The Treveri Tribe, Our Pre-Kerschen Ancestors

The Treveri tribe are variously referred to as a Gallic tribe and also half-Germanic, half-Celtic.

Our earliest source on the Treveri was Julius Caesar, who in his commentaries, mentioned that the Treveri (or the "Treviri" as this translator spells it) were war-like and known for their horsemanship. He said they had the best cavalry in all of Gaul. Caesar faced many uprisings of the Treveri. Ambiorix and Indutionomarus of the Treveri defeated the Romans in various battles.

Taken from translations of Caesars commentaries, Book 2, 57 B.C.; Book 3, 56 B.C.; Book 5, 54 B.C.; Book 8, 51 B.C.

In 57 B.C. Caesar had a legion suffer an embarassing defeat at the hands of the Treveri. A year later he sent in a legion to quell the uprisings.

"": [2.24] ... The cavalry of the Treviri... whose reputation for courage is extraordinary among the Gauls, and who had come to Caesar, being sent by their state as auxiliaries, and, when they saw our camp filled with a large number of the enemy, the legions hard pressed and almost held surrounded, the camp-retainers, horsemen, slingers, and Numidians fleeing on all sides divided and scattered, they, despairing of our affairs, hastened home, and related to their state that the Romans were routed and conquered, [and] that the enemy were in possession of their camp and baggage-train.

"": [3.10] There were these difficulties which we have mentioned above, in carrying on the war, but many things, nevertheless, urged Caesar to that war;-the open insult offered to the state in the detention of the Roman knights, the rebellion raised after surrendering, the revolt after hostages were given, the confederacy of so many states, but principally, lest if, [the conduct of] this part was overlooked, the other nations should think that the same thing was permitted them. Wherefore, since he reflected that almost all the Gauls were fond of revolution, and easily and quickly excited to war; that all men likewise, by nature, love liberty and hate the condition of slavery, he thought he ought to divide and more widely distribute his army, before more states should join the confederation.

"": [3.11] He therefore sends T. Labienus, his lieutenant, with the cavalry to the Treviri, who are nearest to the river Rhine. He charges him to visit the Remi and the other Belgians, and to keep them in their allegiance and repel the Germans (who were said to have been summoned by the Belgae to their aid,) if they attempted to cross the river by force in their ships.

The original plan to quell the Treveri didn't work out, so two years later, Ceasar went himself, with four legions to take care of the Treveri. He met with the two rival leaders of the Treveri, Indutiomarus and Cingetorix.

"": [5.2] ...He himself proceeds into the territories of the Treviri with four legions without baggage, and 800 horse, because they neither came to the general diets [of Gaul], nor obeyed his commands, and were moreover, said to be tampering with the Germans beyond the Rhine.

"": [5.3] This state is by far the most powerful of all Gaul in cavalry, and has great forces of infantry, and as we have remarked above, borders on the Rhine. In that state, two persons, Indutiomarus and Cingetorix, were then contending with each other for the supreme power; one of whom, as soon as the arrival of Caesar and his legions was known, came to him; assures him that he and all his party would continue in their allegiance, and not revolt from the alliance of the Roman people, and informs him of the things which were going on among the Treviri. But Indutiomarus began to collect cavalry and infantry, and make preparations for war, having concealed those who by reason of their age could not be under arms, in the forest Arduenna, which is of immense size, [and] extends from the Rhine across the country of the Treviri to the frontiers of the Remi. But after that, some of the chief persons of the state, both influenced by their friendship for Cingetorix, and alarmed at the arrival of our army, came to Caesar and began to solicit him privately about their own interests, since they could not provide for the safety of the state; Indutiomarus, dreading lest he should be abandoned by all, sends embassadors to Caesar, to declare that he absented himself from his countrymen, and refrained from coming to him on this account, that he might the more easily keep the state in its allegiance, lest on the departure of all the nobility the commonalty should, in their indiscretion, revolt. And thus the whole state was at his control; and that he, if Caesar would permit, would come to the camp to him, and would commit his own fortunes and those of the state to his good faith.

"": [5.4] Caesar, though he discerned from what motive these things were said, and what circumstances deterred him from his meditated plan, still, in order that he might not be compelled to waste the summer among the Treviri, while all things were prepared for the war with Britain, ordered Indutiomarus to come to him with 200 hostages. When they were brought, [and] among them his son and near relations, whom he had demanded by name, he consoled Indutiomarus, and enjoined him to continue in his allegiance; yet, nevertheless, summoning to him the chief men of the Treviri, he reconciled them individually to Cingetorix: this he both thought should be done by him in justice to the merits of the latter, and also judged that it was of great importance that the influence of one whose singular attachment toward him he had fully seen, should prevail as much as possible among his people.

Indutiomarus wanted peace with Rome, but only if he himself was the recognised leader. Instead, Ceasar had tried to make peace with both Indutiomarus and Cingetorix, letting them keep an eye on each other for him.

"": [5.4 continued] Indutiomarus was very much offended at this act, [seeing that] his influence was diminished among his countrymen; and he, who already before had borne a hostile mind toward us, was much more violently inflamed against us through resentment at this.

Indutiomarus didn't like this situation. He took over leadership of all the Treveri from Cingetorix, uniting the tribe, and confiscated Cingetorix's property. He continued with war against the Romans, despite having agreed to peace. He raised an army to that end.

"": [5.55] But the Triviri and Indutiomarus let no part of the entire winter pass without sending embassadors across the Rhine, importuning the states, promising money, and asserting that, as a large portion of our army had been cut off, a much smaller portion remained. ... Indutiomarus ... began to raise troops, and discipline them, and procure horses from the neighboring people, and allure to him by great rewards the outlaws and convicts throughout Gaul. And such great influence had he already acquired for himself in Gaul by these means, that embassies were flocking to him in all directions, and seeking, publicly and privately, his favor and friendship.

Eventually, Indutiomarus was killed, but the Treveri army he raised was not defeated. Ambiorix made alliance with the surviving family of Indutiomarus and continued the fight against the Romans. This continued for three years before the Treveri were more or less pacified, or at least constituted a known and constant threat of rebellion that could be managed.

"": [8.25] After he had sent either his legions or auxiliaries through every part of Ambiorix's dominions, and wasted the whole country by sword, fire, and rapine, and had killed or taken prodigious numbers, he sent Labienus with two legions against the Treviri, whose state, from its vicinity to Germany, being engaged in constant war, differed but little from the Germans, in civilization and savage barbarity; and never continued in its allegiance, except when awed by the presence of his army.

War with the Treveri was more or less over by 51 B.C. The Titelberg became a Roman settlement around 54 B.C. until it was abandoned around the 5th Century A.D. The descendents of those rebel Treveri became the fiercely individualistic people to whom Count Heinrich V and the Duke of Lorraine would grant soveriegnty centuries later (1281-1282 A.D) in what became the Hoheit Kerschen. Of course, their descendents eventually spread out across the world, becoming the Kerschens of today!

History of Luxembourg

The translations of the writings of Julius Ceasar on this page were translated by W. A. McDevitte and W. S. Bohn as printed in

Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic and Civil Wars: with the Supplementary Books attributed to Hirtius; Including the Alexandrian, African and Spanish Wars. Julius Caesar Translator W. A. McDevitte Translator W. S. Bohn, 1st Edition. Harper & Brothers, New York, 1869

The text was taken from the Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library as created in machine-readable form by Bruce Butterfield

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