What's in an Ancient Geographical Name?
I've missed regularly posting interesting AncestralHistory stories, but my time has not been wasted. I've aggressively researched and collected Dark Age and Medieval history and ancestral names. It's an incredibly fascinating period of time. I'll share some findings over the next few months.
To begin, the first known tribal leader aspiring to be king within Celtae (modern day France) was Vercingetorix. He was the son of Celtilles. In the pre-Roman era, Vercingetorix was a member of the Arverni tribe. They occupied territory in the Burgundy region of France. The Pre-Roman Map below illustrates their vast tribal territory within Celtae. At the same time, in the 1st century AD, the Romans began invading Celtae. Heroically defending his tribe and territory, Vercingetorix was defeated by Julius Caesar. Celtae was colonized and renamed Gallia. Soon after the Arverni defeat, Vercingetorix was killed by his own people.
(Image courtesy of https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gaul,_1st_century_BC.gif)
To appreciate dynastic royal families of western Europe, one must be able to identify geographical areas, transitioning territorial name changes, and the dynastic pulse of land conquests and defeats. As illustrated in the Roman Empire map below, after Vercingetorix was defeated, the Roman machine conquered a massive expanse of land. Just like any new kingdom or country, the Empire's ability to expand was determined by their ability to conquer new frontiers, and as illustrated, many frontiers were colonized. The map below clearly defines the Empire's borderlands. The red territory illustrates Roman dominion. The gray territory belonged to native tribes. While the gray tribal area would seem to be the frontier, the frontier included a buffer within the red area adjacent to the tribal territory. These frontier territories were wild and unruly. The tribal people thriving in these areas were known as Picts, Celts, Welsh, Barbarians, Vikings, Franks, Huns, etc.
(Image courtesy of https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Roman_Empire_Trajan_117AD.png)
To protect the Empire's interest in Gaul, the Romans negotiated with the tribes and their leaders. In exchange for loyalty and protection from tribal invaders, land and meager amounts of sovereignty were given. One would assume, when the Roman Empire collapsed in the 4th century, the future French power and authority would arise out of the heartland, but Gaul's new rulers did not come from the more civilized part of the territory. The rulers emerged from the frontier borderlands.
(Image courtesy of https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Celts_in_III_century_BC.jpg)
Tribal leadership was particularly powerful in the lower Rhine River region of Gaul near modern day Cologne, Mainz, and Frankfurt. On the Roman Gallia Map below, this would roughly coincide with the shared border point of Belgica, Germania, and Celtica. Officially, Roman Gallia had five territories. Along with Belgica and Celtica, Aquitania, Cisalpina, and Narbonensis formed Gallia. After the fall of Rome, western Europe would produce a number of dynastic royal families, but the conversion from tribal rule to royalty took time.
Roman Gallia Map
(Image courtesy of https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Map_Gallia_Tribes_Towns.png)
The Merovingians, Carolingians, and Capetians ruled France for almost one thousand years. Louis I the Pious, Henry I, and Charlemagne all experienced conquest, royal favor, and family intrigue. I will share some of these accounts in future postings.
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