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In the pre-Roman Empire geography of Europe, Vindelicia identifies the country inhabited by the Vindelici, a region bounded on the north by the Danube and (later) the Hadrian's Limes Germanicus, on the east by the Oenus (Inn), on the south by Raetia and on the west by the territory of the Helvetii. It thus corresponded to the northeast portion of Switzerland, the southeast of Baden, and the south of Württemberg and Bavaria. Its chief town was refounded by the Romans as Augusta Vindelicorum ("Augusta of the Vindelici", or Augsburg).
The material culture of its inhabitants the Vindelici was La Tène. The ethnic origin of the Vindelici is not certain. Whether they spoke a Celtic (i.e. Gaulish), Germanic, or other Indo-European language is unclear. (A possible etymology of their name includes a Celtic element *windo-, cognate to Irish find- 'white'.) However, according to a classical source, Servius' commentary on Virgil's Aeneid, the Vindelicians were Liburnians, themselves most probably related to the Veneti. (A reference in Virgil seems to refer to the Veneti as Liburnians, namely that the "innermost realm of the Liburnians" must have been the goal at which Antenor is said to have arrived.) Thus, it seems that the ancient Liburnians may have encompassed a wide swathe of the Eastern Alps, from Vindelicia, through Noricum, to the Dalmatian coast.[improper synthesis?]
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.
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, 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
- Compare also Vindobona, Vindomagus, Vindonissa, etc.
- Servius' commentary on Virgil's Aeneid i. 243.
- Mitjel Yoshamya and Zyelimer Yoshamya, Gan-Veyan: Neo-Liburnic glossary, grammar, culture, genom, Old-Croatian Archidioms, Monograph I, pp. 1-1.224, Scientific Society for Ethnogenesis studies, Zagreb 2005.
- John J. Wilkes, The Illyrians, 1992, ISBN 0-631-19807-5, p. 183: "... We may begin with the Venetic peoples, Veneti, Carni, Histri and Liburni, whose language sets them apart from the rest of the Illyrians. ..."
- Odes, iv. 4
- "So the Vindelici young Drusus saw/ Leading war home to their own Rhaetian Alps" in Bulwer-Lytton's translation.
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