10 Lesser-Known Celtic Leaders Who Fought The Romans

Relating to Celtic leaders who defended their land from the encroaching Romans, one determine immediately involves thoughts—the well-known war-queen Boudicca and her equally well-known (and typically traditionally inaccurate) chariot. It’s straightforward to imagine that she was the one Celtic chief to rally in opposition to the invaders; in precise truth, there are a number of others who haven’t achieved almost the identical fame as Boudicca.

The Romans had been environment friendly and ruthless, so combating them was no straightforward feat. As such, not each Celtic chief who went in opposition to the Romans had a contented ending. Regardless, listed here are ten leaders who dared problem the would possibly of Rome within the title of the Celts.

10 Boduognatus

Celts vs Romans

Boduognatus was the chief of the Nervii folks. His title interprets to “he who was born of the battle crow,” which tells you what sort of particular person he was.

Boduogantus was one of many few leaders who got here near defeating Caesar within the battlefield. Within the Battle of the Sabis, he led some 40,000 Celts—with 60,000 extra hidden in a close-by forest—in opposition to eight of Caesar’s legions (two of which consisted of the “baggage practice”).

Throughout the battle, the 40,000 Celts fled into the forest, hoping to attract the Romans in, however they didn’t give chase. That didn’t cease the Celts, who then gave a shock cost that took Caesar’s forces off guard. The Romans acted rapidly to get right into a defensive stance and managed to show the tide, but it surely was a Pyrrhic victory at finest.

9 Vercingetorix


Vercingetorix lived from 82 to 46 BC and was the chieftain of the Arverni. His title interprets to the very bold “Victor of a Hundred Battles.”

Vercingetorix put himself on the Celtic timeline when he organized a insurrection to cease Caesar from subjugating the folks of Gaul. Not a lot is understood about Vercingetorix’s life earlier than his revolt; even his title was given to him after he got here into the highlight. His actual title was saved secret, because the Celts believed that understanding somebody’s actual title gave the enemy energy.

Vercingetorix would use his forces to disrupt Roman commerce strains and goad fights in his favor, however he fumbled when he misplaced a battle and fled. Caesar countered with a siege in opposition to Vercingetorix’s fortress. Vercingetorix was taken to Rome to point out off Caesar’s prowess, earlier than being executed six years later.

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8 Caratacus


King of the Catuvellauni, Caratacus led his military along with his brother. Mixed, they helped to stave off the Roman armies for nearly 9 years. His personal forces had been outnumbered by the Romans, so he drew out the conquest by choosing spots that had been straightforward to defend and labored to repel the oncoming forces for so long as he might. He was thought to be a hero even after he misplaced the battle in opposition to Ostorious Scapula in AD 51 and was captured.

Even after his seize, Caratacus caught a break. He was well-known for his character, which performed an vital half when he was introduced earlier than Claudius for trial in Rome. His heart-capturing closing speech brought about Claudius to pardon him for his actions. He and his household lived the remainder of their lives in Italy.

7 Ambiorix


Ambiorix was nothing in need of a slippery character. Chief of the Eburones tribe, he managed to get on the nice facet of a legion and half of Caesar’s troops. He used the insider info gleaned to start out a revolt and assault the camp.

When the assault failed, he managed to persuade the camp that the revolts had been widespread, Caesar had fled Gail, and that Germans had been on the way in which to bloodbath the Romans. The camp fled, solely to be almost worn out in an ambush arrange for them.

It was Caesar’s worst loss within the Gallic Conflict, so he needed revenge. He worn out the rebels, leaving Ambiorix for final. Ambiorix knew he was severely outnumbered, so when the Romans got here for him, he merely advised his military to unfold out and flee. He hid within the woods, never to be seen again.

6 Cassivellaunus


Cassivellaunus performed an important function in opposing Caesar throughout his second invasion in opposition to the Celts. Caesar had realized from his errors throughout his first invasion, so as a substitute of bringing two legions, he introduced 5. This was, clearly, a large drawback for the Celts, so that they weren’t very assured in enaging the Romans in a straight struggle.

Cassivellaunus responded by denying Caesar a correct struggle, as a substitute backpedaling into the woods and making guerilla strikes in opposition to the forces. The Romans made heavy use of chariots, which Cassivellaunus made certain to capitalize on in his shock assaults.

Cassivellaunus would finally have his stronghold ratted out by different captured Celtic leaders. His stronghold fell to the Romans, and Cassivellaunus fled. He tried one final assault on a Roman camp, however he failed and sued for give up. He needed to promise to not wage war against the Romans once more however was in any other case left alone.

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5 Dumnorix

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Dumnorix was the chief of an anti-Roman faction within the Aedui tribe, which was largely allied with Caesar. He joined Orgetorix and his Helvetii as they migrated from fashionable Switzerland to France. Caesar wasn’t too happy with this and denied them journey throughout his lands.

Dumnorix acquired permission from the Sequani to cross their lands, the place pro-Rome Aedui lived. Caesar didn’t like this, so he reduce off Dumnorix with the Battle of the Ara. Even worse, the pro-Rome Aedui had taken poorly to Dumnorix and attacked, which means that he needed to struggle two completely different forces.

The Romans managed to defeat among the Helvetian forces, so the armies settled into negotiations. Nonetheless, they fell aside. Dumnorix continued the migration, however the Romans shadowed them. He was finally taken hostage by Caesar. He was killed after he tried to flee the camp wherein he was saved.

4 Convictolitavis

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Convictolitavis got here into the image when he and Cotos fought over management of the Aedui tribe. Caesar helped Convictolitavis to win in hopes that he’d assist struggle in opposition to Vercingetorix, however Convictolitavis advised Caesar that he “didn’t owe him something”—one thing that may chew Caesar afterward.

When Caesar led his military in opposition to Vercingetorix in a siege of Gergovia, he anticipated Convictolitavis to assist him. As a substitute, Convictolitavis revealed his true colours and aided Vercingetorix halfway into the struggle, catching Caesar unaware and inflicting him to lose the battle completely. It was one of many few instances the place Caesar had been simply outdone.

3 Viridomarus


Viridomarus (or Britomartus, relying on translation) was a Gallic king in 222 BC. Not a lot is understood about him, apart from how attacked the Roman village of Clastidium. Sadly for him, a very profitable Roman cavalry chief named M. Claudius Marcellus caught wind of his assault. Marcellus redirected his military to Clastidium and attacked Viridomarus’s forces from the entrance after which from the edges and rear, which broke Viridomarus’s army.

Attempting to make one thing good of a nasty state of affairs, Viridomarus challenged Marcellus to single mounted fight. Marcellus accepted and gained the duel, which earned Marcellus a spolia opima (spoils from a slain commander) for killing a Gallic king.

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2 Venutius

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Venutius was king of the Brigantes, alongside along with his spouse, Queen Cartimandua. When Caratacus arrived at Brigantium to seek out assist in opposition to the Romans, Cartimandua responded by capturing him and turning him over to Caesar. Venutius disliked this transfer, and when Cartimandua divorced him for his armor-bearer, Vellocatus, he started a revolt that was initially in opposition to Cartimandua however then escalated into an anti-Roman trigger. The Romans stepped in, quelled the revolt, and introduced the couple again collectively once more.

Venutius wasn’t executed, nevertheless. Throughout the Roman “12 months of 4 emperors” (AD 68 to 69), the Roman authorities was unstable. Utilizing this weak spot, Venutius staged one other revolt. Cartimandua requested Rome for help however acquired solely auxiliary items. She was finally overthrown by Venutius, who acted as a thorn in Rome’s side till his defeat.

1 Brennus

Sacking of Rome

We’ve already coated a struggle chief named Brennus (see “10 Forgotten Conquerors From Historical Historical past”). This can be a completely different Brennus, who appeared within the fourth century AD and fought in opposition to the Romans.

Brennus has an particularly massive declare to fame, since he was the primary commander to sack Rome. He commanded his forces within the Battle of the Allia over Rome, which led to Brennus’s victory and the Gallic Celts managing to safe a big majority of the town. The Romans negotiated Brennus’ go away with 450 kilograms (1,000 lb) of gold. Brennus responded through the use of overly heavy weights on the scales used to measure the gold after which threw his personal sword atop the weights and stated, “Vae Victis,” or “Woe to the vanquished.”

S.E. Batt is a contract author and creator. He enjoys keyboard, cats, and tea, although the three of them by no means mix properly collectively. You may comply with his antics over at @Simon_Batt or his fiction web site at sebatt.com


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