Noviomagus

Attested:  (1) Ptolemy 2,3,28 Νοιομαγος, a πολις of the Ρηγνοι.
    (2) Ptolemy 1,15,7 Νοιομαγον.
    (3) Noviomagno at position 39 in the Ravenna Cosmography.
    (4) probably not Navimago regentium at 44 in the Cosmography.
    (5) Noviomago on iter 2 of the Antonine Itinerary.

Where:  (1) Chichester Roman civitas capital at SU854044.
(2)   Ptolemy commented about the work of Marinus of Tyre, that ‘having said that Noviomagus is 59 miles further south than Londinium, he then shows it further north in latitude’.  Although this exemplifies the uncertainty about Ptolemy's map coordinates, it has been generally accepted that both 1 and 2 refer to Chichester.
(3)   This name is highly unlikely to belong to Chichester.  Old Sarum hillfort at SU 13773267 (often misdescribed as *Sorviodunum) is more likely.
(4)   The assumption that this name too also belongs to Chichester is highly questionable, as is the habit of inventing a name Noviomagus Regentium.
(5)   This site is neither Chichester, nor Crayford as often mistakenly suggested, but the West Wickham Roman settlement (Cook and McCarthy 1933; Philp 2002), south of London by the source of the river Ravensbourne, at about TQ379649, located by the Itinerary's mileage figures.

Name OriginNoviomagus was a common name throughout the Roman Empire.  France alone has 3 definite and 12 probable instances.  The Novio- part naturally means ‘new’, but is confusable with *navis ‘river.  The -magus part may have meant something like ‘power place, administrative centre’, from PIE *magh- ‘to have power’, but see under Magis about an alternative interpretation as a piece of flat ground, like a platter.  The N in (3) may be a trivial scribal error.

Notes:  Notice also Novia somewhere nearby, most likely at Pevensey.  Peutinger's name fragment madus was probably not one of these places.  See Caesaromagus for more discussion of -magus.

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