The name Moselle is derived from the Celtic name form, Mosela, via the Latin Mosella, a diminutive form of Mosa, the Latin description of the Meuse, which used to flow parallel to the Moselle. So the Mosella was the "Little Meuse".
The Moselle is first recorded by Tacitus in Book 13 of his Annals and in Book 4 of his Histories.
The Roman poet Ausonius made it a literary theme as early as the 4th century. In his poem dated 371, called
Mosella, which was published in 483 hexameters, this poet of the Late Antiquity and teacher at the Trier Imperial Court (Kaiserhof) described a journey from Bingen over the Hunsrück hills to the Moselle and then following its course to Trier on the road named after him, the
Via Ausonius. Ausonius describes flourishing and rich landscapes along the river and in the valley of the Moselle, thanks to the policies of their Roman rulers.
The river subsequently gave its name to two French republican départements: Moselle and Meurthe-et-Moselle.