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).
Last Edited: 16 December 2017