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Coritani. A British tribe and civitas. There has been much debate about the name of this tribe, and some believe it was called the Corieltauvi. There is no good reason, however, to discard the spelling provided by the geographer Ptolemy, who recorded them as the Coritani. It occupied the territory between the rivers Welland and Humber, fringed on the west by the southern Pennines. To judge from their pre-invasion coinage, which often bears two names, it is possible that the leadership of the tribe was split between two kings or chiefs. If so, one might suggest that they ruled from the two major Iron Age centres known in the tribal territory at Old Sleaford and Leicester. The impression of the tribe at the time of the Roman conquest is that it was not yet united into a single powerful kingdom. This may explain the rapid Roman advance through their territory, culminating in the foundation of a legionary fortress at Lincoln c. ad 60. The pacified tribe were awarded local self-government as a civitas a decade or two later, with Leicester, known as Ratae Coritanorum, as its administrative centre.

Keith Branigan