AttestedPexa at position 193 in the Ravenna Cosmography

Where:  Somewhere on the Antonine Wall, towards the east, most likely at Camelon Roman fort, NS86308097, near Falkirk, at the limit of easy navigation up the river Carron from the Forth estuary.  That area has multiple Roman camps and forts, suggesting a water-side logistics base.

Name Origin:  In Latin, pexa was short for tunica pexa, a garment of fine woollen cloth whose nap had been raised and then sheared off, derived from the past participle of pecto ‘to comb’ and/or πεκω ‘to comb, to shear’.  The word was loaned into Welsh as pais, but links with parka, fustian, and Gaelic pasg seem less likely.

Notes:  Maybe Pexa was engaged in the production and export of woollen fabrics, since Camelon probably occupied the same niche as later Stirling, whose main mediaeval industry was weaving wool and which was a small inland port serving the lowland belt of Scotland.  Place names based on traded commodities are two-a-penny later (Woolwich, Saltcoats, Rotherham, etc) and manufactured products even figured in early Delgovicia and Longovicium, but still a simplex name Pexa looks a bit unusual.  A name miscopied from dextra ‘on the right’ seems less likely.  Picts are first attested only long after the Antonine Wall was in operation, but it is not impossible that they too were named after woollen cloth.  The name Camelon may descend from *camulus ‘low hill’ discussed under Camulodunum and very appropriate for the local topography, but probably has nothing to do with “King” Arthur's Camlann or Camelot.

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Last edited 13 April 2020     To main Menu