Attested: (1) AI iter 5 Dano, iter 8 Dano; (2) ND Dano, where the Praefectus equitum Crispianorum was based.
Where: AI's mileages indicate that Dano (1) was Doncaster Roman fort at SE57430347 by the river Don. Locating Dano (2) also at Doncaster implies a gap in ND's list of names: first a cluster of names around York and then a separate series of names further north near Hadrian's Wall.
Name origin: The river name Don is usually said to come from ancient *danu-, from PIE roots meaning ‘to flow’, either *da- or *dhen-. Across Europe that led to river names including Danube, Dnieper, at least four Dons in Britain and one in Russia, and two Doons in Scotland. Initial D (or Dh) was retained in Sanskrit and Avestan, but shifted to F in Latin (hence words such as fountain). Germanic descendants developed a sense of ‘low ground’, hence for example OE denu or dænu ‘valley’, and possibly Denmark. Welsh dan ‘under, below’ might be related. It is also just conceivable that *danus meant ‘double river’. And see here about *danos ‘local official’ as a possible explanation of Dannoni.
Notes: See here for a general discussion of the difficulties in assigning ND names to places. For Dano (2), R&S drew attention to Jarrow on another river Don, where a Roman fort has been suspected but not found, but that seems too far north. An earlier version of this text suggested the Roman fort at Lease Rigg or the port of Whitby, but they are both on a river named Esk, which generally came from an ancient Isca. Early traders from across the North Sea were called Danes, but apparently only a century after ND, though Ptolemy 2,11,22 did mention a tribe in Germany called Δανδουτοι. Thanks to Thomas Rafn for advice on Denmark.
Last Edited: 24 October 2017