Segedunum & Segelocum

Attested:  (1) Segeduno in ND;   (2) Segeloci in AI5, Ageloco in AI8, plus S on one milestone

Where:  (1) Segedunum is generally accepted as the Roman fort at Wallsend on Tyne at NZ30026602, so that Serduno in RC is a corrupted form of the name.   However, there is also a strong case for taking the name Segedunum away from there and applying it to the fort and supply base at South Shields, which would liberate the name Arbeia to move elsewhere.
(2) Segelocum is securely located at Littleborough beside the Trent at SK82218292, on the route from Lincoln to York.

Name origin:  Majority thinking was summed up by R&S thus: “a base in Indo-European *segh-, with many derivatives including British *sego- perhaps ‘power, force’ .... too widespread to be reckoned as Celtic and Germanic only”.  Delamarre (2003) showed no hesitation in defining Gaulish sego- as ‘victory, force’.  That interpretation (which is strongly influenced by German Sieg ‘victory’) is a poor fit to these two British locations, which were both ferry-crossing points of major rivers in relatively peaceful territory.  It is tempting to think of alternatives based on vegetation (sedge, or Latin seges ‘cornfield’) or on various words derived from PIE *sek- ‘to cut’.  Perhaps the best explanation for these two names may be PIE *seg- ‘to attach, to tack on’.

Notes:  The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for AD 755 mentions Seccandune, which was rendered as Segeswalde in a later Latin translation and is probably modern Six Hills in Leicestershire, just 4 km from Roman-era Vernemetum.  This prompted Trubshaw to question how an element seg- came to be associated with ancient tribal moot sites.  Modern Sixhills in Lincolnshire occupies a similar relation to Lissingleys another possible moot site.  Σεγοδουνον of Ptolemy 2,7,21, in Roman Aquitania, modern Rodez, was a tribal oppidum with no obvious topographical explanation for the name, but it was located at the meeting point of diverse ancient tribes.

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Last edited 4 October 2018     To main Menu