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The Cauci (Καῦκοι) were a people of early Ireland, uniquely documented in Ptolemy's 2nd-century Geography, which locates them roughly in the region of modern County Dublin and County Wicklow.[1]


From the early 19th century, comparative linguists, notably Lorenz Diefenbach, identified the Cauci with the Germanic Chauci of the Low Countries and north-western Germany, a parallel already drawn by earlier antiquarian scholarship.[2] Proponents of this view also pointed to the fact that the Manapii (Μανάπιοι), who in Ptolemy's map border the Cauci to the south, likewise bear a name that is almost identical to that of another continental tribe, the Belgic Menapii in north-eastern Gaul.

This correspondence appeared to testify to population movements between the two regions. The linguistic aspect of this hypothesis was most recently (1917) developed by Julius Pokorny,[3] although the Cauci-Chauci association is not universally accepted.[4] This early scholarship also drew attention to apparent parallels among Celtic or Celticized peoples of the Iberian peninsula, specifically a leader of the Lusitani named Kaukainos (Καυκαῖνος), and a city called Kauka (Καύκα) (modern Coca), inhabited by Kaukaioi (Καυκαῖοι), among the Vaccaei, a prominent Celtic tribe of the Iberian Peninsula that spoke a Hispano-Celtic language.[5]

With regard to possible descendants of the Irish Cauci, Pokorny and Ó Briain[6] respectively favoured the obscure medieval septs of Uí Cuaich and Cuachraige, though in neither case has a connection been demonstrated.


  1. ^ Ptol. Geog. 2.2.8 (ed. K. Müller [Paris 1883-1901]); P. Freeman, Ireland and the Classical World (Austin, Texas, 2001), pp. 69, 78-80
  2. ^ L. Diefenbach, Celtica. Sprachliche Documente zur Geschichte der Kelten (Stuttgart 1839-40) I, pp. 414-15
  3. ^ Julius Pokorny, "Spuren von Germanen im alten Irland vor der Wikingerzeit", Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 11, 1917, 169-188 at 171
  4. ^ T. F. O'Rahilly, Early Irish History and Mythology, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1946, pp. 24-25
  5. ^ Appian, Iberica 51-2, 57; Zosimus, Historia Nova 4.24.4; L. Diefenbach, Celtica. Sprachliche Documente zur Geschichte der Kelten (Stuttgart 1839-40) I, pp. 320-21
  6. ^ Micháel Ó Briain, "Studien zu irischen Völkernamen 1. Die Stammesnamen auf -rige", Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 15, 1925, pp. 222-237