Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Stacie Raucci




gauls, germans, ancient, romans, warriors


Looking at ancient perceptions of the barbarian warrior can tell today’s audiences much about the stereotypes surrounding these people and the opinions of them translated to Roman audiences through the writings of fellow Romans. The Gauls in Caesar’s eyes are weak, reckless, proud, courageous, and resourceful. In De Bello Gallico, Caesar presents his Gauls as barbaric, though with the capability to become civilized provincials. Tacitus presents his Germans as stereotypically huge and fierce. The Gauls engage in agriculture and trading with the Romans; to the Germans, war is the essence of life. Both Caesar and Tacitus emphasize their subjects’ natural inclination to fighting and their reckless nature. Their weapons and appearances are generally inferior and rugged in comparison to the Romans. However, despite the negativity often expressed, the peoples of Northern Europe are cunning, courageous, terrifying and fierce. Today, we find ourselves presented with the ancient Gauls and Germans through the media of the screen and the television. Our fascination with the ancient world flourishes as a source of entertainment. In describing the depictions of Gallic and Germanic warriors in Gladiator and HBO’s Rome, we can discern our own stereotypes and expectations toward the appearances, equipment, and actions of these warriors. These latest reincarnations of the writings of the ancients, serves to reiterate the common view, expressed in antiquity and today, of the Gauls and Germans as barbarian warriors.