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The Leuci (Gaulish: 'the bright, lightning ones') were a Belgic tribe dwelling in the southern part of the modern Lorraine region during the Iron Age and the Roman period.[1]


They are mentioned as Leucos (acc.) by Caesar (mid-1st c. BC),[2] Le?koi (?) by Strabo (early 1st c. AD),[3] Leuci by Pliny (1st c. AD),[4] and as Leukoì () by Ptolemy (2nd c. AD).[5][6]

The Gaulish ethnonym Leuci (sing. Leucos) literally means 'the bright ones, the lightning ones'. It stems from the Proto-Celtic *lowkos ('light, bright'; cf. Mid. Irish luach 'glowing white', Middle Welsh llug 'eyesight, perception'), itself from Proto-Indo-European *leukós ('bright, shining'; cf. Lat. l?x 'light', Grk leukós 'white', Toch. ly?ke 'light').[7][8]


Map with the location of Belgica shortly before Roman conquest


The territory of the Leuci extended in the east and the south-east up to the Vosges mountains, between the Marne and Moselle rivers.[1] They were located north-west of the Sequani, and south-west of the Mediomatrici.[1]


During the Roman era, their capital was Tullum (modern Toul).[9][1] Ptolemy (2nd c. AD), who normally gives one capital for each civitas, also lists Nasium (present-day Naix-aux-Forges) as a capital of the Leuci.[10]

Hillforts held by the Leuci included a large oppidum at Boviolles (Ornain valley) west of their territory, and some small ones in the Vosges. The Roman-era successor of Boviolles was more opposing that the capital Tullum, since the Ornain river was important trade route between Champagne and the plateau of Langres, on the territory of the Lingones. Another possible oppidum was located at Geneviève (Essey).[9]


During the Roman era, the Leuci worshipped Apollo (at Graux and Malaincourt), or Apollo Grannus (at Tullum, Nasium, and Grand), centred around a spring and healing cult.[1]


They are mentioned by Julius Caesar as a people supplying wheat to the Roman army in 58 BC, along with the Lingones and Sequani.[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Schön 2006.
  2. ^ Caesar. Commentarii de Bello Gallico, 1:40.
  3. ^ Strabo. Ge?graphiká, 4:3:4.
  4. ^ Pliny. Naturalis Historia, 4:106.
  5. ^ Ptolemy. Ge?graphik? Hyph?g?sis, 2:9:7.
  6. ^ Falileyev 2010, s.v. Leuci.
  7. ^ Delamarre 2003, p. 200.
  8. ^ Matasovi? 2009, p. 245.
  9. ^ a b Wightman 1985, p. 32.
  10. ^ Wightman 1985, p. 76.
  11. ^ Gallic Wars, I.40


  • Delamarre, Xavier (2003). Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise: Une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental. Errance. ISBN 9782877723695.
  • Falileyev, Alexander (2010). Dictionary of Continental Celtic Place-names: A Celtic Companion to the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. CMCS. ISBN 978-0955718236.
  • Matasovi?, Ranko (2009). Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic. Brill. ISBN 9789004173361.
  • Schön, Franz (2006). "Leuci". Brill's New Pauly. doi:10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e702460.
  • Wightman, Edith M. (1985). Gallia Belgica. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-05297-0.

Further reading

  • Burnand, Yves (2008). "Une nouvelle inscription de "Nasium" (Naix-aux-Forges, Meuse) et le droit latin des Leuques". Latomus. 67 (4): 940-948. ISSN 0023-8856. JSTOR 41547639.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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