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.
Last Edited: 13 April 2018