What it means to be a man
: elite masculinity and warfare in Cisalpine Gaul c. 400-50 BC

  • Alastair Richard Lumsden

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


This thesis explores Cisalpine masculinity and warfare over the period c. 400-50 BC and seeks to demonstrate that material cultural changes reflected broader socio-political and military developments. A statistical analysis is undertaken of the composition of weapon burials from the largest and best-documented Gallic necropoleis in Cispadane and Transpadane Gaul. This reveals that specific combinations of La Tène, Golaseccan, and Italic mortuary goods were employed to express an individual’s position in an aristocratic hierarchy, and that these differed between Cisalpine Gallic groups in chronological, regional and intra-regional contexts. These results are then compared with how elite masculinity was expressed amongst other contemporary tribal groups from Transalpine Gaul and the Italian and Iberian peninsulas, along with their socio-political and military developments.

The second half of the thesis combines these conclusions with an examination of the Graeco-Roman battle narratives involving Cisalpine Gallic forces and constructs the first in-depth analysis of organisational and tactical capabilities of these forces. Ultimately, this study demonstrates that the Cisalpine Gallic tribes experienced a significant period of socio-political development during the third century, greatly increasing the sophistication of their warcraft and military forces.
Date of Award16 Jun 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorJonathan Charles Nelson Coulston (Supervisor) & Andrea L. Brock (Supervisor)


  • Celts
  • Gauls
  • Elite masculinity
  • Warfare
  • Archaeology
  • Barbarian cultures
  • Roman Republic

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 20 February 2028

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