CENOMANI, a branch of the Aulerci in Gallia Celtica, whose territory corresponded generally to Maine in the modern department of Sarthe. Their chief town was Vindinum or Suindinum (corrupted into Subdinnum), afterwards Civitas Cenomanorum (whence Le Mans), the original name of the town, as usual in the case of Gallic cities, being replaced by that of the people. According to Caesar (Bell. Gall. vii. 75. 3), they assisted Vercingetorix in the great rising (52 b.c.) with a force of 5000 men. Under Augustus they formed a civitas stipendiaria of Gallia Lugdunensis, and in the 4th century part of Gallia Lugdunensis iii. About 400 b.c., under the leadership of Elitovius (Livy v. 35), a large number of the Cenomani crossed into Italy, drove the Etruscans southwards, and occupied their territory. The statement of Cato (in Pliny, Nat. Hist. iii. 130), that some of them settled near Massilia in the territory of the Volcae, may indicate the route taken by them. The limits of their territory are not clearly defined, but were probably the Athesis (Adige or Etsch) on the east, the Ollius (Oglio, or perhaps the Addua) on the west, and the Padus on the south. Livy gives their chief towns as Brixia (Brescia) and Verona; Pliny, Brixia and Cremona. The Cenomani nearly always appear in history as loyal friends and allies of the Romans, whom they assisted in the Gallic war (225 b.c.), when the Boii and Insubres took up arms against Rome, and during the war against Hannibal. They certainly joined in the revolt of the Gauls under Hamilcar (200), but after they had been defeated by the consul Gaius Cornelius (197) they finally submitted. In 49, with the rest of Gallia Transpadana, they acquired the rights of citizenship.
The orthography and the quantity of the penultimate vowel of Cenomani have given rise to discussion. According to Arbois de Jubainville, the Cenomăni of Italy are not identical with the Cenomani (or Cenomanni) of Gaul. In the case of the latter, the survival of the syllable "man" in Le Mans is due to the stress laid on the vowel; had the vowel been short and unaccented, it would have disappeared. In Italy, Cenomani is the name of a people; in Gaul, merely a surname of the Aulerci.
See A. Voisin, Les Cénomans anciens et modernes (Le Mans, 1862); A. Desjardins, Géographic historique de la Gaule romaine, ii. (1876-1893); Arbois de Jubainville, Les Premiers Habitants de l'Europe (1889-1894); article and authorities in La Grande Encyclopédie; C. Hulsen in Pauly-Wissowa's Realencyclopadie, iii. pt. 2 (1899); full ancient authorities in A. Holder, Alt-celtischer Sprachschatz, i. (1896).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)