Raxtomessasenua

Attested:  RC Raxtomessasenua, clearly written as a single word in all three manuscripts.  Its penultimate letter might be N not U.

Where:  In or near the Solent, deduced from its position in RC's tour of harbour estuaries between Novia and Cunia.

Name origin:  This name looks like a pile-up of three elements.  The first part fits PIE *reig- ‘to stretch’, which led to Scots rax, equivalent to rack, meaning ‘to stretch out’.  It also led to the sailing term reach, meaning to hold a straight course for a while, which shows up in Regulbio (Reculver), the turning point at the north end of the Wantsum Channel.  Raxto-is also close to OE ręhte ‘it reaches’ from ręcan ‘to reach’.  The next part is like Latin messa ‘cut off’, derived from PIE *me- ‘to mow’.  The third part, –senua or –senna, may just come from PIE *senə- ‘apart, separated’.  There are several alternative ways of segmenting Raxtomessasenua, notably deriving the middle part from words ancestral to meso- or mesh, but they all end up plausibly fitting the Solent.

Notes:  An experienced Roman sailor seeing the Solent would have thought of the Strait of Messina, a name derived from Μεσσηνια a relatively fertile part of Greece, possibly within miscopying range of messasenua.

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Last Edited: 13 April 2018