Bomium

Attested:  AI iter 12 Bomio

Where:  AI’s 27 Roman miles from Caerleon and 15 from the river Neath fit the large marching camp at Twyn-y-Briddallt, ST001983, perched on an escarpment over the Rhondda valley, where the Romans seem to have chosen an unusually strong defensive position.  For years people have hunted unsuccessfully for forts on a Roman road further south and closer to the sea, focussing particularly on Cowbridge as a candidate for Bomium, but the mileages are wrong for that and the forts remain elusive.

Name originBomium has no easy explanation in Latin or Celtic, but it matches Greek βωμιος, an adjective derived from βωμος ‘raised platform, stand for chariots, altar’, which would be an excellent topographical fit.

Notes:  This location raises a whole series of problems.  Twyn-y-Briddallt looks like a temporary camp in a sparsely populated area, not a proper fort.  To make the mileages perfect, the name Nidum must apply to the camp at Blaen-cwm-Bach not the fort at Neath.  Apparently a Greek word served as a technical term for the Roman army without appearing in mainstream Latin texts.  It looks as if AI here is based on an early phase of the conquest, when the Romans were still focussed on beating up hill people, not on developing a peaceful economy in the lowlands.

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Last Edited: 12 August 2016