Attested:   Ariconio on iter 13 of the Antonine Itinerary, presumably a locative of *Ariconium.

Where:  At the embarcation point for ferry crossing of the river Severn on iter 13, most likely up Brim's Pill between Blakeney and Awre.

Name originAriconium's initial ar- could have up to 8 possible explanations, but the most relevant may be ‘bend’, because of PIE *arku- ‘bow and arrow’.  It may survive in the names Arlingham and Awre, where the river Severn executes a horseshoe bend.  The ending ‑conium probably meant ‘coming together’, based on the general sense of con- in Latin words, plus the well-attested Latin verb coeo ‘to come together’, whose presumptive derivation from *coneo was remarked on in AD 95 by the Latin rhetorician Quintillian.  Here, as at Viroconium (Wroxeter), this seems to mean a river port.

Notes:  From 1805 Ariconium was suggested to be the iron-working area of Weston-under-Penyard, Herefordshire, around SO645240, because of its distance from Monmouth, even though there appears to be no evidence for a Roman fort there.  The names Archenfield and Yrging have been cited in support of that idea, plus the businessman Aruconius, attested in l aruconi verecundi metal lutu, whose whose was stamped on a lead ingot, and might have ventured into iron-making.  Argistillum is unlikely to be related.  Delamarre offers a theory that Aricones were front-line soldiers.  Endlicher's Glossary translated are with Latin ante ‘in front’, which might have evolved from the sense of ‘noble’ that has been much discussed with regard to the word Aryan.  Celtic scholars cherish the idea that con-/cuno-/etc may have meant ‘wolf/dog/warrior’.

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Last edited 22 October 2021       To main Menu