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Attestation: MI·17 (caledonos) (1)
Language: Celtic
Word Type: proper noun
Semantic Field: personal name

Grammatical Categories: gen. sg. masc.
Stem Class: on

Morphemic Analysis: kal-ed-onos (?)
Phonemic Analysis: /kalēdonos/
Meaning: 'of Caledu'


Genitive of a Celtic on-stem personal name kaledū, which finds exact comparanda in Gaulish coin legends (RIG M-88, M-89 caledu, see Delamarre 2007: 214). The name is certainly connected with the ethnonym caledones, though the exact relationship – caledones being simply the plural of caledū without derivation suffix in either form – is unclear. There is general agreement that the base is kal- 'hard' as in *kaleto- 'id.', but the second element/suffix -ed- has not been convincingly explained. As asserted by Zimmer 2006: 165 f. (pace Luján 2003: 200), kaled- cannot be directly compared with kalet-, which is formed with a different suffix. The Latin attestations of the ethnonym show long /ē/ (calēdones), which cannot be etymological in Gaulish (where it should be > /ī/); Gaulish /ē/ could be < */ei̯/, but no such suffix is known. If /ē/ in Latin should be secondary in some way (though it is not evident how or why), the suffix can be the ubiquitous, but enigmatic -ed-. Zimmer 2006: 165 f., who assumes that /ē/ is etymological, proposes an analysis as a compound *kal-pēd-on- 'hard-footed', but lengthened-grade is rare in *ped- as a second element in Celtic, and the absence of a stem vowel in the first element makes a compound unlikely.

David Stifter, Corinna Salomon


CIL Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. (17 volumes, various supplements)
Delamarre 2007 Xavier Delamarre, Noms de personnes celtiques dans l'épigraphie classique. Nomina Celtica Antiqua Selecta Inscriptionum, Paris: Errance 2007.