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9-10-2015, 13:05

Ligurians (Liguri; Ligurii; Ligures)

The Ligurians were a pre-Indo-European people, perhaps a collection of peoples of varying origins, living from the mouth of the Arno River in present-day northwestern Italy, along coastal southern France, to the mouth of the Ebro River in present-day northeastern spain, and on the island of Corsica, by the first millennium B. C.E. During the historic period the name became associated primarily with tribes living in Italy in the regions of Liguria, Piedmont, Tuscany, and part of Lombardy; it is probably derived from the early Greek Ligyes, applied to all peoples west of Greece. With the arrival of the Celts in their homeland in the fourth to third centuries B. C.E. a shared culture


The various tribes that are described as part of the Ligurian tradition had early contacts with the coastal trading posts of the Greeks, such as Massilia (modern Marseille in southeastern France), founded in about 600 B. C.E. The expansion of Celtic tribes around that time meant a reduction of Ligurian territory, with tribal members retreating into the back country of the Alps.

Ligurians time line

180 Romans resettle 40,000 Ligurians in Samnium.

The expansion of the Etruscans and invasion of the Boii and other Celts over the next centuries meant a further loss of lands, and some Ligurian tribes moved south of the Apennines, founding a confederation. They are referred to as the Apuan Ligurians. The Etruscans controlled Corsica for part of their history

The Ligurians were viewed by the ancients as a warlike people, valued as mercenaries. In 480 b. c.e. they served with the Carthaginians under Hamilcar against the Greeks in sicily. They also served under Agathocles, the tyrant of Syracuse, in Sicily against the Carthaginians and elsewhere in the late fourth and early third centuries b. c.e. In the Second Punic War of 218-201 b. c.e. the Ligurians openly supported the Carthaginians under Hannibal against the Romans. By this time many of the Ligurians had been Celticized. The Greek historians Diodorus Siculus and Strabo in the first centuries b. c.e. and c. e. described the Celticized Ligurians as a troublesome people who carried out acts of piracy on commercial shipping.

After the Second Punic War the Romans began campaigning against the Apuan Ligurians, who blocked access to the north from Rome. In 180 b. c.e. the Romans deported some 40,000 of them to the region of Samnium in the south (modern Abruzzi and part of Campania), settling them near Beneventum (modern Benevento). That same year the Romans founded Luca (modern Lucca) and Luni on the sites of Ligurian towns in Tuscany; Luca would be the chief town of Tuscany before the rise of Florence. Genua (modern Genoa), on the coast of the Ligurian Sea in Liguria, also became A major trading post in Roman times. By mid-century the Romans had pacified the independent Ligurians.


The Ligurians were an agricultural people who established trade contacts with their neighbors. They also practiced piracy in the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas. According to some source, they passed navigational techniques to the Romans.

The Ligurians crafted statue-menhirs, representing male figures, holding Iron Age swords, axes, and lances. Stelae, carved or inscribed stone slabs, have also been found among their ruins. Neolithic petroglyphs have been found in their homeland.

The Ligurians generally buried their dead except during the Golasecca and part of the Celtic period, when cremation was practiced for at least a warrior class. A large circle of 46 stones, about 78 yards in diameter, at Piccolo San Bernardo near the border of Italy and France is assumed to be a sacred site.

In addition to the region of Liguria the Ligurians gave their name to the Ligurian Alps, the Ligurian Apennines, and the Ligurian Sea.

Limovici See Lemovices.