Charles Anthon.

A system of ancient and mediæval geography for the use of schools and colleges online

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against the main body of the Helvetians, who were in arms,
and had chosen a certain Claudius Severus for their leader.
The Helvetians, however, made no stand against the Roman
veterans, and were massacred without mercy. Those who es
caped death were sold as slaves. The town of Aventicum, one
of the first in Helvetia, sent messengers to Caecina, with an
offer to surrender ; but Caecina sentenced the principal inhab
itants to death, and referred the fate of the rest to Vitellius,
who with difficulty was induced at length to spare their lives.
Vespasian, who succeeded Vitellius, had lived, when a boy, at
Aventicum with his father Sabinus, who went thither as a pub-
licanus, and had died there. After Vespasian became emperor
he remembered Aventicum, and embellished and enlarged the


place. Nothing particular occurred after this in Helvetia un
til the beginning of the fifth century of our era. During this
long period the Roman language and Roman habits and man
ners became prevalent throughout the country, though it is sup
posed that the more central valleys and the Alpine recesses re
tained a sort of rude independence, since Roman stations have
been traced forming a line at the foot of the high Alps, which
seem to have extended from the Lake of Wallenstadt to that
of the Waldst dtter, where Luzern now is, and thence to the
highlands of Bern, as if to guard the open country against the
irruptions of the mountaineers. At the breaking up of the
western empire, the Burgundians were the first to form a per
manent situation in western Switzerland, between the Jura
range, the Leman Lake, and the River Aar, and Geneva be
came the occasional residence of their kings. Meantime the
Allemanni, a wilder and more barbarous race than the Bur
gundians, occupied the banks of the Rhine as far as eastern
Helvetia, until, being defeated by Clovis, king of the Franks,
at Tolbiacum, near Cologne, A.D. 496, the Franks became
masters of the country which the Allemanni had occupied, in
cluding a great part of Helvetia. The old natives of Helvetia
became now by turns subjects or serfs of these various masters;
being no longer a nation, their very name became obliterated,
and they were included in the general appellation of Romans,
by which the northern conquerors designated the inhabitants of
the countries once subject to Rome.

In the territory of the Helvetii is the Lacus Lemanus, now
Lake of Geneva, one of the largest in Europe, and extending
in the form of a crescent from east to west. The ordinary or
thography of the name is Lemanus, as we have given it, though
Oudendorp, Ukert, and others consider Lemannus more cor
rect. Strabo, according to the latest and best text (that of
Kramer), calls it i\ hfr\\Livva, At juv??, but Ptolemy A^ez>?/. In the
Antonine Itinerary it is termed Lausonius Lacus, and in the
Peutinger Table Losannensis Lacus. Most of the ancient
writers who make mention of this lake, repeat the erroneous
account that the River Rhodanus traverses this sheet of water
without mingling its waters with it.


Cities of the Sequani.

Proceeding from north to south we find, 1. Luxovium, now
Luxeu. There were warm springs in this quarter, and thermae
erected over them, the ruins of which still exist. 2. Portus
Abucini, on the Arar, southwest of the preceding, now Port
sur Saone. 3. Segobudium or Segoboduum, also on the Arar,
now Seveux, on the Saone. 4. Loposagium, on the Dubis, now
Luxiol, near Beaume. 5. Epamanduoduntm, to the northeast
of the preceding, now Mandeure. 6. Vesontio, on the Dubis,
now Besangon. The origin of this town is unknown. Local
traditions and legends dated it as far back as four hundred and
thirty-four years before the foundation of Rome, which, ac
cording to the received chronology, would be about 1186 B.C.
All that we know with certainty is, that in Caesar s campaign
against Ariovistus, it was the greatest city of the Sequani,
and a place so strong by situation as to offer to either party
the greatest facilities for protracting the war. Csssar, by a
rapid march, seized the town and placed a garrison in it.
The Roman general has described the place as nearly sur
rounded by the River Dubis, which here formed a bend, as
though its course had been traced by a pair of compasses,
and the interval left by the river was occupied by an emi
nence, which, being fortified with a wall, served as a kind of
citadel. This was a flourishing place under the Romans, but
when the inroads of the barbarians commenced, the city of Ve-
sontio had its share in the general calamities, and was destroy
ed by the Allemanni in the time of Julian. It was rebuilt,
but again destroyed by Attila and the Huns. Several remains
at the present day attest its former greatness. 7. Ariolica,
called afterward Pontarlum, to the southeast of Vesontio. It
is now Pontarlier. 8. Magetobria, now Moigte de Broie, ac
cording to the best opinion, and in the vicinity of Pontarlier.
The MSS. of Caesar, who makes mention of the place, have al
most all Admagetobria. 9. Pom Dubis, now Pont, near the
frontier of the

Cities of the Helvetii.

Proceeding from the northeast toward the south, we find,
1. Vindonissa, now Windisch, on the Arola, now Aar, in the


canton of Bern. 2. Forum Tiberii, to the north of the preced
ing, on the Rhine, now Kaiserstuhl. 3. Turicum, now Zurich,
on the Limagus, now the Limmat. 4. Salodurum, to the south
west of the preceding, on the River Arola, now Solothurn or
Solerne. 5. Aventicum, now Avenches, called, also, Colonia
Flavia and Pia Flavia. It was the chief city of the Helvetii,
and has already been alluded to in the account just given of
that people. It took the name of Colonia Flavia and Pia Fla
via in the reign of Vespasian, when embellished and enlarged
by that emperor, as already remarked. 6. Lausanna, now Lau
sanne, near the southern shore of the Lacus Lemanus. 7. Noi-
odunum, called, also, Colonia Equestris, now Nyon, in the Pays
de Vaud.


I. Uliarus, now Oleron, lying on the coast of the Santones,
off the mouth of the Carantonus, now Charente, and a little
distance above the mouth of the Garumna. It belonged to
Aquitanica. The name Uliarus occurs in Pliny. Subsequent
ly we have in Sidonius Apollinaris the derived adjective Olari-
onensis, which serves to mark the transition to the modem
name of Oleron. This island extends about twenty miles in
length, and is about seven miles in breadth. The inhabitants
appear to have had a very considerable trade as early as the
twelfth century, and to have collected adjudged cases upon the
laws of the sea for regulating their own commercial affairs.
Hence arose the famous maritime laws of Oleron, which be
came known and partially adopted throughout all Europe. It
is an historical error to suppose, as some do, that the laws of
Oleron were compiled and published by Richard I. of England,
in this island, on his return from the Holy Land.

II. Radis, now Re, a short distance above Uliarus. The Ra
venna geographer calls it Ratis, but the writers of the Middle
Ages give the name as Radis. It is about sixteen miles long,
and about three or four broad.

III. Ogia, now D Yeu or Dieu, northwest of the preceding,
and lying farther out than it from the mainland, the nearest
point of which is distant more than ten miles. It is about six
miles in length, and about two and a half or three miles in
breadth. The whole island is little else than a vast granitic


rock, covered with a vegetable soil three feet in thickness in the
lower part, but in the higher ground so thin as to leave the rock
almost bare.

IV. Strabo speaks of a small island, not far from the coast,
and lying off the mouth of the Ligeris, on which, according to
him, dwelt a species of Amazonian race, addicted to the worship
of Dionysus or Bacchus, and who once every year, during the
celebration of the orgies of the god, unroofed his temple and put
on a new covering before evening. Each woman brought ma
terials for this purpose ; and if any one of them allowed these
materials to fall to the ground, she was torn in pieces by the
rest. Some one always suffered in this way every year. Stra
bo calls these females " the women of the Samnites," al rtiv
Safimrtiv ywatKEc;, but Tyrrwhit reads NG^WTWV, which is, no
doubt, the true lection, the island lying off the coast of the

V. Vindilis, now Belle Isle, a little to the northwest of the
mouth of the Ligeris. It was known to the Romans under this
name of Vindilis, and it appears in a deed of the Middle Ages
under the name of Guedel, a form which has some affinity with
Vindilis. It was also, according to some writers, known to the
ancients under the Greek name of Calonesus, of which its mod
ern name of Belle Isle is a translation. The island is about
eleven miles in length, and about six in breadth.

VI. Uxantis, now Ouessant, or, as the English writers fre
quently call it, Ushant, above the Gobseum Promontorium, and
lying off the territory of the Osismii. It is about four miles
long and three broad. Another ancient name was Axantos.

VII. Ccesarea, now Jersey, off the coast of the Unelli. Its
greatest length is about twelve miles, its greatest breadth about
seven. The only mention made of this- island in the ancient
writers is that which occurs in the Antonine Itinerary. Its
original name is said to have been Angia. It appears to have
been called Csesarea in honor of some one of the Roman em

VIII. Sarnia, to the northwest of the preceding, now Guern
sey. Mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary. The form of the
island approximates to that of a right-angled triangle. The
sides face the south, east, and northwest, and are respectively
about six and a half, six, and nine miles long.


IX. Ridunaj to the northeast of the preceding, now Au-
rigny, or, as the English writers more commonly term it, Alder -
ney. It is about three and three quarter miles long, and about
one and three eighths broad, and about eight miles in circuit.
The Northmen settled here at an early period.



I. THE remarks which we are here about to make, though obtained from the
best sources, must be regarded as at best merely conjectural or approximative.
And this must be the character of all speculations upon the language of the an
cient Celtic race, notwithstanding the boasted discoveries of modern times.

II. We do not know of any original Celtic alphabet, nor of any w r orks in that
language. Indeed, w r e have no positive knowledge left of the language of Cel
tic Gaul, unless we suppose it to have been similar to the Gaelic of Scotland.
The Breton language, like the Welsh, is a dialect of the Cymric tongue, belong
ing to that great division of the Celtae.

III. It has been long disputed whether the Basque language is a dialect of the
old Celtic. W. Von Humboldt (Prufung der Untersuchungen uber die Urbe-
wohncr Hispanicns vermittclst der Vaskischcr Sprache, Berlin, 1821) seems to be
of opinion that the Basque language is of Iberian, and not of Celtic origin; and
this undoubtedly is the true view of the case, the Iberian itself being connected
with the Finnish dialects of northern Europe.

IV. The remains of the old Celtic language must therefore be sought in the
Gaelic, and in the Erse or Irish, which is said to resemble the Gaelic, and also
in the Welsh, and its cognate dialect the Breton. These seem to be the only
probable offspring, though greatly changed of course, of the language of the an
cient Celts. We will now proceed to our more immediate subject, and will
consider first the prefixes and next the suffixes or endings of the Celtic local
names frequently occurring in ancient writers. The arrangement will be, for
convenience sake, an alphabetical one.

Celtic local Prefixes.

1. AGEN. In the life of St. Caprasius it is said that the town of Agennum,
now Agen, in Guienne, had its name " ab hiatu speluncce." Agcn in Welsh, at
the present day, is a word for " a cleft or cave." There is no similar word in
Erse with this meaning ; but in Bas-Breton we have agen, aitnen, eitnen, " a
spring, coming forth from the earth," and in Cornish we have agery, " to open."
(Adelung, ii., p. 42. Diefenbach, i., p. 21.)

2. ALP or ALB. A root rather than prefix, but still deserving of a place here.
It appears to mean " high," " lofty," and is found in the name of the Alpes or
Alps. Hence we have in Isidorus, iv., 8, the following: " Gallorum lingua
Alpes alti monies vocantur." Compare with this the Gaelic alb, "an eminence
or mountain," whence Albion, a name given to England from its lofty coasts,
and Albain, an appellation for the Highlands of Scotland. So we find Alba in
Latium, and several places of the same name in Spain and Gaul, and it is ob
servable that all of them were situate on elevated spots. We find the Albani,


also, in upper Asia, occupying a mountainous region called Albania, on the
western shore of the Caspian. The same root is likewise found in the name of
many other places in other quarters. (Compare Adelung, Mithr., vol. ii., p. 42.
Diefenbach, Ccltica, i., p. 18, seq. Pott, Etymol. Forsch., ii., p. 525.)

3. AR. A prefix or preposition, meaning " upon" or " near," and appearing
in the Latinized term Armorica, where it is united with the Celtic mor, " the
sea," by which the northwestern coast of Gaul is indicated, where the Armori-
CCB Civitates were situated. We find it, also, in the name of Arclate, the mod
ern Aries, which is said to come from ar, "upon," and llaeth, "a morass." In
the Bas-Breton we have still arvor, " a maritime tract," changed from the old
form armor by the genuine Celtic substitution of v for m, just as we find the
people of Armorica called Ap66pv%ot in Procopius. (Diefenbach, i., p. 80.)

4. BRIGA, BRIVA, BRIA, as in Brigantes, Brivates, Briaria, &c., consult remarks
on these same combinations under the head of Svjfixes.

5. CAD, CAT, CAS, in Cadurci, Catalauni, Cassivclauni, &c. Cad in Welsh
means "a troop" or "band." According to Vegetius (ii., 2) and Isidorus (ix.,
3, 46) the term catena in Latin was of Celtic origin, and meant the same as
legio, and hence Diefenbach supposes it to have come from cad and tor/a (Welsh,
catrawd), " a troop of soldiers." Compare the Gaelic ceatham, " a band of men."
In Bas-Breton cadarn, and in Cornish cad, both signify " a fight."

6. CARN. This prefix appears to mean " rocky," " stony," and hence the
Garni and Carnutes, as well as many names of places involving the same root,
would seem to have reference to stony or rocky localities. Compare the Gaelic
corn, "to heap up," and earn, cairn, "a heap of stones," "rock."

7. CRAG. A root rather than prefix, unless we suppose it to form part of the
name Graioccli. It means " rocky," " stony," and may be compared with the
Bas-Breton krag, the Welsh craig, the Gaelic carraig, creag, all signifying "a
rock," " a large stone," and our English word " crag." This same root appears
to exist in the name of Mount Cragus in Cilicia andLycia, and more than prob
ably in that of the Alpes Graia, " the craggy or rocky Alps," an etymology far
preferable to that which connects the name of the Graian Alps with the fabled
wanderings of the Grecian hero Hercules. Diefenbach appears to think that
there is some confirmation of this Celtic etymology to be deduced from Petro-
nius Arbiter, c. 122. This same root crag seems to lie also at the basis of the
modern name Crau, which is given to the celebrated lapideus campus, or " stony
field," near Aries.

8. DURO. The syllables duro at the beginning (and also durum at the end) of
Celtic local terms, occur in the names of places, &c., situated near rivers or the
sea. We find in Welsh dwr, i. c., dur, and duvr or duvyr, signifying " water."
We have also dour in Cornish, and dur in Bas-Breton, with the same meaning.
The Irish and Gaelic word corresponding is uisge ; but Lhuyd and Armstrong
give dobhar and dovar, "water," as obsolete Erse terms, with which we may
compare the Sanscrit dabhra, "ocean." We find, also, the same root dur ap
pearing in the names of several rivers, as, for example, the Durius in Spain, the
Aturis and Duranius in Gaul, the Duria in northern Italy, &c., all marking Cel
tic localities. (Prichard, Researches, vol. iii., p. 125. Diefenbach, i., p. 155, seq.
Adelung, ii., p. 57.)

9. EBOR or EBUR. This prefix is probably derived from a lost Celtic word
analogous to ufer, "banks," in German. Supposing this to be so, the name
Ebor-ach, whence Ebordcum," Vork," in England, might mean a place on the
banks of a river or water. Another, but less probable derivation, would be that
connecting it with the Welsh aber, " a confluence of waters." It has been sup-


posed that such names of places as Aberdeen, Aberbothrick, Abercurnig, &c., in
Scotland, contain this Celtic prefix. (Prichard, iii., p. 128.)

10. LUG. The meaning of this prefix has been disputed. According to one
of the ancient writers (Clitophon, ap. Pint, de Flum. Op. ed. Reiske, vol. x., p.
733) the name Lugdunum (Aovydovvov), in which it occurs, signifies " crow s
hill," the prefix lug meaning "a crow :" "Xovyov yap ry a<f>uv dia^EKTu TOV /copc/ca
KaXovaiv, &OVVQV 6s TOKOV tf e^ovra. The latter part of the name is explained
well enough, but the signification given to the prefix can not be correct. The
appellation Lugdunum appears rather to indicate a city situate on or near a hill
or elevation on a river, or near some confluence of waters. We may then com
pare lug with the Welsh Ihwch, and the Erse loch, " a lake," " an inlet of wa
ter," &c. This explanation will suit very well the position of Lugdunum, the
modern Lyons, situate under a hill at the confluence of the Arar and Rhodanus.
So, again, Lugdunum Batavorum, the modern Leydcn, is in the immediate vicin
ity of water, being situate on the Old Rhine, the burg or central part, which
marks the site of the ancient city, being the only elevated spot of ground for
many miles around ; and, finally, Lugdunum Convenarum, now St. Bertrand, stands
on high ground on both sides of the Garonne.

11. NANT. This prefix means " a valley," "a rivulet." In Welsh we have
nant, " a ravine," " a brook ;" in Cornish, nance, " a valley." The term nant is
in common use in Wales, and it is understood in the same sense in Savoy, where
we find Nant dc Gria, Nant de Taconay ; and so, also, Nant Arpenaz, " a torrent
flowing over a summit," which is exactly described in Welsh by Nant-ar-penau.
Hence many local names in Gaul, as Nantuacum, now Nantue, in Burgundy, sit
uated in a narrow valley, on a lake between two mountains ; so, also, the Nan-
tuates, who, as we are informed by Strabo, occupied the valley of the Rhine,
immediately below its source ; and, again, Namnetes or Nannetes, now Nantes or
Nantz, in a country intersected by rivulets. (Adelung, ii., p. 64. Prichard, iii.,
p. 128. Diefenbach, I, p. 82.)

12. NEMET. This prefix, according to Fortunatus, meant " a temple," prob
ably a grove-temple, and hence was connected, perhaps, in some way with the
Greek VE^OS, " a glade," " a piece of wooded ground," and the Latin nemus, "a
grove." Hence Drynemetum (where it appears as a prefix to the second part of
the compound), the name of a place in Galatia, where the Council of Three Hun
dred, from all the three nations of Gauls in Galatia, were accustomed to as
semble. Hence, also, Vernemetis, the name of a celebrated temple in the vicin
ity of Burdigala, now Bourdeaux, which, according to Fortunatus, meant "fanum
ingens." So, too, Augustonometum, now Clermont, in Auvcrgne, where was the
temple of Vasa. (Adelung, ii., p. 77. Prichard, iii., p. 127. Radloff, Neue Un-
tersuchungen, p. 399.)

2. Celtic local Suffixes.

1. -ACUM. This suffix contains the Celtic root ac, "water," and hence the
names of so many places in Gaul with this termination, all situate on rivers,
&c., as Arenacum, on the Rhine ; Laurcacum, on the Danube ; Magontiacum,
on the Rhine ; Turnacum and Bagacum, on the Scaldis ; Blariacum, on the Mosa,
&c. (Adelung, ii., p. 41.) So, at a later day, the convent of Mauzacum, in Au-
vergne, is said to have been so named from its having been founded "inter aquas"
(Diefenbach, i., p. 66.)

2. -ATES, -IATES. In Welsh, iaid, aid, is a frequent termination of adjectives,
as Ceisariaid, the Csesarians or Romans, easily convertible into ates, iates ; like
wise aeth, a termination of nouns, as Cattraeth. (Prichard, iii., p. 129.)


3. -BRIGA, -BRIVA, -BRiA. The meaning of these terminations is far from be
ing clearly ascertained. The first occurs very frequently in the Ibero-Celtic
parts of Spain, as Nertobriga, Mirobriga, Langobriga, Segobriga, &c., and is gen
erally appropriated to towns on rivers. This had led many to imagine that the
ending in question is the same as the German Bruckc and English bridge.
This, however, though a very plausible analogy, will not stand the test of a
close examination, and can not in any way be made applicable to such names
as that of the Brigantes. It seems better, therefore, upon the whole, to give
the termination briga the signification of " city," with the associate idea of ele
vation, i. e., a city on some elevated spot, and we may then compare it with the
Welsh Ire, " a hill or mount," " a peak ;" the Erse bri, " a hill," " a rising
ground," whence brioghach, "hilly;" the Gaelic braigh, "the upper part" of any
thing or place, &c. The termination bria will also have the meaning of " a
city," and with this we may compare the ending ppia, in the names of certain
cities of Thrace, which, according to Strabo, also meant " a city," and was
equivalent to TrdAif. Thus Mesembria, a colony of Megarians, was originally
called Menebria, that is, " the city of Mene," its founder. So the city of Selys
was Selybria, and ^Enus was called Poltyobria, or the city of Poltys. (Strab.,
vii., p. 319, Cas.) The termination -briva appears to be closely connected with
these, and is probably only another form of the same ending, though many give
this also the meaning of "bridge," while others make it signify "ford."

4. -DUNUM, -DINUM. According to Bede, dun signified a hill in the language
of the ancient Britons, namely, that of Wales and the Strathclyde Britons.
According to Clitiphon, as quoted by Plutarch (compare remarks under the pre-
rix Lug}, it was the same in meaning in the language of Gaul, dovvov aakwci
rbv ^lx ov7a - Adelung compares with this the Greek -&tv, "a heap." In the
names of places in Britain, dun and din appear to have been used indifferently
one for the other. Thus, for example, Londinum and Londunum are both found.
The Welsh dinas, meaning " city," has probably the same origin. In the Neth
erlands, the sand-hills on the coast are, according to Adelung, still called Dunen,
and so in England the name of downs or dunes is given to little hillocks of sand
formed along the sea-coast. (Adelung, ii., p. 57. Prichard, iii., p. 126.)

5. -DURUM. Compare remarks on the prefix Duro.

6. -LAUNI, -LANI. In Welsh llan means " an inclosure." Hence Segelauni,
Catieuchlani, &c.

7. -MAGUS. According to some, this ending has reference to an association,
union, or fellowship, and hence to a collection or union of families. (Radio/,
p. 397.) Others, however, find traces of it in the Irish and Gaelic mdgh, " a
field or plain." It would then have reference to the surrounding locality,
(Prichard, iii., p. 126. Diefenbach, i., p. 77.)

8. -RITUM. This ending, which we find in August oritum, Camboritum, &c.,
appears to mean " a ford." Compare the Welsh Rhyd and Cornish Ryd, both
meaning " a ford ;" hence Rhyd-ychan, the Welsh for Oxford. Erse has no cor
responding word approaching this root.

9. -TRIGES. This ending occurs in the name of the Durotriges, &c. In
Welsh, trig means " to stay," " to abide ;" whence trigan, " to remain ;" triga-
diad, " inhabitants ;" and hence Duro-triges, " dwellers near water."



THESE may be considered under three heads : 1. Britannia ;
2. Hibernia ; 3. Insulce Britannicce Minores.



I. BRITAIN was known to the Romans by the names of Bri
tannia (in Greek Bperav/o, Bperrawa, ~BperraviKrj vfjoog) and Al
bion ( AAot>0)v).

II. The etymology of the word Britannia or Britain has been
much disputed. One of the most plausible is that which derives
it from a Celtic word brith or brit, signifying " painted," and tan,

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