Attested:  Ptolemy 2,3,18 Βραννογενιον, a πολις of the Ορδουικες;    Branogenium at position 58 in the Ravenna Cosmography

Where:  Probably Cefn Carnedd hill fort at SO016900, more likely than Pen y Gaer hill fort, on the edge of an area of rich agricultural land around the headwaters of the river Severn, with Caersws Roman forts down below at SO029920 near the main river confluence.

Name origin:  From PIE *bhren- ‘to bulge, to stick out’ plus PIE *genə- ‘to give birth’, referring to the way the hill-fort overlooks the beginning of the river Severn where it is joined by the rivers Carno, Trannon and Cerist.

Notes:  Rivet & Smith placed Branogenium at Leintwardine, which is clearly wrong, because Ptolemy's coordinates point further north.  Kleineberg et al. (2102) suggested the Roman fort at Caer Gai but Caersws seems more likely.  Anyway Ptolemy's πολις implies a native power centre, probably with a major hillfort, to which any Roman fort would have been a response.  The last battle of Caratacus probably took place some way east, as discussed here.  The modern name Caersws (not attested before the 1400s) is usually guessed unsatisfactorily as ending with a personal name *Swys, but would make much better sense being essentially the same as English ‘source’, which probably came via French from Latin surgo ‘to rise’.

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Last edited 6 April 2020     To main Menu