Gallia Narbonensis

Gallia Narbonensis (Narbonese Gaul) was a Roman province located in what is now Languedoc and Provence, in southern France. Narbonese Gaul lay between the Alps, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Cévennes Mountains. It comprised what is now southeastern France.


It had previously been known as Gallia Transalpina (Transalpine Gaul). The province of Gallia Transalpina was later renamed Gallia Narbonensis, after its capital the Roman colony of Narbo Martius (Narbonne), which was founded on the coast in 118 BC. The Romans called it Provincia Nostra ("our province") or simply Provincia ("the province"), being the first significant permanent conquest outside the Italian peninsula. The name has survived in the modern French name of the region, Provence, now a région of France.


Bordering directly on Italy, control of the province gave the Roman state several advantages, such as control of the land route between Italy and the Iberian peninsula; a buffer against attacks on Italy by tribes from Gaul; and control of the lucrative trade routes of the Rhone valley, over which commercial goods flowed between Gaul and the trading center of Massalia, modern Marseille.

The area became a Roman province in 121 BC, originally under the name of Gallia Transalpina (Transalpine Gaul). This name was chosen to distinguish it from Cisalpine Gaul. Transalpine means "the far side of the Alps", while Cisalpine means "this side of the Alps". Cisalpine Gaul was on the east of the Alps range, in what is now northern Italy and parts of France; while Transalpine Gaul was to the west, in what is now south-east France. Together, the regions made up the region of Gaul, which was called Gallia by the Romans.

At one point, Narbonese Gaul and Transalpine Gaul were governed as separate territories - when the Second Triumvirate was formed, Lepidus was given responsibility for Narbonese Gaul and Spain, while Antony was given Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul.

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