Britannia, by William Camden

Caesar aelfrick aelfric



Small O ON the East of the Dobuni, border those People whom Ptolemy, according to different Copies, calls Cattieuchlani, Cattidudani, Cathicludani; and Dio, Cattuellani. Which of these is the true name, I cannot easily determin; yet I must beg leave to be deliver’d of an abortive conjecture, which I long since conceived. I should think then, that these people were the ancient Cassii; that from them their Prince Cassivellaunus, or Cassibelinus, took his name; and that they again, from their Prince Cassivellaunus, were by the Grecians call’d Cattuellani, Cathuellani, and Cattieuchlani. Now the Cassii, mention’d by Cæsar among the British Nations, did most certainly inhabit these parts; from whom a pretty large tract in this County, still retains the name of Caishow. And since Cassivellaunus govern’d here, as is evident from Cæsar; and in his name that of the CassiiCassii. doth manifestly appear; it seems very probable, that Cassivellaunus denotes as much as the Prince of the Cassii. If otherwise, why should Dio call this Cassivellaunus, Suellan instead of Vellan; and Ninnius the British writer, not Cassibellinus, but Bellinus, as if that were the proper name either of his person or dignity? Nor ought it to seem strange, that Princes heretofore took their names from the people whom they govern’d: for thus the Catti in Germany had their Cattimarus; the Teutones their Teutomarus and Teutobochus; the Daci their Decebalus; the Goths their Gottiso. And why might not our Cassii in like manner have their Cassibelinus? Especially, when Belinus was a common name in this Island; and some have thought, that the name of Cunobellinus, King of the Iceni, imported no more than the BelinusBellin. of the Iceni. So that if the Grecian writers did not from this Cassivellaunus extort the names Cattuellani, Cattieuchlani, &c. I must, as to this matter, freely confess my self in the dark.

But whence these people had the name of Cassii, I have not discover’d; unless it was from their war-like Valour. For Servius Honoratus informs us, that the stoutest and most vigorous Soldiers were by the ancient Gauls (who spoke the same language with the Britains) call’d Gessi. Whence Ninnius interprets the British word Cethilou, The Seed of Warriors. Now, that the Cassii were renown’d for Martial prowess, is most certain: for, before the arrival of Cæsar, they had wag’d continual war against their neighbours, and had reduced part of the Dobuni under their subjection. And then, upon Cæsar’s Invasion,Dio. the Britains constituted the Prince of this Country, Commander in chief of the forces of the whole Island. They had too, by this time, extended their name and dominion to a considerable distance. For under the general name of Cassii or Cattieuchlani, were comprehended all those people who inhabit three Counties in the present division, viz. Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, and Hertfordshire; of which I shall now speak briefly in their order, having not much to say of any of them.

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