Dicaledones

Attested:  Ptolemy 2,3,1 Δουκαληδονιος or Δουηκαληδονης ocean; Ammianus 27,8,5 Dicalydonas (one of two divisions of Picts).

Where:  It is usually supposed that the Pictish Dicalydonas lived in the north-east of the Scottish mainland, yet Ptolemy's Δουκαληδονιος ocean clearly lies west of central Scotland, and his (single) Καλεδονιοι lived around the Great Glen.

Name origin:  See Caledonia about the hard core of this name.  All commentators agree that initial Δουη-/Di- indicates a twin people, but not on which two areas they occupied.  Since the Επιδιοι ‘upon two’ people lived in the western ocean, it seems possible that Ptolemy was referring to two zones in which Gaelic speech ultimately prevailed: Ireland and western Scotland.

Notes:  A western location would fit the idea that the name Caledonian described culture (readiness to obey a call to arms) not language, and would weaken the idea that the name Pictish described a distinct, eastern language.

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Last edited: 14 October 2018