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oppidum
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: plural oppida
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A Roman term, coined by Caesar, for the fortified Celtic towns he found in his campaigns in Gaul in 58-51 BC. The Roman oppidum was a town which served as administrative center for its surrounding area, or, in the provinces, was a community of Roman citizens, either Italian immigrants or enfranchised natives. The term is now used for comparable sites in Celtic territory, from Spain and Britain to the Carpathians. Celtic oppida of the 2nd and 1st centuries BC were large permanent settlements, usually of hillfort type, the first true towns in Europe north of the Alps. Oppida also served as centers for trade, industry, market, craft production, and religion.

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