By J. H. C. Williams
In the course of the center and overdue Republican sessions (fourth to first centuries BC) the Romans lived in worry and loathing of the Gauls of northern Italy, prompted essentially by means of their collective historic reminiscence of the destruction of town of Rome through Gauls in 387 BC. by means of reading the literary proof with regards to the historic, ethnographic, and geographic writings of Greeks and Romans of the interval focussing on invasion and clash, this e-book makes an attempt to respond to the questions how and why the Gauls grew to become the lethal enemy of the Romans. Dr. Williams additionally examines the tricky inspiration of the Gauls as 'Celts' which has been so influential in historic and archaeological debts of northern Italy within the overdue pre-Roman Iron Age by way of glossy students. The e-book concludes that historical literary proof and smooth ethnic presumptions approximately 'Celts' are usually not a valid foundation for reconstructing both the historical past of the Romans' interplay with the peoples of northern Italy or for reading the fabric proof.
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Additional info for Beyond the Rubicon: Romans and Gauls in Republican Italy (Oxford Classical Monographs)
5–59. 2. The Discovery of Celtic Italy 31 was the reason why earlier accounts were so often replete with myth and exaggeration, a tendency which he claims to have overcome in his own work. Other diﬃculties also hindered the furtherance of geographical inquiry. 48 The Greeks of Spina and Adria may have reacted similarly to requests for information about their hinterland. Moreover, an enduring ignorance of inland areas long after the discovery of a new coastline is perhaps to be expected in regions on the margins of the known world.
Cato’s writings about Transapennine Italy appeared in the second book of his historical work, the Origines, and perhaps elsewhere in the text. Fourteen brief, but suggestive, fragments refer to the region, indicating that his was a detailed account of the land and its people. Between them, Polybius and Cato also had a good deal of personal experience of the north. Cato himself fought against the army led by Hasdrubal at the River Metaurus in 207 , which included large contingents of Gauls, and may have campaigned against the Boii in 194 as a legate of the consul Ti.
47 He is patronizing his predecessors, but he has a point. Communication over long distances through foreign or unknown terrain was diﬃcult and hazardous in the ancient world and so was travel, especially overland. Distances kept researchers away from the objects of their interest and distorted what information they were able to gather themselves. As Polybius says, even if you did travel to the ends of the earth, you might not ﬁnd what you wanted because of the language barrier and the inhospitability of the country in such far-oﬀ places that made travelling arduous and the investigation of what you could see awkward.