A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 499 pages of information about A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 1.
the tediousness of a monotonous life.  From the earliest times to the first century before the Christian era, Gaul appears a prey to this incessant and disorderly movement of the population; they change settlement and neighborhood; disappear from one point and reappear at another; cross one another; avoid one another; absorb and are absorbed.  And the movement was not confined within Gaul; the Gauls of every race went, sometimes in very numerous hordes, to seek far away plunder and a settlement.  Spain, Italy, Germany, Greece, Asia Minor, and Africa have been in turn the theatre of those Gallic expeditions which entailed long wars, grand displacements of peoples, and sometimes the formation of new nations.  Let us make a slight acquaintance with this outer history of the Gauls; for it is well worth while to follow them a space upon their distant wanderings.  We will then return to the soil of France, and concern ourselves only with what has passed within her boundaries.


About three centuries B.C. numerous hordes of Gauls crossed the Alps and penetrated to the centre of Etruria, which is nowadays Tuscany.  The Etruscans, being then at war with Rome, proposed to take them, armed and equipped as they had come, into their own pay.  “If you want our hands,” answered the Gauls, “against your enemies, the Romans, here they are at your service—­but on one condition:  give us lands.”

[Illustration:  A Tribe of Gauls on an Expedition——­27]

A century afterwards other Gallic hordes, descending in like manner upon Italy, had commenced building houses and tilling fields along the Adriatic, on the territory where afterwards was Aquileia.  The Roman Senate decreed that their settlement should be opposed, and that they should be summoned to give up their implements and even their arms.  Not being in a position to resist, the Gauls sent representatives to Rome.  They, being introduced into the Senate, said, “The multitude of people in Gaul, the want of lands, and necessity forced us to cross the Alps to seek a home.  We saw plains uncultivated and uninhabited.  We settled there without doing any one harm. . . .  We ask nothing but lands.  We will live peacefully on them under the laws of the republic.”

Again, a century later, or thereabouts, some Gallic Kymrians, mingled with Teutons or Germans, said also to the Roman Senate, “Give us a little land as pay, and do what you please with our hands and weapons.”

Want of room and means of subsistence have, in fact, been the principal causes which have at all times thrust barbarous people, and especially the Gauls, out of their fatherland.  An immense extent of country is required for indolent hordes who live chiefly upon the produce of the chase and of their flocks; and when there is no longer enough of forest or pasturage for the families that become too numerous, there is

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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.