Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Celts in the heart of the Hellenistic world

Continuing from: and
The regions of Asia Minor during the Hellenistic era

The Celts were unsuccesful at their campaigns in Greece. Although they plundered many of the riches of Macedonia and Thessaly, they were not able to settle down somewhere as they intended to do(They brought their families with them)

As we were saying in the part 2, one part of the Gauls returned  to the Danube,  a second one went northeast where they established the kingdom of Tylis in Thrace(Nowadays Bulgaria) and a third one was cut off from Brenus' army to join the pretender of the throne of Bithynia Nicomedes I who was fighting against his brother.

                                            Tylis: The Celts in Thrace

The Celts failed to find a new homeland in Greece but achieved it temporarily in Thrace.Comontorius found a city called Tylis and estalished a short lived realm in 279 BC. The reason for this was that later the Celts would migrate once again towards Asia Minor where they would later establish Galatia.Tylis was destroyed by local Thracian tribes in 212 BC. 

Crossing the Hellespont into Asia minor

The dying Gaul. A famous statue that was displayed in Pergamum the capital of the Attalids after their victory of the Gauls.
In the 270s three Celtic tribes numbering 10.000 men able to fight and 10.000 women and children,crossed the Hellespont under the leadership of Leonnorios and Leotarios, responding to the invitation of Nicomedes I.The Gauls settled in the area were Phrygia was located in the central Anatolian plateau. Since then the area would be called Galatia.With the use of the Celts Nicomedes I defeated Zipoetes II and was able to unite the whole of Bithynia under his rule. 
As it is aforementioned the Gauls settled in Galatia and were also reinforced with new Celtic populations that migrated from Thrace.They made their living by raiding nearby areas in Asia minor. This caused frictions and war with the powerful Seulecid empire.Eventually the Gauls were defeated by the Seleucid king Antiochus I who used war elephants in the battleground.The Gauls also sided with a pretender Seulecid King  who wanted to overthrow the rule of the Attalids in Pergamum. The Attalids however defeated the false king and his Celtic allies confining them finally back to their original territory in Asia minor.
Galatia was the Easternmost settlement of Celts in antiquity. Another feature was that this settlement was completely isolated from the Celtic world. It was like a Celtic islet within the Hellenistic world.


Gaulish art. The face of a Gaul. The hellenistic influence is obvious.
Even though afterwards the area was named after them, the Gauls never formed a majority in Galatia. They rather formed a military aristocracy which governed the Celtic tribes in the area. The other populations in Galatia like the native Phrygians were left to control their own affairs undisturbed as long as they would pay tribute to their overlords.
A Gallic chieftain kills his wife and commits suicide. After their defeats y Antiochus I and Attalus Soter, the Gauls had to retreat back to Galatia.

The Gaulish tribes were frequently fighting each other and a Gaulish kingdom was never formed.However they were able to keep control of the region until the arrival of the Romans.
Contemporary historians called the Galatians GalloGraeci and the area Gallo-Graecia. It seems that they had adopted some aspects of Greek/Hellenistic culture.Consequently the Galatians were hellenized to a degree of almost full assimilation. During the Roman conquests of Galatia, Roman writers were marking that many Galatians were of mixed race. This suggested that there were a lot of intermarriages during the previous years.

The Organisation of tribes in Galatia.
  1. the Tectosages in the centre, round with their capital Ancyra,
  2. the Tolistobogii on the west, round Pessinus as their chief town, sacred to Cybele, and
  3. the Trocmi on the east, round their chief town Tavium. Each tribal territory was divided into four cantons or tetrarchies. Each of the twelve tetrarchs had under him a judge and a general. A council of the nation consisting of the tetrarchs and three hundred senators was periodically held at Drynemeton.

1 comment:

Vergil_Thodoris said...

Χαίρεται , μήπως θα μπορούσατε να δώσετε πηγές θεμάτων για τους Κέλτες στην Ελλάδα και τα Βαλκάνια ;

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