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MO´RINI

Eth. MO´RINI a nation of Belgica. Virgil is the authority for the quantity:-- “Extremique hominum Morini.
” (Aen. 8.727.)

It has been shown in the article MENAPII that on the north the Morini were bounded by the Menapii. On the west the ocean was the boundary, and on the south the Ambiani and the Atrebates. The eastern boundary cannot be so easily determined. The element of Morini seems to be the word mor, the sea, which is a common Flemish word still, and also found in the Latin, the German, and the English languages.

Caesar, who generally speaks of the Morini with the Menapii, has fixed their position in general terms. When he first invaded Britannia he went into the country of the Morini, because the passage from there to Britain was the shortest (B. G. 4.21). In the next expedition, B.C. 54, he sailed from Portus Itius, having ascertained that the passage from this port to Britain was the most commodious. Portus Itius is in the country of the Morini [ITIUS PORTUS]. Ptolemy (2.9.8) mentions two cities of the Morini, Gesoriacum or Bononia (Boulogne), and Taruenna (Thérouenne), east of it, in the interior. If we add Castellum Morinorum (Cassel,) in the interior, south of Dunkerque, “we see that, besides the diocese of Boulogne, the territory of the Morini comprises the new dioceses of St. Omer and Ypern, which succeeded to that of Tournai.” (D'Anville.) But if Cassel is not within the limits of the Morini, their territory will not be so extensive as D'Anville makes it. [MENAPII]

Caesar's wars with the Morini were more successful than with the Menapii. A large part of the territory of the Morini did not offer such natural obstacles as the land of the Menapii. The marshes of the Morini would be between Calais and Dunkerque. The force which the Morini were supposed to be able to send to the Belgic confederation in B.C. 57 was estimated at 25,000 men. Though most of the Morini were subdued by Caesar, they rose again in the time of Augustus, and were put down by C. Carinas (Dio Cassius, 51.21). When Bononia was made a Roman port, and Taruenna a Roman town, the country of the Morini would become Romanised, and Roman usages and the Roman language would prevail. There were Roman roads which terminated at Bononia and Castellum.

An inscription mentions the Decemviri of the Colonia Morinorum, but it is unknown what place it is.

[G.L]

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    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 2.9
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