AttestedAventio at position 245 in the Ravenna Cosmography

Where:  Probably the Ogmore estuary in south Wales, whose mouth to the sea probably used to be around SS8877.

Name origin:  Many river names across Europe seem to have originated with a form similar to*Avantia, as discussed repeatedly, notably by Krahe (1963), by Rivet & Smith, and by Delamarre (2003:60-61).  None of these authors seem to have remarked that most rivers with names descended from *Avantia are tributaries of better-known rivers.  This is important because *Avantia can be analysed as a compound of PIE *ap- ‘water’ plus *antia, from a word similar to Greek αντιος, from PIE *h2enti- ‘opposite’.  The name Aventio appears to survive in the modern river name Ewenny/Ewenni, which now joins the Ogmore some way inland, but in Roman times there may have been a much bigger estuary (without the Merthyr-mawr sand dunes) so that the Ewenny and the Ogmore shared a river mouth, for which a literal meaning of ‘opposite water’ would be appropriate.

Notes:  The logic of the Cosmography's tour of harbour estuaries demands some sort of strategically important site up the Aventio estuary, but no Roman forts have been identified in this general area, despite much hunting along the probable line of the main Roman road through south Glamorgan.  Maybe a Roman site lies hidden under the ruins of Ogmore Castle or under the sands near Candleston Castle.  On the next river along the coast lies Kenfig, famous for being like a Welsh Pompeii, because it was swallowed up by sand in mediaeval times, where the medieval castle is shaped suspiciously like a Roman fort and adjacent to a harbour.

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Last edited 6 April 2020     To main Menu