Britannia, by William Camden



Small W WE have gone through all those Counties, which are bounded by the British Ocean, the Severn Sea, and the river Thames. Let us now take a survey of the rest, in their order; and, crossing the river, and returning back to the Thames-head and to the Æstuary of Severn, let us view the Territories of the Dobuni who inhabited Glocestershire and Oxfordshire.

The Name seems to be deriv’d fromDuffen, in British Deep or Low.Duffen a British word; because of their living in a Country which consists for the most part of Plains and Valleys. Whereupon, the whole People took their Denomination from thence; and, from such a situation, Bathieia in Troas, Catabathmos in Africa, Deepdale in Britain, receiv’d their several Names. And I am the more easily induc’d to this Opinion, because I find that Dion calls these People by a name of the same signification, Bodunni, if there is not a transposition of the Letters. For * * Bodo, what it meant among the Britains and Gauls.Bodo or Bodun in the ancient language of the Gauls, as Pliny informs us, signifies Deep, which language I have before demonstrated to be the same with the British; from whence, as he supposes, is the name of the City Bodincomagus, plac’d upon the deepest part of the river Poe; and that of the Bodiontii, a People that inhabited the deep Valley now call’d Val de Fontenay, near the lake Lemane; not to mention Bodotria, the deepest Frith in all Britain.

I have met with nothing in ancient Authors concerning these Boduni, but that Aulus Plautius, who was sent by Claudius to be Proprætor in Britain, took part of them into his protection, who before were subject to the Catuellani (their next neighbours,) and placed a Garrison among them about the 45th year of our Lord; and this I have from Dio.

But as soon as the Saxons had conquer’d Britain, the Name of Dobuni was lost, and part of them, with other Inhabitants bordering upon them, were by a new German name call’d Wiccii; but from whence, without the Reader’s leave, I should scarce presume to conjecture: Yet if Wic in Saxon signifie the Creek of a River, and the Vignones a German People are so call’d, because they dwell upon the Creeks of Rivers and the Sea (as is affirm’d by B. Rhenanus;) it cannot be absurd to derive the name of Wiccii from Wic; since their habitation was about the mouth of the Severn, which is full of windings and turnings.

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06