d'ar gêr ! ***** à la maison ! ***** back home !

Noms de lieux Noms de personnes



page ouverte le 05.01.2007 forum de discussion

* forum du site Marikavel : Academia Celtica

dernière mise à jour 09/12/2008 13:40:15

Définition : fleuve côtier d'Écosse, 

Il prend sa source près 

Il arrose : 

Il baptise : 

Il débouche dans la 


Extrait de Ordnance Survey : Map of Roman Britain.

Étude étymologique  

* A.L.F Rivet & C. Smith, p. 269-270 : 


- Tacitus, Agricola, 23,I; 25,I; 25,3 : BODOTRIA.

- Ptolemy, II,3,4 : Boderia Eiscusis (= BODERIA AESTUARIUM), variante Bogderia (= BOGDERIA);

- Ravenna, 10832 : BDORA.

DERIVATION. Tacitus's three mentions command respect. Schnetz restores Ravenna's version, presumably with an eye on Ptolemy, as B[o]der[i]a, following Pinder and Parthey. None the less there have been efforts to disregard all the ancient forms as suspect. In a long discussion R&C and Williams postulated firmly * Voritia, which can be more or less explained in terms of Celtic elements; this, however, was because they were keen to derive the modern name Forth directly from the Romano-British names recorded above. O'Rahilly EIHM 529 thought (following Fraser) that both Boderia and Bodotria were corruptions of *Voretia (see also BORESTI). It seems that Forth may well derive from *Voritia (*vo- 'somewhat' plus a root as in Irish rith 'act of running'), that is' slow-running one', this *Voritia being a later name or a by-name. But this cannot directly represent the forms in the ancient sources, which have in common B . . .D. . . R . A. It is hardly likely that in all cases there were scribes who consistently represented original V- by B-, and although in the period of the sources of Tacitus and Ptolemy (and probably, for north Britain, Ravenna) confusion of b/v was beginning in spoken Latin - it is recorded at Pompeii - it seems too early for this to have affected Britain; while in British, b and v remained distinct throughout. A better idea is that of F. G. Diack in RC, XLI (1924), 128-30, who equates Bodotria and Boderia as different forms of the same name, *Bodot(o)-eria being the full stem and *Bod(o)-eria the nominative stem, the stems being *bodos with genitive *bodotos

The argument for retaining Bod- is strengthened by the fact that this figures commonly in toponymy and anthroponymy in Celtic lands. Holder I. 456-62 and Ellis Evans GPN 156-58 assemble many names, the latter noting that some have the root *boud- ' victory, excellence' or the like, but that Gaulish names are probably of multiple origin even when ending up as Bod-. In Britain BODVOC (for Boduocus) is the name of a ruler on coins of the Dobunni about A.D. 43 (Mack Nos. 395, 396; see also D. F. Allen in E. M. Clifford, Bagendon: A Belgic Oppidum (Cambridge, 1961), 79 ff.), and Boudica is well known. Spanish personal names are assembled in ELH I. 354, all based on an assumed *boud- 'victory, excellence', including Bodedus (CIL II. 2633), Boderus (CIL II. 5711), Bodon (CIL II. 2114), and an altar to Deo Bodo Veicius (CIL II. 5670) is known from north Spain, these showing a variety of suffixation. However, the sense in which these probable *boud- names could be linked to that of the Forth is unclear, as Ellis Evans reminds us; 'victory' is hardly a possible name for a river, though notions of 'excellence' are fitting for great ones.

It is possible that there is a link with the older name of the north Italian Po (< Padus). Pliny (NH III, 122) deals with this at length, quoting Metrodurus of Skepsis to show that the name was earlier Bodincus, that this was Lingurian and in that language meant ' fundo carentem' ('bottomless'); he adds for good measure that there was a town near it called Bodincomagum. Whether Pliny was right about the sense we cannot tell; that the name was Ligurian and that it survived long enough for Celts to compound it with their *magos element, there is no reason to doubt. Diack thinks Bodincus and Bodotria were formed from a root *bhudh- 'bottom' (Latin fundus, English bottom, etc.), the sense being 'bottom river', not as Pliny has it but as the name of a part of the river only, that is ' the lower portion where the plain is markedly flat'; against this, however, is the fact that ncither Waldc nor Pokorny lists Bod- forms as deriving from the *bhudh- root (which seems to have been weakly represented in Celtic in any case), and neither associates Bodincus or Bodotria with it. This is not to deny necessarily that the names of these two major rivers are associated and derive from some pre-Celtic root now unknown to us; river-names are often very ancient and, moreover, survive well.

A possible etymology within Celtic was suggested by Watson CPNS 51-52, and should not be too hastily dismissed. He thought the name was properly *Bodortia, involving a slight metathesis. He notes that Irish bodhar occurs freely in place-names with connotations of absence of sound, of stillness; Bodar usce in Old Irish is 'stagnant or sluggish water', and his *Bodortia corresponds to Irish bodartha 'deafened, the deafened one'; or if *Boderia or *Bodoria, the sense would be ' the deaf one, silent one'.

Finally, within Celtic possibilities, one might retain Ptolemy's variant Bogd-; with the comment that to Roman ears the -gd- group would sound unnatural and might easily be represented as simple -d- on a map-source. *Bogdo- is 'bend, curve', as in British MEDIOBOGDUM; such a name would well suit part of a river.

In the absence of firm forms, this variety of speculation is the best that can be offered.

IDENTIFICATION. The river Forth, Scotland.


Observation JC Even : 


Bibliographie; sources; envois

* Ordnance Survey : Map of Roman Britain. 1956.

* A.L.F RIVET & C. SMITH : The Place-names of Roman Britain. Batsford Ltd. London. 1979-1982.

Liens électroniques des sites Internet traitant du Firth of Forth / Bodotria : 

forum de discussion

* forum du site Marikavel : Academia Celtica

hast buan, ma mignonig vas vite, mon petit ami

go fast, my little friend

Retour en tête de page