Seguntio

Attested:  AI iter 11 Seguntio;   RC Seguntio

WhereCaernarfon Roman fort at SH485624.

Name origin:  Possibly in emulation of Seguntia in Spain.  The earliest of three Seguntia places, on the Mediterranean coast where the indigenous Iberian language was not Indo-European, was founded as a Greek trading post Σαγουντος, possibly with Middle-Eastern roots in legendary Ζακυνθος, of unknown linguistic origin, but possibly related to PIE *sag- ‘to seek’.  It was known to the Romans as Saguntum during their war against Carthage.  When Latin prevailed, the name was re-interpreted as ‘second’, and is now Sagunto.  Another Seguntia lay in the Celtiberian zone (so an explanation based on a Celtic *sego- from PIE *segh- ‘to hold’ is widely quoted) and is now modern Siguenza.  Other possibilities include a basis in PIE *gwhen- ‘to strike’, which led to many early Germanic personal names (such as modern Gunther) and even to modern gun.  And not far away in Anglesey is the river Ceint (formerly Gynt), likely to have been navigable in Roman times and in maritime contact with Caernarfon.  Possibly the best explanation is PIE *seg- ‘to attach, tack on’, with the clearest descendants in Baltic languages, such as Lithuanian segu ‘to buckle’.

Notes:  Respelling this name Segontium, with an O in the middle, (and even misquoting the evidence) to fit the
Segontiaci tribe mentioned by Caesar and to match the relatively recent spelling Seiont for the river Saint there, is not justified.  The only recorded garrison troops at Seguntio were Sunici, who were Germanic from around the lower Rhine.

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Last edited: 13 November 2018     Back to Menu