Manavi

Attested:  RC Manavi (or Manani)

Where:  RC lists 8 diversa loca ‘various places’ as an apparent afterthought from the Roman incursions into northern Scotland, with no simple track across the map.  At name six in this list, Manavi can be placed with reasonable certainty in the wetlands around the head of the Firth of Forth between Edinburgh and Stirling.

Name origin:  Watson (1926) spelled out how Manavi were the Manaw Gododdin of Welsh tales about events around AD 550.  The name seems to have survived in Clackmannan (north of the Forth), plus other names in Britain and Ireland such as Fermanagh, and appears to derive from the same source as: (1) the Menapii tribe around the mouth of the Rhine;  (2) the Μαναπιοι (Ptolemy 2,2,9) and Μαναπια (Ptolemy 2,2,8, at Wexford) in Ireland;  (3)  Monapia, the Isle of Man.  PIE *man- ‘man’ plus *ap- ‘water’ would make Manavi, Menapii, etc mean ‘wetland people’.

Notes:  Ptolemy and others often described widely scattered peoples using the same descriptions based on lifestyles and environments, not close political or genetic relationships.  This concept has not found favour with Celtic enthusiasts, who maybe perceive ‘wetland people’ as too much like an ethnic slur.  So theories about Menapians as a single migrating people have become popular.  See for example Mongan (1995), whose key map is reproduced online here.

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Last Edited: 8 June 2016