What Pegman Saw: Conquered

Bruges, Belgium: Image by Slavisa Grcic on Google Maps

Upon first contact in BCE 58 the local tribes accepted Rome’s outstretched hand. By BCE 56 they had realised its reality. The Coriosolitae, Veneti, Osismi and Namnetes, the Esuvii, Lexovii, Ambiliati and Diablintes, joined with the more distant Morini and Menappi in a massive uprising. These tribes held territories along the coast, they had powerful fleets… and trade links with Britain that were about to be broken.

Rome’s response was effective. While Caesar attacked the rebel coalition on land, a Roman fleet attacked by sea. The alliance fleet of 220 ships relied entirely upon their sails. Alas, during the decisive battle, the wind suddenly failed them.

Caesar claims to have executed the alliance’s councillors and to have sold the remaining rebels into slavery. But apart from the unlikely situation of a total clearance of the coastal strip from the Rhine around to the Loire, the archaeological evidence says otherwise.

149 words written for What Pegman Saw: Bruges, Belgium

A narrative taken from The Bretons (Patrick Galliou and Michael Jones, 1991, available on Amazon) supplemented by relevant articles on Wikipedia, and notes from Barry Cunliffe’s Facing The Ocean (2001) – plus notes acquired over the past two and a half decades of personal research.

The Morini and Menappi occupied what now is Belgium.

About crispina kemp

Spinner of Asaric and Mythic tales
This entry was posted in History, Mostly Micro and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to What Pegman Saw: Conquered

  1. Violet Lentz says:

    So then am I to believe Belgans have their roots in Italy? I always thought they were German…

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, not at all. Not unless you want to equate *conquered* with ethnic cleansing. Though it must be said, the Romans weren’t above that. Plenty of evidence to the effect, and indeed Caesar bragged of it.
      Now, I’d say today’s Belgiums share a high %DNA with English, French, German and Netherlanders, for the simple reason the same tribes conquered all… after the Roman withdrew


  2. Ben Naga says:

    Lying politicians are nothing new.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lynn Love says:

    And I’m sure the wind failing the fleet was taken as a sign by the Romans – they were very keen on omens and auguries I believe, Though I’m sure the local tribes watched the skies, the weather, entrails too. Interesting to read how often the Roman’s foes were mighty, fierce, almost unconquerable … until the Romans arrived of course. But then, who wants to admit to beating an unworthy foe. History is written by the winners – as Churchill said ‘History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.’
    Fascinating slice of the past, Crispina


  4. Brian Bixby says:

    Aye, Caesar accepted all sorts of “submissions” by Gallic tribes in order to look good back in Rome, since he never knew when his enemies would try to move against him. This no doubt explains the repeated rebellions in almost every region of Gaul within a few years of its initial “conquest:” Caesar had gains tokens of submission, but not the substance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As far as I remember — not that I lived through those days — he was very good at forging alliances only then to finding reason to trample over the treaty. Cos what does victory make? Victory makes status!
      And we can’t blame Caesar for adhering to the ethos of the day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Brian Bixby says:

        And, related techniques:
        1. Make an alliance with a deposed chief/king or claimant, then wage war against the tribe. Claudius used this as one of his reasons for invading Britain.
        2. Find two groups who are quarreling with each other, then make an alliance with one, which gives you a reason to fight a war against the other. The Romans did this with Saguntum, which was in conflict with Carthage, bringing on the 2nd Punic War.


      • Devious bastards, weren’t they. Yet William (who bears that name) who was so keen on Roman tactics, didn’t actually use such devices.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Iain Kelly says:

    Great slice of history 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. pennygadd51 says:

    An interesting snippet of history. I wonder what the world would have been like if the Roman Empire had never existed?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gosh, that’s a hard one. Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Anatolia, Greece, Tunisia, Morocco, Spain, Aquitania, Etruscans, Celts from Western Atlantic shore through to Phrygia, the Germanic tribes… Yea, how to evaluate the potential effects of Rome on these?
      The Celts had what might be seen as an Empire. Without Rome… they might have tried again to occupy the Seven Hills. Perhaps the West would be speaking Irish! Who knows.


  7. EntangledDesigns says:


    Liked by 1 person

  8. k rawson says:

    Fascinating stuff, Crispina. I especially loved the detail where “the wind suddenly failed them.” Makes me wonder how many things could have landed differently but for the weather.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I think the Romans still would have conquered. Their war machine had a discipline that the Celts (Gauls) lacked. Although the Germanic tribes slaughtered them in a massive ambush. Aye, and led by a warrior who’d been Roman-trained.


  9. Joy Pixley says:

    Interesting history lesson. I wasn’t aware of that background.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dale says:

    Always a fascinating trip down the historical road with you. The comments were great too!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. That Caesar was a mofo. I listened to a podcast (so yeah, crappy armchair expert, I suppose?), and he seems to have been pretty brutal with the Celts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I doubt Caesar was worse than his fellow Romans. By then Rome already had its back to the wall. To keep the empire alive, it must keep expanding, for with expansion came fresh slaves, and booty, and new foreign fields to yield up more grain for the growing popular, and fresh troops for the army. Rome was a machine that had to keep moving, couldn’t sit back on its laurels. The Celts were merely one more unfortunate people. I’ve never been fond of Roman policy.

      Liked by 1 person

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