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3rd century AD Sol Invictus disk from Pessinus, then capital city of the Tolistobogii.

Tolistobogii (in other sources Tolistobogioi, Tolistobōgioi, Tolistoboioi, Tolistobioi, Toligistobogioi or Tolistoagioi) is the name used by the Roman historian, Livy, for one of the three ancient Gaulish tribes of Galatia in central Asia Minor, together with the Trocmi and Tectosages. The tribe entered Anatolia in 279 BC as a contingent of Celtic raiders from the Danube region, and settled in those regions of Phrygia which would later become part of the Roman province of Galatia. The Galatians retained their Celtic language through the 4th century AD, when Saint Jerome mentions that the Galatians still spoke a Celtic language in his times.[1]

Etymology and identity[edit]

The name is believed to be a karmadhāraya compound of two Proto-Celtic roots: the first, *tolisto-, is of uncertain meaning, but perhaps related to Old Irish tol "will, desire";[2] Rübekeil conjectures it to be an adjectival derivation from a Celtic root *tel- in an archaic and not well-attested formation of the superlative, and tentatively translates the name as "the most enduring, hardest".[3] A non-Celtic origin for the root is also possible*tolisto- .[4] The second root, *bogio-, means "beat, pound" and is a common element in Celtic personal names (cf. Gaulish Andecombogius, Combogiomārus, Namantobogius, Uercombogius; also Old Irish bong "batter" and Welsh -abwy [<Proto-Celtic *adbogio-] in names such as Rhonabwy and Iunabwy).[5]


The Tolistobogii for the greater part of their centuries-long stay in Galatia were located in what is now Eskişehir Province just to the west of Ankara.


The Tolistobogii first appear as troops in the army of Brennus on its way to plunder Delphi in Greece in 279 BC. In Dardania, it is said, some 20,000 men under Leonorius and Lutarius in these three tribes seceded from Brennus and entered Thrace, where they collected tribute from the region, including Byzantium. Subsequently they crossed the Hellespont to fight as mercenaries for Nicomedes I of Bithynia and then left Bithynia to plunder Anatolia. The Tolistobogii received Aeolia and Ionia as territory.


  1. ^ Hieronymos: Commentarius in Epistulam ad Galatas 2,3
  2. ^ Delamarre, Xavier, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise, Editions Errance, Paris, 2003, p. 298.
  3. ^ Rübekeil, Ludwig: "Diachrone Studien zur Kontaktzone zwischen Kelten und Germanen", Wien, 2002. ISBN 3-7001-3124-0, pp. 96ff.
  4. ^ Falileyev, Alexander, ed. (2007). "Tolistobogioi" (PDF). Dictionary of Continental Celtic Place-Names. Aberystwyth University. Archived from the original (pdf) on 31 July 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2009.
  5. ^ Delamarre, Xavier, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise, Editions Errance, Paris, 2003, pp. 81–82.