Ashes Under Uricon

Geographical note

Should the historical novelist use ancient place-names or modern? The choice is a tricky one. To most readers, York and Bath will mean more than Eboracum and Aquae Sulis. Few, on the other hand, even present-day Britons, have heard of Wroxeter or Leintwardine, and Viroconium and Bravonium impart a finer sense of period. For better or worse, therefore, I have mostly plumped for the ancient names, in latinised rather than in native spelling. But where there are obviously similar English forms, ancient place-names like Roma, Parisii, Londinium and Britannia seem over-pedantic. The same applies to personal names like Constantinus and Vertigernus.

One special case, however, calls for comment. To the Romans, Ireland was Hibernia, and its inhabitants were Scotti, Scots. It was not until well after our period that Irish settlers gave their name to what is now known as Scotland. The Irish crop up frequently in this story, and it seems to me that, even with this warning, to call them Scots would invite confusion. Irish they therefore are, living in Ireland.

The following list identifies such ancient names as are not blindingly obvious. Most are certainly genuine. A few are probably or possibly so. But where the ancient ones are not on record at all, I have fabricated them by working back from more recent names, and these are marked with asterisks. After the list are three maps, at different scales, which mark all the British and Irish places and peoples mentioned.

Abona River Avon (Bristol)
Abonae Sea Mills (Avonmouth)
Aquae Sulis Bath
Armorica Brittany, France
Attacotti Irish people settled in south-west Wales
Bithynia Roman province, north-west Asia Minor
Bononia Boulogne, France
Bravonium Leintwardine, Herefordshire
Brigantes British tribe/civitas centred on Yorkshire
Brigodunum* The Breiddin, Powys
Burdigala Bordeaux, France
Camulodunum Colchester, Essex
Canovium Caerhun, Conwy
Condate Northwich, Cheshire
Cordocum* Caer Caradoc, Shropshire
Corinium Dobunnorum Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Cornovii British tribe/civitas centred on Shropshire
Cravodunum* Great Orme, Conwy
Croucodunum* Llanymynech Hill, Powys
Croucomailum* Cruck Meole, Shropshire
Cunetio Cound, Shropshire
Deceangli British tribe centred on Flintshire
Demetae, Demetia British tribe/civitas of Dyfed, south-west Wales
Deva Chester, also River Dee
Deva Sea Liverpool Bay
Dobunni British tribe/civitas centred on Gloucestershire
Dubris Dover, Kent
Dumnonii British tribe/civitas of Devon and Cornwall
Durotriges British tribe/civitas centred on Dorset
Eboracum York
Fanum Maponi* Nettleton, Wiltshire
Ganganorum Promontory Braich y Pwll, Gwynedd
Gaul France, approximately
Glevum Gloucester
Hippo Bone, Algeria
Iceni British tribe/civitas centred on Norfolk
Inberdea Wicklow, Ireland
Isca Caerleon, Gwent
Isca Dumnoniorum Exeter, Devon
Isurium Brigantium Aldborough, Yorkshire
Laigin Leinster, Ireland; later Llŷn Peninsula, Gwynedd
Levobrinta Forden Gaer, Powys
Lindum Lincoln
Luguvallium Carlisle, Cumbria
Mailobrunnia The Malverns, Worcestershire
Mediolanum Milan; also Whitchurch, Shropshire
Mona Anglesey
Moridunum Carmarthen, Dyfed
Nemetobala Lydney, Gloucestershire
Noviomagus Chichester, Sussex
Oaxes fictional river
Oboca River Avonmore, Co. Wicklow
Octapitarum St David’s Head, Dyfed
Onna* Linley, Shropshire
Pagenses part of Cornovii in central Wales (hence Powys)
Pannonia Roman province centred on Hungary
Picts people of highland Scotland
Pons Aelius Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Ratae Leicester
Rutunium Harcourt Park, Shropshire
Rutupiae Richborough, Kent
Sabrina River Severn
Sabrina Sea Bristol Channel
Salicinum* Helygain, Halkyn, Flintshire
Salinae Middlewich, Cheshire
Saxons people of coastal Europe, N Holland to Denmark
Scythia Ukraine, roughly
Segontium Caernarfon, Gwynedd
Silina Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, then a single island
Silures British tribe/civitas in South Wales
Tamium Cardiff
Trena River Tern, Shropshire
Treveri Trier, Germany
Truscolenum* Mynydd Parys, Anglesey
Uí Failgi Irish tribe centred on Co. Kildare
Uí Garrchon Irish tribe centred on Co. Wicklow/Kildare
Varae St Asaph, Denbighshire
Vebriacum The Mendips, Somerset
Vectis Isle of Wight
Venedotia Gwynedd
Venta Belgarum Winchester, Hampshire
Venta Silurum Caerwent, Gwent
Vertis Worcester
Verulamium St Albans, Hertfordshire
Vindolocum* Wenlock Edge, Shropshire
Virocodunum* The Wrekin, Shropshire
Viroconium Cornoviorum Wroxeter, Shropshire
Vogius River Wye
The Wall Hadrian’s Wall, between R Tyne and R Solway
Map 1 Map 2 Map 3

Click a map to open full-size image