Home About us History Projects Publications Donations Contacts News

The Gallia Comata                                                                                   Precedente Successiva

Romans were used to name "Gallia Comata " the Gallic countries that Rome had still to conquer, or the Gallic provinces that had not completely assimilated the Latin culture yet.

The adjective “comata” comes from the Latin word “comatus” which means "longhaired, hairy." Celtic people were used to wear long hair and bushy beards, in opposite to Romans who preferred short hair and fresh faces. The term was utilized to indicate the Gallic ethnic group, its specific characteristics, and the territories where they lived.


 During the Republican period, Rome fought against the Celtic people who lived in the northern countries of Italy. From the III century B.C., military actions took place in Cisalpine Gaul (more or less the current Po Valley), over the Apennines. Celts named Boii, who lived there, called for help the Transalpine Gallic people. So,  they moved from regions beyond the Alps, invaded the Cisalpine Gaul and opposed the Roman legions advance. For nearly a century Rome tried to defeat Liguri, Boii and Insubrii, all Celtic people. Eventually, Rome was successful: the Cisalpine became a Roman province at the end of the II century B.C.

The countries of the Transalpine Gaul (the present France) fell under Rome in different periods. In the year 121 B.C., Narbonense Gaul - which nowadays corresponds to the southern France – became a Roman province. The conquest of the remaining Gallic territories was completed by Julius Caesar between 58 and 50 B.C. He wrote about that war in his "De Bello Gallico".

At Caesar's time, the name Comata was specifically used to indicate the part of Gaul that Rome had still to conquer, which nowadays corresponds to northern France, Belgium, Netherlands, and parts of Germany and Switzerland.

Likely also the Narbonense and Cisalpine Gaul were called Comatae before becoming Roman provinces.

*   *   *

Comatina (also written Comacina), means small Comata. It was a small area, likely the country where Celtic people could yet live after Rome had conquered the Cisalpine Gaul (III and II centuries B.C.). In the following centuries, this region kept his name despite its inhabitants had already assimilated the Roman culture.

“As I could see, after a little while [from Roman conquest] the Celts had been completely expelled from the Po Valley, except from few lands next to Alps bottom"

(Polybius, Historiae, II,35,4)  

Roman Republican coin depicting a Gallic warrior "comato ", with beard and long hair.  

Home | About us | History | Projects | Publications | Donations | Contacts | News

 Copyright Associazione Capiate - Radici nel Futuro ONLUS - cod. fisc. 97643660158
For any problem or question please contact us associazione@capiate.org.
Last update: 22-05-17.