By Roman History Made Easy
|A map of Gaul in the 1st century BC, showing the relative position of the Helvetii and the Sequani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Celtic Gaul was dotted with several large commercial hubs by the 1st-century BC - many, such as Cenabum (modern day Orleans) and Lutetia (modern day Paris) had built their power on river trade. Cenabum's position on the Loire allowed it to control almost all commodity trading between the Atlantic Coast and the Mediterranean Basin, likewise Lutetia controlled the Seine, the gateway to the North Sea and the Baltic lands. But for both of these shipping corridors to prosper, short land routes between the southwards flowing Saone and, the northwards flowing Loire and Seine was an unavoidable necessity - making the area between Chalon-S-Saone (Cavillonum) and Nevers (Noviodunum) the place where the real money was to be made. This 100-mile land corridor was the bridge for all north-south trade across Celtic and Belgic Gaul. For all intents and purposes, every wine amphora moving north and every talent of iron heading south had to be taken off ships and road hauled. So whoever controlled this land bridge stood to make a lot of money - and it they did so by collecting tolls. Think about it - imagine a single freeway linking northern and southern Europe over which every pedestrian, pack animal and wagon had to pay for the pleasure. It was a cash cow and it was critically important - and it drove Gallic politics before and after Julius Caesar arrived in 58BC. The money this region was producing was almost certainly the reason for the continual warring between the Arverni and Aeduans in the early 1st-century BC and why Julius Caesar moved to eject Ariovistus and his German mercenaries from the same region as soon as the Romans arrived. That Caesar elected to maintain close relations with the Aeduans rather than the more powerful Arverni also suggests he was much more interested in where the Aedui were - rather than who they were.
Continued at http://calvusguy.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-gauls-forgotten-city-builders.html