What Does Reims Mean?

The name Reims derives from the Gaulish word “Rēmi” meaning “the first ones” or “the princes”.

Gaulish Tribe Origins

The Remi Tribe

Reims takes its name from the Remi, a Belgic tribe that inhabited the region during the Iron Age and Roman period. Their territory covered parts of what is now the Marne, Ardennes, Aisne and Meuse departments of northeastern France.

Meaning “The First Ones”

The Gaulish ethnonym “Rēmi” (singular “Rēmos”) literally translates to “the first ones” or “the princes”. It stems from the Proto-Celtic word “reimos” meaning first, prince or chief.

A Powerful Tribe

By calling themselves “the first ones”, the Remi were asserting their standing as a prestigious and powerful tribe within the Celtic society of the region before Roman conquest.

Evolution of the Name

From Gaulish to French

When the Romans recorded the name of this Celtic tribe, it was rendered as “Remi” in Latin texts. Over centuries, as Vulgar Latin evolved into the Gallo-Romance languages, the tribe’s name transformed from the original Gaulish into the French “Reims”.

City Named After the Tribe

The modern city of Reims itself was built upon the original fortified settlement of the Remi tribe. So Reims derives its name directly from the indigenous Gaulish people who first inhabited the area.

With its linguistic roots tracing back to the Remi tribe’s self-proclaimed status as “the princes”, the name Reims has carried the air of prestige through its long history.

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