of Gaul were colonised by Ionian Greeks from Phocaea (70 km north-west of ancient Smyrna), in search of metals and other raw materials.1 Marseilles (Massalia) was founded around 600 bce at the mouth of the Rhone to conduct trade with the settlements further up river. A number of other Greek colonies were established soon after along the Riviera. These settlements were clearly centres oftrade and commerce during the following centuries: there is evidence of coins minted at Massalia and of trading with the Gauls, in whose graves have been found Greek, Etruscan and Massalian items, including smaller luxurious pieces made in gold, silver and amber. Gauls, from varying backgrounds, had spread out through much of Europe, even getting as far south as Rome, where in 386 bce they sacked and burnt the city before being driven out, and as far east as Asia Minor, where some settled permanently (the 'Galatians').
The final influence on the region is, of course, that of Rome. After the defeat of Hannibal in 202 bce, with whom the Gauls had joined forces, and other attacks by the Gauls themselves, the Romans gradually expanded throughout the Mediterranean. By 121 bce, they had conquered the Gauls on the lower Rhone. A few years later, the first Roman colony was established at Narbonne (Narbo Martius), and the surrounding area (modern Provence) was renamed Narbonensis. In the decades that followed, the vast districts of Gaul beyond this area, from the Atlantic to the Rhine and stretching as far north as modern Holland, were gradually brought under the influence of Roman civilisation. There were no cities as such, but rather the landscape was dotted with oppida ('hill forts'), though there did develop some rudimentary form of government, with each civitas, or local polity, consisting of several oppida, being governed by a local, elected, chief magistrate. Some of these civitates began to mint their own coins, based on Greek and Roman models, so increasing the possibility for trade with Rome, and integrating Gaul into the Roman economic system. Other aspects of Greek and Roman culture also began to flourish: Julius Caesar reports that the Druids (the religious leaders of Gaul, who, along with the equites ('knights'), were distinguished from the commoners) even knew the Greek alphabet (B. Gall. 6.14). The Gauls had various deities, whom Caesar tried to identify with the Roman gods, the most important of which were the equivalent of Mercury, the Roman god of commerce (B. Gall. 6.12), and the mother goddesses depicted, usually in threes, in various reliefs. The Gauls were also known to practice rites of rebirth, and were even reported to have performed human sacrifices (B. Gall. 6.16).
1 On this period of Gaul, see Hodge, Ancient Greek France.
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