Prominent among them, and dwelling in the division occupied by the Celts, were the Helvetii, the Sequani and the Aedui, in the basins of the Rhodanus and its tributary the Arar (Saone), who, he says, were reckoned the three most powerful nations in all Gaul; the Arverni in the mountains of Cebenna; the Senones and Carnutes in the basin of the Liger; the Veneti and other Armorican tribes between the mouths of the Liger and Sequana.
6-7) who tells us that it was the last oppidum of the Allobroges, and the nearest to the territory of the Helvetii, with which it was connected by a bridge that, for military reasons, he was forced to destroy.
In 58 B.C. the Helvetii, a Celtic people inhabiting Switzerland, determined to migrate for the shores of the Atlantic and demanded a passage through Roman territory.
With this he marched to Geneva, destroyed the bridge over the Rhone, fortified the left bank of the river, and forced the Helvetii to follow the right bank.
Hastening back to Italy he withdrew his three remaining legions from Aquileia, raised two more, and, crossing the Alps by forced marches, arrived in the neighbourhood of Lyons to find that three-fourths of the Helvetii had already crossed the Saone, marching westward.
He destroyed their rearguard, the Tigurini, as it was about to cross, transported his army across the river in twenty-four hours, pursued the Helvetii in a northerly direction, and utterly defeated them at Bibracte (Mont Beuvray).
Towards both the south and west the Teutonic peoples seem to have been pressing the Celts for some considerable time, since we are told that the Helvetii had formerly extended as far as the Main, while another important Celtic tribe, the Volcae Tectosages, had occupied a still more remote position, which it is impossible now to identify.
The Boii were expelled from their territories inBohemia by the Marcomanni in the time of Augustus, and the Helvetii are also recorded to have occupied formerly lands east of the Rhine, in what is now Baden and Wurttemberg.
HELVETII (`EXouirtot, `EX/3 TTtot), a Celtic people, whose original home was the country between the Hercynian forest (probably the Rauhe Alp), the Rhine and the Main (Tacitus, Germania, 28).
The reports of gold and plunder spread by the Cimbri and Teutones on their way to southern Gaul induced the Helvetii to follow their example.
In 102 the Helvetii joined the Cimbri in the invasion of Italy, but after the defeat of the latter by Marius they returned home.
Orgetorix was thrown into prison, being suspected of a design to make himself king, but the Helvetii themselves persisted in their plan.
Under Tiberius the Helvetii were separated from Gallia Belgica and made part of Germania Superior.
For Caesar's campaign against the Helvetii, see T.