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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Gaul \Gaul\, n. [F. Gaule, fr. L. Gallia, fr. Gallus a Gaul.]

  1. The Anglicized form of Gallia, which in the time of the Romans included France and Upper Italy (Transalpine and Cisalpine Gaul).

  2. A native or inhabitant of Gaul.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1560s, from French Gaule, from Latin Gallia, from Gallus "a Gaul." Also used somewhat facetiously for "a Frenchman." Gauloise, popular brand of French cigarettes, dates to 1910.


Gaul ( Latin: Gallia) was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age that was inhabited by Celtic tribes, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Switzerland, Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands, Central Italy and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine. It covered an area of 190,800 mi² or 494,169 km². According to the testimony of Julius Caesar, Gaul was divided into three parts: Gallia Celtica, Belgica and Aquitania. Archaeologically, the Gauls were bearers of the La Tène culture, which extended across all of Gaul, as well as east to Raetia, Noricum, Pannonia and southwestern Germania during the 5th to 1st centuries BC. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, Gaul fell under Roman rule: Gallia Cisalpina was conquered in 203 BC and Gallia Narbonensis in 123 BC. Gaul was invaded by the Cimbri and the Teutons after 120 BC, who were in turn defeated by the Romans by 103 BC. Julius Caesar finally subdued the remaining parts of Gaul in his campaigns of 58 to 51 BC.

Roman control of Gaul lasted for five centuries, until the last Roman rump state, the Domain of Soissons, fell to the Franks in AD 486. While the Celtic Gauls had lost their original identities and language during Late Antiquity, becoming amalgamated into a Gallo-Roman culture, Gallia remained the conventional name of the territory throughout the Early Middle Ages, until it acquired a new identity as the Capetian Kingdom of France in the high medieval period. Gallia remains a name of France in modern Greek (Γαλλία) and modern Latin (besides the alternatives Francia and Francogallia).

Gaul (disambiguation)

Gaul was an ancient region in Western Europe approximating present-day France, Belgium, north Italy and adjacent areas.

Gaul may also refer to:

  • FV Gaul, a British trawler lost at sea in 1974
  • Gauls, the native Celtic population of Gaul
  • Roman Gaul, the region as part of the Roman Empire
  • Diocese of Gaul of the Roman Empire in the 4th–5th centuries A.D.

The acronym GAUL may refer to:

  • Global Administrative Unit Layers, a project by the FAO to map all administrative units in the world.

People with the surname Gaul:

  • Alfred R. Gaul (1837–1913), English composer and conductor
  • August Gaul (1869–1922), German sculptor
  • Charly Gaul (1932–2005), Luxembourgian cyclist
  • David Gaul (1886–1962), American swimmer and 1904 Olympian
  • Frank Gaul (born 1924), American politician
  • Gilbert Gaul (artist) (1855–1919), American war artist
  • Gilbert M. Gaul (born 1951), American journalist
  • Harvey Bartlett Gaul (1881–1945), American composer
  • Horace Gaul (1883–1939), ice hockey player
  • Michael Gaul (born 1973), former professional ice hockey defenceman
  • William Gaul (1850–1927), Bishop of Mashonaland

Usage examples of "gaul".

The fertility of the soil soon attracted a new colony from the adjacent provinces of Gaul.

Curio as tribune of the plebs, hurrying from Gaul, sent ahead and registered as a candidate for the vacant augurship of Quintus Hortensius.

It had been occupied by a powerful colony of Gauls, who, settling themselves along the banks of the Po, from Piedmont to Romagna, carried their arms and diffused their name from the Alps to the Apennine.

Gnaeus Papirius Carbo- twice consul of Rome and now governor of Italian Gaul- should put himself, his eight legions and his cavalry into camp on the fringes of Ariminum.

Pompey 225 Caesar gains over the Equites 225 Vatinian Law, granting to Caesar the provinces of Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum for five years 226 Transalpine Gaul added 226 62.

He proceeds to Rome 254 His opposition to Antony 254 He courts the Senate 254 Antony proceeds to Cisalpine Gaul, and lays siege to Mutina 254 43.

It was at first confined to the southern portion of Calabria, and was gradually extended northward, till about the time of the Punic wars it indicated the whole peninsula south of the Rivers Rubicon and Macra, the former separating Cisalpine Gaul and Umbria, the latter Liguria and Etruria.

This warlike people was now thoroughly subdued, and from henceforth Cisalpine Gaul became a Roman province, and gradually adopted the language and customs of Rome.

But their complete subjugation was now necessary, on account of their proximity to the newly-formed province of Cisalpine Gaul.

He fought at the Mulvian bridge against Lepidus, as we have already related, and afterward marched into Cisalpine Gaul against the remains of his party.

He thereupon attempted to cross the Apennines and take refuge in Cisalpine Gaul, but the passes were strictly guarded by Metellus Celer with three legions.

Antony now made a disposition of the provinces, taking Cisalpine Gaul for himself, and giving Macedonia to his brother C.

Italy to his interests, Antony now proceeded to Cisalpine Gaul, which had been previously granted to him by the Senate.

As soon as they had entered upon their office, Hirtius, accompanied by Octavian, marched into Cisalpine Gaul, while Pansa remained in the city to levy troops.

Though he expelled thousands from their homes in Cisalpine Gaul, in order to give their farms to his soldiers, they still clamored for more.