AttestedAxium at position 237 among the harbour estuaries in the Ravenna Cosmography

Where:  The river Axe leading to the Woodbury Farm fort near Axminster.  Not the River Exe, leading to the legionary fort at Exeter.

Name Origin:  Probably related to Latin axis ‘axle’, whose fundamental meaning was a shaft with a wheel at each end, referring to the two hill-forts that bracket the river mouth: Seaton Down Camp (near the site of a huge coin hoard find) and Hawkesdown Camp.  This rejects the derivation from Isca by SK/KS metathesis suggested by Ekwall (1928: 151-7).

Notes:  See here for a fuller discussion of the candidate explanations.  In Roman times the Axe was probably engaged in trade with Brittany and was less choked with silt.

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Last edited: 16 January 2020       To main Menu