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Vindelici coinage, 5th-1st century BC.

The Vindelici were a Celtic tribe in antiquity. Their realms were known to the Romans as Vindelicia and were considered bounded by the Danube and Germanic frontier to the north, the Inn (Œnus) to the east, Raetia to the south, and the Helvetii to the west. These lands today form northeast Switzerland, southeast Baden, and southern Württemberg and Bavaria. The chief town is assumed to have been the oppidum at Manching before the Romans; after the Roman conquest, the tribe's capital was moved to Augusta Vindelicorum ("Augusta of the Vindelici", modern Augsburg).

The material culture of its inhabitants the Vindelici was La Tène. Their language has not survived. The evidence of place-names argues that the Vindelici spoke a Celtic (i.e. Gaulish) language like the Boii and the Celts in the neighbouring Noricum. A possible etymology of their name includes a Celtic element *windo-, cognate to Irish find- 'white'.[1] The name of the Vindelician town of Cambodunum (today Kempten) derives from Celtic cambo dunon and means fortified place at the river bend (see old Irish camb or camm 'crooked' and dún 'fort'). However, according to a classical source, Servius' commentary on Virgil's Aeneid,[2] states the Vindelicians were Liburnians, which is very doubtful for one are situated far in the Alps and the other on the northern coast of Dalmatia. The modern historigraphy and archaeology consider them of Celtic origin under heavy mutual influence of nearby Raeti.

Alpine tribes and Roman provinces in the Alps around 14BC.

Together with the neighboring tribes they were subjugated by Tiberius in 15 BC. The Augustan inscription of 12 BC mentions four tribes of the Vindelici among the defeated, the Cosuanetes, Rucinates, Licates and Catenates.

Towards the end of the 1st century AD, this region of the Vindelici was included in the province of Raetia. Horace alluded to them in his fourth book of Odes,[3] describing the eagle's first flight, a long metaphor that reveals itself at last as a compliment to Drusus:

videre Raeti bella sub Alpibus
Drusum gerentem Vindelici[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Compare also Vindobona, Vindomagus, Vindonissa, etc.
  2. ^ Servius' commentary on Virgil's Aeneid i. 243.
  3. ^ Odes, iv. 4
  4. ^ "So the Vindelici young Drusus saw/ Leading war home to their own Rhaetian Alps" in Bulwer-Lytton's translation.