Cantiaci

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Cantiaci
Territory of the Cantiaci
Geography
Capital Durovernum Cantiacorum (Canterbury)
Location Kent
Rulers Dubnovellaunus, Vosenius, Eppillus, Cunobelinus, Adminius
The main Iron Age tribes in Southern Britain.

The Cantiaci or Cantii were an Iron Age people living in Britain before the Roman conquest, and gave their name to a civitas of Roman Britain. They lived in the area now called Kent, in south-eastern England. Their capital was Durovernum Cantiacorum, now Canterbury.

They were bordered by the Regnenses to the west, and the Catuvellauni to the north.

Julius Caesar landed in Cantium in 55 and 54 BC, the first Roman expeditions to Britain. He recounts in his De Bello Gallico v. 14:

"Ex his omnibus longe sunt humanissimi qui Cantium incolunt, quae regio est maritima omnis, neque multum a Gallica differunt consuetudine."
"Of all these (British tribes), by far the most civilised are they who dwell in Kent, which is entirely a maritime region, and who differ but little from the Gauls in their customs".

Rulers[edit]

Pre-Roman Iron Age[edit]

Caesar mentions four kings, Segovax, Carvilius, Cingetorix and Taximagulus, who held power in Cantium at the time of his second expedition in 54 BC. The British leader Cassivellaunus, besieged in his stronghold north of the Thames, sent a message to these four kings to attack the Roman naval camp as a distraction. The attack failed, a chieftain called Lugotorix was captured, and Cassivellaunus was forced to seek terms.

In the century between Caesar's expeditions and the conquest under Claudius, kings in Britain began to issue coins stamped with their names. The following kings of the Cantiaci are known:

  • Dubnovellaunus. May have been an ally or sub-king of Tasciovanus of the Catuvellauni, or a son of Addedomarus of the Trinovantes. Presented himself as a supplicant to Augustus c. 7 BC.
  • Vosenius, ruled until c. 15 AD.
  • Eppillus, originally king of the Atrebates. Coins indicate he became king of the Cantiaci c. 15 AD, at the same time as his brother Verica became king of the Atrebates.
  • Cunobelinus, king of the Catuvellauni who expanded his influence into Cantiaci territory.
  • Adminius, son of Cunobelinus. Seems to have ruled on his father's behalf, beginning c. 30 AD. Suetonius tells us he was exiled by Cunobelinus c. 40 AD, leading to Caligula's aborted invasion of Britain.
  • Anarevitos, known only from a coin discovered in 2010, probably a descendant of Eppillus and ruling c. 10 BC - 20 AD[1]

Sub-Roman period[edit]

According to Nennius, Gwrangon was King of Kent in the time of Vortigern, until Vortigern took away the kingdom and gave it to Hengist; but Nennius is regarded as an untrustworthy source, and "Gwrangon seems to have been transported by the story-teller into Kent from Gwent" and "is turned into an imaginary King of Kent, secretly disposed of his realm in favour of Hengist, whose daughter Vortigern wished to marry".[2]

See also[edit]

List of Celtic tribes Alec Detsicas (1983) The Cantiaci. Alan Sutton

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.celticcoins.com/pages/New%20iron%20age%20king.pdf
  2. ^ (Wade-Evans 1938)

External links[edit]