Tag Archive: Dacian Names

UD – July 2015






Decebalus (originally Diurpaneus), is rightly remembered as the greatest of Dacian leaders, who led his peoples’ prolonged resistance to Rome, which would eventually lead to him making the ultimate sacrifice. The tragic death of this exceptional ruler in 106, after almost 20 years of struggle, marked the end of Dacian statehood.




Decebalus' suicide, from Trajan’s Column  (Scene CXLV)

Decebalus’ suicide, from Trajan’s Column (Scene CXLV)




However, who was Decebalus, and where did he come from? An analysis of this leader’s name and ancestry reveals evidence which casts new light on Decebalus himself, and once again poses the question – who were the “Dacians”?



The first fact to consider is that the name Decebalus, besides sources referring to the Dacian leader, is recorded in a large number of inscriptions from the Roman period – from Italy (CIL 6, 25572 (Roma): Decibalus; AE 1954,83 (Roma): Decibal(us); AE 1989,299 (Asisium=Assisi, Umbria): Decibalo; AE 1945,35 (Ostia): Decibali; CIL 15,2797 (Roma): Deceb[alus]), Thrace (CIL 3,7477 (Durostorum=Silistria, Moesia Inf.): Decibalm; AE 1998, 01141: (Sacidava, Moes.Inf.): Decibali; CIL 3,7437 (from Lăžen near Nicopol): Decebali; IGLNovae nr.82 (Novae, Moesia Inf.): Decebalo), Macedonia (AE 1985, nr.721 (Philippi): Decebalu(m), Pannonia (CIL 3,4150 (Savaria=Szombathely, Pannonia Sup.): Decibalus), Gaul (1964, 144f (Blain, Lugdunensis): Decibal(us) 1964, 144f (Blain, Lugdunensis, Franţa): Decibal(us), and Britain (CIL 13,10013: Decibal(us), i.e. with the exception of the famous Dacian leader, all recorded examples of the name Decebalus come from outside Dacia.



Another fact to consider is that names ending in the element –balus occur only twice in the Balkans in the pre-Roman period. The first example is encountered in Cambaules, a Celtic chieftain who led a raid in Thrace at the beginning of the 3rd c. BC (Paus. X 19:5), and the second – Kersebaules, a king of the Celtic Tyle state in eastern Thrace in the first half of the 3rd c. BC. (cf. also Celtic : Άνδοβάλης, Άνδοννόβαλλος, etc. – Evans 1967: 147-148, and Balanus, Balarus, Balio etc. Holder AC 1 334-336; the first element in the name of Decebalus has long been attributed to the PIE *dekm- (‘ten’) (cf. Sanskrit daśabala); Cf. PC *dekam ‘ten’, Olr. deieh, MW deg, MBret. dek, MoBret. Deg; Matasovic 94). Thus, this ‘Dacian’ element occurs in the pre-Roman period in the region exclusively in the names of Celtic leaders.




a - kersi

Kersebaules Tetradrachma. Inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΚΕΡΣΙΒΑΥΛΟΥ

(ca. 270 BC)







In The Name Of The Father…



The key to the ethnic origin of Decebalus is to be found on the famous inscription on a large ceremonial vessel, discovered at Sarmizegetusa. This is the only ‘Dacian’ inscription, and reads:
– meaning ‘Decebalus, son of Scorilo’  (Nandris 1976, Georgiev 1977, Duridanov 1985; Asenova 1999; Boïadjiev 2000).





The Decebalus per Scorilo inscription


The Decebalus inscription was stamped on a huge vase twenty-four inches (0.6 meter) high and forty-one inches (1 metre) across. It is stamped in mirror-writing, in the Latin alphabet.





In the case of the name of Decebalus’ father, Scorilo (Scorylo dux Dacorum – Front 1. 10.4, from which Iord. Get. Coryllus rex Gothorum – Detschew 1957:460; on the variant Scorus, see Mac Congail 2008), further examples of the name are found exclusively beyond Dacia. The first example comes from Kostolac in eastern Serbia, in the territory of the Celtic Scordisci (Scorilo – CIL 3, 14507), while in the second example (from Pannonia) (CIL 3, 2328) – Scorilo Ressati libertus – not only Scorilo, but also Ressatus, who was a potter of the Eravisci tribe (Maróti 1991), are Celtic names (Holder AC 2, 1405).

Recent research by Romanian academics has found no evidence of a separate Dacian anthroponomastic system (Varga 2010; see ‘Hounds of the Empire’ article), i.e. distinct from Thracian and Celtic. The evidence outlined above indicates that the only ‘Dacian’ inscription is actually comprised of two names of Celtic origin, providing further proof that research into the ancient Thracian/Dacian language(s) since the communist period has systematically included Celtic data, logically rendering all such research invalid.


In the present context the linguistic evidence, chronological context, and spatial distribution of the names of both Decebalus, and his father Scorilo, clearly indicate that both were of Celtic (or Bastarnae) origin, and is further proof that the concept of a separate ‘Dacian’ ethnicity and language is largely the products of 1970’s nationalism, and has no basis in scientific fact.







See also:
















Asenova, P. (1999). Bulgarian in Handbuch der Südosteuropa-Linguistik. Wiesbaden
Boïadjiev D. (2000) Les Relations Ethno-Linguistiques En Thrace Et En Mesie Pendant L’Epoque Romaine. Sofia
Du Nay A. (1996): The origins of the Rumanians: the early history of the Rumanian language, Buffalo
Duridanov I. (1985) Die Sprache der Thraker, Neuried: Hieronymus
Detschew D. (1957) Die thrakischen Sprachreste. ÖAW, Phil.- hist. Kl. Schriften der Balkankomission, Linguist. Abteilung XV. Wien
Duridanov I. (1997) Keltische Sprachspuren in Thrakien und Mösien. Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie. Band 49-50
Evans D.E. (1967) Gaulish Personal Names: A Study of some Continental Celtic Formations. Oxford
Felecan O. A Diachronic Excursion into the Anthroponymy of Eastern Romania. Philologica Jassyensia, An VI, Nr. 1 (11), 2010, p. 57–80
Georgiev V. (1977) Trakite i techniat ezik. Sofia. = Георгиев, Вл. 1977. Траките и техният език. София
Georgiev V. (1983) “Thrakish und Dakisch”, in: Temporini, Hildegard (ed.), Aufstieg und Niedergang der romischen Welt. Geschichte und Kultur Roms im Spiegel der neueren Forschung, 1148–1194, Berlin / New York
Holder A. (1896-1907). Alt-celtischer Sprachschatz, Bd. I-III – Nachdruck Graz 1961-1962
Mac Gonagle B. (2008) Thracian and Celtic Anthroponymy – A comparative study. In: Mac Congail B. Kingdoms of the Forgotten. Celtic expansion in south-eastern Europe and Asia-Minor – 4th – 3rd c. BC. Plovdiv. P. 131-163

Mac Gonagle B. (2012) https://www.academia.edu/3292310/The_Thracian_Myth_-_Celtic_Personal_Names_in_Thrace
Maróti É. (1991) A római kori pecsételt kerámia és a Resatus kérdés. Studia Comitatensia 21. 365-427
Nandris, J. (1976) The Dacian Iron Age A Comment in a European Context in Festschrift für Richard Pittioni zum siebzigsten Geburtstag. Wien
Varga R. (2010) The Military Peregrini of Dacia: Onomastical and Statistical Considerations. Analele Universităţii Creştine „Dimitrie Cantemir”, Bucureşti, Seria Istorie – Serie nouă, Anul 1, Nr. 4, 2010, p. 108-116









Mac Congail











(UD – July 2015)




Early Roman Tombstone of Genialis - Roman cavalryman - Genialis was a Frisian (from Holland) in a unit of Thracians (modern Bulgaria) - Cirencester






The Roman conquest of southeastern Europe logically led to the influx of substantial numbers of Roman military units into the region to consolidate the empires control. The presence of Celtic military units in the Roman army on the Balkans are well recorded. For example, in the Roman province of Moesia Superior the Celtic cohors I Lusitanorum (Celtiberian), III Gallorum, IV Gallorum, V Gallorum, VII Gallorum and VIII Gallorum  are mentioned in a diploma from 28 April 75 (RMD I 2); II Gallorum Macedonica, V Gallorum, I Flavia Hispanorum milliaria and V Hispanorum from 16 September 94 (CIL XVI 3, RMD V 335); I Lusitanorum, II Hispanorum, II Brittonum (milliaria) and III Brittonum  from 8 May 100 (CIL XVI 46; see Matei-Popescu 2006-2007)


 Of particular interest is an observable pattern of dispatching Celtic military units to areas in which a significant Celtic presence is recorded in the pre-Roman period. Examples of such are the cohors IV Gallorum equitata stationed at Oescus (near modern Gigen, Pleven region) between AD 62 and AD 71 (Boyanov I. 2008), which later formed the garrison at Salsovia on the southern bank of the St Gheorghe arm of the Danube in Tulcea County, Romania (see Haynes et al. 2007), or the ala Gallica I stationed at Ratiaria (near modern Archar, Vidin region) in the 1st c. AD (Gerov 1980:164), ala I Gallorum  et Bosporanorum (based in Securisca, pres. Cherkovitsa – Nikopol district, Pleven region), ala I Claudia Gallorum Capitoniana (based in Augustae, pres. Harlets, Vratza region; see S. Maschov 1994), all in former Scordisci territory in northern Bulgaria. Another example is that of the cohors quarta Gallorum which was stationed at Ulicitra (location unknown; Not. Dign., or. XL 46-49) in the province of Rhodopa, were Rome had experienced intense resistance from the Celtic tribes in the 2nd / 1st c. BC. 

In northeastern Bulgaria the cohors II Lucensium was stationed at the former Celtic settlement of Abritu (Abritus, near Razgrad). The cohors was named after the Lucenses, a Celtic tribe in Spain from which many of the recruits for the cohort came. This is confirmed in a military diploma from Moesia, dated 78 AD (CIL, XVI, 22). An inscription from the 2nd c. from Abritus provides evidence of the presence of the Celtiberian cohors II Lucensium as well: the tomb-stone of Gaius Iulius Maximus – an equestrian attached to this cohors – G(aius) I(ulius) Maximu/s/, eq(ues) coh(ortis) ІІ Luc(ensium), singul(aris), vixit, a(nnis). The cohors were probably stationed here up to CE 136 and took part in the Dacian wars of Emperor Trajan. After 136 AD it was garrisoned at Cabyle (near modern Jambol; see Ivanov R. Roman Cities in Bulgaria (in print).



 (After Martini, Paunov 2001)









 Until now the overall proportion of the Roman forces in southeastern Europe which consisted of Celts has remained unclear. However, recent research into the subject has provided surprising results and given us a valuable insight into a wider question – who exactly were the ‘Romans’?


  Peregrinus was the term used during the early Roman empire, from 30 BC to 212 AD, to denote a free provincial subject of the Empire who was not a Roman citizen. Peregrini constituted the vast majority of the Empire’s inhabitants in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. In frontier provinces, the proportion of actual Roman citizens was extremely small. For example, one estimate puts Roman citizens in Britain ca. 100 AD at about 50,000, less than 3% of the total provincial population of ca. 1.7 million.

  In the empire as a whole, we know there were just over 6 million Roman citizens in 47 AD, the last quinquennial Roman census return extant. This was just 9% of a total imperial population generally estimated at ca. 70 million at that time. Thus, between 30 BC and 212 AD the Peregrini made up the vast majority of the population of the empire. In 212 AD, all free inhabitants of the Empire were granted citizenship by the constitutio Antoniniana, abolishing the status of peregrinus (Scheidel W. 2006:9).




DACIA – A Case Study

 The ethnic origin of ‘Romans’ is a complex issue. For example, a statistical analysis of the ‘Roman’ names in the peregrini in Dacia indicates that only 29 % actually had Italic names, while almost as many (25 %) carried Celtic names (Graph 1). Remarkable is the disproportion existing between the names of the soldiers and the names of other characters from the military environment. More precisely, the majority of Celtic names come from the category of soldiers’ children (Varga 2010), indicating that many Celts took Roman names for official purposes, presumably to enhance their chances of advancement within the imperial military structure. However, this Romanization was obviously superficial, as indicated by the fact that they continued to give their children traditional Celtic names.





Graph 1 –

The ratio of peregrines’ names in the Roman auxiliary troops of Dacia

(After Varga 2010)





Table 1 –

Ethnic Structure of the peregrine names from the military environment

(After Varga 2010)





Graph 2 –

Ratios of soldiers names and the general peregrine population (other characters) .

(After Varga 2010)





A glaring discrepancy is to be noted in the survey between the statistics given for soldiers names and those of the general peregrine population (Table 1/ Graph 2). While ‘Thracian’ names are carried by 26 % of the soldiers, Thracians represent only 10 % of the general peregrine population. Conversely, according to the study, only 19 % of Roman soldiers had Celtic names, although Celts made up 33 % of the general peregrine population in Roman Dacia.

While the Celtic names in the study are clear, the statistic for ‘Thracian’ names is more problematic. For example, the name Bitus Sola is identified by the author as Thracian, although both Bitus* and Sola are well recorded Celtic name elements (On Sola/Solia see Holder AC 2 1602, 1607). This again draws attention to the phenomenon of Celtic personal names in Thrace (and Dacia) being categorized as ‘Thracian’. A fundamental reappraisal of the data is necessary in order to clarify what percentage of these names are actually Thracian (/Dacian) and how many are in fact those of Thracian Celts.


(*On the Celtic Bitus see also:

https://www.academia.edu/3292310/The_Thracian_Myth_-_Celtic_Personal_Names_in_Thrace  )





One should also note the conspicious absence of one particular ethnic group from this equation – the so-called Dacians. While all the other major ethnic groups on the Balkans are represented to varying degrees in the general peregrine population of Roman Dacia – Thracian (10 %), Greek (12 %), Celtic (33 %) (Graph 2)  – there is no evidence for a seperate ‘Dacian’ ethnic group, again clearly indicating that Dacia/Dacian was a purely geographic concept.

 The particularly high proportion of the general Roman peregrine population (33% according to the study) which consisted of ethnic Celts partly explains the high frequency of Celtic personal names recorded in Thrace and Dacia during the Roman period, illustrating that the Celtic ethnic element in southeastern Europe, already firmly established from the migrations of the 4th / 3rd c. BC, was strengthened by the additional influx of thousands of ‘Roman’ Celts from the 1st c. AD onwards.











On Celtic personal names in Thrace see also:  















Boyanov I. (2008) Oescus – from Castra to Colonia Archaeologia Bulgarica XII 2008, 369-76. Sofia.

Gerov B., Beiträge zur Geschichte der römischen Provinzen Moesien und Thrakien. Gesammelte Aufsätze I  (Amsterdam 1980)

Haynes I, Bogdan D, Topoleanu F. 2007) Salsovia: A Roman Fort and Town on the Lower Danube. The Lower Danube in Antiquity (VC C BC-VI C AD) 2007)

Holder A. (1896-1907). Alt-celtischer Sprachschatz, Bd. I-III – Nachdruck Graz 1961-1962

Ivanov R. (2012) Roman Cities in Bulgaria. (in print)

Марков Н. (2005) По Следите на Античната Магия. София.

Maschov S. (1994) Die Spätantike Befestigung und Früh-Byzantinisch Stadt von Augusta bei dorf Hurletz, Vratza bezirk. – In: G. S. Susini (ed.), Limes, Studi di Storia, vol. 5. Bologna 1994, S. 21–36

Rodolfo Martini R., Evgeni Paunov E. (2001) Early Roman Imperial Countermarked Coins from Moesia: First Critical Observations. Acta Musei Varnaensis II. Numismatic and Sphragistic Contributions to History of the Western Black Sea Coast. International Conference. Varna, 12 – 15 September 2001. P. 159-174.

Matei-Popescu  F. (2006-2007) The Auxiliary Units From Moesia Superior in Domitian’s Time and the Problem of CIL XVI 41. EPHEMERIS NAPOCENSIS, XVI–XVII. p. 31–48

Scheidel W. (2006) Population & Demography (Princeton-Stanford Working Papers in Classics)

Strobel K.  Die  Legio  V  Alaudae  in  Moesien.  Eine  Phantomtruppe  der  römischen Militärgeschichte. Historia 37, 1988, 504–508

Varga R. (2010) The Military Peregrini of Dacia: Onomastical and Statistical Considerations. Analele Universităţii Creştine „Dimitrie Cantemir”, Bucureşti, Seria Istorie – Serie nouă, Anul 1, Nr. 4, 2010, p. 108-116









Mac Congail











Mac Congail


(Revised May 2012)





The personal names of a population recorded in a region during a given historical period is perhaps the best indicator of the linguistic and historical culture of the society that inhabited that region. What does this linguistic evidence tell us about the ethnic origin of the population of today’s Bulgaria in the centuries after Christ?


In the year 202 AD an inscription (IGBulg. III, 2 # 1690) was carved at the newly founded Έμπόριον (emporion/market) at Pizos (Stara Zagora region) in the heart of Thrace (Tab. Peut. 18, col. 528-540 (Ranilum XXV – Pizo XII – Arzum XIX); ItAnt 136, 6 (Cillis m.p. XXXI –  Pizo m.p. XX – Arso m.p. XVIII); Procop. Aed. 4.11.15 /146.12/ (Πίνζος). The inscription represents, along with the Carasura inscription – found 15 km. to the north (see Mac Congail 2008), the most valuable record of Thracian personal names from this period. The inscription is composed of the following 17 double component ‘Thracian’ names:



1.    Αυλου-ζενις

2.    Αυλου-πορις

3.    Αυλου-τραλ(ε)ος (Gen.)

4.    Βειθυ-τραλεος (Gen.)

5.    Вραση-τραλις

6.    Вρει-ζενις

7.    Δαλη-πορεος (Gen.)

8.    Δαλη-τραλεος (Gen.)

9.      Διας-κενθου

10.    Διαςκου-πορις

11.    Δυτου-πορις

12.    Δυτου-τραλις

13.    Επτη-τραλις

14.    Επται-κενθου

15.    Επτη-πορις

16.    Μουκα-τραλις

17.    Μουκα-πορις


Comprised of the following elements:


1st  Elements:

1.    Αυλου-

2.    Βειθυ-

3.    Вραση-

4.    Вρει-

5.    Δαλη-

6.    Διας-

7.    Δυτου-

8.    Επτη-

9.    Μουκα-


2nd Elements:


1.                            –ζενις

2.                            –κενθος

3.                            –πορις

4.                            –τραλις (2)




Based on the Pizos inscription – ‘un monument épigraphique unique par la richesse des noms de personnes qu’il comporte’, the Bulgarian linguist Boïadjiev constructed a system of Thracian anthroponomy – ‘The Pizos System’, which proved that a ‘homogenous Thracian population inhabited this region during this period’. (Boïadjiev D. (2000) Les Relations Ethno-Linguistiques en Thrace et en Mesie Pendant L’Epoque Romaine. Sofia. P. 145-150). In fact, this and other ‘Thracian’ inscriptions which have been presented as evidence of a ‘pure Thracian race’, provide conclusive evidence of the exact opposite.




 It has long been established that the name elements Μουκα-, Βειθυ-, Διας-, Δαλη-, -πορις –κενθος and –ζενις from the Pizos inscription are Celtic anthroponymic elements which appear throughout Europe in both insular and continental Celtic names. Cf.:


Μουκα-  = (Celtic) Mocca, Mocia, Mucci etc.

The ‘Thracian’ Mouka- (variants muca-, muco-, mouki-, Moci-, etc. See Detschew 1957: 312-320) has long been linked to the Celtic pn’s  Mocca, Mocia, Mucci, etc. The element occurs over 400 times in all areas of Thrace from the 3rd c. BC onwards, i.e. exactly during the period of Celtic expansion into the region, in both single and double element personal names (see Holder AC 2, 602-605; Mac Congail op. cit. 146-149; Detschew 1957:312; Duridanov 1997).

This Celtic element is recorded in continental Celtic names in Gaul such as Moccasenia (Lyon, Gaul – CIL 13, 1874), Moccia (Beaucaire, Gaul – CIL12, 2824 and on two inscriptions from Cimez, Gaul – CIL 5, 7936 and 7947), Moccius (Suse, Gaul – CIL 05 07147 and 07835), in n. Italy – Moccilo (Mediolanum/Milan – CIL 5 6042) and in the second element in the Celtic name Catomocus from Apras, Hungary (CIL 3 6480).

  In Thrace the element is most commonly found as the first element of double compound names, most frequently in the structures – Μουκα-ζενις – from Kustendil, Nicopolis ad Istrum, Dupnica, Ivailovgrad, Pazardjik (x2), Glava Panega, Plovdiv, Kazanluk and Bela-Zlatina (Detschew 1957: 313); Μουκα-κενθος – Pazardjik (x3), Elchovo, Sliven, Osman Pazar, (Detschew 1957: 314); or, as in the Pizos case – Μουκα-πορις. This name appears 15 times on other inscriptions at the Pizos site and on inscriptions from Kazanluk, Chirpan (x3), Tarnovo, Stara Zagora, Harmanli, Provadia, Pazardjik (loc cit) and twice on the Carasura inscription (line 12/13). In each case the second elements of the compound (–ζενις, -κενθος, and –πορις) are well attested Celtic name elements. Particularly interesting are compound ‘Thracian’ names such as Μουκακενθος Βειθυος (from Pazardjik – Detschew 1957: 314) which is formed exclusively of Celtic name elements (see below).




The Carasura inscription

(see Mac Congail 2008)





Βειθυ-  = (Celtic ) Bitu-, Bitu(s), Bitheus etc.

One of the most common ‘Thracian’ anthroponymical name elements, of which over 300 examples have been recorded in Thrace (Detschew 1957:66; Georgiev 1977:68; 370 according to Felecan 2010:61). The Thracian element has long been linked to the element bitu(s)- which occurs as a first and second element in Celtic personal names such as Bitu-rix (fig. c), Bitu-daga, Dago-bitus etc. (Kretschmer 1896: 239; Duridanov 1997: 130-131). It is not recorded in Thrace prior to the Celtic migration into the area in the 3rd c. BC. (Georgiev 1977:68; Duridanov 1997: 131; Mac Congail op. cit. p. 135-137. The element reflects the Celtic – Bitu- ‘World’ – OIr bith ‘world’, OB ‘bit’ , MB bet OC bit, MW byt – DGVB:84; GPC: 360-361; LEIA: B 53-54; PECA:14 – Falileyev 2007).


The element appears in a large number of Celtic names such as Bituitus, a King of the Averni tribe who fought against C. Fabius Maximus in Gaul (Bituitus – Livy (per. LXI. Eutrop. 4, 22 [from which Hieronym. chron. a. Abr. 1891 Vituitus); Βιτύιτος als Genetiv bei Poseidonios, Athen. IV 162 d = FHG III 260, Strabon IV 194 –  Βιτυίτου, Appian. Celt. 12 – Βιτοῖτος), in the Balkan context in 78-76 BC where a Scordisci officer from Thrace also carried the name Bituitus (App. Mith. 16, 3)Bitoitos – a Galatian chieftain in 63 BC (Livy. Per CII, App. Mith. CXI), and in the Celtic names Bitugentus (Dunaujaros, – RIU 05 1220) and Bitumarus (Alsoszentivan, – CIL 6 112) from Hungary. In Dacia the name element is present on a Celtic inscription from Potaissa (Cluj, Romania – CIL, III, 917):


D. M. Aia Nandonis vixit annis LXXX, Andrada Bi[t]uvantis vix. anis LXXX, Bricena vixit anis XL… 


(Felecan O. A Diachronic Excursion into the Anthroponymy of Eastern Romania. Philologica Jassyensia”, An VI, Nr. 1 (11), 2010, p. 57–80  P. 69)



  In the territory of the Leuci tribe in Gaul, a 2nd-century inscription (fig. C) (CIL XIII, 4661; RG 4828) reads: Apollini et Sironae Biturix Iulli f(ilius) d(onavit), ‘To Apollo and Sirona, Biturix, son of Jullus offered (this altar)’. Biturix, composed of bitu-, ‘world’ and –rix, ‘king’, is a common Celtic name meaning ‘King of the World’. (Delamarre 2003: pp. 76-77, 259-260).




The Biturix inscription from Tranqueville-Graux. Musée d’Epinal (Vosges).


Also in insular Celtic names. Cf.:


From Britain:


Bitu[cus] (Catterick, N. Yorkshire – RIB II 2501.107); Bitilus (Bath, 175-275 AD – TS 78.1, 2) ; Bitupr[…] (Chesters, Northumberland – RIB II 2501.105); Bitucus (Cirencester, Gloucestershire – RIB I 108 = Duo Nomina – Fl[au]ius Biticus); Bitudacus (Leicester, dated AD 45-65 – RIB II 2501.108); Bitu[…] (York – RIB II 2494.111).





Διας-  = (Celtic) Dias/Dia, etc.

A common Celtic element in personal names such as Diastus from Gaul (Aguilée – CIL 05 1169), Diastumarus from Slovania (Trojane – CIL 3 11683) Diassumarus from Hungary (Dunaujvaros – AE 1906 117), Diablintes, Diarilos, Diasulos etc (see mac Congail 2008:156).


Δαλη- = (Celtic) Dali, Dala, Dalus, etc.

The ‘Thracian’ element Δαλη-/Δαλα- etc. has long been linked to the continental Celtic personal names Dali, Dala, etc. (Holder AC I: 1217; Detschew op cit 114; Mac Congail 2008:144-146).


-πορις  = (Continental Celtic) Porios, Porius etc. (Holder ACII: 1037; Mac Congail 2008)

                     (Insular Celtic) Porius (loc cit)





–κενθος  =  (Celtic) Cintus, Cintu- etc.


One of the most common ‘Thracian’ name elements (Georgiev 1977: 84). Compare the Celtic names Κιντος, Cintetra, in Thrace (Detschew, 1957:240; Holder ACI 989), Cinturetus in Galatia (Pliny, Natural History, VIII, 64), Cintugenus  – from Bordeaux (CIL 13672), Budapest (CIL 03 12014) and Bad Deutsch Altenburg (CIL 3 12014), Cintusmia  (Dijon – CIL 13 5484), Cintulus (Austria – Maria Sall CIL 3 4934), etc.


–ζενις = (Celtic) –genus/-gnos etc.


The ‘Thracian’ element which appears as the second element in the compound PN Вρειζενις from the Pizos inscription is one of the most common Celtic name elements, found in Celtic pn’s from Gallo-Greek, Gallo-Etruscan, Latin and Ogham inscriptions across Europe from Thrace to Ireland (Lambert 1995: 74, 82, 84, 96, Mac Congail 2008: 153-156).


The same is true for the other name elements from the Pizos inscription.




Αυλου- = (Celtic)  Aulo-, Allo-


The Celtic element is also found in the personal names Aulia, Auliacus etc. (Holder AC1 291-293), from the Celtic allo- ‘other, second’ (OIr, W all-, prefix; GPC: 76; LEIA-31 and 61. D. Greene, Celtic. In J. Gvozdanović, (ed.) Indo-European Numerals (Berlin/New York 1992) 514). Also the first element in Celtic compound names such as Allobroxus, Alloboesius (Falileyev DCCPN, 2007), Allocnos (Bergame, Italy CIL 5 5171), etc.


In the vast majority of cases the ‘Thracian’ element  Aulou- (var. Aulo-, Allos- etc. – See Detschew 12, 135) is found as the first component in compound names where the second element is formed by the aforementioned (Celtic) elements –ζενις (=Αυλουζενις) – from Messambria, Pazardjik, Borisovgrad, on other inscriptions from Pizos, and inscriptions from Burgas, Jambol, Harmanli, Provadia, Glava Panega, Plovdiv, Nova Zagora, Stara Zagora and Kazanluk, оr –πορις (=Αυλουπορις) – from Chirpan, Aptaat (Dobritsch), on other inscriptions from Pizos, and inscriptions from Provadia, Harmanli, Madara and Plovdiv (Detschew 1957: 35-36).




Δυτου-   =   (Celtic) Dudio (m.), Duta (f.) (Also in the Celtic Pn’s – Dudenis, Dutaius – Holder AC I 1364, 1388)

Вραση-   =  (Celtic) Brasi- (Also in Brasidia, Brasus, Brasenus etc. – Holder AC I, 1534)

Вρει-  = (Celtic) Вρει- (RIB 2419 87-88), Bri- (RIB II 2415.15)


The ‘Thracian’ element appears  most frequently as part of the double-element compound name Вρειζενις/Вριζενις – from Chirpan (x2), Harmanlii (x2), Plovdiv and Pazardjik and on two other inscriptions from the Pizos site (Detschew 1957: 88) which corresponds exactly to the Celtic double element name from Britain – Brigenus (RIB 2419, 87-88).

It is also worth noting that in ‘Thracian’ compound names such as Αυλουζενις В[ρ]ειζενε(ος) and Вρειζενις Βειθυος from the Pizos site or Μουκαπορις Вρι(ζενεος) from Chirpan (Detschew 1957:88) all of the name components in the quadruple compound names are Celtic elements recorded in inscriptions from Thrace, Dacia, Galatia, Pannonia, Noricum, Italy, Gaul, Britain and Ireland (See also Αυλου-, Βειθυ-, Μουκα-).


  Of the personal names from the Pizos inscription, which contain ‘the most common Thracian name elements’ and which ‘proves that a pure Thracian population inhabited this region’  (Boïadjiev op cit), 92% are well documented Celtic name elements, recorded in both insular and continental Celtic and in classical historical sources (Of the other two elements Epta- contains the name of a local goddess (Georgiev 1977:60,79), and  the final element –τραλις is probably reflected in the Celtic (Irish) tráill – a thrall, time-server – Dineen: 1240).








The fact that Bulgarian Thracologists continue to insist that there was never a Celtic presence on the territory of today’s Bulgaria, despite extensive archaeological, historical and numismatic evidence to the contrary, has led to a ‘domino effect’ in other disciplines, including linguistics. The continuing insistence that Thrace was inhabited by a homogenous Thracian population in the pre-Roman period has meant that linguists in the region have automatically presumed all ‘native’ personal names to be Thracian.

 However, it is abundantly clear that studies into the Thracian (/Dacian) language in Bulgaria and Romania since the 1950’s have systematically included not only Thracian personal names, but also those of Thracian Celts. The fact that the pool of data used by linguists to draw conclusions on the language of the Thracians has included a large amount of Celtic anthroponymic (and topographic) elements has logically contaminated all such research, thus rendering all conclusions based on this data, including the Indo-European nature of the Thracian language, invalid.









(Modern) Literature Cited


Boïadjiev D. (2000) Les Relations Ethno-Linguistiques En Thrace Et En Mesie Pendant L’Epoque Romaine. Sofia

Delamarre X. (2003) Dictionnaire de la langue Gauloise. Paris

Detschew D. (1957) Die thrakischen Sprachreste. ÖAW, Phil.- hist. Kl. Schriften der Balkankomission, Linguist. Abteilung XV. Wien

Dineen P. (1924) Foclóir Gaedilge agus Béarla, Irish Texts Society. Dublin

Duridanov I. (1997) Keltische Sprachspuren in Thrakien und Mösien. Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie. Band 49-50

Falileyev A. (2010) Dictionary of Continental Celtic Placenames. Aberystwyth

Felecan O. A Diachronic Excursion into the Anthroponymy of Eastern Romania. Philologica Jassyensia, An VI, Nr. 1 (11), 2010, p. 57–80

Georgiev V. (1977) Trakite i techniat ezik. Sofia. = Георгиев, Вл. 1977. Траките и техният език. София

Greene D. (1992) Celtic. In: J. Gvozdanović, ed. Indo-European Numerals (Berlin/New York 1992)

Gresham C.A. (1985) ‘Bedd Porius’ Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, 32: 386-392

Holder A. (1896-1907). Alt-celtischer Sprachschatz, Bd. I-III – Nachdruck Graz 1961-1962

Kretschmer P. (1896) Einleitung in die Geschichte der griechischen Sprach. Göttingen

Mac Congail B. (2008) Thracian and Celtic Anthroponymy – A comparative study. In: Mac Congail B. Kingdoms of the Forgotten. Celtic expansion in south-eastern Europe and Asia-Minor  – 4th – 3rd c. BC. Plovdiv. P. 131-163

Nash-Williams V.E (1950) The Early Christian Monuments of Wales. Cardiff.
















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