Helvetii definition with organization religion economy and characters


The Helvetii were one of the many Celtic Peoples and were characterized by being an extremely warlike people, despite wanting to appear peaceful. With their fierce and warrior character, they decided to take over the Gaul region, fighting against the Romans . Let’s see more details and characteristics about the Helvetian peoples in the following article.

Location of the Helvetii

Tribes of Celtic origin called the Helvetii inhabited the regions located by the Swiss Jura, the Upper Rhine, the Alps and Lake Geneva . Later, they also spread to the Black Forest and the Main by the 2nd century BC which today encompasses a part of Switzerland and Germany.

Political organization of the Helvetii

The Helvetii had a tribal political organization, so they only had a leader or a chief who directed them in the military sphere and in any decision that affected the people , in addition to keeping them safe and cared for in the territory they inhabited. Men of authority also stood out among the people who helped the leader to enforce his orders and promises.

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Social organization of the Helvetii

The Helvetian peoples were organized into at least three social groups:

  • Nobility : These represented the social group with the greatest privilege and wealth of the Helvetians, who owned land and held command positions granted by the chief of the tribe. Generally, these had people who served them and helped them keep their possessions cared for and in progress.
  • Plain people : These represented the largest number of the Helvetii, and were people with privileges and rights, but not with authority. They were natural people who were dedicated to living under the orders of the leader and the noble class, but who at the same time had land and possessions. Among this group were artisans, farmers, countrymen, and other figures.
  • Slaves : These were the lowest class and the one that served the other two social classes, both at home and in the fields. They took care of the heavy work and daily tasks under the command of their masters. Some came from the poorest families and some others from war captives.

Helvetii religion

The Helvetii had a polytheistic form of worship , worshiping different gods related to mythology . Some of them were known for their relationship with the forces and elements of nature, such as Taranis, the god of lightning; Belisma, the goddess of fire; Belenus, the god of the sun; Epona, the goddess of agriculture, among others.

In addition, they were dedicated to worshiping nature and its different elements directly , such as water, fire, mountains, forests, trees, the sun, among others. In some cases they even made human sacrifices to their gods, as a way to calm their anger.

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Economy of the Helvetii

The Helvetii were characterized by using agriculture as their main economic means. They owned farms and fields that allowed them to grow different types of cereals and fruits, such as olive trees and vines. In addition, they also supported themselves by livestock , raising cattle and sheep in their fields and taking meat and milk from them. The trade with other towns also reported great benefits and allowed them to exchange for other products that did not exist on their land.

Important characters of the Helvetii

Orgétorix : This was a wealthy Helvetian who lived in the 1st century BC, who led his people to invade Gaul around 61 BC This Helvetian leader incited Chastic, a Sequoian nobility character who became He was the leader of his tribe, and he also convinced his son-in-law Dúmnorix, a leader of the Aedui tribe, to join his forces in order to take over Gaul and fight the Romans led by Julius Caesar . They were unsuccessful and Orgetorix apparently committed suicide so as not to be captured by the Romans.

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