According to a legend related by Livy, the Roman historian, a Gallic traveller to Italy returned with figs, grapes, wine and oil. Supposedly, these exotica generated so much excitement that they spurred the ensuing occupation of northern Italy by the Celtic tribes. During the early Hallstatt period, Celtic control of the major river arteries of central Europe, from the Danube to the Rhone and Seine, led first to a major east-west trade in commodities such as salt, copper and tin. The foundation of the Greek colony at Massalia (Marseille), according to Livy with Celtic support, and the growth of the Etruscan civilization, gradually led to north-south trade predominating. Massiote and Etruscan wine and tableware became commonplace for the Celtic aristocracy by the 6th century BCE. Chinese silk has been found in the burial site of a Celtic noblewoman at Heuneburg in Germany. The Phoenicians continues to dominate the maritime trade in copper and tin, plying the routes between the Mediterranean and Europe’s Atlantic seaboard.
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