The Ingauni were a Ligurian tribe dwelling on the Mediterranean coast, around the modern city of Albenga, during the Iron Age and the Roman period.


They are mentioned as Ingauni by Livy (late 1st c. BC),[1] Ingaunoi (”Iγγαυνοι) by Strabo (early 1st c. AD),[2] and as Ingaunis by Pliny (1st c. AD).[3][4]

A Celtic etymology has been suggested by Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel, who derives the name Ingauni from *Pingāmnī (‘the painted ones'), with loss of initial p-, which would be semantically comparable to the ethnonym Picti (Picts).[5]

The modern city of Albenga, attested as oppidum Album Ingaunum by Pliny and as Albingaunum by Strabo, is named after the Ligurian tribe.[6]


The Ingauni dwelled on the Mediterranean coast, around Album Igaunum (modern Albenga). Their territory was located east of the Intimilii, and southwest of the Epanterii.[7]

Their chief town was known as Album Igaunum or Albingaunum.[7]


Punic WarEdit

By the 3rd century BC, the prosperity of rich Ligurian coastal centres led to recurrent conflicts with mountainous tribes conducting raids on their richer neighbours.[8] During the Second Punic War (218–201 BC), Mago Barca made an alliance in 205 BC with the Ingauni to secure a foothold on the Italian coast. He helped them in their fight against the Epanterii, who lived above them on the slopes of the coast range and constantly raided their territory, and had destroyed the Ingaunian rival Genoa, thus allowing them to potentially become the dominant force on the northwestern coast of Italy. Fearing that Mago may unite Gauls and Ligurians against them, the Romans reacted by sending troops to the region and defeated Mago and its allies. In 201 BC, the Roman consul Publius Aelius Paetus signed a peace treaty with the Ingauni to secure the part of the trading route they controlled between Iberia, Massalia and Rome.[9][10]

Roman conquestEdit

In 185 BC, a consular army led by Appius Claudius Pulcher was sent against the Ingauni, capturing six of their oppida and, as an example to the vanquished or a deterrent to other Ligurians, he had forty-three Ingauni accused of being responsible for the war beheaded. Only three years later, however, the Massaliotes complained again to Rome about Ligurian piracy, and the consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus was asked by the Senate to bring definite peace on both sea and land.[11] Seeking to avoid a complete destruction of the Ingauni, which could have led to a coastal frontier vacuum potentially filled by less acculturated Alpine tribes, Paullus initially entered the Ingaunian territory to demand their surrender. The Igaunian leaders then feinted to request a delay to consult their fellow tribesmen, using the respite to mass their troops and besiege Paullus' camp, but the consul eventually succeeded in subjugating the Ingauni and received triumph in 181 BC. Although Paullus prohibited the Ingauni from erecting ramparts around their towns to hinder their defensive capabilities, he also left them in control of their piece of coastal land for them to act as sentinels on the Ligurian route.[11]

In 180 BC, the consul Aulus Postumius Albinus, after vanquishing the nearby mountain Ligurians, felt the need to send ships to reconnoiter the shores of the Ingauni and Intemelii, which suggests that they were still considered by Rome a potentially hostile tribe at that time.[12]


  1. ^ Livy. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, 28:46, 30:19, 31:2, 39:32, 40:25, 40:28, 40:34, 40:41.
  2. ^ Strabo. Geōgraphiká, 4:6:1.
  3. ^ Pliny. Naturalis Historia, 3:46.
  4. ^ Falileyev 2010, s.v. Ingauni and Album Ingaunum.
  5. ^ de Bernardo Stempel 2006, p. 46.
  6. ^ Giannattasio 2007, p. 136.
  7. ^ a b Talbert 2000, Map 16: Col. Forum Iulii-Albingaunum.
  8. ^ Dyson 1985, p. 92.
  9. ^ Dyson 1985, pp. 96–97.
  10. ^ Livy. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, 31:2.
  11. ^ a b Dyson 1985, pp. 102–104.
  12. ^ Dyson 1985, p. 103.

Primary sourcesEdit

  • Livy (2019). History of Rome. Loeb Classical Library. Translated by Yardley, J. C. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674992566.
  • Pliny (1938). Natural History. Loeb Classical Library. Translated by Rackham, H. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674993648.
  • Strabo (1923). Geography. Loeb Classical Library. Translated by Jones, Horace L. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674990562.


  • de Bernardo Stempel, Patrizia (2006). "From Ligury to Spain: Unaccented *yo > (y)e in Narbonensic votives ('gaulish' DEKANTEM), Hispanic coins ('iberian' -(sk)en) and some theonyms". Palaeohispanica. 6: 45–58. ISSN 1578-5386.
  • Dyson, Stephen L. (1985). The Creation of the Roman Frontier. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-1-4008-5489-9.
  • Giannattasio, Bianca Maria (2007). I liguri e la Liguria: storia e archeologia di un territorio prima della conquista romana. Longanesi. ISBN 978-88-304-2123-3.
  • Falileyev, Alexander (2010). Dictionary of Continental Celtic Place-names: A Celtic Companion to the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. CMCS. ISBN 978-0955718236.
  • Talbert, Richard J. A. (2000). Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691031699.