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Coinage of the Vindelici, 5th-1st century BC.

The Vindelici were a Celtic people in antiquity. Their territory was known to the Romans as Vindelicia, and its boundaries were the Danube and Germanic limes to the north, the Inn (Œnus) to the east, Raetia to the south, and the Helvetii to the west. These lands today comprise northeastern Switzerland, southeastern Baden, and southern Württemberg and Bavaria. Their 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).


Most modern scholars consider the Vindelici to have been Celts albeit with a heavy mutual influence of their non-Celtic neighbours, the Raeti. The Vindelici's material culture was part of the La Tène culture commonly associated with the Celts. Little of the language of the Vindelici has survived, although place names suggest that they most probably spoke a variety of Gaulish, like the neighbouring Boii and Taurisci (also called Norici). One possible etymology of "Vindelici" is the Celtic prefix *windo-, cognate to Irish find- 'white'.[1] The name of the Vindelician town of Cambodunum (today Kempten) is apparently derived from the Celtic cambo dunon: "fortified place at the river bend" .[2] One classical source, Servius' commentary on Virgil's Aeneid,[3] says on the contrary that the Vindelicians were originally Liburnians – a non-Celtic Indo-European people from the northeastern shores of the Adriatic (modern Croatia).

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

Together with the neighbouring tribes, the Vindelici were subjugated by Tiberius in 15 BC. The Augustan inscription of 12 BC on the Tropaeum Alpium mentions four tribes of the Vindelici among the defeated: the Cosuanetes, Rucinates, Licates, and Catenates.[4]

Towards the end of the 1st century AD, the region of the Vindelici was included in the province of Raetia. Horace alludes to them in his fourth book of Odes,[5] 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[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Compare also Vindobona, Vindomagus, Vindonissa, etc.
  2. ^ Cambodunum has obvious similarities to the Old Irish camb or camm "crooked" and dún "fort".
  3. ^ Servius' commentary on Virgil's Aeneid i. 243.
  4. ^ CIL V, 07817
  5. ^ Odes, iv. 4
  6. ^ "So the Vindelici young Drusus saw/ Leading war home to their own Rhaetian Alps" in Bulwer-Lytton's translation.