The Romans called Gaul all the territories between the Rhine, the Alps, the Mediterranean Sea, the Pyrenees and the Atlantic Ocean. During the VII century Celtic populations, the Gauls, settled in the said territories and after having occupied the Po Valley and having driven away the Ligurians they also spread into Italy. The Gauls were semi-barbarians, tall, blond, light-eyed, and they usually grew long hair and beards. They lived in hut villages, they were shepherds, hunters, warriors and formidable horsemen. They were not united in a single State but were grouped into tribes. Their religion, which was practised in the woods and whose priests were called Druids, imposed human sacrifices. In the year 390 some Gallic tribes under the guidance of Brenno, after having invaded the Etruscan territory, headed South towards Rome. The Roman army could not stop the advance of the Gauls and on the 19th July it was exterminated along the banks of the River Allia (a tributary of the Tiber). The Roman population and the surviving soldiers, panic – stricken, deserted the town, abandoning it in the hands of the victors. For the Romans, the defeat represented a lesson learned the hard way. One can confirm that it is in this period that the Roman army went through a process of renovation that established the basis for the birth of the unbeatable Roman Army of the future. Gaul was conquered and subdued (58-51 b.C.) by the military and diplomatic genius of Julius Caesar.
The figurine represents a Gallic warrior playing a Carnix. The Carnix was a Celtic, wind instrument whose sound was used to scare enemies. The player blew into the lower end of the instrument and the air would come out the upper end through an opening that was often shaped like an animal’s mouth. The size of the instrument was such as to allow the sound to diffuse from an height of approximately three metres from ground level. It is well known that the Gauls used to play the Carnix in battle against Caesar’s troops.
Painting is left to the artist’s own imagination based on the colours shown in the attached photo, or by observing the pictures shown in history books available on the market. It is to be remembered that the Cornix was made out of bronze, and the Gallic warriors were barbarians who did not follow a specific code of uniform. They used to wear animal hides, colourful trousers and cloaks but would also fight totally naked.
Dizionario Enciclopedico Sansoni, Firenze 1952
Maranesi Alfonso, Roma Augusta, Poseidonia , Bologna,1966
Striano Enzo, Epoche, Loffredo, Napoli, 1965
Historical notes and translation: Riccardo Carrabino