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Galatian

Historical Overview Section

Galatia, an ancient region of Asia Minor, was named for the immigrant Gauls from Thrace (cf. Tylis), who settled here and became its ruling caste in the 3rd century BC. The Galatians were in their origin a part of the great Celtic migration which invaded Macedon, led by the 'second' Brennus, a word for chief. Galatia was bounded on the north by Bithynia and Paphlagonia, on the east by Pontus and Cappadocia, on the south by Cilicia and Lycaonia, and on the west by Phrygia. Its capital was Ancyra (i.e. Ankara, today the capital of modern Turkey ).

The Galatians were in their origin a part of the great Celtic migration which invaded Macedon, led by Brennus. The original Celts who settled in Galatia came through Thrace under the leadership of Leotarios and Leonnorios c. 270 BC. These Celts consisted of three tribes, the Tectosages, the Trocmii, and the Tolistobogii - the latter also being an ancient Celtic euphemism for testicles.

Brennus invaded Greece in 281 BC with a huge war band and was turned back before he could plunder the temple of Apollo at Delphi. At the same time another Gaulish group were migrating through Thrace. They had split off from Brennus' people in 279 BC, and had migrated into Thrace under their leaders Leonnorius and Lutarius (Lenny and Luke in new money). These invaders appeared in Asia Minor in 278-277 BC; others invaded Macedonia, killed the Later Ptolemaic ruler Ptolemy Ceraunus but were eventually ousted by Antigonus Gonatas, the grandson of the defeated Diadoch Antigonus the One-Eyed and one of the Early Successors.

The invaders came at the invitation of Nicomedes I of Bithynia, who required help in a dynastic struggle against his brother. Three tribes crossed over from Thrace to Asia Minor. They numbered about 10,000 fighting men and about the same number of women and children, divided into three tribes, Trocmi, Tolistobogii and Tectosages. One favoured the left, one hung to the right however to have a third was highly unusual and also placed them a clear two ahead of Hitler . They were eventually defeated by the Later Seleucid king Antiochus I, in a battle where the Seleucid war elephants shocked the Celts. While the momentum of the invasion was broken, the Galatians were by no means exterminated. Instead, the migration led to the establishment of a long-lived Celtic territory in central Anatolia, which included the eastern part of ancient Phrygia, a territory that became known as Galatia. There they ultimately settled, and being strengthened by fresh accessions of the same clan from Europe, they overran Bithynia and supported themselves by plundering neighbouring countries.

The Galatians were great warriors, respected by Greeks and Romans and famous for fighting naked - these two things may not have been entirely unrelated. They were often hired as mercenary soldiers, sometimes fighting on both sides in the great battles of the times and many of them earned enough money to actually buy themselves some pants. For years the chieftains and their war bands ravaged the western half of Asia Minor as allies of one or other of the warring princes without any serious check until they sided with the renegade Later Seleucid prince Antiochus Hierax, who reigned in Asia Minor. Hierax tried to defeat king Attalus I of the Attalid Pergamon Kingdom (241-197 BC), but instead, the Hellenized cities united under Attalus's banner, and his armies inflicted several severe defeats upon them, about 232 forcing them to settle permanently and to confine themselves to the region to which they had already given their name.

In 189 BC, the Late Republican Romans sent Gnaeus Manlius Vulso on an expedition against the Galatians, the Galatian War. He defeated them. Galatia was henceforth dominated by the Late Republican Romans through regional rulers from 189 BC onward. Galatia declined and fell at times under Pontic ascendancy. They were finally freed by the Mithridatic Wars, during which they supported the Late Republican Romans.

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