Belisama

Attested:  Ptolemy 2,3,2 Βελισαμα estuary.

Where:  The river Ribble in Lancashire, which now reaches the sea at about SD3826.

Name Origin:  Apparently a superlative, similar to Latin bellissima ‘very beautiful’.  PIE *bhel- has six possible meanings and *bel- has two, so there are multiple opinions on the meaning of this name, with no obviously decisive argument for any one.  Delamarre (2003) favoured ‘most powerful’.

Notes:  In Roman times the Ribble estuary probably extended far inland, up to modern Preston.  In France, Belisama is taken to be the name of a goddess, discussed fully by Lacroix (2007:164-8), but still with no real explanation for where and why it applied.

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Last Edited: 21 December 2016