b) Etymology of her name

The meaning of Sequana’s name remains obscure and uncertain. It is however undeniably Celtic. Edmond Jung and Garrett Olmsted propose to derive her name from an IE root *sik w - or seiku- meaning ‘to drip’, ‘to pour’ or ‘to flow’, ‘to stream’.1792 Sequana (*seik-ow-an-a) might therefore be a descriptive name meaning ‘the river which is slowly flowing out’ or ‘the one which is dripping’. It may refer to the small rate of flow on the upper course of the River Seine. As noted above, river names were very often descriptive of the nature and quality of the water, that is whether the stream was fast or slow, green or black, bubbling or quite, etc.

Her name is similar to the name of the tribe of the Sequani, who lived in the present-day region of Franche Comté, in the area of Besançon.1793 Lambert suggests that their name is geographical and signifies ‘the people of the River Seine’, which would indicate that the sept* originally inhabited the lower basin of the River Seine.1794 Bernard Sergent adds that it must have had a religious dimension and referred to the sacredness of the waters of the Seine. The ethnonym* Sequani would therefore mean ‘Those (who are the worshippers) of Sequana’.1795


Jung, 1969, pp. 434-461 ; Jung, 1973, pp. 283-293 ; Hamp, ‘Varia, I. IE sek- ‘to lose healthy moisture’’, in EC, 1980, p. 167 ; Lacroix, 2007, pp. 49-50.


Kruta, 2000, p. 816.


Lambert, 1995, p. 91.


Sergent, 1995, p. 212 ; Sergent, 2000, p. 11.