Do we have any surviving texts or references to texts with Romano-Celtic authors and how common were 'non-Greco-Italian' (I'm not sure of the best term for that) authors? Specifically within the Roman period, roughly 43 AD to 410 AD in Britain and 58 BC to 486 AD in Gaul. Not later writers that may have maintained a Romano identity such as Gildas (c. 500 - 570), but (St) Patricius (c. 385 - 461) being born prior to 410 would be fine even if he wrote post 410.

I remember seeing a reference to a Roman play write who was originally a Gaulish slave before being released but I was unable to find anything solid.

  • (1) Which Patricius do you mean? (2) Why does he meet your criteria?
    – Qsigma
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 10:37
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    St.Patrick Patricius, author of the confessio and Epistola, and because he was born prior to 410 whereas Gildas was born post Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 10:49

3 Answers 3


Since I have a good memory, I remembered and/or looked up a few names of Roman citizens who lived in Gaul or Britain or came from Gaul or Britain to other parts of the empire, and who wrote. These writers could be in ancestry anything from 100 percent Roman, or Spanish, or Egyptian, or Syrian, or Greek, or whatever, to 100 percent native Gauls or Britons descended from Celts. Probably most of them were of highly mixed ancestry.


Decimus or Decimius Magnus Ausonius (/ɔːˈsoʊniəs/; c. 310 – c. 395) was a Roman poet and teacher of rhetoric from Burdigala in Aquitaine, modern Bordeaux, France. For a time he was tutor to the future emperor Gratian, who afterwards bestowed the consulship on him. His best-known poems are Mosella, a description of the river Moselle, and Ephemeris, an account of a typical day in his life. His many other verses show his concern for his family, friends, teachers, and circle of well-to-do acquaintances and his delight in the technical handling of meter.

Sidonius Apollonaris

Gaius Sollius Modestus Apollinaris Sidonius, better known as Saint Sidonius Apollinaris (5 November of an unknown year, c. 430 – August 489 AD), was a poet, diplomat, and bishop. Born in Lugdunum (present-day Lyon, France), Sidonius is "the single most important surviving author from fifth-century Gaul" according to Eric Goldberg. He was one of four Gallo-Roman aristocrats of the fifth- to sixth-century whose letters survive in quantity; the others are Ruricius bishop of Limoges (died 507), Alcimus Ecdicius Avitus, bishop of Vienne (died 518) and Magnus Felix Ennodius of Arles, bishop of Ticinum (died 534). All of them were linked in the tightly bound aristocratic Gallo-Roman network that provided the bishops of Catholic Gaul. His feast day is 21 August.

Alcimus Ecdicius Avitus

Alcimus Ecdicius Avitus (c. 450 – February 5, 517/518 or 519) was a Latin poet and bishop of Vienne in Gaul. His fame rests in part on his poetry, but also on the role he played as secretary for the Burgundian kings.

Avitus was born of a prominent Gallo-Roman senatorial family related to Emperor Avitus.


Ruricius I (c. 440 – c. 510) was a Gallo-Roman aristocrat and bishop of Limoges from c. 485 to 510. He is one of the writers whose letters survive from late Roman Gaul, depicting the influence of the Visigoths on the Roman lifestyle. He should not be confused with his son-in-law, Saint Rusticus (Archbishop of Lyon).

Magnus Felix Ennodius

Magnus Felix Ennodius (473 or 474 – 17 July 521 AD) was Bishop of Pavia in 514, and a Latin rhetorician and poet.

He was one of four Gallo-Roman aristocrats of the fifth to sixth-century whose letters survive in quantity: the others are Sidonius Apollinaris, prefect of Rome in 468 and bishop of Clermont (died 485), Ruricius bishop of Limoges (died 507) and Alcimus Ecdicius Avitus, bishop of Vienne (died 518). All of them were linked in the tightly bound aristocratic Gallo-Roman network that provided the bishops of Catholic Gaul. He is regarded as a saint, with a feast day of 17 July.

Some of the above might possibly be ancestors of Charlemagne, and thus of millions of contemporary people.


Pelagius (c. AD 360 – 418) was a theologian of British origin who advocated free will and asceticism.

Because Palagius was accused of heresy, most of what is known about his teachings comes from hostile comments by his opponents.

Silvius Bonus

One of the poems of Ausonius attacks a rival poet, Silvius Bonus from Britain, in a poem saying that it is a contradiction in terms for a Briton to be Bonus (good).

It has been suggested that Silvius Bonus could have been a relative of Vortigern.

Anyway, those are the first few names I remembered or could dig up.

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    There is also Vergil. It's not a given that he was, but the absence of knowing where his gens originated, with his birthplace is suggestive. His depictions of Gauls in the Aeneid are poetic rather than dismissive. He could be from a Roman family or he could be from a Gallic one, perhaps both.
    – Daniel
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 7:39

There is a certain Rutilius Namatianus who lived in the early 5th century Gaul. I do not know how much Celtic ancestry he had.

He admired Rome and considered his family part of its "sacred Genius", but his poem clearly shows patriotic emotions to his narrower homeland:

Rather will you marvel, reader, that my quick return journey (to Gaul) can so soon renounce the blessings of the city of Romulus. What is too long for men who spend all time in venerating Rome? Nothing is ever too long that never fails to please. How greatly and how often can I count those blest who have deserved birth in that happy soil! Those high born scions of Roman nobility crown their honourable birth with the lustre of the Capital! On no other land could the seeds of virtues have been more worthily let fall by heaven's assignment. Happy they too who, winning meeds next to the first, have enjoyed Latin homes! The Senate-house, though fenced with awe, yet stands open to foreign merit, nor deems those strangers who are fittingly its own. They share the power of their colleagues in the senatorial order, and possess part of the sacred Genius which they revere, even as from ethereal pole to pole of the celestial vault we believe there abideth the council of the Deity Supreme. But 'tis my fortune that is plucked back from the well-loved land; the fields of Gaul summon home their native. Disfigured they are by wars immeasurably long, yet the less their charm, the more they earn pity. 'Tis a lighter crime to neglect our countrymen when at their ease: our common losses call for each man's loyalty. Our presence and our tears are what we owe to the ancestral home: service which grief has prompted ofttimes helps. 'Tis sin further to overlook the tedious tale of disasters which the delay of halting aid has multiplied: now is the time after cruel fires on ravaged farms to rebuild, if it be but shepherd's huts. Nay, if only the very springs could utter words, if only our very trees6 could speak, they well might spur my laggard pace with just complaints and give sails to my yearning wishes. Now that the dear city slackens her embrace, my homeland wins, and I can scarce feel patient with a journey deferred so late.

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    I imagined any answer to this question would be complicated regarding authors' own identities, so any author from Britain or Gaul, identity besides is a good lead. Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 10:51

There are surviving excerpts and an epitome (summary) of the Gallo-Roman historian Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus who was active during the 1st century BC. He was of the Celtic Vocontii tribe in Gallia Narbonensis (southern Gaul, roughly modern day Languedoc and Provence).

According to this book review in Histos (2018) (pdf),

His grandfather apparently acquired Roman citizenship from Gnaeus Pompeius [Pompey the Great] (cf. Just. Epit. 43.5.11–12), which explains his ‘nomen gentis’, while the author’s father probably served under [Julius] Caesar....

....Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus is known to have written at least two major works, a zoological work named De animalibus (which has not survived, but is referred to both by Flavius Sosipater Charisius, .... and...Pliny the Elder in the Naturalis Historia: for the latter cf. M., ix n. 10) and the Philippic History.... which mainly survives through the Epitome produced by Justin. The Philippic History essentially was a history of the known world down to the time of the Emperor Augustus and it appears to have been sufficiently well read for Trogus to be included in an (unofficial) canon of four great historians writing in Latin, together with Livy, Sallust, and Tacitus.

Pliny the Elder preserved a piece of Trogus' writing (on the subject of judging character from physical features) when he quoted him directly in his Natural History (Book XI):

Trogus, himself also one of the most critical authorities, has added some outward signs of character which I will append in his own words: ‘When the forehead is large it indicates that the mind beneath it is sluggish; people with a small forehead have a nimble mind, those with a round forehead an irascible mind...When people's eyebrows are level this signifies that they are gentle, when they are curved at the side of the nose, that they are stern, when bent down at the temples, that they are mockers, when they are entirely drooping, that they are malevolent and spiteful. If people's eyes are narrow on both sides, this shows them to be malicious in character; eyes that have fleshy corners on the side of the nostrils show a mark of maliciousness; when the white part of the eyes is extensive it conveys an indication of impudence; eyes that have a habit of repeatedly closing indicate unreliability. Large ears are a sign of talkativeness and silliness.

Sources: Loeb Classical Library and Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, Paul: A Critical Life

There are also excerpts from some of the 44 volumes of the Philippic Histories in Vopiscus (in Historia Augusta), Jerome and Augustine of Hippo.

Marcus Junianus Justinus’ Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus can be found here.

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