Attested: Dio via Xiphilinus Μαιαται; Dio via Jordanes Meatae
Where: A troublesome tribal confederation north of the Antonine Wall.
Name origin: Roman Maia, from Greek μαια ‘good mother, foster mother’ was the mythological goddess of nurturing, possibly similar to other ancient deities such as the Matrones and Rosmerta. The –αται ending was essential the same as –atians in modern names of peoples. The name Μαιαται looks like an outsiders’ comment on the demographic threat from the Scoti, Picti, and Calidoni and other barbarae quae pullulaverunt sub imperatoribus, as the Verona List of AD 314 put it, who were not necessarily politically unified but reproduced strongly during the climatically good years of the Roman era.
Notes: Watson (1926:56-9) summarised the ancient authors’ accounts of the Μαιαται and mentioned several place names that may preserve the name. There were also ancient Maeotians around the Sea of Azov.
Last Edited: 29 September 2016