GAULS gôlz (Gr. Γαλάτις). An ancient name for the inhabitants of the land area from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rhine River and extending from the English Channel to the Pyrenees and extended W of the Alps. It was applied by the classical peoples to the Germanic tribes of the region. They were subdivided by Julius Caesar and other authors into Belgae, Celtae and Aquitani as early as 100 b.c. Their presence, however, was known far earlier although was not specified. As wave after wave of Indo-European peoples migrated across the steppes of Eurasia during the 3rd and 2nd millennia into northern Greece, the Danube Valley, the forests and coastal plains of modern Germany and France, they often brushed the borders of the great river valley civilizations of the ancient Near E. They may have been included in the peoples mentioned by such names as Togarmah (Gen 10:3). The scarce remnants of their languages are Germanic and show similarity to the Gothic dialects of the Danube Valley. Their art as known from excavations of old Rom. sites in Northern Europe shows grotesque zoomorphic figures and finely wrought designs related to the Persian and Sarmatian art of the Indo-Iranian plateau.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


Galatia in Asia Minor is literally the Gallia of the East; its inhabitants are called Galli by Roman writers, just as the inhabitants of ancient France are called Galatai by Greek writers. In some manuscripts in 2Ti 4:10, eis Gallian is read for eis Galatian.

The emigration of the Gauls from Europe and their settlement in the central region of the peninsula of Asia Minor are somewhat obscure subjects, but the ancient authorities leave no doubt of the main facts. In 1 Macc 8:2 it is difficult to say whether Judas Maccabeus is referring to the Gauls of Europe or the Gauls of Asia Minor. Both became finally subject to the Romans, and about the same time.

It was in 191 BC that Gallia Cisalpina was reduced to the form of a Roman province, and in 189 BC occurred the defeat of Antiochus, king of Asia. Mommsen argues that the reference is to the Gauls in the North of Italy, from the circumstance that they are mentioned as being under tribute to the Romans, and also from their mention in connection with Spain. Not much, however, can be argued from this, as the notice of them is in a manner rhetorical, and the defeat of Antiochus is mentioned practically in the same connection. In 2Macc 8:20 the reference is without doubt to the Asiatic Gauls or Galatians, as they are more commonly called. In the Maccabean period they were restless and fond of war, and often hired themselves out as auxiliaries to the Asiatic kings.