Cassi

Attested:  Caesar Bello Gallico 5, 21 Cassi

Where:  One of 5 tribes in the south-east who surrendered to Julius Caesar in 54 BC

Name origin:  Many authors have struggled to explain why cass- appeared so frequently in the names of Gaulish persons and tribes.  See particularly Evans (1967:167-171) and Delamarre (2003:109).  Perhaps the most likely common link among Latin cassis ‘helmet’, Old Irish cas ‘curly-haired’, English hat, Greek κασσιτερος and Arabic kazdir ‘tin’, is head coverings.

Notes:  See about Cassivellaunus, who might have been their vellaunus ‘commander’, as explained under Velunia.  The Waterloo Helmet is a fine example of a pre-Roman, Celtic-style helmet found in the right area.  Head protection confers a huge advantage in battle, so that helmets made of bronze (much harder than plain copper) would have been the key motive for using tin.

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