[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)]
This tribal name is known from the Geography of Ptolemy and from two inscriptions found on Hadrian’s Wall, RIB 1672 and 1673, the latter giving the form Durotrag(um). This difference in the vowels used is of no importance. The form Durotriges will be used here.
We see in Durotriges another case of a tribal name based on a topographical place-name, the place-name apparently having been of the form Dulodrigion, where Dul means ‘summit of hill’ and drig means ‘summit of hill steep’. The hill-letter l is used in the first element of the proposed place-name since this was the hill-letter used by the Durotriges and so should be present in the chronologically latest element of the name. The place-name indicates that the Durotriges had taken over a hillfort previously occupied by a people who used the hill-letter r. The people ruled from Dulodrigion will have been called the Dulodriges. Then, with simple changes, namely the r/l interchange and the change d→t, Dulodriges became Durotriges. Dulodrigion was probably somewhere on the eastern side of the Severn estuary, where there is a concentration of place-names in the hill-letter l1. One sees the Dul element as Dol in Dolocindo, this Celtic name apparently referring to Westbury Camp, just west of Westbury-sub-Mendip.
[This page was last modified on 24 March 2021]