Gaulish Virtues

Virtues are key to maintaining one’s self in the cycle of the cosmos, they help us to aim for something greater within and outside ourselves. Teaching us how to maintain ourselves socially and spiritually.

Below are referenced customs the Gauls showed that we can then take to create a General list of Virtues which some call Îanoi, plural for Îanos (right, just, correct) in the Gaulish tongue. Each one of these below is a look at how the Senogalatis and Senodruides looked at moral and ethical understandings in their cultural view. We have taken these and compiled them for you so that one can have and live with Gaulish Virtues that are known to use by Roman and Greek accounts. Below are Nine Îanoi and the three Druið laws.

Obviously, there are many virtues, and all are of value. You will see different Tegobessus and Toutâ using many virtues some will overlap or have different Gaulish spelling, but the concept is still very much the same.

Trirextoues (The Three Laws)

The Druids make their pronouncements by means of riddles and dark sayings, teaching that the gods must be worshipped, and no evil is done, and manly behavior maintained.

Diogenes Laertius, “Vitæ”, intro., 5
  • Dugie Dêuûs – “Honor the Gods”
  • Gneie ne drucon – “Do no evil”
  • Delge āxtam – “Hold your behavior”

Nauan Nertoi (The Nine Virtues)

1. Eriððā or Erissā (Piety)

And a peculiar and striking practice is found among the upper Celts, in connection with the sacred precincts of the gods; as for in the temples and precincts made consecrate in their land, a great amount of gold has been deposited as a dedication to the gods, and not a native of the country ever touches it because of religious scruple, although the Celts are an exceedingly covetous people.

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History V.27
Loeb Classical Library 1939

The whole nation of the Gauls is greatly devoted to ritual observances.

Caesar, The Gallic Wars VI.16
Loeb Classical Library 1917

Either the Gauls were stupefied at his [C. Fabius Dorsuo] extraordinary boldness, or else they were restrained by religious feelings, for as a nation they are by no means inattentive to the claims of religion.

Livy, From the Founding of the City V.46
English Translation by. Rev. Canon Roberts. New York, New York. E. P. Dutton and Co. 1912

2. Carantiā (Friendship)

And Ptolemaeus, the son of Lagus, says that on this expedition the Celts who lived about the Adriatic joined Alexander for the sake of establishing friendship and hospitality, and that the king received them kindly and asked them when drinking what it was that they most feared, thinking they would say himself, but that they replied they feared no one, unless it were that Heaven might fall on them, although indeed they added that they put above everything else the friendship of such a man as he. And the following are signs of the straightforwardness of the barbarians: first, the fact that Syrmus refused to consent to the debarkation upon the island and yet sent gifts and made a compact of friendship; and, secondly, that the Celts said that they feared no one, and yet valued above everything else the friendship of great men.

Strabo, Geography VII.3.8
Loeb Classical Library edition, 1924

3. Oigetocariā (Hospitality)

They invite strangers to their feasts, and do not inquire until after the meal who they are and of what things they stand in need.

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History V.28
Loeb Classical Library 1939

4. Catarniā (Bravery)

They reward brave warriors with the choicest portions of the meat, in the same manner as the poet introduces Ajax as honoured by the chiefs after he returned victorious from his single combat with Hector [in Illiad 7.321]: ‘To Ajax then were given of the backbone / Slices, full-length, unto his honour.

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History V.28
Loeb Classical Library 1939

But the leader of the Celtic band soberly looked Alexander in the eye and said, “Nothing. We honor the friendship of a man like you more than anything in the world, but we are afraid of nothing at all. Except,” he added with a grin, “that the sky might fall down on our heads!”

Ptolemy Soter quoted by Arrian and other historians.

5. Galā (Courage)

Certain of them despise death to such a degree that they enter the perils of battle without protective armour and with no more than a girdle about their loins.

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History V.29
Loeb Classical Library 1939

The women of the Gauls are not only like the men in their great stature but they are a match for them in courage as well.

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History V.32
Loeb Classical Library 1939

6. Lugiā (Resourcefulness)

To the extraordinary valour of our soldiers, devices of every sort were opposed by the Gauls; since they are a nation of consummate ingenuity, and most skillful in imitating and making those things which are imparted by any one.

Caesar, The Gallic Wars VII.22
Loeb Classical Library 1917

7. Sucariā (Politeness)

They have a peculiar custom in their assemblies. If any one makes an uproar or interrupts the person speaking, an attendant advances with a drawn sword, and commands him with menace to be silent; if he persists, the attendant does the same thing a second and third time; and finally, [if he will not obey,] cuts off from his sagum[cloak] so large a piece as to render the remainder useless.

Strabo, Geography IV.4.3
Loeb Classical Library edition, 1924

8. Anlabariā (No Gossip)

Those states which are considered to conduct their commonwealth more judiciously, have it ordained by their laws, that, if any person shall have heard by rumor and report from his neighbors any thing concerning the commonwealth, he shall convey it to the magistrate, and not impart it to any other; because it has been discovered that inconsiderate and inexperienced men were often alarmed by false reports, and driven to some rash act, or else took hasty measures in affairs of the highest importance.

Caesar, The Gallic Wars VI.20
Loeb Classical Library 1917

9. Couīriextiā (Relevant Speech)

The Gauls are terrifying in aspect and their voices are deep and altogether harsh; when they meet together they converse with few words and in riddles, hinting darkly at things for the most part and using one word when they mean another; and they like to talk in superlatives, to the end that they may extol themselves and depreciate all other men. They are also boasters and threateners and are fond of pompous language, and yet they have sharp wits and are not without cleverness at learning.

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History V.31
Loeb Classical Library 1939

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