Portvs Dubris

Fort, Pharos, Town and Villa

Portus Dubris – The Port on the river Dubras

The town appears as one of the termini of the third route in the British section of the Antonine Itinerary of the late-second century. Iter III is entitled “the route from Londinium to Portus Dubris – sixty-six thousand paces”, and places Portum Dubris 13 miles away from Durovernum (Canterbury, Kent).

Dover is next mentioned in the Notitia Dignitatum of the late-fourth century. Under the heading “at the disposal of the respectable man, the Count of the Saxon shore in Britain”, the entry Dubris is listed between the entries for Othona (Bradwell, Essex) and Portus Lemanis (Lympne, Kent).

The final mention of the Roman port occurs in the Ravenna Cosmology (R&C#71) of the seventh century, which lists the name Dubris between the entries for Portus Lemanis (Lympne, Kent) and Durovernum Cantiacorum (Canterbury, Kent).

Dover Kent. Dubris 4th cent., Dofras c.700, Dovere 1086 ( DB ). Named from the stream here, now called the Dour, a river-name (Welsh/Gaelic) *dubras meaning simply ‘the waters’.” (Mills)

Epigraphic Evidence from Portus Dubris

There are only three inscriptions on stone recorded in the R.I.B. for Dover, all of them added since the work was first published. There is an excellent inscription dedicated to the Matres by a government official from the provincial capital (vide infra), and another text which reads EVSEB III IV IV or “Euseb[ius?] three four four” (RIB 65c; Britannia xiv (1983), p.336, no.1). The final text is severely damaged, reading … … …VSI… …ST… (RIB 65d; Britannia ix (1978), p.474, no.3), which defies translation.

Classical References to Dubris

The Dover Entry in the Notitia Dignitatum

Praepositus militum Tungrecanorum, Dubris

“The commander of the Soldiers of the Tungrecani at Dubris.”

(Notitia Dignitatum xxviii.14; 4th/5th C.)

References for Portvs Dubris

  • Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names by A.D. Mills (Oxford 1998);
  • The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965); 

Map References for Portvs Dubris

NGRef: TR326418 OSMap: LR179

Roman Roads near Portvs Dubris

NW (14) to Dvrovernvm Possible Coastal Road: E (5) to Folkestone (Kent) N (12) to Rvtvpiae (Richborough, Kent) Trackway: WSW (13) to Portvs Lemanis (Lympne, Kent) N (9) to Worth