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).  Antiquarians from at least 1800 placed Condate at Middlewich, but R&C, advised by Williams and later copied by R&S, mistakenly switched to a bad guess of Northwich.

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 there was a collision between PIE *da- ‘fluid, river’, *dhe- ‘to do, to put’, and *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:  Altars dedicated to Mars Condatis found at Piercebridge, Bowes, and Chester-le-Street, plus possibly at Cramond, illustrate how a natural feature qualifying the name of a deity could act more like an adjective than a free-standing alternative name, as argued particularly for Camulus.

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Last edited: 16 August 2018