Mandubracius

Attested:  Caesar described how Mandubracius was a prince of the Trinobantes who fled across to Gaul to escape the violence of Cassivellanus, whereupon Caesar restored him to power and later commanded Cassivellaunus to leave him alone.

Where:  Presumably Mandubracius was based at Camulodunun trying to stay independent from the Catuvellauni.

Name origin:  The name Mandubracius is problematic for Celticists and Evans (1967:100-2) stopped only just short of translating it ‘horse's arse’!  Delamarre (2003:214) translated mandus as ‘pony’, though other authors prefer ‘young animal’ or offer other suggestions.  Latin braccae meant ‘breeches, trousers’, thought to be a loan from Germanic speakers in Gaul.  However, it is much easier to analyse the name as a Germanic compound, with first element related to OE mund ‘protection ’ and second element related to PIE *bhreg- ‘to break’.  Exactly what is the best twist to put on a meaning close to ‘protection break’ depends on how one views the politics involved in Caesar's story about Mandubracius.

Notes:  It is not certain which PIE root(s) led both to words for ‘hand’ (such as Latin manus) and to words for ‘protection’, but also to collision with the word man.  Notice the related issues involved with the name Cartimandua.  Some manuscripts of Caesar's text describe Mandubracius as a son of Immanuentis.  Geoffrey of Monmouth picked up Caesar's account via Orosius and gave it his usual dressing of imaginative fiction.

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Last Edited: 19 June 2017