The Arverni and the Allobroges
(from the Celtic, Aill = mountain & Brog = dweller) were powerful, warlike
and annoyingly arrogant Gaulish tribes well-known to the Romans as enemies who
continually broke their treaties and attacked Roman territory). In 121 BC, they
were once more engaged by the Legions of Rome commanded by the Proconsul Domitius
Ahenobarbus and the Consul Q. Fabius Maximus. The Gauls were defeated, and the
king of the Arverni, Bituitus, was eventually captured and sent to Rome
for Q.Fabius' subsequent Triumph. It is said that he was carried through Rome
in his own silver war chariot for this event.
The mountain Gauls had always been like Bogey-men to the Romans. In the early days they had almost conquered the city. And mothers probably used the image of huge, blonde, mustachioed, drug-crazed Gaulish berzerkers painted blue with woad and naked as the day they were born, running amok through the streets shouting like mad and slaughtering anything in their path - as images to scare their children into behaving like good little Romans.
That image (or the intensity of the war against Bituitus itself) must have deeply affected the Romans - more than history tells us - because no fewer than five Roman moneyers struck coins which recalled Bituitus and his war chariot to later generations of Romans. Those five were L.Porcius Licinius, L.Cosconius, L.Pomponius, C.Malleolus, and M.Aurelius Scaurus.
You might be mis-reading the reverse legend, which is SCAVRI, because it is usually written in the ligate form (where the letters are partly joined together).
Scaurus' coins were struck c. 110 BC. The moneyer was the son of the consul of 115, who had exactly the same name and who probably fought in the Gaulish war commemmorated on this coin. He was a stepson of the dictator Sulla, served under Pompey, and later married Pompey's wife. He had direct connections with several other events portrayed on Republican coins, and was thus in the very centre of historical events during his lifetime. He was also terribly greedy, accepted huge bribes, shamelessly plundered provinces and ripped off kings, was accieds of crimes, defended by Cicero, accised again and finally condemned. Phew! Talk about life in the fast lane. He left behind one son, who also had the same name.
As a moneyer he has two known coins - (Reference: BMC 1185. Syd 523 and 523a) - both the same design except for slight variations in Roma's helmet.
Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma facing right, with M.AVRELI (in ligate form) before and ROMA * behind. Reverse: Naked Bituitus in a Gaulish chariot galloping right, holding spear and shield, with Gaulish trumpet beside him. Below chariot SCAVRI (in ligate form). In exergue: L.LIC.CN DOM. These last letters refer to his fellow moneyers in this year(which is still uncertain, but say 110 BC), who were L.Porcius Licinius (who also struck a coin of this same type) and Cornelius Domitius Ahenobarbus, the son of the Proconsul who defeated Bituitus' tribe. Cn Domitius struck a different coin type referring to Bituitus, on which is Victory in a chariot and beneath it a small figure of a man and a big dog. This refers to the story that before Bituitus was defeated, he unleashed a pack of huge dogs against the Romans.
Information (from the Roman point of view ;) thanks to Harvey Shore and members of Numism-L
During the 2nd century BCE the Romans fought many battles to make their Northern borders secure.
"In doing so, however
he[Caius Sextius Calvinus] found himself at odds with the main Celtic tribe
in the area, the Allobroges, who had been so helpful to Hannibal in his crossing
of the Alps.
"The žashpoint occurred when the Allobroges refused to surrender to the Romans a fugitive Ligurian chieftain who had sought asylum with them.
"In 121 BC the proconsul Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus fought the Žrst battle between Rome and the Celts of Transalpine Gaul within their own territory. The battle took place near modern Avignon. With the aid of an elephant corps, Ahenobarbus was able to rout the Allobroges army. This victory gave the Romans control of the whole left bank of the Rhone as far north as Geneva. Worried by this fact, the Arverni, in the Auvergne, decided to raise an army against the Romans commanded by their king, Bituitus son of Lovernius. The Arverni marched to the conžuence of the Rhone and the Isere. Here a Roman army commanded by Quintus Fabius Maximus managed to repulse them. The greater disaster for the Arverni occurred when the Celts withdrawing from the battleŽeld and crossing the Rhine bridge, were precipitated into the turbulent waters when the bridge broke. Fabius Maximus claimed that he had slaughtered 120,000 Celts with a loss of Žfteen Romans, Žgures that certainly need to be treated with a great deal of scepticism.
"However exaggerated his report, both the Arverni and the Allobroges had clearly been defeated and Rome now controlled the southern lands of Gaul along the Mediterranean shore. In the defeat of the Arverni, the perifdy of the Romans was demonstrated when the consul Ahenobarbus persuaded the king of the Arverni, Bituitus, to journey to Rome to conduct the peace negotiations between the two peoples in person. Once in Rome, Bituitus was seized and made a prisoner. The Senate took full advantage of the violation of the safe-conduct promise of Ahenobarbus, by keeping Bituitus conŽned as a prisoner in Alba Longa on Mons Albanus. Here, Bituitus was joined by his son Comm or Congentiatus. Domitius Ahenobarbus set up a victory monument, the Tour Magne at Nimes."
From Celt and Roman: The Celts in Italy, PB Ellis, 1998, pp 231-2
"...an ambassador of Bituitus, king of the Arverni, met him, arrayed magniŽcently and followed by attendants also adorned, and by dogs, for the barbarians of this region use dogs also as bodyguards. A musician, too, was in the train who sang in barbar ous fashion the praises of King Bituitus, and then of the Arverni, and then of the ambassador himself, celebrating his birth, his bravery and is wealth" Appian in Celtica
"A Celtic poet, who
arrived too late, met Lovernius [on the road, Bituitus' father] and composed
a song magnifying his greatness and lamenting his own late arrival. Lovernius
was very pleased and asked for a bag of gold and threw it to the poet who ran
beside his chariot. The poet picked it up and sang another song saying that
the very tracks made by his chariot gave gold and largess to mankind."
Poseidonius quoted by Atheneus