[NB   The brief explanation given below has been drafted on the assumption that the reader is already familiar with the basic building-blocks used in Celtic topographical place-names (Chapter 1 of the Home menu), with the structure of compound place-names (Chapter 2) and with the structure of Celtic river-names (Chapter 19)]



The tribal name is given as Brigantes by both Tacitus and Ptolemy.

The name is clearly based on a Celtic topographical place-name of the form Brigandion or Brigantion, but the elements of the name are not entirely clear. They may have been old-style Br (meaning ‘high hill’) and gand (meaning ‘steep hill summit’, with the subsequent common change d→t), or old-style Br and transitional gant (meaning ‘steep hill high’) or transitional Brig (meaning ‘high hill steep’) and inversion-type ant (meaning ‘hill high’). All three are possible and in each case the later hill-letter is n2, the hill-letter used by the Brigantes (see ‘Ptolemy’s Celtic tribes’, 8).



[This page was last modified on 24 March 2021]