Sunday 10 February 2013
So what have the Gauls ever done for us?
You might think this a pretty bizarre question, right? I mean the Gauls were culturally assimilated into the Roman Empire 2000-years ago...there can't be anything left of their lifestyle that still impacts on us? Well, be ready to be surprised. Despite the impact of Rome on our Western World, we act, and even dress a lot more like Gauls. How so? There's trousers of course. When the Romans were running around in overgrown Ts, the Gauls were wearing the ancient take on Levis. It wasn't the Roman tunic that reached the modern world, it was the Gallic trouser.
Okay, so that's one thing. Anything else? Sure is - here's another. Most of us don't bathe in aromatic bath oils and scape ourselves down with stridgels. That habit died out in the west centuries ago. Instead we like to use a lump of fat filled with alkaloid salts - a habit polite Roman society found appalling yet a huge business these days. That's soap for you, another invention by the Gauls and something we take for granted - even their word 'sapo' has more or less survived to this day as 'soap'.
Then there's what you had for breakfast? Did you spread any butter on your toast? Butter was brought to prominence in Europe by the Gauls. The Romans only used it in poultices to heal wounds, it was the Gauls who spread it on their bread. Additionally, the Gauls consumed far more meat than the Romans, including beef, which the was unpopular outside of Gaul. The Western diet of big meat dishes has more to do with Europe's Gallic history than the Mediterranean cultures. And then there's how we eat. Most of us don't lounge about on the floor or sofas like the ancient Mediterraneans, sitting at a table on chairs is a very Gallic thing to do, and something that survived 500-years of Roman slouching.
So the next time you wash your hands with soap, sit at a table to eat or spread butter on you bread, then think of the Gauls - they're more a part of you than the Romans ever were...strange, but true.
Check out the novel 'Vagabond' on Amazon - a runaway priestess in Gaul
Check out the novel 'A Body of Doubt' - the ultimate Roman crime-thriller