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Authors: Manda Scott

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Dreaming the Eagle (77 page)

BOOK: Dreaming the Eagle
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3 E. W. Black, ‘Sentius Saturninus and the invasion of Britain’, Britannia 31

(2000), 1-10.



THIS IS A COMPLEX FIELD, NOT LEAST BECAUSE WE ARE DEALING, BY AND large, with a language that no longer exists. Clearly the inhabitants of tribal Britain in the first century AD did not speak English in any form - that came later, with the Anglo-Saxon invasions of the Dark Ages. Instead, two forms of early Gaelic were spoken. In the early fourth century BC ‘q-Celtic’ spread from Ireland to the Isle of Man and Scotland, evolving into the Gaelic of today. The other form, ‘p-Celtic’, was spoken in the south and east and gave rise, over time, to the Brythonic languages of Welsh, Cornish and Breton.

Some characters of Boudica’s time had names already in place and it was simply a question of choosing which form to use. Caradoc, for instance, is an English form of the Welsh name Caradog. In terms of pronunciation, modern Welsh places the accent on the penultimate syllable, hence Car-AH-doc. I prefer all three syllables to have equal stress, which is consistent with the earlier form, Caratacos. The consonants are all hard: Kar-ah-tah-kos. In the list below, characters whose names are recorded in history have an asterisk. As for the fictional characters, there are records of Gaulish names and it is therefore possible to choose those consistent with the period. However, for ease of reading in the modern world, I have incorporated some contemporary Welsh and Irish names as well. In each case, there is equal stress on all syllables.

Breaca - a derivative of the goddess Briga. I would split the vowels: Bray-ah-ca.

Ban - ‘white’ in Irish. The ‘a’ is similar to the first vowel in ‘bonfire’, though slightly longer. A hard ‘a’ as in ‘ago’ would render the word ‘ban’, meaning woman.

Macha - a name for the horse goddess, of the period. The ‘ch’ is soft as in the Scottish ‘loch’.

Eburovic - ‘boar slayer’. A hard ‘c’ at the end and equal stress on all four syllables: Eh-bur-ohvik.

Sinochos - the ‘i’ as in ‘mine’ and the ‘ch’ soft as in ‘loch’: Sine-ohchos.

Arosted - Ah-rossted.

Gunovic - Hard ‘g’ and ‘c’: Goon-ohvik.

Dubornos - Dubh - ‘black’, as in the Scots ‘skian subh’: Doob-ohr-nos.

*Cunobelin - Cun -‘hound’, Belin, the sun god. Hence, Hound of the Sun or Sun Hound. The ‘c’ is hard: Koon-oh-bel-in.

*Togodubnos - Tog-oh-dubh-nos.

*Amminios - Ah-min-I-os.

Efnis - the accent over the ‘i’ makes it a long vowel and softens the following consonant: Eff-neesh.

Iccius - both of the ‘i’s are short and the ‘cc’ is hard: Ikk-I-oos

Ardacos - Ar-dah-kos.

Gwyddhien - follows Welsh pronunciation, with the ‘w’ as in ‘word’ or ‘way’ and the ‘dd’ soft as in ‘though’ or ‘other’: G-with-I-enne.

Braint - another derivative of the goddess Briga. Pronounced like ‘rain’ with a consonant at either end, spoken as a single syllable.

Cunomar - ‘hound of the sea’: Koon-oh-mar.



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Manda Scott is a veterinary surgeon, writer and climber, not necessarily in that order. Born and educated in Scotland, she now lives in Suffolk with two lurchers and too many cats.

Known primarily as a crime writer, her first novel, Hen’s Teeth, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. Her subsequent novels are Night Mares, Stronger than Death and No Good Deed, for which she was hailed by The Times as ‘one of Britain’s most important crime writers’. Author photograph Jerry Bauer

BOOK: Dreaming the Eagle
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