CARNUTES (Carnuti, Carnutae, in Plutarch), a Celtic people of central Gaul, between the Sequana (Seine) and the Liger (Loire). Their territory corresponded to the dioceses of Chartres, Orléans and Blois, that is, the greater part of the modern departments of Eure-et-Loir, Loiret, Loir-et-Cher. It was regarded as the political and religious centre of the Gallic nation. The chief towns were Cenabum (not Genabum; Orléans) and Autricum (Chartres). According to Livy (v. 34) the Carnutes were one of the tribes which accompanied Bellovesus in his invasion of Italy during the reign of Tarquinius Priscus. In the time of Caesar they were dependents of the Remi, who on one occasion interceded for them. In 52 they joined in the rebellion of Vercingetorix. As a punishment for the treacherous murder of some Roman merchants and one of Caesar's commissariat officers at Cenabum, the town was burnt and the inhabitants put to the sword or sold as slaves. During the war they sent 12,000 men to relieve Alesia, but shared in the defeat of the Gallic army. Having attacked the Bituriges Cubi, who appealed to Caesar for assistance, they were forced to submit. Under Augustus, the Carnutes, as one of the peoples of Lugdunensis, were raised to the rank of civitas socia or foederata, retaining their own institutions, and only bound to render military service to the emperor. Up to the 3rd century Autricum (later Carnutes, whence Chartres) was the capital, but in 275 Aurelian changed Cenabum from a vicus into a civitas and named it Aurelianum or Aurelianensis urbs (whence Orléans).
See Caesar, Bell. Gall. v. 25, 29, vii. 8, 11, 75, viii. 5, 31; Strabo iv. pp. 191-193; R. Boutrays, Urbis gentisque Carnutum historia (1624); A. Desjardins, Géographie historique de la Gaule, ii. (1876-1893); article and bibliography in La Grande Encyclopédie, T.R. Holmes, Caesar's Conquest of Gaul (1899), p. 402, on Cenabum.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)