Cunia

Attested:  RC Cunia

Where:  Christchurch harbour, located by its position at the end of RC’s list of harbour estuaries, preceded by Raxtomessasenua (in the Solent) and followed by Velox (Poole harbour).  Christchurch harbour is fed by three rivers (Avon, Stour, and Mude) and closed off by Hengistbury Head, famous as a prehistoric trading site.  It has a remarkably narrow harbour entrance, at SZ183915, though one cannot be sure of its width in Roman times.

Name origin:  The name Hengistbury is a modern invention, based on earlier forms that included Hynesbury, which may preserve the name Cunia subjected to the conversion of PIE K to Germanic H.  Explaining Cunia with Latin cuneus ‘wedge’ (possibly from the shape of the headland) or from Celtic ‘dog’ (possibly like the hunting dogs exported from Britain according to Strabo) does not seem very convincing.  Maybe therefore that harbour entrance was a cunette ‘water channel’, as at Cunetio.

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Last Edited: 26 June 2016