Ordovices

Attested:  Tacitus  Ordovicas, Ordovices;  Ptolemy Ορδουικες

Where:  People in northern Wales, with two πολεις at Μεδιολανιον (Whitchurch) and Βραννογενιον (Leintwardine).

Name origin:  In Roman law, Latin ordo meant ‘governing council’, of a town or people, while vicus meant a small, Romanised, self-governing area (Tarpin, 2002).  It is easy to misunderstand these elements, particularly since vicus is now routinely misused to mean ‘extramural settlement’.  So Ordovices described the social/administrative arrangement in a particular area, not necessarily an ethnic group or political unit.

Notes: The bizarre translation of ‘hammer fighters’ offered by R&S rests upon the idea that -vices also meant ‘fighters’ in the Lemovices, Brannovices, and Eburovices tribes in the centre of Gaul, supported by a belief that Lemo- was Celtic for ‘elm’ (Delamarre, 2003:198) not from λεμμα ‘that which is peeled off’, that Brano- was Celtic for ‘raven’ not something else dark brown, and that Ebur- was Celtic for ‘yew’ not Latin for ‘ivory’ (boars' tusks).

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Last Edited: 16 December 2017