Anicetis

Attested:  RC Anicetis

Where:  Possibly Wells, Somerset, where a late-Roman mausoleum existed next to the later cathedral, at about ST552459.  See the general discussion of ancient names in Somerset here.

Name Origin:  From Greek ανικητος‘undefeated’ (=invictus).  Anicetus became a common personal name, which was borne around AD 60 by two individuals mentioned by Tacitus, one a freedman one an admiral.  It shows up on many inscriptions from across the Empire, including four from Britain, of which one at Bath, mentioned Q Pompeius Anicetus, whose similarity to Abascantus ‘secure against enchantments’ on a Roman lead ingot prompted Applebaum (1954) to guess he was a mining contractor active in the Mendips.  Another Anicetus was bishop of Rome in the AD 160s.  Drawing all these strands together suggests a Roman Christian villa owner was the ultimate founder of Wells cathedral.

Notes:  This idea is far from certain, but it outranks previous guesses such as Cadbury Castle or Annis Hill.

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Last edited: 25 May 2018