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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

Iters XIII and XIV are alternative routes between Caerleon and Silchester, both previously regarded as having issues, although as will be shown, it is only Iter XIII that is problematic.

In Iter XIII, the mileages adds up to 90 instead of the stated total of 109, and given that only 44 miles are allowed between Gloucester and Silchester, which are 67 Roman miles apart in a straight line, a stage has clearly been omitted. As Rivet rightly observed, this can only be Corinium (Cirencester), which is just over eighteen Roman miles from Calleva (Clevo, ie Gloucester), which allowing for two town zones of two miles each could just conceivably have been recorded as fourteen miles (Rivet & Smith 1979, p.175). It seems possible that the omission occurred because of the similarity between Corinium and Durocornovium, the next stage (Rodwell, 1975, p.89).



Gelling, M. (1973); The Place Names of Berkshire - Part One. English Place-Name Society Vol XLIX. .

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

Rodwell, W., (1975); Milestones, Civic Territories and the Antonine Itinerary in Britannia, Volume 6, pp. 76-101

West Berkshire HER MWB4831 (2017); Speen Village; http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=MWB4831&resourceID=1030 [Accessed 28 September 2017]

References:

Itinerary Text


Itinerary Distance


Modern name

Actual Roman Miles

Error

Margary route number

Comment

Item ab Isca Calleva, m.p. cviiii (also, from Caerleon to Silchester, 109 miles, thus)

Burrio


m.p.viiii


Usk

8

1

RR62a


Blestio


m.p. xi


Monmouth

13

-2

RR612b


Ariconio


m.p. xi


Weston under Penyard

12

-1

RR612a


Clevo


m.p. xv


Gloucester

15

0

RR611


<Corinio>


m.p. xiv


<Cirencester>

18

-4

RR41c

Stage clearly omitted

Durocornovio


m.p. xiiii


Wanborough

16

-2

RR41b


Spinis


m.p. xv


Speen

20

-5

RR41b&a

Distance should be m.p. xx

Calleva


m.p. xv


Silchester

16

-1

RR 41a


Itinerary total


m.p. xc







This leaves a mileage shortfall of just five miles. The next stage, Durocornovium, is recorded as fourteen miles from Corinium along Ermin Street, however allowing for the two mile town zone, the real distance should be sixteen miles, which takes us to the Roman settlement at Wanborough (Pastscape Mon No. 221858), at the junction of RR41b and RR43. Iter XIIII gives the same mileage for the final stage between Spinis and Calleva (m.p.xv); therefore the mileage error must be with the penultimate stage, from Durocorniovum to Spinis. It would be a fair assumption that the distance should have read ‘xx’, the last ‘x’ being misread for a ‘v’, a very common error in the Itinerary.

The location of Spinis is problematic. There is no known site at the stated distance of fifteen miles, nor would we expect there to be as the distance should probably have read ‘m.p. xx’, ie twenty miles.The only site that fits is at Speen, just east of Swindon, for which the confirmed evidence is extremely slight (two coins) although there are 19th century claims for much Samian pottery and tiles during the construction of Speen House, but they remain only claims since a Roman site has not been found. The similarity of placenames would seem to fit. Speen was recorded as Spenes (1167) and Spenis (1224) (West Berks. HER MWB4831, 2017), although Gelling claimed that the Anglo-Saxon name cannot be derived directly from the Latin because of the meanings (Gelling, 1973, p.266). This argument that seems a little unlikely given the recorded spellings clearly indicating persistence of use irrespective of any understanding of meaning. Perhaps the best we can say is that Spinis is most probably in the vicinity of modern Spene which is sixteen Roman miles from Silchester, in agreement with the stated distance if we allow for a one mile road zone.

Entry compiled by Mike Haken, last updated: 3 November 2017