Aedui: A Celtic tribe once ruled by the princes Diviciacos and Dumnorix, who were real men. The Aedui covered the Burgundy area.
Ambiani: The Celtic tribe bordering Emyn’s village. Caesar named the northern portion of Gaul the Belgae, and the Ambiani would have been included in that area.
Armorica: The northwest region of France, covering today’s Brittany and extending south of the Loire. The Veneti and other tribes lived in this area, but it is also home to ancient, pre-Celtic stoneworks, like Carnac, which is pictured above. Emyn visits Carnac in Chapter 18.
Bellovaci: The largeset tribe of the northern area of France that Caesar defined as Belgae.
Beltane: A great festival of the Celts celebrated around May 1. As with most Celtic festivals, no records tell us exactly how the people of ancient Gaul celebrated, but Irish traditions include dancing, bonfires, and driving cattle through the smoke of the fires.
Carnute: A Celtic tribe in the center of Gaul. Chartres would have been in Carnute territory.
Geis: An individual taboo. Only criminals and very important people were burdened with a geis, and it usually came from a druid. In Dumnorix’ case, he was told he must never cross the sea–that was his geis. To defy the geis invited death and destruction.
Imbolc: This winter festival took place January 31-February 1, and was related to when pregnant ewes started to lactate–close to when their lambs would be born. No doubt it celebrated longer days and the coming spring.
Helvetii: A large tribe that originally may have migrated from across the Danube in the century before Caesar’s conquest. They attempted to move further west and caught Caesar’s eye during his first year as governor of the region. By intercepting them, he provoked what became an 8-year long war against Gaul. After being defeated, the Helvetii were forced by Caesar to remain in the southern area of Gaul that is today’s Switzerland, and the Swiss are referred to as Helvetian to this day.
Liger: The Loire River.
Lugnasad: A festival celebrating summer, sacred to the god Lugh. Traditionally it falls on August 2 in Celtic countries.
Luteca: Paris, back in the days when the city was contained on a river island.
Namnete: A Celtic tribe just south of the Veneti, along the Loire River.
Nervii: A Celtic tribe, possibly with Germanic roots, located near the border of France and Belgium. Caesar described them as a warrior people who did not drink alcohol.
Samar/Samarnum: Samar is the Celtic name for the river Somme. Samarnum, Emyn’s village, is a fictional place set a few miles east of Amiens, France.
Samhain: The Celtic new year and harvest festival, and the most important day of the year, according to many experts. It fell on October 31 to November 1 (to the Celts a day started at sunset) and is the forerunner of our Halloween.
Troscad: A hunger strike against a particular person who’s done the striker an injustice. The injured party sits at the doorstep of the person they have a grievance against, refusing food and drink from dawn to dusk until they receive justice. Troscad was still being used in 20th century Ireland, when some men fasted until they died.
Veneti: While it’s not a Celtic name, the Veneti are accepted as a Celtic tribe, the most powerful tribe in Brittany before Caesar’s day. The Veneti were a sea-going people, carrying on trade with Britain to the north, and other tribes to the south.
Venetona: The fictionalized capital of the Veneti which sat on the Morbihan Bay. To date, it has not been located by archaeologists. The city of Vannes, founded by the Romans, is roughly where I picture Venetona to be–but no pre-Roman ruins have ever been found there.
Viromandui: Emyn’s people, a tribe in today’s Picardie region of France.