Attested: Abone on iter 14 of the Antonine Itinerary; Abona at position 242 in the Ravenna Cosmography (The oft-cited Portus Abonae is a modern invention.)
Where: The Cosmography's Abona refers to the river estuary in general, as one of its tour of the significant harbours of Roman Britain, whereas the Itinerary's Abone refers to a specific location some way up the river Avon, probably where Roman road number 54 of Margary (1973) coming from Bath crosses the river Boyd at Bitton ST679696, and forks off as road number 540 towards the Mendips.
Name origin: Abona survives as the modern river name Avon, but its roots go back long before Roman times. See here for a detailed discussion of all the rivers called Avon.
Notes: This analysis rejects the traditionally suggested location at Sea Mills, part of Bristol, on the river Avon, by its confluence with the river Trym. Exactly what was there after the initial Roman conquest is uncertain: see Tratman and Higgins. Dogged adherence to that mistaken idea has stopped previous commentators from understanding that two lines have been accidentally transposed in the Itinerary. As written, it appears to run thus:
Venta Silurum (=Caerwent) then 14 Roman miles to Abone then 8 Roman miles to Traiectus
but it should say
Venta Silurum (=Caerwent) then 8 Roman miles to Traiectus then 14 Roman miles to Abone.
Presumably the problem arose because the Traiectus line was somehow annotated to show its status as a ferry crossing.
People in this area were called Dobunni in Roman times, then many Roman villas sprang up, then the people were called Hwicce in Anglo-Saxon times.
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Last edited: 15 April 2020 To main Menu