Attested: Cassivellaunus in Caesar de Bello Gallico 5,18-23. In about AD 163 Polyaenus mentioned Cassivellaunus briefly in passing in Stratagemata 23,5. The name survived into Welsh texts as Caswallawn.
Where: Cassivellaunus was a British warlord with territories north of the Thames, probably head of the Catuvellauni tribe, probably based around Wheathamstead and St. Albans.
Name origin: Cassi- has been much discussed, in the light of Latin cassis ‘metal helmet’ and Greek κασσιτερος. Here, it clearly meant ‘helmet’, even if in a metaphorical sense of ‘warrior’ and in an indigenous language rather than Latin. Vellaunus ‘commanding’ survived best in Germanic languages, as discussed under Velunia.
Notes: Many historians argue that Caesar's invasion was opportunistic exploitation of a tribal conflict as Cassivellaunus tried to expand aggressively at the expense of his neighbours. Bronze gave a competitive advantage in early warfare in the manufacture of helmets before edged weapons.
Last Edited: 21 June 2017