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

The Mediomatrici (Greek: Μεδιομάτρικες)[1] were a Belgic tribe, dwelling in the present-day Lorraine region.[2]


They are mentioned as Mediomatricorum and Mediomatricis by Caesar (mid-1st c. BC),[3] as Mediomatrikoì (Μεδιοματρικοὶ ) by Strabo (early 1st c. AD),[4] as Mediomatrici by Pliny (1st c. AD),[5] as Mediomatricos by Tacitus (early 2nd c. AD),[6] and as Mediomátrikes (Μεδιομάτρικες) by Ptolemy (2nd c. AD).[7][8]

The name Mediomatrici derives from the Gaulish *Medio-māteres (literally 'middle-mothers'), formed with medios ('in the middle, central') attached to matir ('mother').[9] It has been interpreted as the 'Mothers of the Middle-World' (i.e. between the sky and the underworld), or as 'between the Matrona (Marne) and the Matra rivers' (i.e. the mother-rivers).[9][10]

The city of Metz, attested as civitas Mediomatricorum around 400 AD ('civitas of the Mediomatrici'), is named after the Celtic tribe.[11][12]


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.[2][13] Ptolemy places the Mediomatrici south of the Treviri.[citation needed]

Their capital was Divodurum ('place of the gods, divine enclosure'),[note 1] mentioned by Tacitus in the early 1st century AD.[15][14][2]


During the Gallic Wars (58–50 BC), the Mediomatrici sent 5,000 men to support Vercingetorix who was besieged in Alesia in 52.[16][2] 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][13]

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


  1. ^ Ptolemy. Geographia. II:8 §12 on LacusCurtius.
  2. ^ a b c d Schön 2006.
  3. ^ Caesar. Commentarii de Bello Gallico. 4:10; 7:75
  4. ^ Strabo. Geōgraphiká, 4:3:4
  5. ^ Pliny. Naturalis Historia, 4:106
  6. ^ Tacitus. Historiae, 4:70
  7. ^ Ptolemy. Geōgraphikḕ Hyphḗgēsis, 2:9:7
  8. ^ Falileyev 2010, p. entry 2178.
  9. ^ a b Delamarre 2003, pp. 220, 222.
  10. ^ Mountain, Harry (1998). The Celtic Encyclopedia , Volume 1. Universal-Publishers. p. 194. ISBN 9781581128901.
  11. ^ Nègre 1990, p. 155.
  12. ^ Delamarre 2003, p. 220.
  13. ^ a b Demougin 1995, p. 193.
  14. ^ a b Delamarre 2003, p. 156.
  15. ^ Nègre 1990, p. 175.
  16. ^ a b Demougin 1995, p. 183.
  17. ^ Wightman 1985, pp. 73–74.
  18. ^ Istituto Geografico de Agostini, Nomi d'Italia, ISBN 88-511-0983-4, p. 384


  1. ^ From Gaulish deuos 'god' attached to duron 'gates' > 'enclosed town, market town').[14]