The statement in Strabo (ii. 3. 192) that they dwelt between the Arar and Dubis (Doubs) is incorrect. Their territory thus included the greater part of the modern departments of Saône-et-Loire, Côte-d'Or and Nièvre. According to Livy (v. 34), they took part in the expedition of Bellovesus into Italy in the 6th century BC.
Before Caesar's time they had attached themselves to the Romans, and were honoured with the title of brothers and kinsmen of the Roman people. When the Sequani, their neighbours on the other side of the Arar, with whom they were continually quarrelling, invaded their country and subjugated them with the assistance of a Germanic chieftain named Ariovistus, the Aedui sent Diviciacus, the druid, to Rome to appeal to the senate for help, but his mission was unsuccessful.
On his arrival in Gaul (58 BC), Caesar restored their independence. In spite of this, the Aedui joined the Gallic coalition against Caesar (B. G. vii. 42), but after the surrender of Vercingetorix at Alesia were glad to return to their allegiance. Augustus dismantled their native capital Bibracte on Mont Beuvray, and substituted a new town with a half-Roman, half-Gaulish name, Augustodunum (modern Autun).
In 21, during the reign of Tiberius, they revolted under Julius Sacrovir, and seized Augustudunum, but were soon put down by Gaius Silius (Tacitus Ann. iii. 43-46). The Aedui were the first of the Gauls to receive from the emperor Claudius the distinction of jus honorum. The oration of Eumenius, in which he pleaded for the restoration of the schools of his native place Augustodunum, shows that the district was neglected. The chief magistrate of the Aedui in Caesar's time was called Vergobretus (according to Mommsen, "judgment-worker"), who was elected annually, possessed powers of life and death, but was forbidden to go beyond the frontier. Certain clientes, or small communities, were also dependent upon the Aedui.
The Aedui adopted many of the governmental practices of the Romans, such as the electing of magistrates and other officials.