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a

Gazetteer

  ©RRRA, 2018

Home Gazetteer of Roads Margary's Numbering Itineraries & Sources Glossary/Biography RRRA Website
The Crossing from Gaul to Britain Iter I Iter II Iter III & Iter IV Iter V Iter VI Iter VII Iter VIII Iter IX Iter X Iter XI Iter XII Iter XIII Iter XIV Iter XV The Maritime Itinerary

The Antonine Itinerary - Iter 1

From Bremenio (High Rochester, Northumberland)

To Praetorio (Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire)

The Antonine Itinerary De situ Britanniae - an 18th Century Hoax The Peutinger Table The Ravenna Cosmography Ptolemy's Geography The Notitia Dignitatum

The total distance given is the same as the sum of the stages, though there are errors, particularly the five mile under-measurement of Corbridge from High Rochester. A simple explanation is that a “v” ie five was lost at some point when the manuscript was copied.

The route follows Dere Street (RR8), running down the eastern side of the Pennines and then across the Vale of York to York. From York however, the itinerary has caused much debate over the years, arising largely from the assumption that the name Derventio must be attributed to the important fort at Malton, on the R. Derwent. The Notitia Dignitatum records a place called Derventio as being garrisoned by the Supervenientes of Petuaria (Brough on Humber) (Rivet & Smith 1979, p220 & p.155), and the proximity of Petuaria to Malton has led to the assumption the Derventio must be Malton. However the Notitia’s Derventio forms part of a list of garrisons in Cumbria, the Pennines, and County Durham, and another Derventio on a different R. Derwent at Papcastle, near Cockermouth, Cumbria is a much better fit (Wilson 2017 p.28). This obsession with Malton being Derventio has had to deal with the fact that in the itinerary the distance from York is a mere seven m.p., whereas the known route to Malton via Stamford bridge is 20.9 m.p.. This also led to the search for a direct road between York and Malton, which would be about 17.3 m.p. by the most probable route, although the archaeological evidence for such a road is limited (see RR800 in the gazetteer). Margary’s solution (Margary 1973, pp. 525-6) utilised this route, and assumed that a single “x” had been lost in copying from an original distance of “xvii”. The arguments over the locations of Derventio, Delgovicia and Praetorio have raged over centuries, and could easily fill a book. The issue was dealt with very succinctly by John Creighton (Creighton 1988, pp. 401-2) who argued that Derventio is not Malton, but the substantial Roman settlement just south west of Stamford Bridge, also on the R. Derwent and just over 7 Roman miles from York. As Creighton realised, if Derventio is Stamford Bridge, then there is a major case for Malton actually being Delgovicia, being the required 13 m.p. from the settlement at Stamford Bridge (Creighton 1988). This explanation has now been generally, but not universally, accepted.

The main issue remaining is with Praetorio. Due to the similarity of the names, writers have in the past tried to equate Praetorio with Petuaria (Brough on Humber), Civitas capital of the Parisi, although again the distances do not work, Brough being 26 Roman miles from Stamford Bridge, and 33 from Malton - not the 39 of the Itinerary. As Rivet pointed out, Petuaria would have to be corrupted in both the title and text of the manuscript and in any case, Praetorio is not actually a proper name, rather it is descriptive meaning an official residence (Rivet & Smith, 1979, p.155). A praetorium is recorded at York, but that does not preclude one elsewhere, and five other Praetoria are listed across the empire in the Itineraries. There is no need to try to force our Praetorio to be Petuaria. Looking along known roads eastwards to the coast, Creighton then argued that Praetorio might be either of the coastal sites of Scarborough or Filey, both places with known Roman occupation. The distances still are not perfect, with Scarborough being only about 20 Roman miles and Filey about 22 Roman miles, and these sites are known to have only had small military installations (watch towers). Possibly because there wasn’t a mapped Roman road heading there from Malton, Creighton didn’t consider the case for Bridlington, an omission recently corrected by Pete Wilson (Wilson 2017), although Bridlington had been long considered a candidate by many previous writers. RR812, heading east from Malton is aligned in the direction of Bridlington, and whilst a road through the Wolds is not known with certainty, it is hard to see it heading anywhere else. Along the likely route, Bridlington is almost exactly 25 Roman miles from Malton, and about 26 miles to the likely site of the Roman port, now lost to the sea (Brigham et al. 2008, p.45).  This isn’t the perfect solution however, as it would leave the total mileage of the stated itinerary being clxi m.p. (161 miles), five miles more than the clvi m.p. (156 miles) in the heading, although if the “v” in the heading is a mis-reading of an “x”, the problem is solved.

Not surprisingly, the arguments will not go away, and a recent piece by Tom Ikins (Ikins 2014) tried to restate the claim for Praetorio and Petuaria being one and the same, and placed Delgovicia at a site near Wetwang, as per Rivet. The debate will probably never end!

Brigham, T., Buglass, J., and George, R. 2008: Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment. Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Bempton to Donna Nook, English Heritage Project 3729, Humber Archaeology Report 235, Hull https://www.historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/rczas-bempton-donna-nook/ (Accessed 12/09/2017)

Creighton, J. (1988); The place names of East Yorkshire in the Roman period, in J. Price and P.R. Wilson (eds), Recent Research in Roman Yorkshire, BAR British Series 193, Oxford, pp. 387-406

Ikins, T. 2014: ‘The Roman name of Malton’, English Place Name List Item #4339, (Oct. 2014 16:11 www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?AO-EPNL)

Margary, I. D. (1973); Roman Roads in Britain; John Baker, London

Rivet, A.L.F. & Smith, Colin (1979); The Place-names of Roman Britain; B.T. Batsford Ltd., London

Wilson, Pete (2017); Derventio,Delgovicia and Praetorio, some Roman-Period Place-Names of Eastern Yorkshire Revisited; Britannia vol. 48 2017 pp. 27-30 Cambridge University Press

References:


Itinerary Text


Itinerary Distance


Modern name

Actual Roman Miles

Error

Margary route number

Comment


A limite, id est a vallo, Praetorio, m.p. CLVI (from the frontier, that is, the wall to Bridlington (?), 156 miles) - note: should perhaps read m.p. CLXI ie 161 miles


a Bremenio




High Rochester






Corstopitum


m.p. xx


Corbridge

25

-5

8e

Original text m.p. xxv?


Vindomora


m.p. viiii


Ebchester

10

-1

8e



Vinovia


m.p. xviiii


Binchester

20

-1

8d



Cataractoni


m.p. xxii


Catterick

22

0

8c



Isurium


m.p. xxiiii


Aldborough

25

-1

8b



Eboracum leug VI victrix


m.p. xvii


York

17

0

8a



Derventione


m.p. vii


Stamford Bridge

7

0

810



Delgovicia


m.p. xiii


Malton

13

0

81a



Praetorio


m.p. xxv


Bridlington?

26

-1

812 - 811



Itinerary total


m.p. clvi





The first point to note is that the title of this itinerary is often translated as meaning “from the wall”, but it doesn’t quite say that. The implication of the wording is that the route runs from the frontier (limite), of which the wall is a part - not quite the same thing. The fort at Bremenium (High Rochester) was occupied from the first century AD through to the 4th, and given that it is some 22 Roman miles north of the wall on Dere Street (RR 8e),  suggests that the Romans may have thought of the frontier more as a transitional zone, rather than a single border line.

Entry written and compiled by Mike Haken, last updated: 11 November 2017