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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

Archaeoleg.org.uk (2008); A Research Framework for the Archaeology of Wales: Key Sites Southeast Wales  IFA Wales/Cymru

Available at http://www.archaeoleg.org.uk/pdf/roman/KEY%20SITES%20SE%20WALES%20ROMAN.pdf

Evans, E. (2001); Romano-British South East Wales Settlement Survey: Final Report GGAT Report no. 2001/23

Available at http://www.walesher1974.org/herumd.php?group=GGAT&level=3&docid=301360168 accessed 3/11/2017

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

Sherman, A. (2009); Island Farm, Bridgend, Archaeological desk-based assessment and ASHIDOHL  GGAT report no 2009/069

Available at http://www.walesher1974.org/herumd.php?group=GGAT&level=3&docid=301360458  accessed 03/11/2017


References:


Itinerary Text


Itinerary Distance


Modern name

Actual Roman Miles

Error

Margary route number

Comment


Item a Muridono Viroconiorum, m.p. clxxxvi  (also, from Carmarthen to Wroxeter, 186 miles)


Vindomi


m.p. xv








Venta Belgarum


m.p. xxi








Brige


m.p. xi








Sorvioduni


m.p. viii








Vindogladia


m.p. xii








Durnonovaria


m.p. viii








Muriduno


m.p. xxxvi








Sca Dumnoniorum


m.p. xv








Leucaro


m.p. xv


Loughor

23

-8

RR60d

Should read m.p. xxiii


Nido


m.p. xv


Neath

14

1

RR60d



Bomio


m.p. xv


Cowbridge?

27

-12

RR60c

Should read m.p. xxvii


Iscae leg II Augusta


m.p. xxvii


Caerleon

28

-1

RR60c b



Burrio


m.p. viiii


Usk

8

1

RR62a



Gobannio


m.p. xii


Abergavenny

11

1

RR62a



Magnis


m.p. xxii


Kenchester

23

-1

RR630



Bravonio


m.p. xxiiii


Leintwardine

23

1

RR6c



Viriconio


m.p. xxvii


Wroxeter

27

0

RR6b



Itinerary total


m.p. ccxcii or clxvi






Intrusive repetition of Iter XV

Despite its appearance in every manuscript, the first section of this iter is clearly intrusive, being just a repetition of Iter XV. It  must have happened when a manuscript was being copied, the new copy later becoming a common root for all the surviving copies, possibly because of two different places called Muridunum.  Whether leaving it in or taking it out, the total mileage of 186 miles is wrong since the stages add up to either 292 or 166 miles (not the 146 miles stated in Rivet & Smith 1979 p.174).

That Muridunum is the fort and walled town at Carmarthen is beyond doubt, and Leucarum really ought to be the Roman fort at Loughor. The problem lies in there being no confirmed road between the two.  Margary speculated that there was a Roman road, RR60d,  leaving Carmarthen through Cwmffrwd, represented by a very straight length of part of the A484 and then the B4309 and then roughly represented by the B4306, which follows a sinuous line along a generally straight course, through the hills and valleys to Llannon, and Pontyberem, crossing the river Loughor near Hendy (Margary, 1973, pp. 326-7). If so, there must have been a road due south for five miles to get to Loughor. This route seems feasible, but without a scrap of evidence.

There is, however, a certain road, identified from aerial photographs, which branches from Margary’s line at Cwmffrwd, and then heads south along the very straight Gheol-Y-Lan past Idole,  and seems to be heading towards Kidwelly. If this then continued just south of east and followed the coast towards Llanelli, this would be about 23 Roman miles (following the coastal pattern of the road further east) whereas the northern route would be about 21miles (not 19 as stated in Rivet and Smith). Of course, the southern route would have the major problem of crossing the small estuary of the R. Loughor, although a bridge in approximately the location of the modern one is not out of the question, and given that there is actually some evidence for it, this route is favoured. Rivet and Smith rightly pointed out (ibid.) that the multiple entries of XV for distance were very suspicious, and it is suggested here that this entry should have read xxiii.  

From Loughor, a road must head to the fort at Neath (Nido), although its route is not known as Margary acknowledged (Margary, 1973, p.326). The most likely route would be represented by the B4620, past several Roman practice works, then into what is now Swansea. A supposed Roman ford was found crossing the Tawe near Hafod in Swansea (GGAT HER 01016.18w), although given the width of the R. Tawe, and that the river is tidal, a bridge seems almost certain. The route is likely to be close to that of the A4217 and A 4230 to Neath, which would give a distance of almost 14 Roman miles, so it is possible that the ‘xv’ as written was the intended figure, even though it is a mile too many.

From Neath, Rivet and Smith followed Margary’s route for RR60c along the coast, the route of which still has a few question marks over it but in general terms seems fairly safe. They concluded that Bomium was the small town and possible fort at Cowbridge (GGAT HER no. 00272s), which remains the most likely interpretation. Unfortunately, the distance from Neath to Cowbridge doesn’t work, as it is about 27 Roman miles, not the 15 of the Iter, whereas in the other direction the distance to the fortress at Caerleon is almost 28 miles and agrees well with the 27 miles of the Itinerary. Attempts have been made to try to solve the mileage problem by assuming a missing stage and then placing Bomium at a site on or close to the R. Ewenny, south of Bridgend (Sherman, 2009  p.89), although such a site has not yet been found. Until one is, Bomium is most safely identified with Cowbridge, the mileage issue being explained by a simple accidental repetition of the previous xv, very easily done given that the distance should have read xxvii, the same as the next entry. This must have happened at a later stage than the other two previous errors. With so many successive errors in this Iter, the answer may never be known for sure.

From Caerleon the distances agree fairly well, and the route of RR630 north of Abergavenny is now known, showing clearly on lidar. If this re-interpretation of the Itinerary is correct, the distances now add up to 186 miles, the total stated in the Iter.




























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