Attested: Ammianus XXVII,VIII,5 Attacotti bellicosa hominum natio
ND Atecotti; Atecotti Honoriani seniores and ditto juniores; Atecotti juniores Gallicani
Jerome Atticotorum (Epistolae 69); Atticottos (Adversus Iovinianum 2)
Inscription in Macedonia: MIL DE NUM ATECUTTORUM
Where: A warlike race of men, who ranged widely and caused great devastation, along with Scots and two types of Picts, from AD 364 to 368, according to Ammianus. Cannibals, somewhere in Britain, according to Jerome. Soldiers in the Roman army according to ND and that inscription.
Name Origin: Uncertain. R&S set out a Celtic interpretation as ‘very old ones’, based upon a debatable guess that *Cott- in personal names meant ‘old’. The range of attested spellings (which need rechecking against original manuscripts) offers huge scope for alternative suggestions based on searching dictionaries of Latin (e.g. atta), Greek (e.g. ατακτεω), Irish (aithech), epigraphy (Atecundus, Attaconus), or history (Alt Clut).
Notes: The word attack is generally traced back to PIE *steg-
‘stake’, so one could make a case that Attacotti meant ‘stake-out’, so that they were pikemen, hired into the Roman army from northern tribes who specialised in their use, as is attested for Picts.
Last Edited: 9 June 2016