostitutes could benefit from their labor [12] in general, slaves could earn their own money by hiring out their skills or taking a profit from conducting their owner's business.

A prostitute could be self-employed and rent a room for work. A girl (puella, a term used in poetry as a synonym for "girlfriend" or meretrix and not necessarily an age designation) might live with a procuress or madame (lena) or even go into business under the management of her mother, [1] though mater might sometimes be a mere euphemism for lena. [ citation needed ] These arrangements suggest the recourse to prostitution by free-born women in dire financial need, and such prostitutes may have been regarded as of relatively higher repute or social degree. [1] Prostitutes could also work out of a brothel or tavern for a procurer or pimp (leno). Most prostitutes seem to have been slaves or former slaves. [1] The price of a prostitute was a little more than a loaf of bread. [13]

In Roman law, the status of meretrices was specifically and closely regulated. [14] They were obliged to register with the aediles, [15] and (from Caligula's day onwards) to pay imperial tax. [16] They were regarded as "infamous persons" and were denied many of the civic rights due to citizens. They could not give evidence in court, [16] and Roman freeborn men were forbidden to marry them. [17] There were, however, degrees of infamia and the consequent loss of privilege attendant on sexual misbehaviour. A convicted adulteress of citizen status who registered herself as a meretrix could thus as least partly mitigate her loss of rights and status. [18]

Some professional prostitutes, perhaps to be compared to courtesans, cultivated elite patrons and could become wealthy. The dictator Sulla is supposed to have built his fortune on the wealth left to him by a prostitute in her will. [1] Romans also assumed that actors and dancers were available to provide paid sexual services, and courtesans whose names survive in the historical record are sometimes indistinguishable from actresses and other performers. [1] In the time of Cicero, the courtesan Cytheris was a welcome guest for dinner parties at the highest level of Roman society. Charming, artistic, and educated, such women contributed to a new romantic standard for male-female relationships that Ovid and other Augustan poets articulated in their erotic elegies. [19]

Clothing and appearance Edit

It was common throughout Rome for prostitutes to dress differently than citizens. At a site near Pompeii, a gold bracelet was found on the body of a thirty-year-old woman inscribed with "the master to his very own slave girl." This bracelet is a reminder that not every slave was treated the same. Several paintings in Pompeii show prostitutes completely naked, or sometimes with gold body chains and other expensive jewelry. This gives us a look into the different appearances of prostitutes and sex slaves. [13]

From the late Republican or early Imperial era onwards, meretices may have worn the toga when in public, through compulsion or choice. The possible reasons for this remain a subject of modern scholarly speculation. Togas were otherwise the formal attire of citizen men, while respectable adult freeborn women and matrons wore the stola. This crossing of gender boundaries has been interpreted variously. At the very least, the wearing of a toga would have served to set the meretrix apart from respectable women, and suggest her sexual availability [20] Bright colors – "Colores meretricii" – and jewelled anklets also marked them out from respectable women. [21]

In Pompeii, there have been artifacts found that may suggest some sexually enslaved peoples may have worn jewelry gifted to them by their masters. [13]

Expensive courtesans wore gaudy garments of see-through silk. [22]

Some passages in Roman authors seem to indicate that prostitutes displayed themselves in the nude. Nudity was associated with slavery, as an indication that the person was literally stripped of privacy and the ownership of one's own body. [23] A passage from Seneca describes the condition of the prostitute as a slave for sale:

Naked she stood on the shore, at the pleasure of the purchaser every part of her body was examined and felt. Would you hear the result of the sale? The pirate sold the pimp bought, that he might employ her as a prostitute. [24]

In the Satyricon, Petronius's narrator relates how he "saw some men prowling stealthily between the rows of name-boards and naked prostitutes". [25] The satirist Juvenal describes a prostitute as standing naked "with gilded nipples" at the entrance to her cell. [26] The adjective nudus, however, can also mean "exposed" or stripped of one's outer clothing, and the erotic wall paintings of Pompeii and Herculaneum show women presumed to be prostitutes wearing the Roman equivalent of a bra even while actively engaged in sex acts.

Differences between sex slaves and sex workers in ancient Rome Edit

Ancient Roman sex slaves were bought by the wealthy, where sex workers (prostitutes) were men and women often employed by ex-slaves. The sex workers would have lower class patrons, where the upper class, wealthy men could just buy sex slaves. If the prostitutes worked out of a brothel, they rarely left the brothel. Each prostitute was given their own small room (or cell) to go about their business. Here, they would be either completely nude or very scantily clad. [27] Sex slaves, however, had a different life. It is possible some sex slaves had tattoos branding them as such, especially since tattoos were so closely linked to slavery. Tattoos and nudity are common for the lowest rank of slavery, so it is not out of the question to consider that the two may have been inflicted on sex slaves. [27]

Legal rights and restrictions on the lives of prostitutes and pimps Edit

Prostitutes had to be registered and licensed. The Aedile, who registered the prostitutes, was responsible for making sure the brothels were in order. This included overseeing the working hours of the brothel, breaking up any fights, and enforcing dress codes. The Roman baths are thought to be a common place for prostitution, and since baths were eventually segregated by gender we can see the potential rise in homosexual prostitution and patronage. [28]

Pimps and prostitutes had a lot of restrictions put on them during the Republic and Empire, but by 300 CE, pimps and prostitutes were at the height of the legal restrictions put against them. They were not allowed to run for public office. Some religious festivals, like the Floralia, had a strong presence of prostitutes and sexual imagery, while other cults, festivals, and temples excluded prostitutes altogether. It was important to the Romans to separate what they deemed was acceptable, like chastity and family, and what they deemed deplorable, like lewdness and open sexuality. [29]

Male prostitution in ancient Rome Edit

The Romans opposed Roman citizens being penetrated, which they associated with effeminacy. Cato the Elder was very open about his feelings of sexuality. He, and many other Romans, thought the Greek's idea of a free sexuality was shameful. Cato the Elder didn't want any Roman man to be "too feminine", as he considered this dishonourable. [30] However it was common for Roman men to engage in sex with males as the active partner. Relations were common in the Roman public baths, as men and women bathed separately. It is probable that male prostitution took place in these Roman bath houses as well.

There are multiple Latin terms used for a male prostitute, such as scortum (gender neutral) and exoltus (specific to males over the age of 18).

Male prostitutes may have been given a percentage of their earnings, where female prostitutes did not. Graffiti advertisements show evidence of male prostitution in Pompeii. [27]

Prostitution was regulated to some extent, not so much for moral reasons as to maximize profit. [31] Prostitutes had to register with the aediles. [22] She gave her correct name, her age, place of birth, and the pseudonym under which she intended practicing her calling. [32] If the girl was young and apparently respectable, the official sought to influence her to change her mind [ citation needed ] [33] failing in this, he issued her a "license for debauchery" (licentia stupri), ascertained the price she intended exacting for her favors, and entered her name in his roll. Once entered there, the name could never be removed, but must remain for all time, an insurmountable bar to repentance and respectability.

Caligula inaugurated a tax upon prostitutes (the vectigal ex capturis), as a state impost: "he levied new and hitherto unheard of taxes a proportion of the fees of prostitutes—so much as each earned with one man. A clause was also added to the law directing that women who had practiced prostitutery and men who had practiced procuration should be rated publicly and furthermore, that marriages should be liable to the rate". [34] Alexander Severus retained this law, but directed that such revenue be used for the upkeep of the public buildings, that it might not contaminate the state treasure. [35] This infamous tax was not abolished until the time of Theodosius I, but the real credit is due to a wealthy patrician named Florentius, who strongly censured this practice, to the Emperor, and offered his own property to make good the deficit which would appear upon its abrogation. [36]

Roman brothels are known from literary sources, regionary lists, and archaeological evidence. A brothel is commonly called a lupanar or lupanarium, from lupa, "she-wolf", slang [37] for "prostitute," or fornix, a general term for a vaulted space or cellar. According to the regionaries for the city of Rome, [38] lupanaria were concentrated in Regio II [39] the Caelian Hill, the Suburra that bordered the city walls, and the valley between the Caelian and Esquiline Hills.

The Great Market (macellum magnum) was in this district, along with many cook-shops, stalls, barber shops, the office of the public executioner, and the barracks for foreign soldiers quartered at Rome. Regio II was one of the busiest and most densely populated quarters in the entire city — an ideal location for the brothel owner or pimp. Rent from a brothel was a legitimate source of income. [40]

The regular brothels are described as exceedingly dirty, smelling of characteristic odors lingering in poorly ventilated spaces and of the smoke from burning lamps, as noted accusingly by Seneca: "you reek still of the soot of the brothel". [41]

Some brothels aspired to a loftier clientele. Hair dressers were on hand to repair the ravages wrought by frequent amorous conflicts, and water boys (aquarioli) waited by the door with bowls for washing up.

The licensed houses seem to have been of two kinds: those owned and managed by a pimp (leno) or madam (lena), and those in which the latter was merely an agent, renting rooms and acting as a supplier for his renters. In the former, the owner kept a secretary, villicus puellarum, or an overseer for the girls. This manager assigned a girl her name, fixed her prices, received the money and provided clothing and other necessities. [42] It was also the duty of the villicus, or cashier, to keep an account of what each girl earned: "give me the brothel-keeper's accounts, the fee will suit". [43]

The mural decoration was also in keeping with the object for which the house was maintained see erotic art in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Over the door of each cubicle was a tablet (titulus) upon which was the name of the occupant and her price the reverse bore the word occupata ("occupied, in service, busy") and when the inmate was engaged the tablet was turned so that this word was out. Plautus [44] speaks of a less pretentious house when he says: "let her write on the door that she is occupata". The cubicle usually contained a lamp of bronze or, in the lower dens, of clay, a pallet or cot of some sort, over which was spread a blanket or patch-work quilt, this latter being sometimes employed as a curtain. [25] The fees recorded at Pompeii range from 2 to 20 asses per client. [1] By comparison, a legionary earned around 10 asses per day (225 denarii per year), and an as could buy 324 g of bread. Some brothels may have had their own token coin system, called spintria.

Because intercourse with a meretrix was almost normative for the adolescent male of the period, and permitted for the married man as long as the prostitute was properly registered, [45] brothels were commonly dispersed around Roman cities, often found between houses of respected families. [46] These included both large brothels and one-room cellae meretriciae, or "prostitute's cots". [47] Roman authors often made distinctions between "good faith" meretrices who truly loved their clients, and "bad faith" prostitutes, who only lured them in for their money. [48] [49]

The arches under the circus were a favorite location for prostitutes or potential prostitutes. These arcade dens were called "fornices", from which derives the English word fornication. [ citation needed ] The taverns, inns, lodging houses, cook shops, bakeries, spelt-mills and like institutions all played a prominent part in the underworld of Rome.

The taverns were generally regarded by the magistrates as brothels and the waitresses were so regarded by the law. [50] The poem "The Barmaid" ("Copa"), attributed to Virgil, proves that even the proprietress had two strings to her bow, and Horace, [51] in describing his excursion to Brundisium, narrates his experience, or lack of it, with a waitress in an inn. This passage, it should be remarked, is the only one in all his works in which he is absolutely sincere in what he says of women. "Here like a triple fool I waited till midnight for a lying jade till sleep overcame me, intent on venery in that filthy vision the dreams spot my night clothes and my belly, as I lie upon my back." In the Aeserman inscription [52] we have another example of the hospitality of these inns, and a dialogue between the hostess and a transient. The bill for the services of a girl amounted to 8 asses. This inscription is of great interest to the antiquary, and to the archeologist. That bakers were not slow in organizing the grist mills is shown by a passage from Paulus Diaconus: [53] "as time went on, the owners of these turned the public corn mills into pernicious frauds. For, as the mill stones were fixed in places under ground, they set up booths on either side of these chambers and caused prostitutes to stand for hire in them, so that by these means they deceived very many, some that came for bread, others that hastened thither for the base gratification of their wantonness." From a passage in Festus, it would seem that this was first put into practice in Campania: "prostitutes were called 'aelicariae', 'spelt-mill girls, in Campania, being accustomed to ply for gain before the mills of the spelt-millers". "Common strumpets, bakers' mistresses, refuse the spelt-mill girls," says Plautus. [54]

The Theatre of Pompey features multiple statues of women. Coarelli believed that the statues at Pompey's villa were of famous courtesans, after correlating the named statues with texts featuring named prostitutes. However, some scholars argue that these are actual female artists, such as poets, muses, and heroines. There is not enough evidence in the correlation between the names to suggest they are all prostitutes. [55]

Prostitutes had a role in several ancient Roman religious observances, mainly in the month of April. On 1 April, women honored Fortuna Virilis, "Masculine Luck", on the day of the Veneralia, a festival of Venus. According to Ovid, [57] prostitutes joined married women (matronae) in the ritual cleansing and reclothing of the cult statue of Fortuna Virilis. [58] Usually, the line between respectable women and the infames was carefully drawn: when a priestess traveled through the streets, attendants moved prostitutes along with other "impurities" out of her path. [59]

On 23 April, prostitutes made offerings at the Temple of Venus Erycina that had been dedicated on that date in 181 BC, as the second temple in Rome to Venus Erycina (Venus of Eryx), a goddess associated with prostitutes. The date coincided with the Vinalia, a wine festival. [58] "Pimped-out boys" (pueri lenonii) were celebrated on 25 April, the same day as the Robigalia, an archaic agricultural festival aimed at protecting the grain crops. [60]

On 27 April, the Floralia, held in honor of the goddess Flora and first introduced about 238 BC, featured erotic dancing and stripping by women characterized as prostitutes. According to the Christian writer Lactantius, "in addition to the freedom of speech that pours forth every obscenity, the prostitutes, at the importunities of the rabble, strip off their clothing and act as mimes in full view of the crowd, and this they continue until full satiety comes to the shameless lookers-on, holding their attention with their wriggling buttocks". [61] Juvenal also refers to the nude dancing, and perhaps to prostitutes fighting in gladiatorial contests. [62]

In Medieval Europe, a meretrix was understood as any woman held in common, who “turned no one away”. [63] It was generally understood that money would be involved in this transaction, but it did not have to be: rather, it was promiscuousness that defined the meretrix. [64]

Medieval Christian authors often discouraged prostitution, but did not consider it a serious offence and under some circumstances even considered marrying a harlot to be an act of piety. [65] It was possible to both rise out of and fall into the category, as with tales of prostitutes repenting to become saints. [66]

Certain modern professors of feminism have argued that a meretrix in the medieval mindset is closer to our modern understanding of a sexual identity or orientation. [67]


Glanum possesses an impressive triumphal arch, erected between 10 and 25 AD, making it the oldest to be found in Gaul. It portrays Gaulish captives being led away in chains by the victorious Romans. Close nearby is a virtually intact cenotaph dating from the 1st century AD, one of the best preserved to be found anywhere in the Roman world. The inscription can still clearly be discerned, reading

Its form is unusual. At the base is a pedestal carved with historical and mythical reliefs. The faces show the following scenes:

  • North: a cavalry battle (of unknown date and location, possibly mythological).
  • East: inspired by the mythical war between the Greeks and the Amazons, it shows a warrior taking trophies from a dead enemy.
  • South: the legend of the hunt for the Calydonian Boar, conducted by Meleager, with Castor and Pollux shown on horseback.
  • West: a battle scene from the Trojan War and the struggle over the possession of the corpse of Patroclus.

Above the pedestal is a fourfold arch, reminiscent of a triumphal arch. This, its location and the subject matter of the carvings has led to archaeologists surmising that one of its dedicatees was a distinguished soldier. The cenotaph is topped with a structure strongly resembling a round temple or tholos, which houses statues of the dedicatees (nowadays, copies).

The two monuments, known today as les Antiques, are the largest surviving fragments of the ancient city and were for a long time the only substantial visible remnant.

Mausoleum of the Julii its top circular section can be seen also in the image used as background for this page

The mausoleum is composed of a pedestal, ornamented in basso relievo with combats of cavalry and infantry, over which hangs a net full of fishes, and borne up by genii and masks at each angle is placed an Ionic pilaster (..) above, is a circular pedestal and colonnade of twelve fluted Corinthian pillars, short and thick in their proportions the entablement is covered with a conical dome: under it appears a togated and a stolated figure of very different stature, without heads, probably the effigies of the persons to whose memory this tomb was consecrated. The whole building is light and pleasing to the eye, but upon an examination of its separate members, will be found faulty in many of its proportions the columns are too short for their diameter, the roof is too heavy perhaps, as was frequently the custom of the ancient masters, the architect sacrificed all consideration for the minuter parts to the general effect and calculated the proportions so as to produce a proper sensation on the beholder at some certain point of distance, where the situation of the ground, or the projection of adjacent buildings, obliged him to take his stand to view it. Swinburne

The Little-Known Role of Slavery in Viking Society

One of the most enduring components of the Viking image is the notion of freedom—the adventure of a far horizon and all that went with it. But for many, this was an unattainable hope. Any true reading of life in the Viking Age first has to come to terms with an aspect of everyday experience that probably represented the most elemental division in societies at the time: the difference between those who were free and those who were not. Beneath the social network, any other distinction of status, class, opportunity and wealth pales beside the most basic fact of liberty and the consequent potential for choice.

The institution of slavery had long antecedents in Scandinavia, probably going back thousands of years before the time of the Vikings. By the eighth century A.D., a considerable population of unfree people lived in the North, their condition largely a hereditary one built up over generations. In the Viking Age, this picture changed dramatically because, for the first time, Scandinavians began to make the active acquisition of human chattel a key part of their economy. This was one of the primary objectives of Viking raids and military campaigns—and the result was a massive increase in the numbers of enslaved people in Scandinavia.

Let it therefore be clearly stated: The Vikings were slavers, and the kidnapping, sale and forced exploitation of human beings was always a central pillar of their culture.

Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings

The definitive history of the Vikings—from arts and culture to politics and cosmology—by a distinguished archaeologist with decades of expertise

One reason why this reality has made so little public impact is that the conventional vocabularies of enslavement—as employed by academics and others working on, for example, the transatlantic trade of more recent centuries—have rarely been applied to the Viking Age. In particular, there is ambiguity in the terminology because a very different word has always been used in place of “slave”: the Old Norse thræll—giving us the modern English “thrall,” which we now use as in being enthralled by a person, a work of art or an idea.

A judicious combination of archaeological and textual sources can produce a relatively comprehensive picture of Viking slaveholding. One intermediate state of servitude, for instance, was voluntary up to a point, albeit entered into under considerable economic compulsion, such as a means of clearing debts. Certain crimes were also punishable by serving as a thrall for a fixed period of time.

The Norse system of thralldom was not always complete chattel slavery, but most of the enslaved had little agency. As two prominent Viking scholars observed 50 years ago, “The slave could own nothing, inherit nothing, leave nothing.” They were not paid, of course, but in some circumstances, they were allowed to retain a small portion of the proceeds they obtained at market when selling goods for their owners. As a result, it was technically possible, though rare, for a thrall to purchase his or her freedom. They could also be manumitted, or released from slavery, at any time. Based on these parameters, some scholars have argued that the number of actual enslaved people in Viking Age society was relatively low. But as researchers conduct additional analysis of detailed European records of Viking slave-taking raids, the scale of this trade has been revised sharply upward.

A 19th-century painting by Peter Raadsig shows Iceland's first settler, Ingólfr Arnarson, commanding enslaved individuals to erect a pillar. (Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Some thralls were born into slavery because both of their parents were enslaved, or a freeborn man who had impregnated their enslaved mother declined to acknowledge the child. Others were taken captive, either in raids undertaken specifically for that purpose or as prisoners of war. Though an enslaved individual might pass through many hands in a journey lasting months or years, the experience almost always began with a violent kidnapping. Behind every Viking raid, usually visualized today as an arrow or name on a map, was the appalling trauma visited upon all people at the moment of enslavement, the disbelieving experience of passing from person to property in seconds.

Not all enslaved people—indeed, perhaps only a small minority—were retained personally by their captors and put to work. The majority entered the wider network of trafficking and were transported to markets and points of sale in settlements across the Viking world and beyond, even reaching the emporia of western Europe. Over time, slaving become arguably the main element of the trade that developed during the Viking Age along the eastern rivers of European Russia and what is now Ukraine. No solid infrastructure of purpose-built slave markets, with auction blocks and the like, existed. Instead, transactions were small-scale but frequent, with one or two individuals sold at a time in any circumstances that seemed viable.

The List of Ríg—one of the Old Norse so-called Eddic poems—is a curious work that purports to describe the divine origin of human social classes. In the story, the god Heimdall, using the name Ríg, visits three households in turn. One is humble and impoverished, while the second is modest but well-kept and the third wealthy and proud. Ríg spends three nights at each house, sleeping between the couples living there, and in due course, a series of children are born—the progenitors of the thralls, the farmers and the elites, respectively. The poem includes a list of names appropriate to these characters’ stations in life: The “first couple” of the enslaved class are called Thræll and Thír, the latter name effectively meaning “thrall-woman.” Their sons’ names translate as Noisy, Byreboy, Stout, Sticky, Bedmate, Badbreath, Stumpy, Fatty, Sluggish, Grizzled, Stooper and Longlegs. The daughters are dubbed Stumpina (a feminine form of the male equivalent, with the sense of a demeaning joke), Dumpy, Bulgingcalves, Bellowsnose, Shouty, Bondwoman, Greatgossip, Raggedyhips and Craneshanks. All clearly pejoratives, several of the monikers imply ill health and a lack of hygiene, and one clearly refers to sexual servitude. None of them acknowledge individual identity or personality.

Shackles from the Viking town of Birka, Sweden (top left) Neu Nieköhr, Germany (bottom left) and Trelleborg, Slagelse, Denmark (right) (Christer Åhlin / Swedish Historical Museum / Ben Raffield)

The poem also outlines the tasks performed by the enslaved: Thræll carries heavy bundles of kindling and plaits materials for basket making, while his family “fixed fences, dunged fields, worked at the pigs, watched over the goats, dug the peat.” Their bodies are marked by manual labor, with wrinkled skin burnt by the sun, scabbed nails, gnarled knuckles and dull eyes. Their bare feet are covered with soil.

A tiny handful of texts preserve the actual voices of the enslaved. One is an 11th-century, highly decorated runestone from Hovgården, the royal estate on Adelsö island in Lake Mälaren, Sweden. The inscription honors the king’s estate manager and is a rare example of people erecting a stone to themselves while alive:

Read these runes! They were properly ordered cut by Tolir, the bryti in Roden, appointed by the king. Tolir and Gylla had them cut, husband and wife to their own memory . Hákon did the carving.

The key fact here is that a bryti was a special class of thrall, someone entrusted with much responsibility but lacking liberty nonetheless. In other cultures, parallel accounts of enslaved individuals rising to positions of sometimes considerable power blur the lines of what their status actually meant. On Adelsö, Tolir was clearly able to marry (whether this had legal standing is another matter) and afford a magnificent statement of his position as the royal servant.

Another 11th-century stone from Hørning in Denmark tells a simpler, but perhaps more poignant, tale:

Tóki the blacksmith raised this stone to the memory of Thorgisl, son of Gudmund, who gave him gold and freed him.

A fleet of Viking ships on a raid, as seen in a 1915 rendition (Photo by Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A freed thrall existed in the ambiguous space between enslavement and complete liberty. All freed(wo)men remained obligated to their former owners and were expected to support them, and they were never regarded as fully the equal of freeborn folk. Former thralls also had lower rights to compensation in legal codes. The stone raised by Tóki indicates his profession—a handy, useful occupation—but whether this was something new or a legacy of his former tasks as a thrall is unclear. In time, the children and grandchildren of freed thralls would gain the full rights of the freeborn.

Material reflections of Viking-Age slavery are meager but significant. At the most basic level, iron shackles have been found in the urban centers of Birka and Hedeby, as well as a handful of other sites connected with commerce. Some of them arguably could have been used to restrain animals but were more likely designed to be placed around a human neck, wrist or ankle.

Most of the archaeological material is harder to read, in that it only indirectly reflects the presence of the enslaved. They would have needed housing and feeding, and their work must have been not only integrated into the economy but perhaps also a main driver of it. In the early Viking Age, for example, who serviced the rapid expansion of the labor-intensive tar production industry, along with the parallel rise in the exploitation of the outlands? Later in the period, further reorganization of the economy, in connection with an escalating need for sailcloth (and therefore wool and sheep), had obvious implications for the consequent rise in labor requirements. Developments in the built environments of the estates, an increase in smaller structures (perhaps thralls’ quarters?), and additions to the main halls and ancillary buildings also occurred. As raiding for enslaved people escalated, these individuals’ work became essential for building, equipping and maintaining the fleets used in such assaults, and so on in a self-reinforcing system.

For the enslaved, the mid-8th to mid-11th centuries A.D. were an utterly different experience from that of the free people around them. The Viking Age was very much a time of borders—between cultures and ways of life, between different views of reality, and between individuals, including at the level of liberty itself.

Adapted from Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings by Neil Price. Copyright © 2020 by Neil Price. Available from Basic Books.

About Neil Price

Neil Price is distinguished professor and chair of archaeology at Uppsala University, Sweden. He has been researching, teaching, and writing on the Vikings for nearly 35 years and is the author of several books on the history of the Viking Age. He lives in Sweden.

Bloodshed and Blossoming: The Gaul Caesar Made

[Editor’s Note: This review first appeared in the February 2018 issue of The New Criterion.]

“They make a desert and call it peace.” So the Roman historian Tacitus, writing at the end of the first century A.D ., describes the devastating result of Roman imperial conquest. Tacitus assigns these words to the Briton chieftain Calgacus, who faced the inexorable advance of Roman legions in Britain. When he wrote these words, Tacitus was likely thinking of the devastation inflicted on Gaul a century before by Julius Caesar. By any measure, the carnage Caesar’s troops inflicted on Gaul was vast. During the eight-year campaign, Caesar’s armies are estimated to have killed over one million Gauls, the entire population of the city of Rome at its height. Yet this bloodshed, like many mass outpourings of organized violence in human history, laid a foundation for future prosperity and cultural blossoming, and had an undeniably civilizing effect on the known world for centuries to come. From the perspective of a millennium later, another historian of Rome, Edward Gibbon, would write that “if a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world, during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus,” the very period in which Tacitus lived. The history of Rome and its legacy for the modern world is shot through with this tension between rapacious, violent conquest and the spread of peaceful civilization, the famous Pax Romana. The original “culture warriors,” the Romans spread their way of life across the globe, bringing order and stability, but often taking no prisoners in the process.

Bijan Omrani’s new book, Caesar’s Footprints, explores this dichotomy, while offering an educational and enjoyable tour of the ancient Gallic-Roman society that grew out of the ashes of Caesar’s conquest. Omrani, in addition to being an accomplished travel writer and journalist, teaches Latin at Westminster School in London. He states in the introduction that his inspiration for the book sprang from a desire to further his Latin students’ appreciation of Caesar’s Gallic Wars, the Roman general’s own account of his campaigns. Any Latin teacher can relate. When the College Board altered the AP Latin exam in 2012 to replace half of Vergil’s Aeneid with Caesar’s dry military narrative, a collective groan was heard in Latin classrooms across the land. That Caesar was a master Latin prose stylist, known in his own lifetime as one of Rome’s greatest orators, who even published a now-lost treatise on style called De Analogia, is more often than not lost on the thousands of American high school Latin students who are frogmarched through his verbal quagmire of ablative absolutes and indirect statements towards a desperate last stand on the AP exam in late May. Omrani provides some sorely needed enrichment for the experience of reading Caesar, contextualizing his narrative in the cultural, historical, and literary landscape of Gaul, yet never losing touch with Caesar’s text itself, as evidenced by the Latin quotations from the Gallic Wars that introduce each chapter’s theme.

Ancient Gaul was a fascinating, exotic place, and Omrani’s work immerses the reader in its sights and sounds. The story begins where the Romans did, in Provence, the original Roman provincia (whence the name in modern French), excavating and exploring the region’s ancient foundations. Ancient Massalia (today Marseille), originally a Greek colony established by the Phocians in 600 B.C. , was incorporated into the Roman province and became an important center of education later in the Roman empire. Before Arles’ starry nights became the fascination of Van Gogh’s manic brilliance, its Roman precursor Arelatum was a hub of central importance, as the enormous amphitheater in the center of town and the sprawling Roman necropolis on the outskirts will attest. The Occitan city of Nîmes, probably best known for its blue fabric that clads the world’s legs (denim is “de Nîmes”), was founded as ancient Naumasus by a group of Roman legionaries who fought on Julius Caesar’s Nile campaigns. Omrani also accompanies the reader north into less “civilized’’ regions of Gaul named for the barbaric customs of the natives, including Gallia Comata, “Long-haired Gaul,” and, even worse, Gallia Bracata, “Pants-wearing Gaul,” where the natives eschewed the toga, the Roman symbol of polite society, for Celtic trousers! Beneath the surface of Lyon, France’s second city and gastronomical capital, lies ancient Lugdunum , the eventual capital of Gaul and birthplace of the Roman Emperor Claudius. Amidst the bucolic hills of Burgundian wine country stands Autun, a jewel of a city with some of the best-preserved Roman walls in Europe. Nearby, nestled in the woods of a national forest, lie the remains of the Gallic settlement Bibracte, lavishly restored by the French government as a sort of Celtic Pompeii. This entire sojourn is expertly narrated by Omrani, blending the absorbing narrative technique of a travel writer — this is his fourth book, the first three focusing on the Middle East and Asia — with the quirky erudition of a Latin teacher, who might stop to decipher a Latin inscription on an otherwise incomprehensible stone or lintel.

Across this Gallic landscape and beyond, encompassing its many peoples and cities, stretched the ambition of Gaius Julius Caesar, a young, aristocratic Roman with designs on power in the twilight of Republican Rome. Omrani’s training as an Oxford classicist is on full display in chapter two, where he narrates Caesar’s rise to power and the circumstances that led to his campaigns in Gaul. Through various political machinations in Rome, young Caesar had accumulated significant debts, and a decade of government-authorized pillaging in Gaul was the perfect way to pay them off. The proper Latin title of the Gallic Wars is Commentarii de Bello Gallico, or “Commentaries on the War in Gaul,” and this name points to Caesar’s real agenda that belies the seemingly objective military narrative. Though billed as Caesar’s field notes, the commentaries are actually the carefully crafted propaganda of a master orator and politician, portraying himself as a great leader of men fighting a just war against dangerous and savage enemies. Such rhetoric would prove useful when the Roman Senate recalled Caesar to face prosecution in 49 B.C. As is well known to history, Caesar declined this invitation, and instead made the fateful decision to cross the Rubicon with his armies, invading Italy and engaging in a bloody civil war that would make him Dictator for Life and set a cabal of Republican conspirators plotting the doom of this new populist tyrant. Omrani’s detailed and entertaining backstory shows how integral the Gallic campaigns were to Caesar’s overarching political ambitions and ultimate fate.

Thus the famous phrase that begins the Gallic Wars and echoes in the memory of many a former Latin student, Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres (“all of Gaul is divided into three parts”), is really more a statement of Caesar’s ambition than a representation of any contemporary political reality. Gaul was not a unified political entity in Caesar’s day, but rather a piebald agglomeration of different tribes and peoples, unified loosely by language and the mysterious and terrifying religion of druidism, which featured, among other strange rites, human sacrifice. The aspiration of controlling the “three Gauls” did not originate or die with Caesar. In the Gallic Wars, Caesar himself reports a speech given by his Gallic adversary, the young noble Vercingetorix, who in 52 B.C. attempted to unite the Gauls under his command to make a stand against the Romans at the Battle of Alesia. Alas, this was not to be. The Romans routed the Gauls at Alesia, and Vercingetorix met his end in the grisly spectacle of the Roman triumph, ritually executed six years later on Caesar’s orders before the temple of Jupiter in the capital.

Nevertheless, this elusive vision of the power of a unified Gaul lived on to inspire future Gallic leaders of men. In an odd mix, both Vercingetorix and his conqueror become models for later French commanders, most notably the French Emperors Napoleon I and his nephew, Napoleon III. The latter even erected a statue of Vercingetorix on the site of the Battle of Alesia, modern Alise Sainte-Reine, inscribed with a loose French translation of the words assigned to Vercingetorix by Caesar: La Gaule unie, formant une seule nation, animée d’un même esprit, peut défier l’univers, “a united Gaul, forming a single nation, and inspired by the same spirit, can defy the universe.” The mustachioed statue bears a striking resemblance to Napoleon himself. There is perhaps no better commemoration of the paradox of Caesar’s constitutive destruction. Almost two millennia later, France had become the imperialist colonizer, led by a man of Italian birth who filled the Louvre with Rome’s sacked treasures, and who memorialized himself with a statue of a vanquished Gallic resistance fighter in the language of the latter’s conqueror. Omrani appreciates this ironic complexity, and adds to its richness by exploring many other instances at which the legend of Vercingetorix and the Gauls have permeated French culture, even as they built on the infrastructure of Roman conquest, from late antiquity until the present day.

Omrani is clearly well read, and does not fail to showcase similar tensions in French literature from all periods. Chapter nine includes a delightful interlude exploring the work of the poet Ausonius, who wrote in the fourth century A.D., at a time when Gaul had been firmly established as a part of the Roman Empire. Ausonius’s oeuvre also reverberates with this tension between Roman civilization and barbarian other, yet Ausonius, a young member of the Gallo-Roman elite, now sees himself in the former camp. Omrani translates one fragment of a love poem Ausonius wrote for Bissula, a Germanic slave he received as a war prize for fighting in a Roman campaign against the Germans:

Born and bred beyond the chilly Danube, Bissula . . . a captive maid but made free, she queens it as the pet of him whose spoil of war she was . . . not so changed by Roman blessings but that she remains German in features, blue of eyes and fair of hair. A girl of either race, now speech, now looks present her: the last declare her a daughter of the Rhine, the first a child of Rome.

Now that Gaul had become fully Romanized, the barbarian terror had migrated across the Rhine into Germany. As Ausonius expresses his admiration of Bissula’s charming mixture of Germanic and Roman features, perhaps the irony escapes him that only a few generations ago a similar sentiment could easily have been expressed about one of his countrymen. Or perhaps he is all too conscious of this, and this awareness stokes his poetic inspiration. Ausonius is only one of numerous Gallo-Roman authors Omrani explores in the work, ranging widely across centuries and genres, and taking account of both pagan and Christian sources. Some of this might be a bit much as light extracurricular reading for Omrani’s high school Latin students, but an educated reader whose appetite is a match for Omrani’s erudition will be rewarded with a wealth of rich new material in his pages.

Of course, once the Napoleons’ imperial ambitions had receded, it would be the Germans’ turn, goose-stepping across the French border under imperial Reichsadlers forged in the image of Roman military standards. Even a cursory glance at European history will turn up scores of ill-conceived attempts to civilize the known world in Rome’s image, from Mussolini, Il Duce (derived from the Roman military title of dux , “commander”), to the Slavic Czars of Russia and Bulgaria (“Czar” is an honorific title derived from Caesar’s very name). On one hand, Omrani’s book is a grim reminder that the garden of Western Civilization has been often watered by the blood of the conquered, and pruned in the brutal form of Rome’s imperial image. On the other hand, the rich and complex society he explores also reminds us that this unwilling union of cultures can have beautiful and enduring results. This makes the work particularly relevant in an era of European political conflict centering on immigration that threatens Europe’s unity and traditional cultural self-definition.

Caesar’s Footprints opens with the arresting image of an Arab migrant crouched in an alley in Marseille, peeling rubber off a wire with a crude knife. Anyone who has spent time in modern France, or paid attention to its politics, knows that the presence of this cultural other in French society has sparked contentious debate. Admittedly, a few of Omrani’s attempts to map ancient migratory movements onto this modern paradigm felt a little jarring. Were the ancient Phocian Greek founders of Marseille really “migrants” in this context, or is the more traditional appellation of “colonists” more accurate? Applying today’s standards to the past can be a tricky business, especially to make a political point, and things rarely line up perfectly. Nevertheless, by looking back thousands of years at one of the foundational conflicts in European culture, Omrani succeeds at evoking the glory and complexity of the society it birthed and reminds his readers that the bitterness of clashing cultures inevitably also produces sweet moments of sublime humanity, as a bite of baklava at the Mosquée de Paris can serve to distract the mind from current political preoccupations. When sampling these morsels that are the byproducts of such bitter human discord, we are tempted to one-up Tacitus and marvel at the indefatigable human ability to “make a dessert, and call it peace” or to take heart against all odds with Vercingetorix, that what unites us will always be more powerful than what divides us. This reminder of the continuing relevance of the exploits of Rome’s greatest general, and of the omnipresent cultural web that connects our society to his actions millenia ago, is, for this reviewer, the most important achievement of Omrani’s entertaining and edifying work.

Jason Pedicone is the president of the Paideia Institute.

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12 For example: Poulain-Josien , Th. , ‘ Un gisement de tradition Bronze final-ler âge du Fer, les fonds de cabanes du Baou de la Salle (commune de Bize, Aude) ’, Cahiers lig. de préhist. et d'arch. vii , 1958 , pp. 16 – 51 Google Scholar id., ‘Traces d'habitat de la fin de l'âge du Bronze à “Roucaude” (Agel, Hérault)’, ibid. ix, 1960, pp. 128–138.

13 ‘Découvertes archéologiques de l'âge de Bronze et de l'âge du fer dans les Hautes-Alpes’, Bull, de la soc. d'ét. des Hautes-Alpes, 1968, pp. 119–136 id., Gallia xxiv, 1966, pp. 217–230.

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20 ‘Gallia graeca, Recherches sur l'hellénisation de la Provence’, Préhistoire ii, fasc. i, 1933, pp. 1–64.

21 Recherches sur l'hellénisation du midi de la Gaule (Aix-en-Provence, 1965).

22 ‘L'hellénisation de la Provence’, in Ass. G. Budé, VII° congrès, Aix-en-Provence, 1–6 avril 1963 (Paris, 1964), pp. 386–407.

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30 There is a serious lack of similar publications which should be corrected as soon as possible, for excavation reports scattered among the various journals can never take the place of a full study of the kind, for instance, that M. de Lumley has recently furnished on the cave-dwellings of the palaeolithic age: Une cabane acheuléenne dans la grotte du Lazaret, Nice in Mémoires de la Société préhistorique française vii (Paris, 1969).

Enslaved Gaul, Arch of Glanum - History

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

The Romans were on to something! As with so many parts of the ancient world, they colonized France (then Gaul), which was then and still is one of the most beautiful parts of their vast empire. Home to some of the most spectacular and best-preserved Roman buildings and monuments outside of Italy, Provence and adjacent areas of southern France are archaeologically rich in Roman sites and have the added benefit of providing delicious Provençal food and wine from nearby vineyards to the traveler sated by long days of exploring antiquity. In April 2007 my husband, Steve Morse, and I spent a couple of weeks in this delightful part of the world.

Jane C. Waldbaum is Professor Emerita of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she taught undergraduate and graduate courses on Greek, Roman, and Egyptian art history and archaeology for almost 30 years. A graduate of Brandeis University (1962), Jane earned her MA and PhD (1968) in Classical Archaeology from Harvard University, and has worked on archaeological excavations at Gezer and Ashkelon in Israel, at Gordion and Sardis in Turkey, at Idalion in Cyprus, and at Paestum in Italy. Her research interests include cultural and economic contacts among the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean region and she has written three books and numerous articles on this and other subjects.

Jane is the immediate Past President of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), serving as President from 2003 to 2007 and first Vice President from 1999 to 2003. She is currently President of the AIA's local society in Milwaukee. She has also served as a trustee of the American Schools of Oriental Research and of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem.

Click on the photos to begin your tour.

We started out in the ancient Greek port of Massalia (modern Marseille), traditionally settled by Ionian Greeks from Phocaea in western Asia Minor around 600 B.C.

Avignon has a primarily medieval flavor, though it was settled much earlier than that.

If you are looking for visible and comprehensible Roman remains, Arles is a good place to start.

Named for a local Celtic spring deity, Nemausus (Nîmes) stood at the convergence of a number of important routes.

The Pont du Gard was probably built in the late first century B.C. under the emperor Augustus, though some have suggested a later date.

While the Pont du Gard is well preserved and well known, the Aqueducts de Barbegal, near Arles, lie in ruins off-the-beaten-track, sitting beside a secondary road and running through farm fields and olive groves.

Orange, Roman Arausio, was inhabited from Neolithic times.

The triumphal arch at Carpentras was probably built in the first century, roughly contemporary with the better-preserved and better-known arch at Orange, and like it, celebrates a military victory.

First excavated from 1907 to 1955 and again since the 1970s, Vaison-la-Romaine (Roman Vasio) provides a fascinating picture of how the wealthy Romanized Celtic citizens of the town lived during its heyday.

The site of Glanum is about three kilometers south of the town of St.-Remy and next door to the monastery where Vincent van Gogh spent much of the last year of his life.

Watch the video: le péribole @ Glanum


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