Gallia

PLATE NO. 2

Wales, France, Lerine, Belgium, Flanders, and Frisse with surrounding countries.

North of the Pyrenees and west of the Alps, and settled just up to the Rhine River by the Romans in antiquity, Gallia is a land of cultural paradoxes. The French, borne from the medieval Theodic Kingdom of the Franks, are neither Theodic nor Celtic, and deviate quite drastically from other Roman successor states in both language and culture. The Welsh, though Celtic, are not descendants of the original Celtic inhabitants of this part of Europea, but rather, migrated over from the British Isles. And the other original peoples of the area, the Aquitani, became a people who now share more cultural heritage with their Iberian neighbours than they do with their Gallic ones. It is said, therefore, that Gallia is one of those parts of Europea most emblematic of the radical cultural shifts that occurred during the Migration Period of Europea.

I. Land


In antiquity, Gallia consisted of three sections, roughly corresponding to the inhabitants of each area at the time. The Gallia Celtica section, which is the area that boasts the most documented history of Celtic peoples in mainland Europea, now forms the bulk of the modern nation of France and the Armorica Peninsula in the western extremity. The Aquitanian section of Gallia in the southwest is now split between the French province of Guyenne, which is itself a cognate of Aquitania, and the northern portion of Navarre, a country mostly situated in the Iberian Peninsula to the south of the Pyrenee range but which sees itself as the successor to the Aquitani people and, and which continues to be poetically referred to by the related term, Aquitaine. The area that experienced the least drastic cultural shift is the Belgica section, from which the modern state of Belgium takes its name. This section corresponds to the modern Netherlands, otherwise known as the Low Countries, and has long been a meeting point of different cultures and the Theodic, Ausonic, and Celtic linguistic branches of the Indo-European language family. Today, the state of Belgium, similar to the alpine state of Helvetium, is still a convergent point between Ausonic and Theodic peoples. The Wallon people speak a language related to French and other northern dialects of the Gallic branch of the Ausonic language family, and the Theyon people speak a Franconian vernacular related to Alman and German.

Much of Gallia is fertile, well-fed by rivers, and gets the best of the northern sun. The temperate climate here is a little warmer than in other parts of the northern European mainland in the winter and experiences milder summers. Compared to Britain, which has the most similar climate, the countries of Gallia receive more sunshine in summers and less rain in winters. In the northern France, the Netherlands, and Wales, snow falls in the winter, whereas temperatures stay above freezing for much of the year south of the Armorica Peninsula on the west coast and in the Riviera on the Mediterranean Coast. The northern part of Gallia is mostly flatland and highly conducive to agriculture. Almost all of the Armorica Peninsula and the Netherlands, as well as the French provinces of Picardy, Normandy, Champagne, Maine, and Île de France, have been converted for agriculture. Oak woodlands, coastal dunes, and large tidal flats characterize much of the remaining uncultivated lands in France, while in southern France and Lerine, historically known as Septimania, the natural landscape is also characterized by lush stands of olive and carob trees, stands of oak mixed with pine, and expanses of littoral wetlands. Like much of western Europea, native megafauna have mostly been hunted to extinction.