Venedotia

Attested:  CANTIORI HIC IACIT VENEDOTIS CIVE FVIT CONSOBRINO MA#LI MAGISTRATI inscribed on stone, probably from the AD 400s.

WhereVenedotia is the usually guessed Latin original of the name of the kingdom of Gwynedd in north-west Wales and Anglesey, but the stone was found in a church at Penmachno “a village in the isolated upland Machno valley” in Snowdonia.

Name Origin:  An element *ven- often suggests a meaning of ‘family, kindred’, from PIE *wen- ‘to love’, but the prevalence of W-vowel-(N)-(D) names across the Roman Empire, discussed here points instead to a meaning of ‘valley floor, floodplain’.

Notes:  This epitaph raises many intriguing questions about: the persistence of Roman ways and Latin after the departure of the legions; whether Venedotia meant all of north-west Wales or just the Machno valley; how was this *Maglus related to Gildas's Maglocunus; and what was the Cant that gave a name to Cantiorix?  Little about this stone, apart from its location, is Welsh, because Venidius/Venedius/Vinidius/Vinedius is copiously attested as a Roman (probably Umbrian) family name, another stone nearby mentions Carausius, who was Belgic, the only recorded Roman troops at the nearest Roman fort Seguntium were Germanic, and the addition of L to a basic PIE root *meg- ‘great’ towards μεγαλειος ‘magnificent’, appropriate to a prince, has its best parallels in Greek and Germanic.

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Last edited 4 November 2021     to main Menu