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Civitas of the Mediomatrici
City scape of Divodurum Mediomatricum (ca. 2nd century AD), ancestor of present-day Metz, capital of the Mediomatrici.

The Mediomatrici (Gaulish: *Medio-m?teres) were a Belgic tribe dwelling in the present-day Lorraine region during the Iron Age and the Roman period.


They are mentioned as Mediomatricorum and Mediomatricis (dat.) by Caesar (mid-1st c. BC),[1]Mediomatrikoì (? ) by Strabo (early 1st c. AD),[2]Mediomatrici by Pliny (1st c. AD),[3]Mediomatricos (acc.) by Tacitus (early 2nd c. AD),[4] and as Mediomátrikes (?) by Ptolemy (2nd c. AD).[5][6]

The ethnonym Mediomatrici is a Latinized form of the Gaulish *Medio-m?teres, which literally means 'Middle-Mothers'. It is formed with the root medio- ('in the middle, central') attached to a plural form of m?t?r ('mother'). The name could be interpreted as meaning 'those who live between the Matrona (Marne) and the Matra rivers' (i.e. the mother-rivers), or possibly as the 'Mothers of the Middle-World' (i.e. between the heaven and the underworld).[7]

The city of Metz, attested ca. 400 AD as civitas Mediomatricorum ('civitas of the Mediomatrici'), is named after the Celtic tribe.[8]



Mediomatrici stater. Ca. 100 BC.

The territory of the Mediomatrici comprised the upper basins of the rivers Maas, Moselle and Saar, and extended eastwards as far as the Rhine in the mid-first century BC.[9][10]Ptolemy places them south of the Treviri, between the Remi and the Leuci.[11]


Their chief town was Divodurum ('place of the gods, divine enclosure'),[note 1] mentioned by Tacitus in the early 1st century AD.[13][12][9]

A secondary agglomeration, whose original name is unknown, was located in Bliesbruck, in the eastern part of their civitas.[14][15]


During the Gallic Wars (58-50 BC), the Mediomatrici sent 5,000 men to support Vercingetorix who was besieged in Alesia in 52.[16][9] In 69-70 of the Common Era, their capital Divodurum was sacked by the armies of Vitellius, and 4,000 of its inhabitants massacred.[16] The Romanization of the Metromatrici was apparently slower compared to their neighbours the Treviri.[17][10]

Elements of the Mediomatrici may have settled near Novara, in northwestern Italy, where place-names allude to their presence, such as Mezzomerico, attested as Mediomadrigo in 980.[18]


  1. ^ Caesar. Commentarii de Bello Gallico. 4:10, 7:75.
  2. ^ Strabo. Ge?graphiká, 4:3:4.
  3. ^ Pliny. Naturalis Historia, 4:106.
  4. ^ Tacitus. Historiae, 4:70.
  5. ^ Ptolemy. Ge?graphik? Hyph?g?sis, 2:9:7.
  6. ^ Falileyev 2010, s.v. Mediomatrici.
  7. ^ Delamarre 2003, pp. 220, 222.
  8. ^ Nègre 1990, p. 155.
  9. ^ a b c Schön 2006.
  10. ^ a b Demougin 1995, p. 193.
  11. ^ Berggren, J. L.; Jones, Alexander (2000). Ptolemy's Geography: An Annotated Translation of the Theoretical Chapters. Princeton University Press. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-691-01042-7.
  12. ^ a b Delamarre 2003, p. 156.
  13. ^ Nègre 1990, p. 175.
  14. ^ Petit & Santoro 2016.
  15. ^ Antonelli & Petit 2017.
  16. ^ a b Demougin 1995, p. 183.
  17. ^ Wightman 1985, pp. 73-74.
  18. ^ Ambrogio, Renzo, ed. (2006). Nomi d'Italia : origine e significato dei nomi geografici e di tutti i comuni. Istituto geografico De Agostini. p. 384. ISBN 88-511-0983-4. OCLC 605741780.


  1. ^ From Gaulish deuos 'god' attached to duron 'gates' > 'enclosed town, market town').[12]


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