The Ravenna Cosmography – The British Section

Sometime during the seventh century of this Common Era, an unknown monk in the Monastery at Ravenna on the Adriatic (eastern) coast of Italy compiled a list of all the towns and road-stations throughout the Roman Empire; this important historical document has since become known as the Ravenna Cosmography.

The best available text is that of the Codex Vaticanis (Urb. Lat. #961). We will deal only with the portion which describes the British Isles, that is, from the last paragraph of Verse 30 through to the middle of Verse 32, which is contained within just four manuscript pages. The numbers accompanying the text in the following table are those of I.A. Richmond and O.G.S. Crawford, from their article The British Section of the Ravenna Cosmography, in Archaeologia Vol.XCIII (1949) pp.1-50.

The first portion of the document is by far the largest and lists the towns of Roman Britain, in a somewhat haphazard fashion, followed by the rivers and smaller islands, again in no readily-discernable pattern. The R&C entries are; 1-227 Cities, 228-235 Wetlands, 236-271 British Rivers, 272-274 Irish Rivers, 275-302 British Islands, 303-306 ‘Islands of the Northern Ocean’.

The Codex Vaticanis manuscript pages and their constituent R&C entries are;

45v – 303-306 and 1-51.5 46r – 51.5-167.5 46v – 167.5-271 47r – 272-302

This websites’ translations of the text and any explanatory notes are [highlighted and enclosed in square brackets].

(V.30) … Iterum sunt in ipso oceano [insule] que dicuntur
[Once again, there are within the selfsame ocean (islands) which are named:]
303 Vectis [= Vectis = Isle of Wight, Hampshire]
304 Malaca [?= Malaius = Island of Mull, Inner Hebrides?] [Possible Duplicate! See R&C.298]
305 Insenos [?= Hibernia = Ireland?]
306 Taniatide [= Tanatvs = Isle of Thanet, Kent]
(V.31) In oceano vero occidentale est insula quae dicitur Britania, ubi olim gens Saxonum veniens ab antiqua Saxonia cum principe suo Ansehis modo havitare videtur; quamvis insulam, ut diximus, quidam Grecorum phylosophi quasi [i]micosmin appellaverunt; nam nos tam magnam insulam neque in supra scripto Mari Magno neque in praefato oceano dilatissimo neque in quo praediximus sino oceani legendam nullo modo reperimus. In qua Britania plurimas fuisse legimus civitates [et castra], ex quibus aliquantas designare volumus, id est:
translation
1 Giano [unknown]
2 Eltabo [unknown]
3 Elconio [unknown]
4 Nemetotacio [?= Nemetostatio = North Tawton, Devon?]
5 Tamaris [?= Tamaris = Plymouth, Devon?]
6 Purocoronauis [?= Dvrocornavivm = Carn Brea, Cornwall?]
7 Pilais [unknown]
8 Vernalis [unknown]
9 Arduarauenatone [unknown]
10 Devionisso [unknown]
11 Statio Deventiasteno [?= Statio Deventiasteno = Nanstallon, Cornwall?]
12 Duriarno [unknown]
13 Uxelis [?= Vxelis = Launceston, Cornwall?]
14 Verteuia [unknown]
15 Melamoni [unknown]
16 Scadu namorum [= Isca Dvmnoniorvm = Exeter, Devon]
17 Termonin [unknown]
18 Mestevia [unknown]
19 Milidunum [unknown]
20 Apaunaris [unknown]
21 Masona [unknown]
22 Alovergium [unknown]
Iterum iuxta supscriptam civitatem Scadoniorum est civitas quae dicitur
[Once again, beside the Dumnonian towns listed above are (other) towns which are named:]
23 Moriduno [unknown]
24 Alauna silua [unknown]
25 Omiretedertis [unknown]
26 Lindinis [= Lindinis = Ilchester, Somerset]
27 Canza [unknown]
28 Dolocindo [?= Durocendum = Chew Stoke, Avon?]
29 Clauimo [?= Clavsentvm = Bitterne, Hampshire?]
30 Morionio [unknown]
31 Boluelaunio [unknown]
32 Alauna [unknown]
33 Coloneas [unknown]
34 Aranus [unknown]
35 Anicetis [?= Aqvae Svlis = Bath, Avon?]
36 Melezo [unknown]
37 Ibernio [?= Ivernium = Iwerne, Dorset?]
38 Bindogladia [= Vindocladia = Badbury Rings, Dorset]
39 Noviomagno [?= Lake Farm, Dorset?]
40 Onna [unknown]
41 Venta Velgarom [= Venta Belgarvm = Winchester, Hampshire]
42 Armis [unknown]
43 Ardaoneon [?= [portvs] Ardaoni = Portchester, Hampshire?]
44 Navimago Regentium [= Noviomagvs Regnorvm = Chichester, Sussex]
45 Leuco magno [= Levcomagvs = East Anton, Hampshire]
46 Cunetzone [= Cvnetio = Mildenhall, Wiltshire]
47 Punctuobice [?= Pontes = Staines, Surrey?]
48 Ventaslurum [= Venta Silvrvm = Caerwent, Gwent]
49 Iupania [unknown]
50 Metambala [unknown]
51 Albinumno [unknown]
52 Isca Augusta [= Isca Silvrvm = Caerleon, Gwent]
53 Bannio [= Gobannivm = Abergavenny, Gwent]
54 Bremia [= Bremia = Llanio, Dyfed]
55 Alabum [?= Alabvm = Llandovery, Dyfed?]
56 Cicutio [?= Cicvcivm = Y-Gaer, Powys?]
57 Magnis [= Magnis = Kenchester, Hereford & Worcester]
58 Brano.Genium [= Bravonivm = Leintwardine, Hereford & Worcester]
59 Epocessa [unknown]
60 Ypocessa [unknown]
61 Macatonion [?= Moridvnvm = Carmarthen, Dyfed?]
62 Glebon colonia [= Glevvm Colonia = Gloucester, Gloucestershire]
63 Argistillum [?= Ariconivm = Weston-under-Penyard, Hereford & Worcester?]
64 Vertis [= Vertis = Worcester, Hereford & Worcester]
65 Salinis [= Salinae = Droitwich Spa, Hereford & Worcester]
66 Cironium Dobunorum [= Corinivm Dobvnnorvm = Cirencester, Gloucestershire]
67 Iacio Dulma [?= Lactodvrvm = Towcester, Northamptonshire?] [This entry is replicated; see R&C.95]
68 Anderelio Nuba [?= Anderitvm Nova? = Pevensey, Sussex]
69 Mutuantonis [unknown]
70 Lemanis [= Portvs Lemanis = Lympne, Kent]
71 Dubris [= Portvs Dvbris = Dover, Kent]
72 Duro auerno Cantiacorum [= Dvrovernvm Cantiacorvm = Canterbury, Kent]
73 Rutupis [= Rvtvpiae = Richborough, Kent]
74 Durobrabis [= Dvrobrivae = Rochester, Kent]
75 Landini [unknown]
76 Tamese [unknown]
77 Brinauis [unknown]
78 Alauna [unknown]
79 Utriconion Cornoviorum [= Viroconivm Cornoviorvm = Wroxeter, Shropshire]
80 Lavobrinta [= Levobrinta = Forden Gaer, Powys]
81 Mediomanum [?= Mediomanvm = Caersws, Powys?]
82 Seguntio [= Segontivm = Caernarfon, Gwynedd]
83 Canubio [= Canovivm = Caerhun, Gwynedd]
84 Mediolano [= Mediolanvm = Whitchurch, Shropshire]
85 Saudonio [unknown]
86 Deva victris [= Deva Victrix = Chester, Cheshire]
87 Veratino [unknown]
88 Lutudaron [= Lvtvdarvm = Crich, Derbyshire]
89 Derbentione [= Derventio = Littlechester, Derbyshire]
90 Salinis [= Salinae = Middlewich, Cheshire]
91 Condate [= Condate = Northwich, Cheshire]
92 Rate Corion [= Ratae Corioneltavorvm = Leicester, Leicestershire]
93 Eltauori [see entry above]
94 Lectoceto [= Letocetvm = Wall, Staffordshire]
95 Iacio Dulma [?= Lactodvrvm = Towcester, Northamptonshire?] [This entry is replicated; see R&C.67]
96 Virolanium [= Vervlamivm = St. Albans, Hertfordshire]
97 Londinium Augusti [= Londinivm Avgvsta = London, Greater London]
98 Cesaromago [= Caesaromagvs = Chelmsford, Essex]
99 Manulodulo. colonia [= Camvlodvnvm Colonia = Colchester, Essex]
100 Durcinate [?= Dvrolitvm = Nr. Romford, Gtr. London?]
101 Duro viguto [= Dvrovigvtvm = Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire]
102 Durobrisin [= Dvrobrivae = Water Newton, Cambridgeshire]
103 Venta Cenomum [= Venta Icenorvm = Caistor St. Edmund, Norfolk]
104 Lindum Colonia [= Lindvm Colonia = Lincoln, Lincolnshire]
105 Bannovallum [= Bannovalvm = Horncastle, Lincolnshire]
106 Nauione [= Navio = Brough, Derbyshire]
107 Aquis Arnemeza [= Aqvae Arnemetiae = Buxton, Derbyshire]
108 Zerdotalia [?= Ardotalia = Melandra Castle, Derbyshire?]
109 Mantio [= Mamvcivm = Manchester, Greater Manchester]
110 Alunna [= Alavana = Watercrook, Lancashire]
111 Camulodono [?= Cambodvnvm = Slack, West Yorkshire?]
112 Calunio [?= Calunium? = Lancaster, Lancashire?]
113 Gallunio [?= Galava = Ambleside, Cumbria?]
114 Medibogdo [= Mediobogdvm = Hardknot, Cumbria]
115 Cantiventi [= Glannoventa = Ravenglass, Cumbria]
116 Iuliocenon [?= Tvnnocelvm = Beckermet, Calder Bridge, Cumbria?]
117 Gabrocentio [= Gabrosentvm = Moresby, Cumbria]
118 Alauna [= Alavna (Maryport) = Maryport, Cumbria]
119 Bribra [= Bibra = Beckfoot, Cumbria]
120 Maio [= Maglona = Old Carlisle, Cumbria]
121 Olerica [see entry above]
122 Derventione [= Derventio = Papcastle, Cumbria]
123 Ravonia [= Bravoniacvm = Kirkby Thore, Cumbria]
124 Bresnetenaci Veteranorum [= Bremetenacvm Veteranorvm = Ribchester, Lancashire]
125 Pampocalia [unknown]
126 Lagentium [= Lagentivm = Castleford, West Yorkshire]
127 Valteris [= Verteris = Brough, Cumbria]
128 Bereda [= Voreda = Old Penrith, Cumbria]
129 Lagubalumi [= Luguvalium (Carlisle) Fort = Carlisle, Cumbria]
130 Magnis [= Magnis = Carvoran, Northumberland]
131 Gabaglanda [?= Camboglanna = Birdoswald, Cumbria?] [Possible duplicate! See R&C.167]
132 Vindolande [= Vindolanda = Chesterholm, Northumberland]
133 Lineoiugla [= Longovicivm = Lanchester, Durham]
134 Vinovia [= Vinovivm = Binchester, Durham]
135 Lavaris [= Lavatris = Bowes, Durham]
136 Cactabactonion [= Cataractonivm = Catterick, North Yorkshire]
137 Eburacum [= Ebvracvm = York, North Yorkshire]
138 Decuaria [= Petvaria = Brough on Humber, Humberside]
139 Devovicia [?= Delgovicia = nr. Millington, Humberside?]
140 Dixio Lugunduno [?= Dictivm = Whitby, North Yorkshire?] [?Lugundunum, unknown?]
141 Coganges [= Concangis = Chester-le-Street, Durham]
142 Corie Lopocarium [= Corstopitvm = Corbridge, Northumberland] [?Lopocarium, unknown?]
143 Serduno [= Segedvnvm = Wallsend, Tyne & Wear]
144 Condecor [= Condercvm = Benwell, Tyne & Wear]
145 Vindovala [= Vindobala = Rudchester, Northumberland]
146 Onno [= Onnvm = Halton Chesters, Northumberland]
147 Celunno [= Cilvrnvm = Chesters, Northumberland]
148 Brocoliti [= Brocolitia = Carrawburgh, Northumberland]
149 Velurtion [= Vercovicivm = Housesteads, Northumberland]
150 Esica [= Aesica = Great Chesters, Northumberland]
151 Banna [?= Banna = Castlesteads, Cumbria?]
152 Uxelludamo [= Vxelodvnvm = Stanwix, Cumbria]
153 Avalana [= Aballava = Burgh by Sands, Cumbria]
154 Maia [= Maia = Bowness on Solway, Cumbria]
155 Fanocodi [?= Fanvm Cocidi = Bewcastle, Cumbria?]
156 Brocara [= Brocavvm = Brougham, Cumbria]
157 Croucingo [unknown]
158 Stodoion [unknown]
159 Sinetriadum [unknown]
160 Clindum [unknown]
161 Carbantium [unknown] .
162 Tadoriton [unknown]
163 Maporiton [unknown]
164 Alitacenon [unknown]
165 Loxa [unknown]
166 Locatreve [unknown]
167 Cambroianna [?= Camboglanna = Birdoswald, Cumbria] [Possible duplicate! See R&C.131]
168 Smetri [unknown]
169 Uxela [unknown]
170 Lucotion [unknown]
171 Corda [unknown]
172 Camulosessa [unknown]
173 Presidium [unknown]
174 Brigomono [unknown]
175 Abisson [unknown]
176 Ebio [unknown]
177 Coritiotar [unknown]
178 Celovion [unknown]
179 Itucodon [unknown]
180 Maromago [unknown]
181 Duabsisis [unknown]
182 Venutio [unknown]
183 Trimuntium [= Trimontivm = Newstead, Borders]
184 Eburo caslum [?= Habitancvm = Risingham, Northumberland?]
185 Bremenium [= Bremenivm = High Rochester, Northumberland]
186 Coccimeda [unknown]
187 Alauna [?= Alavna = Learchild, Northumberland?]
188 Oleiclavis [unknown]
189 Evidensca [unknown]
190 Rumabo [unknown]
Iterum sunt civitates in ipsa Britainia recto tramite una alteri conexa, ubi et ipsa Britania plus angustissima de oceano in oceano esse dinoscitur, id est
[Here are listed the stations within the said Island joined together along a straight track where Britain is at its very thinnest from ocean to ocean, they are named:]
191 Velunia [= Velvniate = Carriden, Central]
192 Volitanio [? = Mumrills]
193 Pexa [?= Castlecary]
194 Begesse [?= Bar Hill]
195 Colanica [?= Auchendavy]
196 Medio Nemeton [?= Cadder]
197 Subdobiadon [?=Balmuildy]
198 Litana [?=Bearsden]
199 Cibra [?=Castlehill]
200 Credigone [?=Old Kilpatrick]
Iterum est civitas quae dicitur
[Also (there are) cities which have been designated:]
201 Iano [unknown]
202 Maulion [unknown]
203 Demerosesa [unknown]
204 Cindocellum [unknown]
205 Cerma [unknown]
206 Veromo [unknown]
207 Matovion [unknown]
208 Ugrulentum [unknown]
209 Rauatonium [unknown]
210 Iberran [unknown]
211 Pinnatis [?= [castra] Alata = Inchtuthil, Tayside?]
212 Tuessis [unknown]
213 Lodone [unknown]
214 Litinomago [unknown]
215 Devoni [?= Devana = Aberdeen, Grampian?]
216 Memanturum [unknown]
217 Decha [unknown]
218 Bograndium [unknown]
219 Ugueste [unknown]
220 Leuiodanum [unknown]
221 Poreo Classis [?= Horrea Classis = Carpow, Fife?]
222 Levioxaua [unknown]
223 Cermium [unknown]
224 Victorie [unknown]
225 Marcotaxon [unknown]
226 Tagea [unknown]
227 Voran [unknown]
Sunt autem in ipsa Britania diversa loca, ex quibus aliquanta nominare volumus, id est
[In Britain there are, however, certain places for which the number of names are many, they are:]
228 Maponi [unknown]
229 Mixa [unknown]
230 Panovius [?= Devona = Don, Grampian?]
231 Minox [unknown]
232 Taba [= Tava = Tay, Tayside]
233 Manavi [unknown]
234 Segloes [?= Segelocvm = Littleborough/River Trent, Nottinghamshire?]
235 Daunoni [?= Danvm = Doncaster/River Don, South Yorkshire?]
Currunt autem per ipsam Britaniam plurima flumina, ex quibus aliquanta nominare volumus, id est
[Many rivers are running throughout Britain, for which the number of names are many, they are:]
236 Traxula [?= Test, Hampshire?]
237 Axium [?= Itchen, Hampshire?]
238 Maina [?= Meon, Hampshire?]
239 Sarua [= Sabrina = Severn, Gloucestershire]
240 Tamaris [= Tamaris = Tamar, Cornwall/Devon]
241 Naurum [unknown]
242 Abona [= Abona = Avon, Avon]
243 Isca [= Isca = Usk, Gwent]
244 Tamion [?= Taff, Glamorgan?]
245 Auentio [= Aventio = Ewenny, Glamorgan]
246 Leuca [= Leuca = Loughor, Dyfed/Glamorgan]
247 Iuctius [= Stuctia = Ystwyth, Dyfed]
248 Leugosena [= Seteia = Mersey, Merseyside]
249 Coantia [?= Kent, Cumbria?]
250 Doruantium [= Derventio = Derwent, Cumbria]
251 Anaua [= Anava = Annan, Dumfries & Galloway]
252 Bdora [?= Eden, Cumbria?]
253 Nouitia [= Novius = Nith, Dumfries & Galloway]
254 Adron [?= Ayr, Strathclyde?]
255 Certisnassa [unknown]
256 Intraum [unknown]
257 Antrum [unknown]
258 Tinoa [= Tinea = Tyne, Tyne & Wear]
259 Liar [unknown]
260 Lenda [unknown]
261 Vividin [unknown]
262 Durolavi [unknown]
263 Alauna [= Alaunus = Aln, Northumberland]
264 Coguueusuron: [?= Cogus = Coquet, Northumberland?] [?= Vensuron = Wansbeck, Northumberland?]
265 Durbis [?= Dour, Kent?]
266 Lemana [?= Rother, East Sussex/Kent?]
267 Novia [?= Novius = Pevensey, Sussex?]
268 Raxtomessa [= Rex Tamesis = Thames, Essex/Kent]
269 Senua [unknown]
270 Cunia [unknown]
271 Velox [unknown]
(V.32) Iterum in eodem oceano occidentali, post ipsam magnam Britaniam, simulque et amplius longius, ut diximus, quam omnes insule e terra magna finita [ex] parte septentrionali, magis ex ipsa occidentali, est insula maxima quae dicitur Ibernia, que, ut dictum est, et Scotia appellatur. cuius post terga, ut iam praemisimus, nullo modo apud homines terra invenitur.
translation
272 Etsodisinam: [?= Elsodus = unknown?] [?= Sinam = Shannon, Ireland?]
273 Cled [unknown]
274 Terdec [unknown]
Iterum in ipso oceano occidentali ponuntur diverse insule, ex quibus aliquantas nominare volumus, id est
[Also, in this selfsame western ocean are planted many islands, for which the number of names are many; they are:]
275 Corsula [unknown]
276 Mona [= Mona = Anglesey, Gwynedd]
277 Regaina [unknown]
278 Minerve [= Manavia = Isle of Man]
279 Cunis [unknown]
280 Manna [?= Arran, Strathclyde?]
281 Botis [= Botis = Bute, Strathclyde]
282 Vinion [unknown]
283 Saponis [unknown]
284 Susura [unknown]
285 Birila [unknown]
286 Elaviana [unknown]
287 Sobrica [unknown]
288 Scetis [= Scitis = Skye, Inner Hebrides]
289 Linnonsa [unknown]
Item ad aliam partem dicitur insula
[Also, in other parts there are islands named:]
290 Magantia [unknown]
291 Anas [unknown]
292 Cana [= Cana = Canna, Inner Hebrides]
293 Atina [unknown]
294 Elete [?= Islay, Inner Hebrides?]
295 Daroecla [?= Jura, Inner Hebrides?]
296 Esse [unknown]
297 Gradena [unknown]
298 Maiona [?= Malaius = Mull, Inner Hebrides?]
[Possible Duplicate! See R&C.304]
299 Longis [?= Lewis, Outer Hebrides?]
300 Eirimon [?= Harris, Outer Hebrides?]
301 Exosades [?= Uist, Outer Hebrides?]
ubi et gemme nascuntur, [sicut] legimus. Item in ipso oceano numero insule triginta tres quae et
translation
302 Dorcades [= Orcades = Orkney Islands]
appellantur, que quamvis non existant omnes exculte, attamen nomina illarum volueramus Christo nobis iuvante designare; sed quia peccatis emergentibus suete a diversis gentibus ipsa dominatur patria et, ut barbarus mos est, varie vocationes easdem insulas appellant, ideo earum reliquimus nomina designandum.
translation pending

Places Named on the Ravenna Map

Ravenna Spelling Accepted Spelling Associated Modern Place-Name
Serduno Segedvnvm Wallsend, Tyne & Wear
Condecor Condercvm Benwell, Tyne & Wear
Vindovala Vindobala Rudchester, Northumberland
Onno Onnvm Halton Chesters, Northumberland
Celunno Cilvrnvm Chesters, Northumberland
Brocoliti Brocolitia Carrawburgh, Northumberland
Velurtion Vercovicivm Housesteads, Northumberland
Esica Aesica Great Chesters, Northumberland
Banna Banna Castlesteads, Cumbria
Uxelludamo Vxelodvnvm Stanwix, Cumbria
Avalava Aballava Burgh by Sands, Cumbria
Maia Maia Bowness on Solway, Cumbria
Fanocodi Fanvm Cocidi Bewcastle,
Vindolande Vindolanda Chesterholm, Northumberland
Magnis Magnis Carvoran, Northumberland
Gabaglanda Camboglanna Birdoswald, Cumbria
Bibra Bibra Beckfoot, Cumbria
Alauna Alavna (Maryport) Maryport, Cumbria
Gabrocentio Gabrosentvm Moresby, Cumbria
Juliocenon Tvnnocelvm Nr. Beckermet, Calder Bridge, Cumbria
Bremenium Bremenivm High Rochester, Northumberland

Notable Omissions and Other Strangeness

The first twelve places are all forts on the Wall, listed from east to west, but with two notable omissions; Pons Aelivs (Newcastle upon Tyne), the original eastern terminus of the Wall, which should be listed between Segedunum and Condercum, and Concavata (Drumburgh, Cumbria), is missing from between Maia and Aballava (this is also the case on the Rudge Cup). Camboglanna is also not included among the Wall forts, but appears in the Stanegate list.

Following the forward-positioned fort at Fanum Cocidi, the list continues with the older forts along the Stanegate, where there are two more notable omissions; Corstopitvm (Corbridge, Tyne & Wear) and Luguvalium (Carlisle) Fort (Carlisle, Cumbria). In addition, Camboglanna is placed here among the forts on the Stanegate, whereas it should be included among the forts on the Wall itself.

After the controversial Gabaglanda entry, there follows the names of three forts which belong to the Western Sea Defences beyond Maia at the western terminus of the Wall itself. Next comes the inidentified Ivliocenon entry, another, otherwise unknown fort in the Western Sea Defences.

The list is completed by another forward-positioned fort, Bremenium on Dere Street, though Habitancum which lies on this same road between Bremenium and Onnum on the Wall, is anomalously omitted.

Names For the Antonine Forts

Ravenna Cosmography mentions the ten names of forts “joined together along a straight track where Britain is at its very thinnest from ocean to ocean. Can these refer to Antonine Forts?¬†Unfortunately we know of 19 forts on the Wall rather than 10.¬†

The Two Acre Theory –¬†Breeze, D. J argues that the Roman names could refer only to forts in excess of 2 acres in size (including eliminating forts beyond the Wall plus Falkirk and Inveravon, the dimensions of which are unknown). Applying this to the list we come to the 10 forts listed above.

References

  • RomanMap.com WebSite by Tom Ikins
  • A version of the Ravenna Cosmography world map from Lincolnshire WebA pictorial version of the Roman map.
  • Britannia in the Ravenna Cosmography from the cyberhome of Keith MatthewsA superb website with much more than the Ravenna text.