The Story of Switzerland by Lina Hug and Richard Stead - HTML preview

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off by a diadem of long pins with large heads beautifully chiselled,

and inlaid with beads of metal or glass, these pins being stuck

through a sort of leathern fillet which bound up the hair. So beautiful

are some of the trinkets, that imitations of them in gold are in request

by the ladies of to-day.

[Pg 7]



(Copied by permission from "Harper's Magazine.")

[Pg 8]

It is curious to find that one of the most extensive lake colonies in

Switzerland is situated in and spread over the vast marshes of

Robenhausen (Zurich) which once formed part of Lake Pfäffikon. The

visitor who is not deterred by the inconvenience of a descent into a

damp and muddy pit some 11 feet deep, where excavations are still

being carried on, finds himself facing three successive settlements,

one above another, and all belonging to the remote stone age.

Between the successive settlements are layers of turf, some 3 feet

thick, the growth of many centuries. The turf itself is covered by a

stratum of sticky matter, 4 inches thick. In this are numbers of relics

embedded, both destructible and indestructible objects being

perfectly well preserved, the former kept from decay through having

been charred by fire. The late Professor Heer discovered and

analysed remains of more than a hundred different kinds of plants.

Grains, and even whole ears of wheat and barley, seeds of








implements, hatchets of nephrite—this mineral and the Oriental

cereals show clearly enough that the lakemen traded with the East,

though no doubt through the Mediterranean peoples—spinning-

wheels, corn-squeezers, floorings, fragmentary walls—all these are

found in plenty, in each of the three layers. The topmost settlement,

however, contains no destructible matters, such as corn, fruits, &c.

This is to be accounted for by the fact that the two lower settlements

were destroyed by fire, and the uppermost one by the growth of the

turf, or by the rising marshes. In the latter case there was no friendly

action of fire to preserve the various objects.

The scholar's mind is at once carried back to the account given by

Herodotus of Thrakian lake-dwellers.[3] The people of this tribe, he tells us, built their houses over water, so as to gain facilities for

fishing. They used to let down baskets through trapdoors in the floors

of their huts, and these baskets rapidly filled with all kinds of fish that

had gathered around, tempted by the droppings of food.

[Pg 9]

Though the lakemen depended chiefly on the water for their supply of

food, yet they were hunters, and great tillers of the ground as well as

fishermen. They grew wheat and barley, and kept horses, cattle,

sheep, and goats. The women spun flax and wool, and wove them

into fabrics for clothing. Their crockery was at first of a very primitive

description, being made of black clay, and showing but little finish or

artistic design. But the children were not forgotten, for they were

supplied with tiny mugs and cups.[4]

[Pg 10]



(Copied by permission from "Harper's Magazine."

[Pg 11]

With regard to the date when the immigration of lakemen began the

savants are hopelessly at variance. Nor do they agree any better as

to the dates of the stone and bronze epochs into which the history of

the lake settlements divides itself. But as in some of the marshy

stations these two epochs reach on to the age of iron, it is assumed

by many authorities that the lake dwellers lived on to historical times.

This is particularly shown in the alluvial soil and marshes between the

lakes of Neuchâtel and Bienne, Préfargier being one of the chief

stations, where settlements belonging to the stone, bronze, and iron

ages are found ranged one above another in chronological order. In

the topmost stratum or colony, the lakemen's wares are found

mingling pell-mell with iron and bronze objects of Helvetian and

Roman make, a fact sufficient, probably, to show that the lake

dwellers associated with historical peoples. It would be useless as

well as tedious to set forth at length all the theories prevailing as to

the origin and age of the lake dwellings. Suffice it to say that, by

some authorities, the commencement of the stone period is placed at

six thousand, and by others at three thousand years before the

Christian era, the latter being probably nearest the truth. As to the

age of bronze, we may safely assign it to 1100-1000 b.c., for

Professor Heer proves conclusively that the time of Homer—the

Greek age of bronze—was contemporary with the bronze epoch of

the lakemen.[5]

The Lake period would seem to have drawn to a close about 600-700

b.c., when the age of bronze was superseded by that of iron.

According to the most painstaking investigations made by Mr. Heierli,


[Pg 12]

Zurich, now the greatest authority on the subject in Switzerland, the

lakemen left their watery settlements about the date just given, and

began to fix their habitations on terra firma. Various tombs already

found on land would bear witness to this change. When these

peculiar people had once come on shore to live they would be

gradually absorbed into neighbouring and succeeding races, no

doubt into some of the Celtic tribes, and most likely into the Helvetian

peoples. Thus they have their part, however small it may be, in the

history of the Swiss nation. It must be added that the Pfahl-bauer are

no longer held to have been a Celtic people, but are thought to have

belonged to some previous race, though which has not as yet been


But enough has been written on the subject, perhaps. Yet, on the

other hand, it would have been impossible to pass over the lakemen

in silence, especially now when the important discoveries of similar

lake settlements in East Yorkshire have drawn to the subject the

attention of all intelligent English-speaking people.[6]



There are two distinct kinds of settlement, but we are here dealing with the

first or earlier kind.


Herod, v. 16.


The lake tribes of the bronze age, however, not only understood the use of

copper and bronze, but were far more proficient in the arts than their

predecessors. Some of the textile fabrics found are of the most

complicated weaving, and some of the bronze articles are of most

exquisite chiselling, though these were probably imported from Italy, with

which country the lake dwellers would seem to have had considerable

traffic. The earliest specimens of pottery are usually ornamented by mere

rude nail scratchings, but those of the bronze period have had their straight

lines and curves made by a graving tool. In fact, the later tribes had

become lovers of art for its own sake, and even the smallest articles of

manufacture were decorated with designs of more or less elaboration and



The products of the soil seem to have been the same amongst the

lakemen as amongst Homer's people. Both knew barley and wheat, and

neither of them knew rye. In their mode of dressing and preparing barley

for food the two peoples concurred. It was not made into bread, but

roasted to bring off the husk. And roasted barley is still a favourite article of

diet in the Lower Engadine. The Greeks ate it at their sacrifices, and

always took supplies of it when starting on a journey. So Telemachus asks

his old nurse Eurykleia to fill his goat skin with roasted barley when he sets

out in search of his father. And young Greek brides were required to

complete the stock of household belongings by providing on their marriage

day a roasting vessel for barley.


Those who wish to see pretty well all that can be said on the matter should

read the valuable article in The Westminster Review, for June, 1887.

[Pg 13]



The history of a country often includes the history of many peoples,

for history is a stage on which nations and peoples figure like

individual characters, playing their parts and making their exits,

others stepping into their places. And so the Swiss soil has been







Burgundians, Franks. These have all made their mark upon and

contributed to the history of the Swiss nation, and must all figure in

the earlier portions of our story.

Dim are the glimpses we catch of the early condition of the

Helvetians, but the mist that enshrouds this people clears, though

slowly, at the end of the second century before Christ, when they

came into close contact with the Romans who chronicled their deeds.

The Helvetians themselves, indeed, though not ignorant of the art of

writing, were far too much occupied in warfare to be painstaking

annalists. At the Celto-Roman period of which we are treating,

Helvetia comprised all the territory lying between Mount Jura, Lake

Geneva, and Lake Constance,

[Pg 14]

with the exception of Basle, which included Graubünden, and

reached into St. Gall and Glarus. It was parcelled out amongst many

tribes, even as it is in our own day. The Helvetians, who had

previously occupied all the land between the Rhine and the Main, had

been driven south by the advancing Germans, and had colonized the

fertile plains and the lower hill grounds of Switzerland, leaving to

others the more difficult Alpine regions. They split into four tribes, of

which we know the names of three—the Tigurini, Toygeni, and

Verbigeni. The first named seem to have settled about Lake Morat,

with Aventicum (Avenches) as their capital. Basle was the seat of the

Rauraci; to the west of Neuchâtel was that of the Sequani; whilst

Geneva belonged to the wild Allobroges. The Valais[7] district was inhabited by four different clans, and was known as the "Pœnine

valley," on account of the worship of Pœninus on the Great St.

Bernard, where was a temple to the deity. In the Ticino were the

Lepontines, a Ligurian tribe whose name still lingers in "Lepontine

Alps." The mountain fastnesses of the Grisons (Graubünden) were

held by the hardy Rhætians, a Tuscan tribe, who, once overcome by

the Romans, speedily adopted their speech and customs. Romansh,

a corrupt Latin, holds its own to this day in the higher and remoter

valleys of that canton.

All these tribes, except the two last mentioned, belonged to the great

and martial family of the Celts, and of them all the wealthiest, the

most valiant, and

[Pg 15]

the most conspicuous were the Helvetians.[8] Of the life and disposition of these Helvetians we know but little, but no doubt they

bore the general stamp of the Celts. They managed the javelin more

skilfully than the plough, and to their personal courage it is rather than

to their skill in tactics that they owe their reputation as great warriors.

But in course of time their character was greatly modified, and, owing

probably to their secluded position, they settled down into more

peaceful habits, and rose to wealth and honour, combining with their

great powers a certain amount of culture. They practised the art of

writing, having adopted the Greek alphabet, and gold, which was

possibly found in their rivers, circulated freely amongst them. To

judge from the relics found in Helvetian tumuli the Helvetians were

fond of luxuries in the way of ornaments and fine armour, and they

excelled in the art of working metals, especially bronze. They had

made some progress in agriculture, and in the construction of their

houses, and more especially of the walls that guarded their towns,

which struck the Romans by their neatness and practicalness. Nor

would this be to be wondered at if the old legends could be trusted,

which tell us that Hercules himself taught the Helvetians to build, and

likewise gave them their laws; an allusion, no doubt, to the fact that

culture came to them from the east, from the peoples around the

Mediterranean. Besides many hamlets, they had founded no fewer

than four hundred villages and twelve towns, and seem to have been

well able to select for their settlements the most picturesque and

convenient spots. For many of their place-names have come down to

us, in some cases but little changed. Thus of colonies we have

Zuricum (Zurich), Salodurum (Soleure), Vindonissa (Windisch),

Lousonium (Lausanne), and Geneva; of rivers navigable or otherwise

useful, Rhine, Rhone, Aar, Reuss, Thur; of mountains, Jura and

perhaps Camor. Disliking the hardships of Alpine life the Helvetians

left the giant mountains to a sturdier race.

[Pg 16]




[Pg 17]

The nature of their political code was republican, yet it was largely

tinctured with elements of an aristocratic kind. Their nobles were

wealthy landed proprietors, with numerous vassals, attendants, and

slaves. In case their lord was impeached these retainers would take

his part before the popular tribunal. The case of Orgetorix may be

cited. He was a dynastic leader, and head over one hundred valley

settlements; his name appears on Helvetian silver coins as Orcitrix.

He was brought to trial on a charge of aspiring to the kingship, and no

fewer than a thousand followers appeared at the court to clear him,

but vox populi vox dei, and the popular vote prevailed. Orgetorix was

sentenced to die by fire, a punishment awarded to all who

encroached upon the popular rights.

Their form of religion was most probably that common to all the Celts,

Druidical worship. Invested with power, civil and spiritual, the Druids

held absolute sway over the superstitious Celtic tribes. Proud as the

Celts were of their independence, they yet were incapable of

governing themselves because of the perpetual dissensions amongst

the tribes; and

[Pg 18]

they were overawed by the intellectual superiority of a priesthood that

professed all the sciences of the age—medicine, astrology,

soothsaying, necromancy—and had taken into its hands the

education of the young. The common people were mere blind

devotees, and rendered unquestioning obedience to the decrees of

the Druids. Druidism was, in fact, the only power which could move

the whole Celtic race, and could knit together the Celts of the Thames

and those of the Garonne and Rhone, when they met at the great

yearly convocation at Chartres, then the "Metropolis of the Earth."

Human sacrifice was one of the most cruel and revolting features of

the Druidical religion.

The Celts were a peculiarly gifted people, though differing greatly

from the contemporary Greeks and Romans. They had been a

governing race before the Romans appeared on the stage, and

wrested from them the leading part. They had overrun the whole

world, so to speak, casting about for a fixed home, and spread as far

as the British Isles, making Gaul their religious and political centre,

and settled down into more peaceful habits. Driven by excess of

population, or their unquenchable thirst for war, or simply their








retrogression—they migrated eastwards whence they came—to Italy,

Greece, and Asia Minor—demanding territory, and striking terror into

every nation they approached by their warlike habits. They knocked

at the gates of Rome, and the Galatians were conspicuous by their

atrocities.[9] Brilliant

[Pg 19]

qualities and great national faults had been their peculiar

characteristics. Quick-witted they were, highly intelligent, ingenious,

frank, versatile; attaching much value to gloire, and esprit; susceptible

of and accessible to every impression, skilled handicraftsmen; but

inclined to be vain, boastful, and fickle-minded, averse to order and

discipline, and lacking in perseverance and moral energy. This,

according to both ancient and modern writers, was their character.

They failed to create a united empire, and to resist their deadly

enemy, Rome.

What they did excel in was fighting. Dressed in gaudy costume—wide

tunic, bright plaid, and toga embroidered with silver and gold—the

Celtic noble would fight by preference in single combat, to show off to

personal advantage, but in the brunt of battle he threw away his

clothing to fight unimpeded. Bituitus, king of the Arverni, attired in

magnificent style, mounts his silver chariot, and, preceded by a

harper and a pack of hounds, goes to meet Cæsar in battle, and win

his respect and admiration.

The Helvetians were peaceful neighbours to Italy so long as they did

not come into direct contact with the Romans, but on the Rhine they

were engaged in daily feuds with the German tribes, who had driven

them from their settlements in the Black Forest, and had continued

their raids beyond the river. For the sake of plunder, or from mere

restless habits, the Germans had left their northern homes on the

Baltic and North Seas, the Cimbri, and their brethren, the Teutons

and others, and were slowly moving southward, repelling or being in

turn repelled. The most

[Pg 20]

daring crossed the Rhine, and made their way straight through the

lands of the Belgians and Helvetians towards the South, thereby

anticipating the great dislocation of peoples which was to take place

but five hundred years later, when the Roman Empire, sapped at the

root, crumbled to pieces, unable longer to resist the tide of barbarian


On one of these expeditions the Cimbri, giving a glowing account of

sunny Gaul, and the booty to be obtained there, were joined by the

Helvetian Tigurini, whose leader was the young and fiery Divico (b.c.

107). They started with the intention of founding a new home in the

province of the Nitiobroges in Southern Gaul; but when they had

reached that territory they were suddenly stopped on the banks of the

Garonne by a Roman army under the consul Cassius and his

lieutenant Piso. But, little impressed by the military fame of the

Romans, the Tigurini, lying in ambush, gave battle to the forces of

great Rome, and utterly routed them at Agen, on the Garonne,

between Bordeaux and Toulouse. It was a brilliant victory; both the

Roman leaders and the greater part of their men were slain, and the

rest begged for their lives. The proud Romans were under the

humiliating necessity of giving hostages and passing under the

yoke—a stain on the Roman honour not to be forgotten; but the

victors, being anything but diplomats, knew no better use to make of

their splendid victory than to wander about for a time and then go

home again.

A few years later (102 and 101 b.c.) the Tigurini, Toygeni, Cimbri, and

Teutons joined their forces on

[Pg 21]

a last expedition southwards. The expedition ended in the destruction

of these German tribes. The Toygeni perished in the fearful carnage

at Aquæ Sextiæ, and the Cimbri later on at Vercellæ. When the

Tigurini heard of this last-mentioned disaster they returned home.

Cæsar had been appointed governor of the Province (Provence)

which extended to Geneva, the very door of Helvetia; on the Rhine

the Germans continued to make their terrible inroads. Thus there was

but little scope for the stirring Helvetians, and the soil afforded but a

scanty supply of food; so they turned their eyes wistfully in the

direction of fair Gaul. Meeting in council they decided on a general

migration, leaving their country to whoever might like to take it. Then

rose up Orgetorix, one of their wealthiest nobles, and supported the

plan, volunteering to secure a free passage through the neighbouring

provinces of the Allobroges and Ædui. The 28th of March, b.c. 58,

was the day fixed for the departure, and Geneva was to be the

meeting-place; thence they were to proceed through the territory of

the Allobroges. For two years previously they were to get ready their

provisions, and to collect carts, horses, and oxen, but before the

period had expired Orgetorix was accused of treason, and being

unable to clear himself, put an end to his own life to escape public

obloquy. This episode made no difference in the general plan. The

Helvetians, indeed, insisted on its being carried out. Setting fire to

their towns and villages to prevent men from returning, they started

on their adventurous journey on that spring morn of

[Pg 22]

58 b.c. Cæsar's figures seem very large, but, if he is to be trusted, the

tribes numbered some 368,000 men, of which 263,000 were

Helvetians, the rest being neighbours of theirs. But 93,000 were

capable of bearing arms.

A curious yet thrilling sight must have been that motley caravan of

prodigious proportions—ten thousand carts drawn by forty thousand

oxen, carrying women, children, and the old men; riders and armour-

bearers alongside, toiling painfully through woods and fords, and up

and down rugged hills; behind the emigrants the smoking and

smouldering ruins of the homes they were leaving with but little

regret. Yet they were no mere adventurers, but looked forward with

swelling hearts to a brighter time and a more prosperous home.

Arriving at Geneva they found the bridge over the Rhone broken up

by Cæsar's order. Cæsar was, in truth, a factor they had not

reckoned upon, and, after useless attempts to make headway, they

turned their steps towards Mount Jura, and whilst they were toiling

over the steep and rugged Pas de l'Ecluse, Cæsar returned to Italy to

gather together his legions. Returning to Gaul he arrived just in time

to see the Helvetians cross the Arar (Saône) with the utmost difficulty.

The Tigurini were the last to cross. And on them Cæsar fell and cut

them down, thus avenging the death of Piso—the great-grandfather

of Cæsar's wife—and wiping out the stain on the honour of the

Roman arms. His legions crossed the Saône in twenty-four hours,

and this performance so excited the admiration of the Helvetians,

who had themselves taken twenty days to

[Pg 23]

cross, that they condescended to send legates to treat with Cæsar for

a free passage. They promised him that they would do no harm to

any one if he would comply with the request, but threatened that if he

should intercept them he might have to see something of their ancient

bravery. No threats or entreaties were of avail, however, with such a

man as Cæsar, who, smiling at their naïve simplicity, asked them to

gives hostages as a sign of confirmation of their promise. "Hostages!"

cried Divico, the hero of of Agen, in a rage, "the Helvetians are not

accustomed to give hostages; they have been taught by their fathers

to receive hostages, and this the Romans must well remember." So

saying he walked away.

The Helvetians continued their march, Cæsar following at a distance,

watching for an opportunity of attacking them. At Bibracte, an

important city of Gaul (now Mont Beuvray), west of Autun in

Burgundy, the opportunity offered itself. Cæsar seized a hill and

posted his troops there, and charged the enemy with his cavalry. The

Helvetians fiercely repulsed the attack, and poured on the Roman

front, but were quite unable to stand against the showers of the

Roman pila, which often penetrated several shields at once, and thus

fastened them together so that they could not be disentangled.

Disconcerted by this unexpected result, the Helvetians were soon

discomfited by the sharp attack with swords which instantly followed.

Retiring for a while to a hill close by, the barbarians again drew up in

battle order, and again descended to combat. Long and fierce was


[Pg 24]

struggle which followed; the Helvetians fighting like lions till the

evening, never once turning their backs on the enemy. This is

Cæsar's own report. But barbarian heroism was no match for the

regular, well-organized, and highly-trained Roman army, and once

more driven back, they withdrew to the hill where had been left their

wives and children with the baggage. From this place they ventured

to make a last resistance, and they drew up their carts in the form of

a deep square, leaving room in the middle for the non-combatants

and the baggage. Then mounting their extemporized fort—the so-

called Wagenburg—the Helvetian men commenced the fray, even

their women and children hurling javelins at the enemy. Not till

midnight did the Romans seize and enter on the rude rampart, and

when they did the clashing of arms had ceased. All the valiant

defenders lay slain at their feet, and the spirit of bold independence of

the Helvetians was crushed for ever.

After this fearful disaster the rest of the emigrants, to the number of

110,000, continued their march through Gaul, but lacking both food

and capable leaders, and being moreover ill-used by the Gauls, they

sent to Cæsar for help. He demanded hostages, and ordered them to

return home and rebuild their towns and villages. And, further, he

supplied them with food for the journey, and requested the Allobroges

to do the same when the Helvetians should arrive in their province.

Cæsar admits that this apparent generosity on his part was dictated

not by compassion, but by policy. It was to his interest that these

barbarians should re-occupy Helvetia,

[Pg 25]

because they would keep watch on the Rhine, and prevent the

irruption of the Germans into the country. In their condition now, he

calls the Helvetians Associates ( fœderati), and not Subjects, and

leaves them their own constitution, and, to some extent, their

freedom. But they did not relish this forced friendship, which was

indeed more like bondage; and when the Celts of Gaul rose in revolt

under the noble and beloved Vercingetorix, who had been a friend of

Cæsar, they joined their brethren (52 b.c.), and were again

vanquished. On the defeat of the Helvetians at Bibracte followed that

of the Valisians, in 57 b.c. To establish a direct communication

between Central Gaul and Italy, Cæsar took those same measures

which Napoleon I. employed long afterwards; he conquered the

Valais (by his lieutenant Galba), that he might secure the passage of

the Great St. Bernard. A splendid road was formed over Mount

Pœninus, and a temple erected to Jupiter Pœninus, where the

traveller left votive tablets as a thanksgiving offering after a fortunate


The subjugation of Rhætia was delayed for more than a generation.

To guard the empire against the Eastern hordes; against the

mountain robbers of Graubünden and the Tyrol, who descended into

the valleys of the Po, ravaging the country as far as Milan, and no

doubt liberally paying back in their own coin, the Romans who had

made from time to time such havoc in the Alpine homes—to guard

against these, and the wild Vindelicians of Bavaria, Augustus sent the

two imperial princes to reduce them to subjection. Drusus marched

into the Tyrol,

[Pg 26]

whilst Tiberius advanced on Lake Constance, where even the

Rhætian women engaged in the conflict, and, in default of missiles,

hurled their sucking children into the face of the conquerors, through

sheer exasperation. Their savage courage availed them nothing,

however; the incursions from the East were repressed; and once the

Rhætians were overcome, they became the most useful of auxiliaries

to the Roman army. Horace's ode to Drusus alludes to the Rhætian


The Rhæto-Roman inhabitants of Graubünden—for they still occupy

the high valleys of the Engadine and of the Vorder-Rhine—present

much interest in point of language and antiquities. The sturdy

Rhætians belonged to the art-loving Etruscan race, whose proficiency

in the amphora-technic we so highly value. An old legend calls their

ancestor Rætus a Tuscan. And not without show of reason, says

Mommsen, for the early dwellers of Graubünden and the Tyrol were

Tuscans, and spoke a dialect agreeing with that of the district of

Mantua, a Tuscan colony in the time of Livy. In Graubünden and

Ticino were found, some thirty years ago, stones bearing inscriptions

in that dialect. The Rhætians may have dropped behind in these

Alpine regions on the immigration of Etruscans into the valleys of the

Po; or, they may just as likely have fled there on the advent of the

Celts, when that warlike race seized on the fertile plains of the river,

and drove the Etruscans from their home southward and northward.

Be that as it may, however, it is certain that the Rhætians, once

blended with the Romans, have preserved the Latin tongue and

customs to this day, for Romaunsh a corrupt Latin, with no doubt

some admixture of Tuscan, is still spoken by more than one-third of

the population of the Grisons.

[Pg 27]



Photograph by Guler.)



Valais (German, Wallis) means valley, and is so called from its being a long narrow dale or vale hemmed in by lofty mountains.


Mommsen, "Roman History," vol. ii. p. 166.


"Story of Alexander's Empire," by Mahaffy, p. 79.

[Pg 29]



SILVER COIN, VERCINGETORIX. (Dr. Imhoof, Winterthur.)

On the surrender of the noble Vercingetorix, a valiant knight, but no

statesman—he delivered himself up to Cæsar, trusting in his

generosity on the plea of former friendship, and died a prisoner of

Rome—the war with Gaul was virtually at an end. The sporadic

risings that followed lacked the spirit of union, and led to no results of

any consequence. During the seven years of his governorship in Gaul

(58-51 b.c.), Cæsar had completed the subjection of the entire

country, with the exception of the province of Narbonensis, whose

conquest was of more ancient date. He followed up his victories, and

secured their results by organizing a line of secure defences on the

[Pg 30]

northern boundary of Gaul, along the Rhine, creating thereby a new

system of open defences—defences offensive, so to speak—which

he sketched out with full details, and made Gaul herself a bulwark

against the inroads of the aggressive Germans. To secure peace and

voluntary submission, he also regulated the internal affairs of the new

province, leaving her, however, most of her old national institutions,

hoping by conciliatory measures to gradually bring her under Roman

influences, and win her to side with Rome. But it was left to others to

carry out his plans, the Emperor Augustus being the first to put them

into practice; for civil war was again threatening Italy, and Cæsar

returned home to carry on his great contest with Pompey for

supremacy in the State.

Although Cæsar's plans were but a sketch they were faithfully carried

out, and the Gallic conquest proved to be more, and aimed higher,

than the mere subjection of the Celts. Cæsar was not only a great

general, but also a far-seeing politician. He had clearly understood

that the barbarian Germans might well prove more than a match for

the Greek-Latin world if they came into close contact with it. His

defeat of Ariovistus, who was on the point of forming a German

kingdom in Gaul, and his wise measures of defence, kept the

barbarian hordes at bay for centuries, and thus there was ample time

given for the Greek-Latin culture to take root throughout the West. It

happened consequently that when Rome could no longer offer any

serious resistance, and the Germans poured into her lands, the

people of the West were already Romanized, and those of Gaul,

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Britain, and Spain, became the medium of transmitting to the

Germans the spirit of classicism, by which they would otherwise have

hardly been affected; and those nations became the connecting link

between the classical age and the German era which absorbed its

high-wrought culture. If Alexander may be said to have spread

Hellenism over the East; Cæsar may be taken to have done as much,

and indeed vastly more for the West, for it is owing to him, though we

can scarcely realize the fact in our day, that the German race is

imbued with the spirit of classical antiquity.

The fall of Cæsar, and the state of anarchy that followed again,

delayed the work of pacification, and Helvetia was left to take care of

herself. But when Augustus was firmly seated on the imperial throne,

he resumed the task which had been bequeathed to him. The

organization of Gaul was chiefly his work, and it required an energetic

yet moderate policy. The old Narbonensis district, which had long

been moulded into a Roman province, was placed under senatorial

control. New Gaul, or Gallia Comata ( Gaule Chevelue), as the whole

territory was called which Cæsar had conquered, was submitted to

imperial authority, and treated more adequately in accordance with

the ancient constitutions of the various tribes. To facilitate taxation

and administration New Gaul was divided into three provinces, each

ruled by a Roman governor. Of these three provinces, one was

Belgica, extending from the Seine and the mouth of the Rhine to Lake

Constance, thus including Helvetia proper. Belgica, on account of its

size, was subdivided into three commands, in one of which, that of


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Germany, Helvetia found itself placed. Thus we find Helvetia

incorporated with Gaul.

The political capital of the Tres Galliæ, or Three Gauls, was

Lugdunum (Lyons), owing to its central position, and it seems to have

been a very important city. Here Drusus had raised an altar to his

imperial father, Augustus, and the Genius of the City. Here met the

representatives of the sixty-four Gallic states (including those of the

Helvetians and the Rauraci) on the anniversary of the emperor. Here,

too, was the seat of the Gallic Diet; and here, in the amphitheatre,

took place rhetorical contests, the Celts holding eloquence in high


Eastern Switzerland, that is, Graubünden, and the land around Lake

Wallenstatt, as far as Lake Constance, was joined with Rhætia, which

likewise included, amongst other districts, the Tyrol and Southern

Bavaria. The whole of this territory was ruled by a governor residing

at Augusta Vindelicorum (Augsburg). The Valais district was joined to

some part of Savoy, and ruled by the procurator of the Pœnine Alps.

Ticino does not concern us here, as it remained a portion of Italy

down to the sixteenth century.

Yet though thus arbitrarily made a part of Gaul, Helvetia formed a

province of itself, and had its own history and kept its own

constitution, thanks to Cæsar's wise and generous policy, by which

he provided that the Celts should not be interfered with in their

method of governing by tribes ( pagi or civitates), nor in their

constitution, so long as it did not clash with the Roman laws. When

Cæsar had defeated the

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Helvetians he sent them back to rebuild their old homes, and they re-

occupied their ancient territory, with the exception of that portion

which stretches from Fort l'Ecluse to Geneva and Aubonne, and

borders on Mount Jura. This portion was wrenched away and given to

the Equestrian Julian colony settled at Noviodunum (Nyon) on

Geneva lake, to keep the passes of the mountain (43 b.c.). The Jura

range separated Helvetia from the territory of the Rauraci, where

another veteran colony was about the same time established as a

safeguard for the Rhine, to check the incursions of the Germans. The

Colonia Rauracorum was afterwards called Augusta Rauracorum in

honour of the emperor. The colonists of these two settlements were

mostly Romans, or had been admitted to Roman citizenship, and

occupied a different position from the inhabitants of the country

generally, for they were allowed Roman privileges and favours—

exemption from taxation most likely amongst others—but, on the

other hand, they were entirely dependent on the Roman Government.

The laborious investigations of the learned Mommsen and Charles

Morel go to show that the Helvetians were mildly treated by their

masters. They had been received into the Roman pale as friends

( fœderati), and as such lived on favourable terms with these, and

enjoyed as high a degree of liberty and autonomy as was compatible

with their position as Roman subjects. The Rhætians had been taken

from their country; the Helvetii, on the contrary, had been sent back

home and entrusted with the guardianship of the Rhine, merely being

required to

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furnish a contingent for service abroad. They were allowed to

maintain garrisons of their own—that of Tenedo on the Rhine, for

instance—to build forts, to raise militia in case of war. And, as has

before been mentioned, their religious worship was not interfered

with, nor their traditional division into pagi, or tribes, and they were allowed a national representative at the Gallic capital, Lyons. Helvetia

took the rank of a state ( Civitas Helvetiorum), its chief seat ( chef-lieu) being Aventicum, which was also the centre of government. So long

as Helvetia conformed to the regulations imposed by the imperial

government she was allowed to manage her own local affairs. Latin

was made the official language, though the native tongue was not



AETERNITAS). (By Dr. Imhoof, Winterthur.)

a.d. 69-79. Under Vespasian, however, a great change took place.

Thanks to the munificence of that emperor, who had a great liking for

Aventicum, this city lost its Celtic character, and was made a splendid

city after the Italian type. He had sent there his befriended and faithful

Flavian colony of the Helvetians to live, giving her the lengthy title of

Colonia Pia Flavia Constans Emerita Helvetiorum Fœderata in return

for services, for she had staunchly supported

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his party against Vitellius when the latter contended with Galba for

the imperial throne. The inhabitants most likely received the Latin

Right ( Droit Latin), or were considered Roman citizens, and as such

were more intimately connected with Rome, and had to submit to

closer control. Her institutions were assimilated to those of Italian

towns. She had a senate, a council of decuriones, city magistrates, a

præfectus operum publicorum (or special officer to attend to the

construction of public buildings), Augustan flamens, or priests, and so


Notwithstanding the overwhelming importance of Aventicum, a

certain amount of self-government was left to the country districts,

towns, and villages ( vici). The inhabitants of Vindonissa (Windisch),

Aquæ (Baden), Eburodunum (Yverdon), Salodurum (Soleure),