Cicutio

AttestedCicutio at position 56 in the Ravenna Cosmography

Where:  In an area with many Roman bases it is impossible to sure, but a plausible guess is among the cluster of Roman forts near the upper limit of navigation on the river Wye, notably at Clifford and Clyro.  The three names that appear before Cicutio in the Cosmography's list have no really certain location, while it is possible that the following name, Magnis, applied to a place other than Kenchester.

Name originCicutio resembles Latin cicuta ‘water hemlock, dropwort’, Britain's most poisonous plant, which was well known as a poison in the ancient world, perhaps best from the death of Socrates.  The deep origin of the word is unknown, but it has cognates in English kex, Russian цикута, and Welsh cegid, which shows up in later place names across Wales, often spelled cegyr.  The plant still grows beside many Welsh rivers, so a location beside the Wye is plausible.  On the other hand, educated Romans would have known Greek κικυω ‘to be powerful’ (an alternative to ισχυω, one possible root of Isca), making Cicutio perhaps like Magnis in referring to the projection of Roman power.

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Last edited 19 April 2019     To main Menu