Alabum

AttestedAlabum at position 55 in the Ravenna Cosmography

Where:  Probably Brecon Gaer Roman fort, where the river Ysgir enters the Usk.

Name origin:  Initial *al- is common in early river names, notably Alauna, with no certain translation.  One possibility is ‘nourishing’, but ‘fish’ may be better because of words like eel, possibly related to PIE *albho- ‘white’. If the second element was just like PIE *ap- ‘water’, that would make Alabum ‘fish water’.

Notes:  Occupants of riverside houses there can watch salmon and trout swimming towards their premier spawning grounds in southern Britain.  Various Welsh possibilities were floated by Richmond & Crawford and by Breeze (2002), and Rivet & Smith offered a weak guess of Llandovery for its location.

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Last edited 15 April 2020     To main Menu