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date: 23 October 2018


A name originally applied to the area bounded by the Garonne, the Pyrenees, and the bay of Biscay. The Aquitani are described as differing from the other Gauls in speech, customs, and physique, and archaeologically their culture is distinguished by several simple Hallstatt survivals. They were divided into many small tribes which were defeated in 56 bce by P. Licinius Crassus (2) and finally subdued after campaigns in 38 and 27 bce. Augustus made Aquitania an imperial province (see provincia), but extended it to include the Celtic tribes to the Loire. It was eventually governed from Burdigala (mod. Bordeaux). Under the later empire the Augustan province was divided into three: Aquitania Prima and Secunda (capitals at Bourges and Bordeaux respectively), and Novempopulana (the original Aquitania, with its capital at Eauze). Greater Aquitania soon became famous for its wealth, based on agriculture and trade. Through the works of Ausonius and modern archaeological discoveries we are particularly well informed about the sophisticated upper-class lifestyle of the 4th cent. ce, when large landowners divided their time between the cities and their expensive villas. The settling of the Visigoths (see goths) in Aquitania Secunda in 418 appears to have done little to disturb this Romano-Gallic culture.

See burdigala.

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