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Novempopulania (Latin for "country of the nine peoples") was one of the provinces created by Diocletian out of Gallia Aquitania, being also called Aquitania Tertia. The area of Novempopulania was historically the first one to receive the name of Aquitania, as it was here where the original Aquitani dwelt primarily. The territory extended within the triangular area outlined by the River Garonna, the Pyrenees and the ocean, as described by Caesar in De bello gallico for Gallia Aquitania. In his work, Caesar describes the Aquitani as being different in language and body make-up from their northerly neighbours and more similar to the Iberians. Yet province Aquitania was enlarged by Augustus, and it began to signify a larger and more diverse territory.

Creation and evidence

Novempopulania stands for the nine peoples making up the original territory (Aquitania Tertia). It seems clear that at the time of the lower empire (2<sup>nd</sup> to 4<sup>th</sup> century), the nine peoples were granted by the emperor the detachment from the proper Gauls (Celts) by means of the magister pagi Verus Flamen Dumvir, and as a result a celebrating altar was erected dedicated to the deity of the pagus. This fact is accounted for by the remains of the altar unearthed in the current Basque town of Hasparren. The newly acquired status may have affected not only the tax system but the...
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