Levioxava

Attested:  RC Levioxava

Where:  Fitting RC's sequence of names to known Roman sites is like a game of musical chairs, and Levioxava is the name that ends up without a seat when the music stops, but it was probably somewhere on or near the river Earn.  The Roman camp near Forteviot would be a strong candidate if Marcotaxon had not already claimed it.  Unless some other name has been badly misplaced, Levioxava must look for a hitherto unrecognised Roman site.  Bridge of Earn is one possible candidate, where a canoeist reports ďa weir about 150m below the road bridge ... which washes out at high tideĒ.  And Selkirk (1995) “would like to bet ... that Inchaffray Abbey hides a Roman site”.  On balance, the least bad guess may be at or about NO107194, by a curious figure-8 structure in the river Earn, around Kirkton Pouch and an oxbow lake.

Name origin:  It is tempting to segment the name Levio-xava with the second part a variant of *sava, well known as an ancient river name, as discussed under Sabrina.  The Earn flows into the river Tay in much the same configuration as the river Sava flows through former Yugoslavia into the Danube.  However, if the name is segmented Levi-oxava (with Levi- meaning ‘bank’ or ‘weir’ as discussed for Leviodanum) a meaning is required for oxava.  The Oxus was a great river of ancient Asia.  Ekwall (1928:308) suggested that the river names Okement, Ogmore, Ogwr, and Ogwen had a first element related to Greek ωκυς ‘swift’ or Latin ocior ‘swifter’.  Both the Ock in Surrey and the Ock in Oxfordshire (whose alternative name may be Charn, from Cearn) run fast upstream where they drain hills, but lower down they tend to spread out and cause floods, much as the river Earn does; see here for one map of its potential flooding.  Celtic scholars have been slow to recognise the significance of PIE *oku- ‘swift’ because its descendants are a bit hidden, such as Welsh diog ‘lazy’, eog ‘salmon’, and ebol ‘foal’ (from equus ‘horse’).

Notes:  If there is any merit in the ideas discussed above, some kind of Roman weir or causeway remains to be discovered, buried under the river Earnís flood plain near Kirkton, which would have served to deepen the river upstream so that boats could carry supplies to the fort at Strageath.  This is about the modern limit of potential flooding from an exceptionally high tide.

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Last edited: 26 July 2018