Senuna

AttestedSENVNA appears to be the full form of the name of a goddess assimilated with Roman Minerva on a series of votive plaques, and applied to a spring.  To be described in a forthcoming book.

Where:  Near Ashwell End TL2439, a source of the river Rhee, which flows into the Cam.  Also nearby is the intersection of the Icknield Way with the main Roman Ermine Street, and the Arbury Banks defended settlement.

Name originSen- in early names is commonly likened to *sen- ‘old’, with descendants in Latin and Celtic.  This makes sense for a goddess, potentially analogous to altars to the Veteres, but not for other geographical names.  Thus PIE *senə- ‘apart, separated’ seems most appropriate for Leugosena (probably at the Menai Strait) and for Raxtomessasenua (probably at the Solent), while in Ireland Ptolemy's Σηνου or Σινου river mouth is usually identified with the modern river Shannon, and  probably came from PIE *sai-/sei- ‘to bind’, the root of English sinuous and Irish sin ‘collar’.  The ending -na was common on deity-associated springs and rivers.

Notes: Yeates (2009) argued that the name Senuna evolved into the river Henney, a name that eventually lost out to Rhee and Cam.  He noted that a change from initial S to H (a well known linguistic process, notably in Greek as compared with Latin and PIE generally) was common in Welsh names (e.g. Sabrina becoming Hafren).

Standard terms of use: You may copy this text freely, provided you acknowledge its source, recognise that it is liable to human error, and try to offer suggestions for improvement.
Last Edited: 15 June 2017