Ρεριγονιον

Attested:  Ptolemy 2,3,7 Ρεριγονιον, a πολις of the Νοουανται,   and Ptolemy 2,3,1 Ρεριγονιος κολπος.

Where:  Anywhere in the general area of Stranraer would be within range of error of Ptolemy's coordinates examined by Marx (2013).  Possible locations were discussed by McCarthy (2004) who favoured Innermessan for the πολις, and Loch Ryan for the κολπος.  Dunragit, around NX150582, on the likely Roman road heading west towards Stranraer and/or Portpatrick, is a stronger candidate for the πολις because it has various henge monuments and a Neolithic mound at Droughdool Mote, shadowed by a Roman camp 5km east at Glenluce, probably Brigomono on the other side of the Water of Luce, which competes with Piltanton Burn to be Ptolemy's Αβραουαννου.  If that location is correct, the κολπος is more likely to be Luce Bay (to the south) than Loch Ryan.

Name Origin:  Greek ρεω ‘to flow’, probably from PIE *sreu ‘to stream, to flow’, plus Latin rigeo ‘to stand stiff’, from PIE *reig- ‘to reach, stretch out’, provides a logical meaning of ‘sticking out into the flow’, to fit the double headlands of the Rhins of Galloway.  Neither Latin nor Greek on its own can build that meaning (though nor can Celtic or any other known language) and there appear to be confusions with other roots with extra F or S, hence, for example, frigid and stream.

Notes:  This analysis rejects a previous idea that initial Re- had a sense of duplication, as in Latin re- ‘again’, or of ‘very’, as in Gaelic ro-.  Also rejected is a link to rig ‘royal’.  Or a tight link with the kingdom of Rheged, whose core is placed by Breeze further south, with a name derived from Latin receptus ‘retreat, refuge’.  Ρεριγονιον might have led to the name of Loch Ryan and maybe to Penrionyd mentioned in a Welsh Triad.

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Last edited 12 August 2019     To main Menu