List of Latin place names in Britain

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Latin Place Names
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Africa
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This list includes places in Britain (including neighbouring islands such as the Isle of Man), some of which were part of the Roman Empire, or were later given Latin place names in historical references.

Background[edit]

Until the Modern Era, Latin was the common language for scholarship and mapmaking. During the 19th and 20th centuries, German scholars in particular have made significant contributions to the study of historical place names, or Ortsnamenkunde. These studies have, in turn, contributed to the study of genealogy. For genealogists and historians of pre-Modern Europe, knowing alternative names of places is vital to extracting information from both public and private records. Even specialists in this field point out, however, that the information can be easily taken out of context, since there is a great deal of repetition of place names throughout Europe; reliance purely on apparent connections should therefore be tempered with valid historical methodology.

Caveats and notes[edit]

Latin place names are not always exclusive to one place — for example, there were several Roman cities whose names began with Colonia and then a more descriptive term. During the Middle Ages, these were often shortened to just Colonia. One of these, Colonia Agrippinensis, retains the name today in the form of Cologne (from French, German Köln).

Early sources for Roman names show numerous variants and spellings of the Latin names.

The modern canonical name is listed first. Sources are listed chronologically. In general, only the earliest source is shown for each name, although many of the names are recorded in more than one of the sources. Where the source differs in spelling, or has other alternatives, these are listed following the source. As an aid to searching, variants are spelled completely, and listed in most likely chronology.

Superscripts indicate:

  1. Latinized form of the Greek-derived name.
  2. Latinized form of the Asian-derived name via Greek.
  3. Altered Latinized form of the Greek-derived name.

'?' probably historical mistake

Cities and towns in England[edit]

Roman Britain in 400 AD
Canonical Latin Name (source(s): variant(s)) English Name (native language(s)) - older name(s), (other language(s)), location(s)
Aquae Arnemetiae Buxton
Aquae Sulis Bath
Bremetennacum Ribchester
Camulodunum Colchester
Cantabrigia Cambridge
Cataractonium Catterick
Coria, Corspitium Corbridge
Corinium Cirencester
Deva Chester
Durovernum Cantiacorum, Cantuaria Canterbury
Durnovaria Dorchester
Dunelmum[1] Durham
Eboracum York
Glevum Gloucester
Isurium Brigantum Aldborough
Isca Dumnoniorum Exeter
Lindum Lincoln
Lindinis Ilchester
Londinium London
Londonia London
Luguvalium Carlisle
Mamucium, Mancunium[2] Manchester
Noviomagus Reginorum Chichester
Oxonium, Oxonia Oxford
Petuaria Brough
Pons Aelius Newcastle upon Tyne
Ratae Corieltauvorum Leicester
Venta Belgarum Winchester
Verulamium St Albans
Viroconium Cornoviorum Wroxeter

Cities and towns in Scotland[edit]

Canonical Latin Name (source(s): variant(s)) English Name (native language(s)) - older name(s), (other language(s)), location(s)
Andreanae (HLU:[3] Kirkruel?,[4] Reguli Fanum, Andreopolis; GOL:[5] Sanctae Andreae Coenobium), Kirkrule, Kilrule St Andrews
Devana (2PG2;[6] HLU:[3] Aberdonia, Aberdona, Verniconam; GOL:[5] Aberdonum, Aberdonium, Abredonia), Devanha Aberdeen
Dunedinum (BSH:[7] Edinburgum, Edinum; GOL:[5] Edimburgum, Edenburgum, Alata castra, Alatius burgus, Aneda, Puellarum castra) Edinburgh
Glascouium (GOL:[5] Glascovia, Glascum, Glascua, Glasgua) Glasgow
Trimontium Newstead

Cities and towns in Wales[edit]

Canonical Latin Name (source(s): variant(s)) English Name (native language(s)) - older name(s), (other language(s)), location(s)
Alabum Llandovery
Bangertium[5] Bangor
Blestium Monmouth
Bovium Cowbridge (disputed)
Burrium Usk
Cambria Wales
Canovium Caerhun
Castra Diva Chester
Cicutio Pumsaint
Gobannium Abergavenny
Isca Silurum (AI:[8] Isca, Iscae; RC:[9] Isca Augusta; GOL:[5] Isca Legio), Castra Legionis Caerleon
Moridunum Carmarthen
Mediomanum Caersws
Nidum Neath
Segontium (AI:[8] Segontio; RC:[9] Seguntio; GOL:[5] Seguntium) Caernarfon
Venta Silurum Caerwent

Island names[edit]

Canonical Latin Name (source(s): variant(s)) English Name (native language(s)) - older name(s), (other language(s)), location(s)
Malaeus[10] Mull
Mona[10] Anglesey
Monaoeda[10] Isle of Man
Orcades[6] Orkney
Scetis[6] Skye
Taniatide[9] Thanet
Vectis[6] Isle of Wight
Caesar[10] Jersey

Region or country names[edit]

Canonical Latin Name (source(s): variant(s)) English Name (native language(s)) - older name(s), (other language(s)), location(s)
Albion[6][11] Great Britain
Anglia England
Britannia[6][11] Great Britain
Caledonia[6][11] Scotland
Cambria Wales
Cornubia Cornwall
Hibernia[10] Ireland
Scotia Scotland, and formerly Ireland

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Also other spellings
  2. ^ "Mancunium" derives from an early misspelling of the Roman name.
  3. ^ a b HLU: Hofmann, Johann Jacob (1635–1706): Lexicon Universale
  4. ^ '?' probably historical mistake
  5. ^ a b c d e f g GOL: The standard reference to Latin placenames, with their modern equivalents, is Dr. J. G. Th. Graesse, Orbis Latinus : Lexikon lateinischer geographischer Namen des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit (1909), an exhaustive work of meticulous German scholarship that is available on-line. To use it, one must understand German names of countries, as they were in 1909. The original was re-edited and expanded in a multi-volume edition in 1972.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g 2PG2: Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus), Geographia; book "PG" chapter (that is, "2PG2" instead of the usual "II.2"). Ptolemy wrote in Greek, so names are transliterated back into Latin to reveal the original form.
  7. ^ BSH: Buchanan, George (1506–1582): Rerum Scoticarum Historia (1582)
  8. ^ a b AI: Antonine Itinerary
  9. ^ a b c RC: Ravenna Cosmography, Ravennatis Anonymi Cosmographia
  10. ^ a b c d e 2PG1: Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus), Geographia; book "PG" chapter (that is, "2PG1" instead of the usual "II.1"). Ptolemy wrote in Greek, so names are transliterated back into Latin to reveal the original form
  11. ^ a b c Tacitus (Gaius Cornelius Tacitus), Agricola

Sources[edit]

In order of likely publication:

  • PNH: Pliny (Gaius Plinius Secundus), Naturalis Historia; book "PNH" chapter (that is, "37PNH81" instead of the usual "N.H.xxxvii.81").
  • PG: Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus), Geographia; book "PG" chapter (that is, "2PG3" instead of the usual "II.3"). Ptolemy wrote in Greek, so names are transliterated back into Latin to reveal the original form.
  • HD1851: Rejected by modern historians, but seen in this document from 1851 - [1] and [2] (bottom of one page to top of next)
  • GOL: The standard reference to Latin placenames, with their modern equivalents, is Dr. J. G. Th. Graesse, Orbis Latinus : Lexikon lateinischer geographischer Namen des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit (1909), an exhaustive work of meticulous German scholarship that is available on-line. To use it, one must understand German names of countries, as they were in 1909. The original was re-edited and expanded in a multi-volume edition in 1972.
  • A.L.F. Rivet and Colin Smith, The place-names of Roman Britain, London, 1979 (reprinted by Book Club Associates, 1981).

External links[edit]