Lugunduno

AttestedLugunduno at position 140 in the Ravenna Cosmography

Where:  Maiden Castle, a promontory fort sticking into the river Wear at NZ283416, below the modern city of Durham.  This appears to be where the old Roman Road approached from the south.  (It was later replaced by Dere Street a little to the west.)  A Roman villas with bath house (but not a Roman fort) has been found on the other side of the river, in Old Durham; see Scott (1973).  The Cosmography lists this site between Dixio (possibly Cawthorn Camps) and Coganges (Chester-le-Street).

Name origin:  About Lugu- see here.  Continental places named Lugdunum (at modern Lyon, Laon, Katwijk, and Mont-Lau) have been much discussed.  Lacroix (2007:157-164) noted that many other places in France whose names may descend from a similar root tend to lie in prominently visible positions near tribal boundaries.  So the Germanic parallel lugen ‘to look’ seems preferable to the Celtic parallel *Lugus, claimed to be a divine name continuous with Irish Lugh, but a sense of ‘link’ cannot be ruled out.  About dunum see here.

Notes:  Most likely the name refers to the way that Maiden Castle would have looked out over a large expanse of mudflats where Old Durham Beck reaches the Wear.  Durham slightly resembles Lyon in its topography and its religious history.  Its early name forms, such as Dunholm, contain dun.

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Last edited 13 March 2020     To main Menu