Bannavem Taburniae

AttestedBanavem Taberniae  in St. Patrick's ConfessioBannavem and Taburniae in some mss.

Where:  Possibly near the Roman fort of Old Kilpatrick near Dumbarton at the western end of the Antonine Wall, or else in south Wales.

Name origin:  The surviving text of Patricius about his origins “Patrem habui Calpornum diaconum filium quendam Potiti presbyteri qui fuit vico Banavem Taberniae” has been much discussed, notably by MacNeill (1924) and Wheeler (1935), with a view to emendation.  See here about Bann-, including a possible meaning of ‘artisan’.  Vicus was an administrative term that meant a Romanised local area, not an extramural settlement, which is a modern usage.  Taberna meant ‘hut, workshop’.

NotesWatson (1926: 246) explained that “Fiacc's hymn to Patrick, composed about 800, begins with the statement ‘Patrick was born at Nemthur’ and a gloss adds that this is a city in north Britain ... ‘Ail Cluade’ that is Dumbarton; another spelling is Nemptor.”  Watson  argued that that  led to names Neved or Nemhedh,  then*Nemetoduron, then Ros-neimidh, now Rosneath.  Koch (2003) accepted Bannaventa as the name form and discussed evidence that Patrick was born in the AD 300s and possibly became a rich Roman-Christian official in Trier before he evangelised Ireland.  Since it is hard to imagine Strathclyde being strongly Roman-Christian two centuries after the Roman army withdrew from the Antonine Wall, maybe  MacNeill's suggested birthplace in south Wales around Bannium (?), Venta Silurum (Caerwent), and Burrium (Usk) should be taken seriously.

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Last Edited: 19 July 2016