[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 referred to in the Geography of Ptolemy and in the form Segloes in the Ravenna Cosmography (though as a place-name in this source).

Ptolemy’s information indicates that the Selgovae  lived east of the Novantae, south of the Damnoni and north of the Brigantes. This information is rather more appropriate for the region around the inner end of the Solway Firth than it is for the western part of the Tweed basin. The name Selgovae  is clearly based on a topographical place-name in the hill-letters s and l, both of which are seen in Ucselodunum (Uxelodunum) at Castlesteads and apparently in Eburocaslum at Broomholm on the river Esk. In addition one sees the river-letter (corresponding to the hill-letter s) changed to in the river-names Anava (the Annan) and Novius (the Nith). But the chronological order of the hill-letters in that region is first s and then l1, so the name of the tribal centre will have been of the form Seglovion (with gl rather than lg, gl  being an old-style element meaning 'steep hill'), the people will have been called the Seglovae and they used the hill-letter l1. Ravenna does actually list a Segloes (the of the ending is missing) under his diversa loca. It would appear that Ravenna has simply misread a tribal name on a map as a place-name.



[This page was last modified on 24 March 2021]