Ariconium

Attested:   AI iter 13 Ariconio

WhereAriconium was the iron-working area of Weston-under-Penyard, Herefordshire, around SO645240, located by AI's mileage figures on Roman road Margary 612a heading west out of Gloucester, plus surviving place names Archenfield and Yrging.

Name originAriconium starts like Latin aes, aeris ‘base metal’, related to the English word ore.  Two major uses of early iron may be semantically related: ploughing (aro ‘to plough’) and warfare (armo ‘to arm’ and Ares the god of war). The ending ‑conium (which also occurs in Viroconium, Wroxeter) 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.  This interpretation would fit something more in the nature of a guild of artisans than an ordinary agriculture-based village, and outranks Latin conium ‘water hemlock’ or κονια ‘dust, lime’.

Notes:  Maybe the businessman Aruconius, attested in l aruconi verecundi metal lutu stamped on a lead ingot, also ventured into iron-making.  His other name Verecundus is a bit like the other –conium place name, ViroconiumArgistillum was probably a different place even though it has a potential translation as ‘shiny drops’.

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Last Edited: 1 March 2017