Deceangli

Attesteddeceangi appears as an inscription on one side of some lead ingots from north Wales.  One is now in the British Museum (photo) and another is in Chester Museum (photo in Williams,2012).  Whittick (1982) was certain that the final letter was L, making the name deceangl.

Where:  People in north Wales, in the lead-silver mining district, in what became the mediaeval cantref of Tegeingl.

Name origin:  Latin for ‘ten angles’, based on decem ‘ten’ plus angulus ‘angle, corner, nook’ (hence geographical names such as East Anglia and Anglesey), presumably referring to a confederation of ten clans or districts.  The Roman administrative structure called an ordo decurionum might have overseen the mining in north Wales, especially considering the other tribal name Ordovices.  Initial Dec- has no easy explanation in Celtic, but see under *Decantae for other possibilities.

Notes:  A passage in Tacitus' Annals 12,32 is usually printed as containing in Decangos, but that is actually an unnecessary editorial emendation from inde Cangos, which makes sense in Latin from inde ‘thence, from that place’ with Cangos perhaps meaning *Gangani people in the Llŷn peninsula south of Anglesey.  One can also see a translation “the army was led against the Ceangi”, which perhaps goes back to the inscription de ceang, which Camden (1577) reported, in section 15 here, as seen on 20 lead ingots found near the Mersey but since lost.

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Last Edited: 12 March 2017