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Gladius Hispaniensis

Connection between modern place names and tribes

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Ave

I am struck by the similarities between Gallic tribal names and the names of modern towns and other places in France,Germany and surrounding Celtic countries.

This is just pure guesswork on my part and feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but I think the following links are apposite:

Paris must have been named after the Parisii

Soissons must have been named after the Suessiones

Belgium has to be named after the Belgae (a no brainer there)

The Remi must have given their name to Rheims

Swabia in Germany must have been named after the Suebi

Does the French word for Germans les allemands, have anything to do with the Alemanni?

I am interested in collecting a list of such place names and their apparent connection with ancient tribes. If anyone can input or correct it will be highly appreciated.

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You may find this Wikipedia link helpful. It lists various tribes and their corresponding major settlements -- many of these places having received their modern-day names from these tribes.

 

-- Nephele

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Thanks for the link Nephele. It was very informative. It turns out from that list that I guessed right on some of the tribes and place names.

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Thanks for the link Nephele. It was very informative. It turns out from that list that I guessed right on some of the tribes and place names.

 

Yep, you did!

 

Glad that link was of help, Gladius. I would nevertheless check any information in Wikipedia against an additional source (unless you know the article was written by a Wiki contributor who knows his beans, like Andrew Dalby). Are you planning to include the native Italian tribes on your list as well? As (I figure you already know) many of the Italian regions (Umbria, Liguria, etc.) were named for the indigenous tribes that occupied them.

 

Am looking forward to seeing your expanded list!

 

-- Nephele

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Glad that link was of help, Gladius. I would nevertheless check any information in Wikipedia against an additional source ...

 

Good advice, Nephele. But that list looked OK to me.

 

What often happened was this. The Romans retained the original tribes as administrative divisions (which they called civitates, "states"). They built a Roman-style city to be the new state capital. The full name of this capital would include the tribal name: e.g. "Lutetia Parisiorum" meaning "... of the Parisii". But soon these names were shortened, and people just said "Parisii": hence the original tribal name turned into a place name.

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I wouldn't know what to compare the Wiki list with but since I trust Andrew's judgment on these matters I'll take his word for it. It never occurred to me to include the Italian names on my list - I was actually more interested in Celtic areas (I'm including Germany in that) - but that wouldn't be a bad idea. Thanks for the suggestion Nephele.

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Little premise : before the Celtic invasion, Gallia was inhabited by other populations who continued to live there even after their arrival. The Ligures in Provence, the Iberians in Languedoc and the Aquitanii in the south-west.

The languages of the first two peoples are now extinct, that of the Aquitanii is continued by Basque; all of them were probably non-indoeuropean. Many cities whose name is linked with a celtic population originally had a different name, here is a list of 40 cities whose ancient names were replaced with that of the celtic populations who inhabited them.

 

This also explains why Paris was originally called Lutetia Parisiorum. Lutetia was the name of a small island on the river Seine where the Parisii settled. It was a pre-celtic name meaning swamp.

 

There are cities in France with different names deriving from the same celtic tribe, like N

Edited by Silentium

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Thanks for the information, Silentium! I'd like to see that list, but I think you need to check the link. It doesn't appear to be working.

 

-- Nephele

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