ANAREVITOS

Attested:  A single gold coin found in 2010 shows ANAREVITOS (or possibly AVAREVITOS), with EPPI on the other side, described by Rudd (2011).

Where:  Rudd argues that Anarevitos was a grandson of Commius who ruled over a quarter of Kent.

Name origin:  Although this name rests on just one coin, being long and apparently complete it invites linguistic analysis.   There is an obvious parallel in anareviseos on a tombstone in north-west Italy, written in an Old Italic script used for some Lepontic inscriptions, and analysed by French researchers as *ande-are-vissu, meaning ‘very close to knowledge’, which German classicists gloss as ‘very wise’.  Rudd's advisers guess that Anarevitos meant ‘lacking in foresight’ or ‘unforeknowable’, which seems odd for a king.  The difficult part of this name is -are-.  Was it *are- ‘before, near’ (Delamarre 2003:52) or *arios- ‘lord, free man’ (Delamarre 2003:54-5)?  Neither has a simple, uncontroversial PIE root, even before one starts arguing over Germanic *harjaz ‘army’, Latin re- ‘again’, and the linguistic environment of Endlicher's Glossary.  Also, where in the semantic zone of vision and wisdom does the –vitos part belong?  If initial An- was just a simple prefix from PIE *an- ‘on’ (which had descendants in many language families, and developed to ana- in several) the remaining –arevitos is close to Ariovistus, whose etymology Wikipedia discusses in some detail.  Caesar described Ariovistus as being from the Suebi (very Germanic) but able to speak fluent Gaulish (usually interpreted as Celtic).  That sounds like a fair description of the likely ethnicity of a king of Kent.

Notes:  More distant possible parallels are Ανηριστος, a Spartan who died in 430 BC, and Ανηροεστης, king of the Gaesatae ‘mercenaries’ at the battle of Telamon in 225 BC, described by Polybius (book 2).

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Last Edited: 17 June 2017