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Gazetteer

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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


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

References:


Itinerary Text


Itinerary Distance


Modern name

Actual Roman Miles

Error

Margary Route Number

Comment


Item a Londinio Luguvalio ad vallum m.p. ccccxliii sic  (also from London to Carlisle on the wall 443 miles thus)


Caesaromago


m.p. xxviii


Chelmsford

30

-2

RR3a



Colonia


m.p. xxiiii


Colchester

24

0

RR3b



Villa  faustini


m.p. xxxv


 Stoke Ash, Suffolk, or

Scole, Norfolk

36 or 41

-1 or -6

RR3c & RR3d

If Villa faustini is Scole, read m.p. xxxx


Icinos


m.p. xviii


Caistor St. Edmund

23 or 18

-5 or 0

RR3d

If Villa faustini is Stoke Ash, read m.p. xxiii


Camborico


m.p. xxxv


Lackford or Hockwold

37

-2 or -5

RRs 3d,37,333

or RRs 3d,37,332



Duroliponte


m.p. xxv


Cambridge

25

0 or -4

RR333, RR24

or  RR332, RR23b



Durobrivas


m.p. xxxv


Water Newton

36

-1

RR24, RR2b



Causennis


m.p. xxx


Sapperton?

30

0

RR26



Lindo


m.p. xxvi


Lincoln

26

0

RR26, RR2c



Segeloci


m.p. xiiii


Littleborough

13 or 14

1 or 0

RR28a



Dano


m.p. xxi


Doncaster

23

-2

RR28a



Legeolio


m.p. xvi


Castleford

18

-2

RR28b



Eburaco


m.p. xxi


York

23

-2

RR28c



Isubrigantum


m.p. xvii


Aldborough

17

0

RR8a



Cataractone


m.p. xxiiii


Catterick

25

-1

RR8b



Levatris


m.p. xviii


Bowes

21

-3

RR82



Verteris


m.p. xiiii


Brough

14

0

RR82



Brocavo


m.p. xx


Brougham

20

0

RR82



Luguvalio


m.p. xxii


Carlisle

21

1

RR7e



Itinerary total


m.p. ccccxliii







The start of this itinerary between London and Caister St. Edmund is similar, although in reverse, to the route of Iter IX except that IX takes a less direct route. The most fascinating differences between the two are the differences in nomenclature. In this itinerary Colchester is Colonia, an abbreviation of Colonia Claudia Victricensis, celebrating the successful Claudian invasion of AD 43, whereas in Iter IX it is Camulodunum, probably derived from the town’s pre-Roman roots.  Similarly, yet curiously reversed, in Iter IX the Civitis capital of the Iceni at Caistor St. Edmund is Venta Icenorum, and yet in Iter V it is Icinos, substituting the tribal name for the city, a practice which was common in Gaul but not here in Britain (Rivet & Smith 1979, p.162). The presumption has to be that the two routes were from entirely different sources and of different dates.

The distance from London to Chelmsford however is given here as 28 miles, whereas in Iter IX it is recorded as 31 miles, probably accounted for by Iter IX taking a non-direct route via Chigwell. The two itineraries are not quite in agreement for the next stage to Colchester either, although Iter IX is only a mile less. From Colchester to Caistor, as Rivet and Smith point out, the stated mileage of 53 miles is inadequate, the actual distance being 59 miles. This inaccuracy doesn’t help when trying to locate the intermediate stage, Villa Faustini, which could be either the known Roman settlement at Scole, or the one at Stoke Ash. Both alternatives would cause a discrepancy of five miles, although on different lines, and both can be explained away by the accidental substitution of a “v” for an “x”, a very common error in the itineraries. The appearance of a villa name is unique for the Itineraries in Britain, but there are no less than seven listed in Africa (Rivet & Smith 1979, p.163).

The next issue lies with Camboricum or as Rivet & Smith suggest, Camboritum. Lackford, where there is some evidence of Roman occupation, is usually given as the probable location although there is no known settlement as such. It is, however, on the Icknield way, usually regarded as a Romanised prehistoric trackway. The possible alternative site, Hockwold-cum-Wilton, on the R. Little Ouse, is a sizeable linear settlement along a known Roman road (RR332) but it’s course further west is not known and there is no known link road to get to Cambridge although it seems likely that 332 continues to meet RR23b. A one and a half mile long settlement doesn’t develop on a road that goes nowhere. Hockwold as a large settlement seems more suitable but the recorded distances are a very poor fit being 5 miles too short from Caistor and four miles too short from Cambridge, so on balance Lackford is more likely.

From Cambridge, the next stage to the settlement at Water Newton is without major issue. From there, however, there are three possible routes to Lincoln. The first is by King Street (RR26) to Bourne, and then by Mareham Lane (RR260) to Lincoln, although there is no evidence for a Roman settlement in roughly the right place for Causennis on this route, so it can probably be disregarded. The second and third routes are along Ermine Street (RR2c) via Ancaster, or along King Street (RR26) as far as Bourne, then keeping to King Street as far as Ancaster, and then Ermine Street to Lincoln. Ancaster is the traditional identification of Causennis but it is seven miles further on than the 30 miles of the itinerary, on either of these two routes. However, there is a known settlement near Sapperton, on the third route, King Street (RR26), 30 miles from Water Newton. As this is the only known site that fits with the given distances, it seems most likely that this is Causennis, and this identification is now fairly well accepted. A known settlement at Saltersford has also been suggested (Rivet & Smith 1979, p.164) but that lies a mile and a half west of Ermine Street and seems highly unlikely.

From Lincoln onwards, all the place names are all known, so the only remaining issue is the total mileage. The stated distance is 443 miles, which is in agreement with the sum of the stated distances, however we have had to add five miles to a stage at the Villa Faustini, whether it is Stoke Ash or Scoles, taking the total of the stages to 448 miles. Whilst it is possible that a “v” was accidentally omitted from the stated total on the first line of the iter, it seems more likely it was deliberately omitted at some point when the manuscript was copied, as the easiest way of making the totals match. However, it is also difficult to reconcile the stated 18 miles from Catterick to Bowes, in reality 21, a stage that in Iter II was recorded as just 16 miles, which we had to adjust to 21 by adding a “v”. Rivet & Smith suggest that the Bowes issue could be caused by missing milestones, which can’t be ruled out (ibid.), especially as the use of the tribal name “Icinos” for Caistor may indicate quite a late date for Iter V. There is one other possibility in that a direct route from Catterick to Bowes avoiding Scotch Corner would be only 19 miles, just one mile too many, which is very common in the Itinerary probably due to measurement form the edge of a “town zone”. A road heading SSE from Bowes is known, and has been assumed to be heading to the shrines on Scargill Moor and on to Bainbridge, but it is just conceivable that it was also part of an alternative direct route to Catterick, although currently there is no evidence whatsoever to support this hypothesis.

As a footnote, it is worth mentioning briefly that the distance from Littleborough to Lincoln, given both here and in Iter VIII as 14 miles. During the research for this website a previously unknown road was discovered, from Lincoln to a point along RR28a near Scampston, to which we have given the number RR28aa. This road shortens the distance from Lincoln to Littleborough by 0.75 Roman miles, there are therefore two potential distances, 13.6 miles and 14.35 miles between the two sites, which unfortunately both round off to 14. Whilst we cannot be certain, it might be safe to conclude that the “new” RR28aa was built some time after both itineraries were written. Therefore, the route for the itineraries could have gone either way, so we are unable to determine whether or not the “new” road was constructed before the Itineraries were compiled.

Entry compiled by Mike Haken, last updated: 1 February 2017