Between the gallic cockerel, modern and contemporary French symbolism, and the Gauls’ cockerel, bred for more than two millennia, the difference is important and not only temporal. Indeed, gallic cockerel’s imagery is linked with a latin homonymy Middle Ages have strongly used, firstly to ridicule France before French people themselves re-use it as a national symbolism. As far as they are concerned, hen and cockerel (Gallus gallus (Linnaeus, 1758)), coming from the southeastern Asia, seem to arrive in Gaul only about the 6th century BC, after they travel in Greece and Italy. Thus, chicken is the less gallic bird, particularly if we consider that ancient authors do not grant importance to Gauls’ chickens. Otherwise, before roman conquest, the species is never used as a symbolic animal, in Gaul, and its archaeological remains stay, for quite a long time, poorly present in Gallic sites’ faunistic cortege. However, the species seems to be the subject of some specific treatments which prove its strong establishment in Gallic farming and the particular vision people have about it : an animal which flesh is coveted, offering for gods or dead persons, even, initially, diplomatic gift and ornamental bird.
Iron Ages, Gaul, chicken, zooarchaeology, ancient literatures