Brigantes (Celtic for "mountaineers" or "free, privileged"), a people of northern Britain, who inhabited the country from the mouth of the Abus (Humber) on the east and the Belisama (Mersey; according to others, Ribble) on the west as far northwards as the Wall of Antoninus. Their territory thus included most of Yorkshire, the whole of Lancashire, Durham, Westmorland, Cumberland and part of Northumberland. Their chief town was Eburacum (or Eboracum; York). They first came into contact with the Romans during the reign of Claudius, when they were defeated by Publius Ostorius Scapula. Under Vespasian they submitted to Petillius Cerealis, but were not finally subdued till the time of Antoninus Pius (Tac. Agricola, 17; Pausan. viii. 43. 4). The name of their eponymous goddess Brigantia is found on inscriptions (Corp. Inscr. Lat. vii. 200, 875, 1062; F. Haverfield in Archaeological Journal, xlix., 1892), and also that of a god Bergans = Brigans (Ephemeris Epigraphica, vii. No. 920). A branch of the Brigantes also settled in the south-east corner of Ireland, near the river Birgus (Barrow).
See A. Holder, Altceltischer Sprachschatz, i. (1896), for ancient authorities; J. Rhys, Celtic Britain (3rd ed., 1904); Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyclopädie, iii. pt. i. (1897).