Regentioi – Ancestors

Gaulish Polytheism, Gaulish Polytheist

GAULISH ANCESTORS

Ancestor worship is one of the oldest and longest-lasting practices we know of, and the most persistent. Below you will find a list of Regentioi/Ancestors with a short write-up and resources.

Acco - Transalpine Senones - d. 53 BCE - possibly ‘The Swift One’ - He was the chief of the Senones and planned a revolt against the Romans in 53 BCE. The Carnutes also joined in his plans. The plan was discovered by Caesar when these tribes did not attend a council of Gaul which Caesar had convened in the spring. The tribes sued for peace, using the pro-Roman Aedui as mediators on their behalf. After the revolt of Ambiorix, Caesar held another council to further investigate the attempted revolt of the Senones and Carnutes. Acco was flogged to death in public view. His death was one of the catalysts for the revolt of the Carnutes and the pan-Gaulish war led by Vercingetorix in 52 BCE. 

SOURCES: Caesar, Gallic Wars VI.4, 44; Book VII.1

Ambiorix - Belgic Eburones - ‘King of the Surroundings’ or ‘Protector-King’ - He was the co-ruler of the Eburones with Catuvolcus. He led a revolt of the other Eburones and other Belgic tribes against Caesar in 54-53 BCE. He told the Roman legions wintered in the territory of the Eburones that the Gallic tribes were on the verge of revolting and had also hired Germanic mercenaries, who were on the verge of crossing the Rhine. Believing the deception of Ambiorix, the Romans left their camp after Ambiorix promised them safe passage through his tribe. He and his warriors ambushed them, killing 7,500 out of the 9,000 Roman warriors. Afterwards, Caesar swore to wipe out all of the Belgic tribes. He killed or drove out the inhabitants, including the Eburones. Ambiorix and a small group of his people escaped across the Rhine and were never heard about again.

SOURCES: Caesar, Gallic Wars V.26-51; VI.29-43; VIII.24

Aneroëstes - Gaesatae - (d. 225 BCE) - He was one of the leaders (along with Concolitanus) of the Gaesatae who fought with the Insubres and Boii against the Romans in the Battle of Telamon. The Gaesatae lived in the Alps and are called mercenaries by Classical writers. They are described as fighting naked in the front ranks at the Battle of Telamon, in which the Gallic forces were defeated. Aneroëstes escaped with a small group and they ended up committing suicide.

SOURCES: Polybius, Histories 2:21-31.

Bellovesus - Bituriges - (‘Worthy of Power’ - He was the nephew of Ambicatus (Ambigatus) and the brother of Segovesus. According to legend, he led the migration of the excess population of the Bituriges and other tribes (Aedui, Arverni, Carnutes, Ambarri, Aulerci, and Senones) across the Alps and into northern Italy in the 6th-5th century BCE.

SOURCES: Livy, From the Founding of the City V.34

Bituitus - Arverni - (2nd century BCE) - He was probably the last king of the Arverni and son of Louernius - He was allied with the Allobroges against Rome led by Dominic’s Ahenobarbus and were defeated in a battle near Vindalium in 121 BCE. They again met the Romans (this time led by Fabius Maximus) at the Battle of the Isère River in the autumn of 121 BCE. Bituitus was defeated and captured. He was taken to Rome and paraded on Fabius’ triumph wearing his silver armor. Afterwards, he was exiled to Alba Fucens along with his son Congonnetiacus. Afterwards, the Arverni appear to have been ruled by an oligarchy.

SOURCES: Appian, Gallic War, Florus, Epitome Book 1.37

Brennus - Cisalpine Senones - He was the leader of the Senones in the first historical confrontation of the Gauls against Rome. He is believed to have been the warlord of a warband of Gaulish warriors (Senones, Lingones, and Boii). Roman ambassadors had been sent to intervene on behalf of their allies, the city of Clusium, in a quarrel with Brennus, possibly over the Gauls attempting to take a part of their land. The Roman ambassadors ended up fighting, which was against the laws of Gods and men, and slew one of the Senones’ leaders. Brennos them marched on Rome and met the Romans at the Battle of the Allia on July 18, 390 BCE although the year was more than likely 387 BCE. The Romans were annihilated, their warriors either being killed or fleeing. Brennos entered the city of Rome three days later, which had been left defenseless with the citizens fortifying themselves in the Citadel on the Capitoline Hill. Brennus was unable to successfully attack the Citadel and then decided to starve them out. It is believed he occupied the city of Rome for seven months before the Romans finally agreed to pay 1,000 pounds of gold in ransom. When the gold was being measured out, the Romana accused the Gauls of using rigged weights. Brennus threw down his sword on the scales and yelled “Vae victis!” (“Woe to the vanquished”). The Sack of Rome would cause the Romans to greatly fear the Gaulish tribes for almost 150 years and to forever view July 18th as an inauspicious day.

SOURCES: Livy, From the Founding of the City, 5.34-49; Diodorus Siculus, Library, 14.113-117; Plutarch, Camillus, 15-30; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, 13.6-12

Brennus - the unknown Prausi tribe - (d. 279 BCE) - He (along with Acichorius) led an invasion of a Gaulish warband into the Balkans and subsequently into Greece. There were also two other divisions: one led by Cerethrius against the Thracians and Triballi and Bolgios against the Macedonians and Illyrians. Brennus defeated a coalition of the Greeks in the Battle of Thermopylae in 279 BCE. Brennus then attempted to sack Delphi. They were faced with a violent thunderstorm and then they were attacked and driven off by the Greeks. Brennus was wounded in the battle and as his followers withdrew him from the battlefield, they killed their wounded comrades. Brennus ended up committing suicide.

SOURCES: Justinus, Epitome of Pompeius Trogus’ Philippic Histories Book XXIV.6-8

Britomaris - Cisalpine Senones - He was a king of the Cisalpine Senones. After having made a treaty with Rome, he provided mercenaries to the Etruscans when they were fighting the Romans. Rome sent ambassadors to Britomaris to remonstrate him for his actions, but he killed the ambassadors due to his anger of his father having recently been killed in battle against the Romans and supposedly chopped up the ambassadors’ bodies and spread the pieces in his fields. These actions led to the devastation of the Senones. Soon afterwards, Publius Cornelius Dolabella attacked the Senones and killed the men, enslaved the women and children, and made the land uninhabitable. The Cisalpine Senones were not heard of again in the historical record.

SOURCES: Appian, Samnite War; Appian, Gallic War.

Chiomara - Galatia - (2nd century BCE) - She was the wife of Orgiagon, a chieftain of the Tectosagi of Galatia. During the Galatian War with Rome in 189 BCE, she was captured with some others after a defeat. A centurion was put in charge of the captives and he made sexual advances towards her. When she rejected him, he raped her. He then offered to ransom her back to her people supposedly because of his shame. When her countrymen came to deliver the random and while they centurion was counting the gold, she indicated (either with words or by nodding her head) for them to cut off his head. She took the decapitated head back home in the folds of her dress and threw it at the feet of her husband. He said “A noble thing, dear wife, is fidelity." She responded: “Yes, but it is a nobler thing that only one man be alive who has been intimate with me."

SOURCES: Plutarch, De Mulierum Virtutibus XXII.Chiomara

Concolitanus - Gaesatae - ‘The One with Big Heels’ - He was one of the leaders (along with Aneroëstes) of the Gaesatae who fought with the Insubres and Boii against the Romans in the Battle of Telamon. The Gaesatae lived in the Alps and are called mercenaries by Classical writers. They are described as fighting naked in the front ranks at the Battle of Telamon, in which the Gallic forces were defeated. Concolitanus was captured after their defeat.

SOURCES: Polybius, Histories 2:21-31.

Conetodunus - Carnutes - He was one of the leaders (along with Cotuatus) in the revolt of the Carnutes in 52 BCE. They attacked and killed Roman traders in Cenabum (or Genabum), having agreed to do so in order to begin a united revolt against Rome led by Vercingetorix.

SOURCES: Caesar, The Gallic War, Book VII.2-3



Cotuatus (Gutuatir) - Carnutes - He was one of the leaders (along with Conetodunus) in the revolt of the Carnutes in 52 BCE. They attacked and killed Roman traders in Cenabum (or Genabum), having agreed to do so in order to begin a united revolt against Rome led by Vercingetorix. He may have been. Gaulish priest called a Gutuatir, as he appears to be called in Book VIII of Caesar’s The Gallic Wars. He was put to death by Caesar (beaten to death with a rod and then decapitated) after the defeat of Vercingetorix because of his role in the revolt.

SOURCES: Caesar, The Gallic War, Book VII.2-3, Book VIII.31-38

Diviciacus - Aedui - (1st century BCE) - ‘Avenger’ - He is the only known Druid from history as well as probably serving as Vergobret of the Aedui tribe. He supported continuing the alliance with Rome that the Aedui had since 121 BCE. In 63 BCE, he went to Rome and addressed the Senate, asking for aid against their rivalry against the Sequani and Arverni as well as the Germanic Suebi led by Ariovistus, who had been hired as mercenaries by the Sequani and Arverni. While Caesar campaigned in Gaul, Diviciacus served as part of the Gaulish delegation to Caesar and may have possibly formed a political friendship with Caesar. He was the brother of Dumnorix, an anti-Roman leader of the Aedui
It is not known what happened to Diviciacus after the Gallic Wars.

SOURCES: Caesar, The Gallic Wars, Book I.3, 16-20, 31-32, Book II.5, 14-15, Book VI.12, VII.39; Cicero, On Divination I.41

Ducarius - Insubres - The only information known about him are his actions at the Battle of Lake Trasimene against the Romans on June 21, 217 BCE. The Insubres fought alongside Hannibal in the Second Punic War. During the battle, Ducarius spotted the Roman commander Gaius Flaminius across the battlefield. He cried out to the surrounding Insubres that there was the man who had slain their people and laid waste to their lands, and that he would sacrifice him to the shades of his fouly murdered countrymen. He then charged his horse towards Flaminius, killed an armor-bearer by driving his horse through the man and then killed Flaminius with his lance. Nothing else is known about him.

SOURCES: Livy, From the Founding of the City, Book XXII.6; Flaminius, Punica, Book V.644-678

Dumnorix - Aedui - (d. after 54 BCE) - ‘King of the World’ - He was the leader of an anti-Roman faction of the Aedui and the brother of the Druid Diviciacus. Before Caesar came to Gaul, he was part of an alleged attempt along with the Helvetian Oegetorix and the Sequanian Casticus to set up themselves as kings of their own tribes and thus control Gaul. Dumnorix persuaded the Sequani to allow the Helvetii to pass through their lands in 58 BCE when they were going to migrate to new lands. This was a catalyst for Caesar to start the Gallic Wars. Dumnorix opposed Caesar by both withholding supplies and had caused Caesar to lose a battle against the Helvetii by withdrawing his cavalry utilized by Caesar at a key moment in the battle. Dumnorix’s life was spared by the intervention of his brother, Diviciacus. Dumnorix continued to oppose Caesar and Caesar proposed to take Dumnorix with him to Britain in 54 BCE so he wouldn’t cause trouble. Dumnorix was killed after attempting to escape from Caesar’s camp with the rest of the Aeduan cavalry.

SOURCES: Caesar, The Gallic Wars, Book I.3, 9, 16-20, Book V.5-7

Indutiomarus - Belgic Treveri - (d. 53 BCE) - He was a influential leader of the Treveri and led the anti-Roman faction of the Treveri. He was forced to submit to Caesar in 54 BCE when many of his followers deserted him before Caesar arrived in the territory of the Treveri. Caesar set up Indutiomarus’ son-on-law, Cingetorix, as the leader of the Treveri, an act which enraged Indutiomarus. In revenge, Indutiomarus persuaded Ambiorix and Cativolcus of the Eburones to revolt against the Romans while he marched to attack some Roman forces among the Remi. However, he withdrew after Caesar defeated the Nervii
Indutiomarus began to build support among other Gaulish and Germanic tribes. He expelled Cingetorix and then moved to attack the Roman forces again. He would ride around the Roman camp with his cavalry daily to reconnoiter and intimidate the Romans. However, they were attacked by the Romans one day and Indutiomarus was killed crossing a river.

SOURCES: Caesar, The Gallic Wars, Book V.3-4, 53, 55-58

Lady of Vix - Unknown Tribe - (c. 500 BCE) - She was a woman (aged about 30-35 years) of high status (often called a queen, princess, or priestess) buried near the La Tène oppidum of Mont Lassois. Her grave had been undisturbed when it was discovered in 1953, and it contained a rich amount of grave goods including the Vix Krater, an imported Greek wine-mixing vessel which stood 5’4” and weighed over 450 lbs. The grave also contained jewelry of gold, bronze, and amber beads including a 24-carat gold torque. There were also imported objects from Greece, Italy, and Etruria, which indicates wide-ranging trade connections with the Mediterranean world. The exact nature of the burial and the status of the individual is still a much-debated subject.

SOURCES: Wikipedia article, s.v. Vix Grave

Onomaris - possibly the Scordisci - (c. 6th or 5th century BCE) - When her people were oppressed by famine, they offered kingship to whoever would lead them to new lands. When no man stepped forward, she put all their possessions in a common store and led them forth to new lands. She then ruled over the land as queen of her people.

SOURCES: Author Unknown, Tractatus de mulieribus claris in bello (“Treatise on Women Distinguished in War”), Onomaris

Segovesus - Bituriges - ‘Worthy of Victory’ - He was the nephew of Ambicatus (Ambigatus) and the brother of Bellovesus. According to legend, he led the migration of the excess population of the Bituriges and other tribes (Aedui, Arverni, Carnutes, Ambarri, Aulerci, and Senones) to the Hercynian Forest in the 6th-5th century BCE.

SOURCES: Livy, From the Founding of the City V.34

Vercingetorix - Arverni - (c. 80 BCE - 46 BCE) - ‘Supreme King of Warriors’ - He was the son of Celtillus and led a united revolt against Caesar. In 52 BCE, he was declared leader of the Arverni and then united himself with other Gaulish tribes by swearing oaths and exchanging hostages. After the revolt of the Carnutes, he adopted a scorched earth policy by burning towns and their supplies to prevent Caesar from taking provisions for his legions. However, he spared Avaricum, a city of the Bituriges, because of the pleas of the inhabitants and ended up being defeated there by Caesar after a siege of 25 days. He next defeated Caesar in the Battle of Gergovia and then withdrew to Alesia, a city of the Mandubii. After a failed attempt at being rescued and with the impending threat of his forces dying from starvation due to being cut off by the Romans, Vercingetorix finally surrendered himself to Caesar in the hopes that Caesar would spare the lives of his forces. He was taken to Rome and imprisoned until 46 BCE when Caesar returned to Rome for his four triumphs. Vercingetorix was displayed in the first one and then put to death.

SOURCES: Caesar, Gallic Wars, Book VII; Cassius Dio, Roman History, 40.33-41; 43.19; Plutarch, Life of Caesar, 25-27

Unknown Warrior - He was killed by Titus Manlius Torquatus during the Battle of Anio River in 361 BCE. The Gaulish champion issued a challenge for the Romans to send their best warrior to fight him in single combat. He was killed by Manlius, who cut off his head and took his torc and put it on, receiving the cognomen Torquatus.

SOURCES: Livy, From the Founding of the City, Book VII.9-10

Unknown Warrior - He was killed by Marcus Valerius Corvus in 349 BCE. The large Gaulish warrior issued a challenge for any of the Romans to fight him in single combat. Valerius volunteered. As they began to fight, a crow landed on Valerius’ helmet, distracting as well as attacking the Gaulish warrior. This allowed Valerius to kill the Gaul and earned him the agnomen Corvus, Latin for ‘Crow.’

SOURCES: Livy, From the Founding of the City, Book VII.26

BRYTHONIC ANCESTORS

The Catuvellauni tribe in Britain is believed to be one of the Belgic tribes of Britain linked to the Belgae in Gaul. There was also the connection of the Drûides in Gaul and Britain. For these reasons, we are also listing the Brythonic Ancestors below.

Caratacus – Catuvellauni – ‘Friend’ – He was a son of Cunobelinus – He was a chieftain of the Catuvellauni during Claudius’ invasion of Britain in 43 CE. He and his brother, Togodumnus, resisted the Romans but were defeated after losing two decisive battles. His stronghold, Camulodunum, was taken by the Romans and became the first Roman colony in Britain. He continued to resist Rome until 50 CE when he was defeated and his family captured. He escaped nd fled to the Brigantes, but he was handed over to the Romans by Queen Cartimandua. He was sent to Rome and sentences to death, but he persuaded Claudius to spare his life. He continued to live in Rome and is quoted as saying “And can you, then, who have got such possessions and so many of them, still covet our poor huts?” (Dio Cassius, Roman History, Epitome of Book LXI, 33:3c).

SOURCES: Dio Cassius, Roman History 60.19-22

Cassivellaunus – Catuvellauni – ‘Chief of Tin’ – He led the defense against Caesar second expedition to Britain in 54 BCE. After Cassivellaunus brought down the king of the Trinovantes, the king’s son fled to Gaul and Caesar. After Caesar crossed the Thames, Cassivellaunus dismissed the majority of his army and instituted guerilla tactics. After a group of five British tribes surrendered to Caesar, they revealed the location of Cassivellaunus’ stronghold. Caesar besieged the stronghold and Cassivellaunus surrendered after the Four Kings of Kent were defeated by Caesar. He agreed to pay tribute to Rome and not make war against the Trinovantes.

SOURCES: Caesar, The Gallic Wars V.8-23; Dio Cassius, Roman History 40.1-3, 60.21

Commius – Atrebates – (1st century BCE) – He was a king of the Atrebates first in Gaul and then in Britain. He was set up as king of the Belgic Atrebates by Caesar in 57 BCE. He became an ally of Caesar. He was sent to Britain to try to persuade the Britons not to resist Caesar and he went with Caesar on his second expedition to Britain in 54 BCE, serving as the translator when Cassivellaunus surrendered. He remained loyal to Caesar until 53 BCE when he was falsely accused by a Roman legate of conspiring against the Romans with other Gaulish tribes. They lured him to a meeting with the intent of killing him. But Commius escaped, vowing never to associate with Romans again. He led part of the forces who tried to relieve Vercingetorix at the Siege of Alesia. After Vercingetorix surrendered, Commius joined a revolt of the Bellovaci persuading a force of Germans to join them. But this revolt was defeated and he sought refuge with his German allies. In 51 BCE, he was defeated and agreed to terms of peace as long as he had to never again meet a Roman. By 30 BCE, Commius was king of the Atrebates in Britain until his death (c. 20 BCE).

SOURCES: Caesar, The Gallic Wars Book II, Book IV.21, 27, 35, V.22, VI.6, VII.76, Book VIII.6-7, 10, 21, 47-48

Cunobelinus – Catuvellauni – ‘Strong as a Dog’ or ‘Strong Dog’ – He was king of the Catuvellauni and Trinovantes, ruling for a time from Camulodunum. He was recognized by Augustus as a client king of Britain and was called King of the Britons. He maintained good relations with Rome and his kingdom flourished during his rule until his death (c. 40).

SOURCES: Wikipedia, s.v. Cunobelinus

Tasciovanus – Catuvellauni – He was king of the Catuvellauni from about 20 BCE – 9 CE. He was also the father of Cunobelinus. He is known only from numismatic evidence. Some of his coins bore the title RICON for *Rigonos meaning ‘Great/Divine/Legitimate King.’ He took Camulodunum from the Trinovantes.

SOURCES: Wikipedia article, s.v. Tasciovanus