Leviodanum

AttestedLeviodanum at position 220 in the Ravenna Cosmography

Where:  The Bertha Roman fort at NO097268, where the river Almond flows into the Tay north of Perth.  It was named Bertha relatively recently and lies across the Tay from Scone, the traditional site of coronation of Scottish kings, which was probably ancient Ταμεια ‘Tay crossing’.

Name origin:  Initial Lev- meant ‘lips’, with a sense of ‘slot’, as discussed at length here and here, referring to the river Tay, flowing on into Levioaxava (Perth, ‘the lips of the Tay’).  The ending –danum resembles *danu, which contributed to the names of rivers across the ancient world that were somehow double, including two instances of Dano in Britain, and various rivers now called Don, including one not far away at Aberdeen.

Notes:  Accepting the ‘lips’ etymology for Lev- means rejecting a host of other ideas discussed before, including a parallel with the word levee ‘embankment’.  Crawford (1949:60-61) recognised Derder's Ford between Bertha and Scone as the remains of a former weir just downstream from a bridge that was probably originally Roman.  (Although the Tay is Britain’s biggest river in terms of flow rate, during a hot, dry spell its depth of water at Perth can drop to an easily fordable trickle.)  The diagram below, copied from Selkirk (1995 p259), shows the fort F, bridge B, and weir W in close proximity near the tidal limit of the Tay.  Unfortunately, Raymond Selkirk is a hate figure for many archaeologists, who choose to ignore his clear explanation (pages 241-248) of the river engineering involved.  So there has been no mature discussion of whether there were originally two separate weirs, or just “one curved weir that served to deepen both rivers”.  Is it pure coincidence that Derder's Ford looks like Duro- ‘crossing’ twice over?
[Bertha confluence here]
You may copy this text freely, provided you acknowledge its source as www.romaneranames.uk, recognise that it is liable to human error, and try to offer suggestions for improvement.
Last edited 25 June 2021     To main Menu