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Gallic at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1889

When the Romans penetrated Gaul, the country where the French nationality was to be formed, through the vicissitudes of the Middle Ages, was covered with forests and pastures. On the plateaus, in the clearings, at the edge of the waters, everywhere in a word where the nature of the places allowed it, the Gauls had grouped themselves and had built large boroughs. Their dwellings were quite spacious, round, made of poles and racks covered with earth inside and out. Oak shingles supported the roof, which was covered with thatch or straw chopped and kneaded in clay. The furniture consisted of wooden tables and animal skins for sitting or sleeping, but our ancestors were vain and fond of the shiny. In these bare rooms, they liked to display some silver vase as a sign of wealth. They adorned themselves with necklaces, bracelets and gold rings, wore brightly coloured woolen berries or those studded with sequins, and embellished their swords and shields with gold, silver and coral.

The traveller who, leaving the civilised cities of Greece or Italy, arrived in Gaul, was struck by the harsh and savage aspect of the Celtic villages. He would see with some terror the heads of men nailed to the gates of the town and to those of the houses, next to the heads and heads of wild animals, "trophies of war brought back on the necks of horses and mixed with the trophies of the hunt. And yet the Gaul is not evil: he is merely vain, obeying only the desire to frighten his adversary. He is hospitable, welcoming, and the foreigner is surprised to find a sincere cordiality in this Gallic chief who proudly shows him, in a huge chest, the embalmed heads of the heroes he has defeated.

Judging by M. Garnier's reconstruction, the Gallic house is not directly established on the ground. First of all, we notice a circular excavation, then four enormous stones on which two unsquared beams are superimposed at right angles towards the centre of the hut. At this point, rudimentary rafters end up receiving the roof.

© L'exposition de Paris - 1889