The Vediantii were a Celto-Ligurian tribe dwelling on the Mediterranean coast, near present-day Nice, during the Iron Age and the Roman period.


They are mentioned as Ou̓ediantíōn (Οὐεδιαντίων) by Ptolemy (2nd c. AD),[1] and an oppidum Vediantiorum civitatis is documented by Pliny (1st c. AD).[2][3]

The ethnonym Uediantii is probably Celtic. It has been interpreted as 'pertaining to the praying ones' (from the root wed- 'to pray' extended by a present participial formation -ie-nt-),[4][5] as the 'Leaders' (from *wedʰ-yā 'guidance, leadership'), or else as the 'Sages' (from *weid-yā 'knowledge, doctrine').[6][7]


The Vediantii dwelled on the Mediterranean coast, between the river Var and the Mont Agel, around the Massaliote colony of Nikaea (modern Nice).[8] Their territory was located east of the Deciates and Nerusii, west of the Intimilii, and south of the Vesubiani.[9]

Their chief town was the oppidum Vediantiorum, known as Cemenelum by the 2nd century AD. Corresponding to modern Cimiez, now a neighbourhood of Nice, the settlement controlled the trading route from the Mediterranean coast towards the hinterland and the Alps. After the subjugation of the Ligurian tribes in 14 BC, Cemenelum became the centre of the local Roman military government, then served as the capital of the new Roman province from its creation by Nero in 63 AD.[10][11]


Contrary to other tribes of the region, the Vediantii were probably allied or tributary to Massalia and the Roman Republic by the 2nd century BC. When the Oxybii and Deciates attacked the Massaliote colonies of Nikaea and Antipolis (Antibes) and were subsequently defeated in 154 BC, the territory of the Vediantii was not reduced by the Romans, and their chief town Cemenelum became the capital of the Alpes Maritimae after its foundation in 63 AD.[12] Additionally, the Vediantii are not mentioned in the Trophy of the Alps, suggesting that they were either already subjugated by or allied to Rome at the time of the conquest of the region in 14 BC.[13]


Three inscriptions dated to the 1st–2nd centuries AD and dedicated to the Matres Vediantiae were found near Tourrette-Levens and Cimiez.[7]

Matronis Vediantiabus P(ublius) Enistalius P(ublii) f(ilius) Cl(audia tribu) Paternus Cemenelensis optio ad ordine(m) (centurionis) leg(ionis) XXII Primigeniae Piae Fidelis l(ibens) m(erito)
[To the Matronae Vediantiae, Publius Enistalius Paternus, son of Publius, of the Claudia tribe, from Cemenelum, optio promoted to centurion in the legion XXII Primigenia Pia Fidelis, willingly and deservedly (offered this monument)]

— Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (CIL) 5:07872.


  1. ^ Ptolemy. Geōgraphikḕ Hyphḗgēsis, 3:1:39.
  2. ^ Pliny. Naturalis Historia, 3:47.
  3. ^ Falileyev 2010, s.v. Vediantii.
  4. ^ Delamarre 2003, p. 309.
  5. ^ Isaac, Graham, "Place-Names in Ptolemy's Geography : An Electronic Data Base with Etymological Analysis of Celtic Name Elements". CD-ROM. 2004, CMCS Publications, Aberystwyth.
  6. ^ de Bernardo Stempel 2000, p. 91.
  7. ^ a b Beck 2013, pp. 54–55.
  8. ^ Barruol 1969, pp. 365–367.
  9. ^ Talbert 2000, Map 16: Col. Forum Iulii-Albingaunum.
  10. ^ Rivet 1988, p. 341.
  11. ^ Jannet-Vallat 2004, pp. 405–407.
  12. ^ Barruol 1969, p. 373.
  13. ^ Jannet-Vallat 2004, p. 406.
  • Barruol, Guy (1969). Les Peuples préromains du Sud-Est de la Gaule: étude de géographie historique. E. de Boccard. OCLC 3279201.
  • Beck, Noémie (2013). "Celtic Divine Names Related to Gaulish and British Population Groups". In Hofeneder, Andreas; de Bernardo Stempel, Patrizia (eds.). Théonymie celtique, cultes, interpretatio - Keltische Theonymie, Kulte, Interpretatio. Austrian Academy of Sciences Press. pp. 51–72. ISBN 978-3-7001-7369-4. JSTOR j.ctv8mdn28.7.
  • de Bernardo Stempel, Patrizia (2000). "Ptolemy's Celtic Italy and Ireland: A linguistic analysis". In Parsons, David N.; Sims-Williams, Patrick (eds.). Ptolemy: Towards a Linguistic Atlas of the Earliest Celtic Place-names of Europe. CMCS. pp. 83–112. ISBN 978-0952747833.
  • Delamarre, Xavier (2003). Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise: Une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental. Errance. ISBN 9782877723695.
  • Falileyev, Alexander (2010). Dictionary of Continental Celtic Place-names: A Celtic Companion to the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. CMCS. ISBN 978-0955718236.
  • Jannet-Vallat, Monique (2004). "Cimiez / Cemelenum (Alpes-Maritimes)". Supplément à la Revue archéologique du centre de la France. 25 (1): 405–410. ISSN 1951-6207.
  • Rivet, A. L. F. (1988). Gallia Narbonensis: With a Chapter on Alpes Maritimae : Southern France in Roman Times. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-7134-5860-2.
  • Talbert, Richard J. A. (2000). Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691031699.