d) Protection of the Tribe: Brigantia

In Chapter 2, it was established that the goddess Brigantia is etymologically cognate with Irish Brigit, Gaulish Brigindona and the Celtiberian Matres Brigiacae. These all have names referring to high places or designating their divine eminence, prestige and power. Their names mean ‘the High One’ or ‘the Exalted One’. Brigantia, who is venerated in seven inscriptions from South West Yorkshire and the region of Hadrian’s Wall, is the tribal-goddess of the Brigantes, a powerful Celtic sept* inhabiting the region where the inscriptions were discovered. Being their tutelary goddess, she must have represented them and protected them; a role evidenced by a figuration from the Roman Fort at Birrens (Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland) portraying her with shield and spear and by her equation with Roman goddesses of war and civil protection: Victory in Yorkshire and Caelestis in Northumbria.