Period I newsletter

Les provinces romaines Alpes Graies et Poenines. Fondation Pierre Gianadda Martigny, Photo: TES.

The Celtic Tribes of the Alps

The Alpine chain was divided from north to south In ancient times: the Alps Poenines (Alpes Poeninae), the Alps Graies (Alpes Graiae), the Alps Cottiennes (Alpes Cottiae) and the Alps Maritimes (Alpes Maritimes). The Graies and Poenines Alps extended over different Celtic regions and peoples. The Graies include the Tarentaise, the Beaufortain and the Haut-Faucigny. Valais belonged to the Poenine Alps. The Tarentaise and the Valais were important routes to Italy, Gaul and Britain.

Several passes connected different regions. The Cormet d’Arêches and Roselend connect the Tarentaise with the Beaufortain. The Bonhomme and Forclaz du Prarion passes link the Beaufortain and Haut-Faucigny, the Balme and Forclaz de Trento passes connect the Val de Chamonix and Valais. The little St. Bernard (Le Petit Saint-Bernard) joins the Tarentaise with the Valle d’Aosta and the big Bernhard (Grand-Saint-Bernard) Valais with the Aosta Valley (Valle d’Aosta). The Tarentaise, Valais and Valle d’Aosta were essential transport routes.

The Ceutrones inhabited the Graies Alps, their capital was Aime (Axima). Four  tribes inhabited the Poenines Alps: the Nantuaten, the Veragri, the Sedunas and the Uberi. The Nantuaten lived in the Rhone valley from Lake Geneva to Saint-Maurice (Agaune) and had Massongex (Tarnaiae) as their capital. The Veragri inhabited the valleys of Trento and Martigny. The Sedunas lived in the area around Sion and the Uberi in Valais between Sierre and Brig up to the source of the Rhone at the Gotthard (Adulas mons or Columna Solis).  (source: A. Puéjean, Les Alpes Graies et Poenines à l’époque romaine, Nîmes, 2015).