Can you ever truly eradicate a culture? Sure, throughout history countless cultures have been mercilessly stamped out, oftentimes deserved so, but does not some vestige of their ideas linger on? People tell me, that there’s some new culture claiming Gaulish decent in Gaul these days (great more barbarians), which leads me to believe that you can never quite fully sanitize a region.
Fortunately, however, information on the Gauls is scant – I can sleep easy knowing the youth are not threatened.
Even Rome herself, in all her glory, has gone the way of the Gauls, but the city still stands. People still speak derivative Latin languages. What caused Rome to fall? And more importantly, why do we remember Rome over a filthy people such as the Gauls? What causes a civilization to stand the test of time?
I have a few theories in this regard. Firstly, Rome spread far and wide in its breath, conquering most of Europe at her peak. Artifacts of Rome can be found from Turkey all the way to England. Rome’s influence is pretty much inescapable. The Romans can claim influence on everything from our philosophy to our language. But that answer is too obvious. Gauls had their own language and customs as pitiful as they were. Political regimes rise and fall. They are delicate and temporal creatures constrained by mortality. What did Gaul have? That’s right a pitiful stretch of land between the Atlantic and the Alps.
Which leads me to my second theory on why Rome still resonates: ideas from literature. Now that sounds stupid, flowery, and awfully abstract, but hear me out. Our primary source of information on Greece and Rome comes from the surviving literature from the ancient world. Caesar, Cicero, and Ovid all live on through their works. Long all after all of its original actors are dead, good plays will live on. The reason that Roman literature is so fascinating to me is the fresh perspective that it gives me. Every time I’ve read the Odyssey I feel like I learn something new. Where is your Odyssey Gauls? You brutes were too busy using soap and drinking beer to write anything down. Losers.
I’m glad the winners write the histories. We get to relay the narrative we want. To quote Sean Connery from the movie, the Rock: “Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen.” Which segues into my next point: Rome always had the better orgies. In all seriousness, the victors dictate the narrative of history. The main source of information I could find on the Gauls was a section in Foreign Wars written by Appian, a Greek historian. I also searched for information on Gaulish language and the sources I found were questionable at best.
In short, you could make any claim about the Gauls and no one would challenge you since no one has any hard evidence to the contrary. I can call the Gauls dirty. I can call them freeloaders. The Romans certainly had a vested interest in decrying their one time enemies. The Romans got the chance to tell their own story, how they wanted. What of modern times? How many more “Gauls” are going to get stamped out along the way? What is our narrative going to be?
Sources: Gaul Language info – http://www.orbilat.com/Encyclopaedia/G/Gaulish_language.html
Gaulish History through Roman prospective – http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0230%3Atext%3DGall.%3Achapter%3D1%3Asection%3D1
-The Artist Formerly known as, and Currently known as, and Forwardly known Dr. Sir Rev. Notorious T Waafles III jr PHD MD