Parisii (Gaul)

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Location of the Parisii.
A map of Gaul in the 1st century BC, showing the relative positions of the Celtic tribes.
Gold coins of the Parisii, 1st century BC (Cabinet des Médailles, Paris).
Coin of the Parisii: obverse with horse, 1st century BC (Cabinet des Médailles, Paris).
Coins of the Parisii (Metropolitan Museum of Art).

The Parisii were a Gaulish tribe[1], dwelling on the banks of the river Seine during the Iron Age, from the middle of the 3rd century BC until the Roman era.[citation needed]


They are mentioned as Parisii by Caesar (mid-1st c. BC),[2] as Parísioi (Παρίσιοι) by Strabo (early 1st c. AD) and Ptolemy (2nd c. AD),[3][4] as Parisi by Pliny (1st c. AD),[5] and as Parisius and Parisios in the Notitia Dignitatum (5th c. AD).[6][7]

The meaning of the Gaulish name 'Parisii' is debated.[8][9] According to Delamarre (2003), it may derive from the root pario- ('cauldron').[8] Holder (1904) interpreted 'Parisii' as 'the makers' or 'the commanders', by comparing the name to the Welsh peryff ('lord, commander'), from paraf - peri ('to make, to produce, to command to be done').[9] Another tribe name Parisi is also mentioned in Britain.[8]

The city of Paris, attested as Civitas Parisiorum ca. 400 AD ('Civitas of the Parisii') is named after the Gallic tribe.[7]


The Parisii colonized their chief city (or oppidum) about 250 BC, as first mentioned in Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico.[10]

According to the Commentarii de Bello Gallico, when the Romans under Caesar entered this territory, the Parisii started burning down their own towns for they were willing to give up these possessions rather than have them taken by the Romans.[11]

In 52 BC, in concert with the Suessiones, the Parisii participated in the general rising of Vercingetorix against Julius Caesar. Before the Roman period, the Parisii had their own gold coinage.[11]

Once part of the Roman Empire the Parisii oppidum later became the site of Lutetia, an important city in the Roman province of Gallia Lugdunensis, and ultimately the modern city of Paris, whose name is derived from the name of the tribe. An ancient trade route between Germania and Hispania existed at the area, by way of the meeting of the Oise and Marne rivers with the Seine.[12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Caesar. Commentarii de Bello Gallico
  2. ^ Caesar. Commentarii de Bello Gallico, 4:3
  3. ^ Strabo. Geōgraphiká, 4:3:5
  4. ^ Ptolemy. Geōgraphikḕ Hyphḗgēsis, 2:8:10
  5. ^ Pliny. Naturalis Historia, 4:107
  6. ^ Notitia Dignitatum. oc 42, 23, 66
  7. ^ a b Falileyev 2010, p. entry 2254.
  8. ^ a b c Delamarre 2003, p. 247.
  9. ^ a b Busse 2006, p. 199.
  10. ^ E. Planta - A new picture of Paris; or, The stranger's guide to the French metropolis Samuel Leigh & Baldwin & Cradock 1831 (16th edition). Retrieved on 2017-04-23 from,+Paris&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjv2rCA1LrTAhWGvBoKHWxOBRA4FBDoAQhRMAc#v=onepage&q=Parisii%2C%20Paris&f=false (1st return).
  11. ^ a b "Paris". Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica. 2014.
  12. ^ Andrew Ayers - The Architecture of Paris: An Architectural Guide Edition Axel Menges, 2004 ISBN 393069896X Retrieved 23 April 2017
  13. ^ H. Sauval - Histoire et recherches des antiquités de la ville de Paris, Volume 1 chés C. Moette, 1724 > 1st return Retrieved 23 April 2017


External links[edit]

  • Media related to Parisii at Wikimedia Commons