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Location of the Parisii.
A map of Gaul in the 1st century BC, showing the relative positions of the Celtic tribes.
Gold coins of the Parisii, 1st century BC ( Cabinet des Médailles, Paris).
Coin of the Parisii: obverse with horse, 1st century BC ( Cabinet des Médailles, Paris).
Coins of the Parisii ( Metropolitan Museum of Art).

The Parisii ( Gaulish: *Parisioi; Greek: Παρίσιοι, romanizedParísioi) were a Gallic tribe that dwelt on the banks of the river Seine during the Iron Age and the Roman era. They lived on lands now occupied by the modern city of Paris, whose name is derived from the ethnonym.


They are mentioned as Parisii by Caesar (mid-1st c. BC), [1] Parísioi (Παρίσιοι; var. Παρήσιοι) by Strabo (early 1st c. AD) and Ptolemy (2nd c. AD), [2] Parisi by Pliny (mid-1st c. AD), [3] and as Parisius and Parisios in the Notitia Dignitatum (5th c. AD). [4] [5] Another tribe named Parisii is also documented in Britain. [6]

The ethnic name Parisii is a latinized form of Gaulish Parisioi (sing. Parisios). Its meaning has been debated. According to Xavier Delamarre, it may derive from the stem pario- ('cauldron'). [6] Alfred Holder interpreted the name as 'the makers' or 'the commanders', by comparing it to the Welsh peryff ('lord, commander'), both possibly descending from a Proto-Celtic form reconstructed as *kwar-is-io-. [7] Alternatively, Pierre-Yves Lambert proposed to translate Parisii as the 'spear people', by connecting the first element to the Old Irish carr 'spear', derived from an earlier *kwar-sā. [5]

The city of Paris, attested as Lutetiam Oppidum Parisiorum by Caesar (Parision in the 5th c. AD, Paris in 1265), is named after the Gallic tribe. [8] [5]


The Parisii settled in the territory surrounding their chief town (or oppidum) about 250 BC, as first mentioned in Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico. [9]

According to the Commentarii de Bello Gallico, when the Romans under Caesar entered this territory, the Parisii started burning down their own towns for they were willing to give up these possessions rather than have them taken by the Romans. [10]

In 52 BC, in concert with the Suessiones, the Parisii participated in the general rising of Vercingetorix against Julius Caesar. Before the Roman period, the Parisii had their own gold coinage. [10]

Once part of the Roman Empire the Parisii oppidum later became the site of Lutetia, an important city in the Roman province of Gallia Lugdunensis, and ultimately the modern city of Paris, whose name is derived from the name of the tribe. An ancient trade route between Germania and Hispania existed at the area, by way of the meeting of the Oise and Marne rivers with the Seine. [11] [12]

See also


  1. ^ Caesar. Commentarii de Bello Gallico, 4:3, passim.
  2. ^ Strabo. Geōgraphiká, 4:3:5; Ptolemy. Geōgraphikḕ Hyphḗgēsis, 2:8:10.
  3. ^ Pliny. Naturalis Historia, 4:107.
  4. ^ Notitia Dignitatum, oc 42, 23, 66.
  5. ^ a b c Falileyev 2010, s.v. Parisii and Lutetia.
  6. ^ a b Delamarre 2003, p. 247.
  7. ^ Busse 2006, p. 199.
  8. ^ Nègre 1990, p. 155.
  9. ^ E. Planta - A new picture of Paris; or, The stranger's guide to the French metropolis Samuel Leigh & Baldwin & Cradock 1831 (16th edition). Retrieved on 2017-04-23 from (1st return).
  10. ^ a b "Paris". Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica. 2014.
  11. ^ Andrew Ayers - The Architecture of Paris: An Architectural Guide Edition Axel Menges, 2004 ISBN  393069896X Retrieved 23 April 2017
  12. ^ H. Sauval - Histoire et recherches des antiquités de la ville de Paris, Volume 1 chés C. Moette, 1724 > 1st return Retrieved 23 April 2017


  • Busse, Peter E. (2006). "Belgae". In Koch, John T. (ed.). Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 195–200. ISBN  978-1-85109-440-0.
  • Delamarre, Xavier (2003). Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise: Une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental. Errance. ISBN  9782877723695.
  • Falileyev, Alexander (2010). Dictionary of Continental Celtic Place-names: A Celtic Companion to the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. CMCS. ISBN  978-0955718236.
  • Nègre, Ernest (1990). Toponymie générale de la France. Librairie Droz. ISBN  978-2-600-02883-7.

Further reading

  • Duval, Paul-Marie (1961). Paris antique: des origines au troisième siècle. Hermann. OCLC  954302664.

External links

  • Media related to Parisii at Wikimedia Commons