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Headword: Galatai
Adler number: gamma,21
Translated headword: Gauls, Galatai, Galatians
Vetting Status: high
In the time of Scipio the Roman general[1] and of Hannibal the Carthaginian, the Romans defeated the Gauls who were in Asia. These were a portion of the western Gauls. Having abandoned their own [land] they advanced under the leadership of Brennos, numbering 300,000.[2] From there they split into groups; some turned against the part of Greece that lay south of the Gates,[3] and others, numbering somewhere around twenty thousand, against Thrace and Asia. And after defeating in battle almost all the Asian peoples this side of the Taurus [mountains], they made some of them subject to tribute, while they themselves took possession of and began cultivating the lands along the Halys river lying between the lands of the Bithynians and those of the Cappadocians. The Romans campaigned against them,[4] acting in concert with Antiochus,[5] in the battle of [Mount] Sipylus,[6] and engaged them near the city of Ankyra,[7] with Malius[8] in command. They cut down tens of thousands of men of fighting age and compelled the rest to submit to them and to abandon their rule over the nations they had conquered.
Greek Original:
Galatai: hoti epi Skêpiônos tou Rhômaiôn stratêgou kai Annibou tou Karchêdonos Rhômaioi Galatas tous en têi Asiai katestrepsanto. houtoi d' êsan tôn hesperiôn Galatôn moira. anastantes gar pote tês oikeias hoi Galatai hama Brennôi stratêgôi proêlthon eis l# muriadas arithmoumenoi. enteuthen diakrithentes hoi men epi tên eisô pulôn Hellada, hoi de epi Thraikên kai tên Asian etraponto, amphi tas duo malista pou kai autoi muriadas ontes. kai kratêsantes tôi polemôi pantôn mikrou tôn epi tade tou Taurou Asianôn genôn tous men allous hupoteleis epoiêsanto phorou, autoi de ta peri ton Halun potamon chôria kataschontes enemonto ta metaxu Bithunôn te kai Kappadokôn keimena. eph' hous estrateusanto Rhômaioi koinônêsantes Antiochôi tês epi tôi Sipulôi machês kai sumpesontes autois peri polin Ankuran, Maliou sphôn hêgoumenou, murious men tês machimou hêlikias kataballousi, tous de loipous hupokupsai sphisin, apostantas hôn êrchon ethnôn, ênankasan.
The entry confusingly refers to events that occur nearly a century apart, the migration of the Gauls into Anatolia in 279/8 BCE, and the defeat of their descendants by the Romans in 189. For good measure, a confused reference to the battle of Magnesia in 190/89 (in which the Gauls were involved) is thrown in. The whole thing seems to be something of a mess, but there is a slight chance (see n. 6 below) that it preserves valid information about the years 190/89 that is not found in other sources.
Küster suggested that this was an extract from Polybius, but in light of both the language and the historical fuzziness that suggestion is highly unlikely, and was rejected by Büttner-Wobst (4.530, apparatus). Nevertheless, the Polybian account of the Roman campaign against the Gauls in 189 is probably the ultimate source of the bulk of this entry. Livy's account of that campaign (38.12 - 27) is probably based largely on Polybius' and, like the present entry, Livy digresses from the events of 189 to discuss the earlier migration of the Gauls, even giving the same figure for the Gallic contingent that invaded Asia (approximately 20,000) as is found here.
On Galatia and the Asian Gauls in general see OCD(4) 599-600.
[1] The mention of Hannibal suggests that the Scipio in question is Scipio Africanus the elder (consul 205 BCE), or at least that he is the Scipio whom the author of the excerpt has in mind. Probably what we have here is a misunderstanding of a reference to the consulship (190) of Africanus' brother L. Cornelius Scipio Asiagenes, nominal victor of the battle of Magnesia (on Sipylus) which is mentioned further on in the entry. Africanus was dead by the time of this battle, and while Hannibal was alive and was working with the Romans' adversary Antiochos III, neither he nor L. Scipio was, as far as we know, involved in the subsequent Roman defeat of the Gauls mentioned below. For both Scipios see OCD(4) 381-2.
[2] 279 BCE. See OCD(4) 249, s.v. "Brennus(2)", Livy 38.16.1-5, and Pausanias 10.19.5 - 23.14 (web address 1).
[3] Literally "within the Gates" (Gates = 'Hot Gates', i.e. Thermopylae). This is the normal way for Greek writers to refer to the territory south of the pass of Thermopylae, regardless of whether the writer himself is writing from a position south of the pass, or describing (as here) the point-of-view of someone starting out north of the pass.
[4] 189 BCE.
[5] The Seleucid king Antiochus (III) the Great (reigned 223-187 BCE); see generally OCD(4) 105.
[6] A nonsensical statement; Antiochus was the Romans' adversary in this battle, assuming that what we have here is a reference to the battle more commonly known as the battle of Magnesia, which took place in late 190 or early 189 near the city of Magnesia-on-Sipylos, present-day Manisa in western Turkey (see Livy 37.39-44; Appian 11.30-35; generally OCD(4) 887). Regardless of what was originally written in the Suda, the Aldine edition of the Suda of 1543 probably preserves what must have been the wording of this statement in the original source by reading, in place of the nominative-case koinwnh/santes ("acting in concert with"), the accusative koinwnh/santas. This would change the meaning to something reasonably accurate: "The Romans campaigned against them after they [sc. the Gauls] had acted in concert with Antiochus at the Battle of [Mt.] Sipylos, and they [sc. the Romans] engaged with them near the city of Ankyra..." For the participation of the Gauls on Antiochus' side in the battle see Livy 37.40.10, 38.12.4; Appian 11.32, 42. A considerably less likely possibility is that what is being referred to here is assistance that the now defeated and submissive Antiochus gave to the Romans (on grain that Antiochus supplied on this campaign in fulfillment of his terms of surrender, see Livy 38.13.8), including assistance at a separate battle (unrecorded elsewhere) near Mt. Sipylos. This notion conflicts, however, with the course of the campaign as recorded in other sources: Polybios 21.34-37 and Livy 38.12.10 ff. have the Romans marching from Ephesos to Galatia by a more southerly route that would have taken them nowhere near to Mt. Sipylos. See the map in Walbank 1979: 141.
[7] Present-day Ankara (cf. alpha 257). The battle for Ankyra was just the final action in a campaign far more extensive than what is described here: cf. Polybius 21.33.1 - 39.14; Livy 38.12 - 27.1; Appian 11.42.
[8] Here, as in Polybius (e.g. 1.26.11) and elsewhere, Greek 'Malios' represents Latin Manlius. In this instance the reference is to Cn. Manlius Vulso (consul 189). See generally OCD(4) 893.
Walbank, F.W. (1979) A Historical Commentary on Polybios vol. 3 (Oxford)
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; chronology; economics; food; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; politics
Translated by: William Hutton on 3 February 2001@01:11:47.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes; added bibliography; cosmetics) on 4 February 2001@07:09:59.
William Hutton (cosmetics, augmented notes, added keywords and links) on 9 April 2008@10:20:22.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics, status) on 12 April 2008@20:46:57.
William Hutton (cosmetics, improved the readability of some notes) on 13 April 2008@05:12:56.
David Whitehead (another keyword; cosmetics) on 13 April 2008@05:42:26.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 4 June 2012@08:37:15.
Catharine Roth (upgraded link) on 21 August 2012@01:06:14.
David Whitehead (updated some refs) on 4 August 2014@03:11:26.
David Whitehead (modified n.8) on 26 September 2015@11:27:20.


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