Nidum

Attested:  AI iter 12 Nido

WhereNidum is generally assumed to be the Roman fort at SS74749773, inside the modern town of Neath, and some way up the river Neath from the coast.  However, to fit AI’s mileages a better guess might be the marching camp at Blaen-cwm-Bach at SS79709878 more into the hills.

Name origin:  Neath probably just meant ‘low-down’, because the river and its parallel in Yorkshire, the Nidd, both pass through noticeably deep, long valleys in their upper reaches.  This simple explanation has not caught on because there are excellent parallels (such as the English words nether and beneath) in many language families but not really in Celtic.  The deeper root is PIE *ni- ‘down’ itself built upon *en- ‘in’.   There seem to be no viable alternatives, for example from the ‘shining’ idea of Ekwall (1928).  Latin nidus and Welsh nyth ‘nest’ (plus conceivably Greek νηδυς ‘womb, belly’) derive from *nisdos ‘sit-down place’.

Notes: At least eleven more rivers across Europe were originally named *Nida, *Neida, or *Neda (Krahe 1963).

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Last Edited: 27 April 2016