or ARMO´RICAE CIVITATES
(Caes. Gal. 5.53
), are those people of the Celtica of Caesar who occupied the coast between the Loire and the Seine.
The name is derived from the Celtic ar,
“on” or “near,” and mor,
“the sea.” The same element appears in the term Morini, who occupied the coast about Calais.
It is likely enough, therefore, that Armorica had not a very definite geographical signification.
In the great rising of the Galli (7.75) Caesar speaks of all the states which border on the ocean, and which are called, according to their custom, Armoricae: he enumerates the Curiosolites, Rhedones, Ambibari, Caletes, Osismii, Lemovices (as it stands in the texts), Veneti, and Unelli. For Lemovices we should read Lexovii, or omit the name. The Caletes were on the north side of the Seine, in the Pays de Caux.
In this passage Caesar does not mention the Nannetes, who were on the east side of the Loire, near the mouth. The Ambibari in Caesar's list are a doubtful name. We must add the Abrincatui, Viducasses, Baiocasses, and perhaps the Corisopiti, to the list of the Armoric states.
These states seem to have formed a kind of confederation in Caesar's time, or at least to have been united by a common feeling of danger and interest. They were a maritime people, and commanded the seas and their ports.
The most powerful state was the Veneti. [VENETI
] The name Armorica in the middle ages was limited to Bretagne.
) says “Aquitanica, Aremorica antea dicta,” and he says nothing of the Armoricae Civitates of Caesar.
This looks very like a blunder. [p. 1.219]
Strabo (p. 194) mentions a division of the Belgae, whom he calls Παρωκεανίται;
and he particularly names the Veneti and Osismii. They are therefore the Armorici.