Condate

Attested:  AI iter 2 Condate, iter 10 Condate;  RC Condate

Where:  Middlewich, Cheshire, Roman fort in Harbutt’s Field, at SJ70226695, beside the Roman road now called King Street, which crossed the river Dane near where it was joined by the river Croco and shortly before it was joined by the river Wheelock.  (Local water courses have been confused by a canal opened in 1777.)  This location is well fixed by the distance to Mediolano in iter 10, by the surviving place name Kinderton, and by the order in which RC names Salinis (Northwich), then Condate, then Ratecorion (Stoke-on-Trent).

Name originCondate is generally accepted to have meant ‘confluence’, and is the likely origin of about 58 place names in France (Lacroix, 2005:185-8).  Dauzat and Rostaing (1978:140-1) declared Condate “pre-Celtic”, for which one should probably read (as with Scottish islands) “not Celtic”.  The main Latin word for ‘confluence’ was confluens, present participle of confluo ‘to flow together’, which led to Koblenz, Conflans, etc, while the main Celtic word was something like *combhero-, which led to Cymer in Wales, Comair in Scotland, and Quimper in Brittany.  Condate looks Latin, but the past participle of Latin condo ‘to put together’ was conditus, whereas do ‘to give, to put’ had datus.  Presumably this resulted from a collision between PIE *da- ‘fluid, river’ and PIE *do- ‘to give’.  An additional complication is that ancient river harbours tended to lie near confluences so words related to cunette and canal entered the picture.

Notes:  R&C, advised by Williams and later copied by R&S, defied the opinions of antiquarians from at least 1800 that this Condate was at Middlewich and switched to a bad guess of Northwich.  Roman soldiers' general respect for confluences is shown by altars dedicated to Mars Condatis found at Piercebridge, Chester-le-Street, and Bowes, plus possibly at Cramond.

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Last Edited: 21 December 2016