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Attestation: TI·8 (atepu) (1)
Language: Celtic
Word Type: proper noun
Semantic Field: personal name

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

Morphemic Analysis: ad-tep-ū or ate-ep-ū
Phonemic Analysis: /atepū/
Meaning: 'Atepu'


Masculine hypocoristic personal name, cf. atepa, the compound ateporix and the possible abbreviation atep. All Cisalpine Celtic formations and the base itself are well attested in Gaulish: atepo, RIG M-52 atepos, atepus (also on a Roman stela from Casalzuigno, Varese, Sartori 2009: 218, VA18.02), atepa, RIIG GAR-16-01 (RIG G-220) α̣τ̣ε̣π̣ο̣, BDR-10-01 (G-28) ]πορειξ, Galat. ατεπορειγος (gen.), atepomarus (epithet of Apollo), ateponus, atepatus, atepiccus, atepilla, etc. (AcS I: 256–258, Danielsson 1909: 23, n. 3, Terracini 1927: 138, Tibiletti Bruno 1976: 102, Tibiletti Bruno 1977b: 125 f., Tibiletti Bruno 1978: 143, Stüber 1998: 108, Delamarre 2007: 29). Etymology uncertain; two options for segmentation are feasible:

1) at(e)-ep- (Holder 1896-1907 I: 256, Lejeune 1971: 61, KGP: 138, Tibiletti Bruno 1981: 157, no. 1, GPN: 52 f. with previous literature, Motta 2000: 210, Stüber 2005: 105 atepomarus 'very great in horses' with intensifying ate-).

2) ad-tep- 'run towards' is suggested by Delamarre DLG: 57 s.v. ate-, who compares OIr. ateich 'turn to so., appeal to so.' and the PN teponia 'runner', and supported more elaborately by Meid 2005: 94–97 sub atpomarus. Meid considers option 1) formally possible and does not exclude that the name could be analysed and understood thus synchronically, but points out that unprefixed *epomarus, *eporix are unattested, and that CIL XIII 1318 atepomarus 'very great in horses' does not seem an obvious epithet for Apollo. He suggests a meaning 'attack' (atepomarus 'great in attack', ateporix 'attack king') or possibly 'running to someone's aid' with regard to the epithet (cf. the Greek epithet of Apollo βοηδρόμιος 'who comes running to help'). In view of the 'flight'-semantics of the Insular Celtic continuations of *tek- 'run' (see the morpheme page), an interpretation of atepo- as 'refuge' as in OIr. attach 'refuge' may be preferable; see ateporix for further details.

On atepu/atepa ~ atekua see Lejeune 1971: 68 f., Motta 2000: 210.

David Stifter, Corinna Salomon


AcS Alfred Holder, Alt-celtischer Sprachschatz, Leipzig: Teubner 1896–1907.
Danielsson 1909 Olof August Danielsson, Zu den venetischen und lepontischen Inschriften [= Skrifter utgivna av Kungliga Humanistiska Vetenskaps-Samfundet i Uppsala 13.1], Uppsala – Leipzig: 1909.
Delamarre 2007 Xavier Delamarre, Noms de personnes celtiques dans l'épigraphie classique. Nomina Celtica Antiqua Selecta Inscriptionum, Paris: Errance 2007.
DLG Xavier Delamarre, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise. Une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental, 2nd, revised edition, Paris: Errance 2003.