Ulatađđus Noricon // The Norican Kingdom

In attempting to flesh out a reconstructed worldview, it may be helpful here to also make an attempt at reconstructing how the Norici organized themselves. Unfortunately, primary (or even secondary and tertiary) sources are scant when discussing the culture, society, and political organization of the Norici. Thankfully, an innovation precedent has been set to circumvent this. As described by Selgowiros Caranticnos[1], in a piece comparing and contrasting the Nervii with the martial culture of the Spartans (a comparison that may prove a useful read for anyone attempting a Tauriscan practice, as they are called “most warlike”[2]), it is possible to postulate a social and political structure on the basis of similarities with more widely-known cultures; however, in the case of the Nervii, Caesar so graciously gifted modern academia a one-line passing mention of Nervii culture, which is more than ancient authors say about the Norici. That being said, two crucial facets of Norican civilization are known: 1. the structure of their governance, which appears to have been a hereditary monarchy as the head of a tribal confederation[3], and 2. the biggest sector of the Norican economy, mining.[4] Through these two breadcrumbs of information, an attempt will be made here to reconcile what is known of Celtic kingdom structures, as well as what is known of the social impacts of a mining economy through comparison with another mining economy of the ancient world, that of Athens.

It is likely easier to begin by exploring the political landscape of the Norici than the social. It appears that upon first contact with Rome, the Norici were already ruled by a “dynasty” of sorts. The Rix, Cincibilus, and his brother, Catmelus, are both also referred to by Livy as ‘regulus’, a title which Livy apparently used for rulers or royalty among the Celts. Other language in Livy, according to Alföldy, also supports this understanding of Cincibilus and his family as a royal house.[5] This idea is further strengthened by the likelihood that Balanos, the immediate successor to Cincibilus, was Cincibilus’ son.[6] From this, it can be extrapolated that the Norici, and the tribes that they dominated, were well on their way to becoming a hereditary monarchy. In comparison with other Continental Celtic kigships, other likely elements of Norican governance can also be extrapolated. For instance, the existance of the Ambactoi, or the king’s retinue, can be considered extremely likely.[7] It can also be said here that this office of Rix (or Rigos) Noricon (King of the Norici), also had religious aspects. Among them would be a metaphorical “marriage” of the Rix to the sovereignty goddess (in this case Noreia). This dynamic lends itself to an understanding of “divine right”, by which poor leadership of a Rix would lead to Earthly misfortune for his people.[8]

Aside from the political reality of the Norican kingship, which besides some nuance is an otherwise self-explanatory concept, Norican social structure can also be explored. Perhaps the best way to showcase this, as discussed above, is through comparison with Athens. In a society based around mining and trade, class was likely based more around wealth than birth. The class of slavery will be shown here only because the class existed historically throughout the ancient world. Slavery is abhorrent and is mentioned here, again, only so it not be forgotten.

Athens Norici
No single head of state. Rix The Norican King
Pentakosiomedimnoi Arios/Arioi The wealthiest aristocrats and landowners
Hippeis Donnos/Donnoi The upper middle class
Zeugitae Cerdos/Cerdoi The craftsmen and artisans, in this case likely smiths.
Thetes Uassos/Uassoi Serfs and wage-workers
Metics Didios/Didioi These would likely be Roman traders living in Noricum.
Freed Slaves Ancaxtos/Ancaxtoi Former slaves
Slaves Caxtos/Caxtoi Current slaves


Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος
Rioađđus Maruosue
Freedom or Death

Τέλειο μυαλό και τέλειο σώμα
Supēslā Sucrifsc
Good Mind and Good Body

Sources

  1. Neroi/Neruoi (Nervii) by Selgowiros Caranticnos on Senobessus Bolgon.

  2. Histories § 50.28.1 by Cassius Dio

  3. Noricum by Géza Alföldy, 1974, pp. 31-32

  4. Noricum by Géza Alföldy, 1974, pp. 28 & 34.

  5. Noricum by Géza Alföldy, 1974, pp. 32

  6. Noricum by Géza Alföldy, 1974, pp. 32

  7. Early Celtic Social Structures, on Exploring Celtic Civilizations, maintained by the University of North Carolina

  8. Early Celtic Social Structures, on Exploring Celtic Civilizations, maintained by the University of North Carolina