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The Aquitanians Latin: Aquitani were a people living in what is now southern Aquitaine and southwestern Midi-Pyrénées, France, called Gallia Aquitania by the Romans in the region between the Pyrenees, the Atlantic ocean, and the Garonne, present-day southwestern France They were an ancient non-Indo-European population that lived in the northern slopes of the Pyrenees They spoke the Aquitanian language, related to Old Basque Classical authors such as Julius Caesar and Strabo clearly distinguish them from the other peoples of Gaul and Hispania the Iberian Peninsula With the process of Romanization, in the centuries of Roman Empire, they adopted the Latin Language Vulgar Latin and Roman civilization Their old language, the Aquitanian language, was the substrate for the Gascon language one of the Romance languages spoken in Gascony


  • 1 History
  • 2 Relation to Basque people and language
  • 3 Tribes
    • 31 Aquitani related peoples or tribes
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links
  • 6 See also


At the time of the Roman conquest, Julius Caesar, who defeated them in his campaign in Gaul, describes them as making up a distinct part of Gaul:

All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgæ inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in ours Gauls, the third All these differ from each other in language, customs and laws The river Garonne separates the Gauls from the Aquitani1

Despite apparent cultural and linguistic connections to Iberia Vascones and to Iberians, the area of Aquitania, as a part of Gaul ended at the Pyrenees according to Cæsar:

Aquitania extends from the river Garonne to the Pyrenæan mountains and to that part of the ocean which is near Spain: it looks between the setting of the sun, and the north star2

Relation to Basque people and languageedit

The presence of what seems to be names of deities or people in late Romano-Aquitanian funerary slabs similar to modern Basque have led many philologists and linguists to conclude that Aquitanian was closely related to an older form of Basque3 The fact that the region was known as Vasconia in the Early Middle Ages, a name that evolved into the better known form of Gascony, along with other toponymic evidence, seems to corroborate that assumption


Tribes in Aquitania as was defined in the 1st century BCE Late distribution of tribes in Novempopulania at the end of the 6th century CE, former Aquitania proper as was defined in the 1st century BCE

Although the country where the original Aquitanians lived came to be named Novempopulania nine peoples in the late years of the Roman Empire and Early Middle Ages up to the 6th century, the number of tribes varied about 20 for Strabo, but comparing with the information of other classical authors such as Pliny, Ptolemy and Julius Caesar, the total number were 32 or 33:citation needed

  • Arenosii or Airenosini in Aran valley, high Garonne valley, part of Aquitania and not of Hispania in the Roman Empire
  • Apiates/Aspiates in the Valley of Asp Valée d'Asp
  • Aturenses in the banks of the Adour Aturus river
  • Ausci in the east around Auch Elimberris, metropolis of Aquitania
  • Benearni or Benearnenses/Venarni in and around low Béarn, Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques
  • Bercorates/Bercorcates
  • Bigerriones or Begerri in the west of the French département of High Pyrenees medieval county of Bigorre
  • Boiates/Boates/Boii Boiates/Boviates in the coastal region of Pays de Buch and Pays de Born, in the Northwest of Landes, could have been an Aquitani tribe but also may have been a Celtic tribe related to the Boii or a mixed Celtic-Aquitanian tribe
  • Camponi
  • Cocosates/Sexsignani in the west of Landes département
  • Consoranni in the tributary streams of the high Garonne river in the former province of Couserans, today's west half of the Ariège départment and extreme south of Haute-Garonne
  • Convenae, a “groupement” in the southeast high Garonne valley in and around Lugdunum Convenarum
  • Datii in Valley of Osse Valée d'Osse
  • Elusates in the northeast around Eauze former Elusa
  • Gates between the Elusates and the Ausci
  • Iluronenses in and around Iluro Oloron-Sainte-Marie
  • Lactorates or Lectorates in and around Lectoure
  • Monesii
  • Onobrisates in Nébouzan
  • Osii or Onesii in the high Garonne river valley Louchon, only mentioned in Strabo's Geographica
  • Oscidates in the valleys and slopes of the west Pyrenees, in Ossau, high Béarn, south of the Iluronenses
    • Oscidates Campestres
    • Oscidates Montani
  • Ptianii in Orthez
  • Sassumini/Lassumini/Lassunni
  • Sibyllates or Suburates probably around Soule/Xüberoa and also Saubusse; the same of Cæsar’s Sibuzates/Sibusates
  • Sotiates in the north around Sos-en-Albret south of Lot-et-Garonne department
  • Succasses
  • Tarbelli or Tarbelii/Quattuorsignani in the coastal side of Landes, with Dax Aquis Tarbellicis
  • Tarusates in the Midou, Douze and Midouze valley, east of Cocosates and Tarbelli
  • Tarusci in the high Ariège river valley in the former province of Foix, today's east half of the Ariège department
  • Umbranici
  • Vasates/Vocates in the north around Bazas south of Gironde department
  • Vellates in high Bidassoa river valley
  • Venami/Venarni

Aquitani related peoples or tribesedit

In the southern slopes of western Pyrenees Mountains, not in Aquitania but in northern Hispania Tarraconensis:

  • Iacetani in high Aragon River valley, in and around Jaca, in the southern slopes of western Pyrenees Mountains in today's northwestern Aragon, Spain
  • Vascones in the southern slopes of western Pyrenees Mountains in today's Navarra, Spain


  1. ^ These are indeed the opening lines of Caesar’s account of his war in Gaul: Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgæ, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtæ, nostra Galli appellantur Hi omnes lingua, institutis, legibus inter se differunt Gallos ab Aquitanis Garumna flumen dividit Julius Cæsar, De bello Gallico 11, edition of T Rice Holmes
  2. ^ Aquitania a Garumna flumine ad Pyrenæos montes et eam partem Oceani quæ est ad Hispaniam pertinet; spectat inter occasum solis et septentriones
  3. ^ Trask, L The History of Basque Routledge: 1997 ISBN 0-415-13116-2

External linksedit

  • http://penelopeuchicagoedu/Thayer/E/Roman/homehtml - 51 complete works of authors from Classical Antiquity Greek and Roman
  • http://penelopeuchicagoedu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Caesar/Gallic_War/homehtml - Julius Caesar text of De Bello Gallico Gallic War
  • http://penelopeuchicagoedu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Pliny_the_Elder/homehtml - Pliny the Elder text of Naturalis Historia Natural History - books 3-6 Geography and Ethnography
  • http://penelopeuchicagoedu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Strabo/homehtml - Strabo's text of De Geographica The Geography

See alsoedit

  • Aquitanian language
  • Novempopulania
  • Gallia Aquitania
  • Duchy of Vasconia
  • Vascones
  • Iberians
  • Gascony
  • Late Basquisation
  • Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula
  • Basque portal

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