AMMINUS / ADMINIUS
Attested: Adminius is a spelling often quoted, because it was used by Suetonius in Life of Caligula 44, but coins show A, AM, AMM, and AMMINUS. Minocybelinus (Orosius 7,5) probably refers to him too.
Where: He appears to have ruled in Kent, as a son of Cunobelinus, and went over to the Romans in the time of Caligula.
Name origin: Uncertain. Chris Rudd translates the name as ‘friend’, perhaps because of Latin amicus. There seem to be no other Latin parallels closer than the historian Ammianus, or the Italian wine αμμιναιος mentioned on an Oxyrhyncus papyrus. Presumably that explains why initial amm- was analysed as from ad-m- and the name got written Adminius. If Amminus was a typical two-element name, what might min- mean? Celticists suggest *mino- ‘soft’ (which Delamarre, 2003:226-7 wrote as *minio-, *meno-) but that has no clear deeper origin and may descend from Latin mina ‘smooth’. Old Irish mind ‘distinguishing badge, crown, diadem’, which is presumably related to Old English myne ‘necklace, ornament’, would suit the headband of the ruler's image shown on this AMM coin discussed by Chris Rudd. Latin minax ‘jutting out’ would suit a ruler of Kent and minus ‘less’ would suit a younger son of Cunobelinus. Germanic names offer nothing else closer than the elements *amal ‘?work’ and megin ‘strength, power’.
Notes: A suggestion by Russell (2010) that Amminus was the father of the Roman governor Sallustius Lucullus has been contradicted by Magilton (2013).
Last Edited: 15 June 2017