Roman Republican governors of Gaul
Roman Republican governors of Gaul were assigned to the province of Cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy) or to Transalpine Gaul, the Mediterranean region of present-day France also called the Narbonensis, though the latter term is sometimes reserved for a more strictly defined area administered from Narbonne (ancient Narbo). Latin Gallia can also refer in this period to greater Gaul independent of Roman control, covering the remainder of France, Belgium, and parts of the Netherlands and Switzerland, often distinguished as Gallia Comata and including regions also known as Celtica (Κελτική in Strabo and other Greek sources), Aquitania, Belgica, and Armorica (Britanny). To the Romans, Gallia was a vast and vague geographical entity distinguished by predominately Celtic inhabitants, with ""Celticity"" a matter of culture as much as speaking gallice (""in Celtic"").The Latin word provincia (plural provinciae) originally referred to a task assigned to an official or to a sphere of responsibility within which he was authorized to act, including a military command attached to a specified theater of operations. The assignment of a provincia defined geographically thus did not always imply annexation of the territory under Roman rule. Provincial administration as such originated in efforts to stabilize an area in the aftermath of war, and only later was the provincia a formal, preexisting administrative division regularly assigned to promagistrates. The provincia of Gaul therefore began as a military command, at first defensive and later expansionist. Independent Gaul was invaded by Julius Caesar in the 50s BC and organized under Roman administration by Augustus; see Roman Gaul for Gallic provinces in the Imperial era.