[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 name is listed in the Geography of Ptolemy and refers to all the inhabitants of the civitas of Kent with its administrative centre at Duroaverno, Canterbury.
The tribal name Canti appears to be based on a topographical place-name Cantion, this comprising the transitional element Cant meaning ‘steep hill high’. One sees the element as cunet in Cunetio. The place-name will have been coined sometime around 125 BC and will have been the name of a place in northwest Kent, probably west of the river Darent. This area had been settled earlier by n2 -people (see ‘Ptolemy’s Celtic tribes: Part 2’, 10) who later expanded north of the Thames and later still came to be known as the Catuvellauni. But they presumably held on to their land in Kent, this being governed after 125 BC from the place called Cantion. Later, during the Roman period, and as noted above, the name Canti was applied to all of the people of Kent.
[This page was last modified on 24 March 2021]