May 21, 2009

Gallo-Roman Museum reopens

A typical school trip outing, especially for students in the classical languages stream, at my former high school in Belgium was to the Gallo-Roman Museum in Tongeren.
It had been closed for three years of renovations and extensions, and has now been reopened to the public. And how fantastic it looks!
The local area has been extensively colonised by the Romans after Julius Caesar, since Atuatuca Tungrorum was on the main Roman road between Colonia Agrippina (Cologne) and Bagacum (Bavay). A wealth of artefacts, treasures, graves, pottery and coins have been found in the area and the museum has long been a great attraction for Belgians interested in their ancient history. King Ambiorix, whose Eburones tribal warriors wiped out a whole Roman legion, is still a legendary figure in primary school history lessons. The revolt is mentioned in Julius Caesar De Bello Gallico, which is required reading for all high school students doing Latin, because it mentions, in its first paragraph no less, the Belgians in print for the first time in history, and what praise Caesar rendered to us:
Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae

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