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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

Steerwood, Robert (2003) A context for Sitomagus: Romano-British Settlement in the Suffolk Mid-Coastal area; Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, volXL Part 3 pp. 253-261

Talbert, Richard J. A.  (2010); Rome’s World: The Peutinger Map Reconsidered, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Talbert, Richard J. A.  (2010); Peutinger Map: seamless whole, in color, with overlaid layers available online at http://peutinger.atlantides.org/map-a/; accessed 11/9/17

References:


Itinerary Text


Itinerary Distance


Modern name

Actual Roman Miles

Error

Margary route number

Comment


Item a Venta Icinorum Lundinio, m.p. cxxviii sic. (also, from Caistor to London, 128 miles, thus)


Sitomago


m.p. xxxii


?Ixworth?

34

-2

RRs 3d, 37, 331, 33a

Should read m.p. xxxiii?


Conbretovio


m.p. xxii


Coddenham

23

-1

RRs 330, 34a



Ad Ansam


m.p. xv


?Higham?

15

0

RR 3c



Camoloduno


m.p. vi


Colchester

7

-1

RR 3c



Canonio


m.p. viiii


Kelvedon

10

-1

RR 3b



Cesaromago


m.p. xii


Chelmsford

13

-1

RR 3b



Durolito


m.p. xvi


?Chigwell?

18.5

-2.5

unknown



Lundinio


m.p. xv


London

13

2

RR 30



Itinerary total


m.p. cxxvii





The total distance given in Rivet & Smith for this itinerary  of cxxvii (Rivet & Smith 1969 p.168) is a misprint which omits an “i”, an ample demonstration, if one were needed, of how easy it is for errors to creep in. The stated total distance of 128 miles is one more than the sum of the stages, which is 127 miles, so it seems unlikely that there are any major errors of distance.

Some of the route (the Ad Ansam to Colchester then Chelmsford section), is included in Iter V. The most fascinating differences between the two are the differences in nomenclature. In this itinerary Colchester is Camulodunum, probably derived from the town’s pre-Roman roots and yet in Iter V it is Colonia, an abbreviation of Colonia Claudia Victricensis, celebrating the successful Claudian invasion of AD 43. Similarly, yet curiously reversed, in Iter IX the Civitas 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 common in Gaul but not here in Britain (Rivet & Smith 1979, p.162). The distances between Caistor and Colchester in the two itineraries are also quite different, 54 miles in Iter V, and 75 miles in Iter IX. Iter IX also includes many more stages, and omits the Villa Faustini of Iter V. The Peutinger table lists the same places as Iter IX and allowing for probable copying errors, gives the same distances totalling 75 miles. The probable conclusion  is that Iter V followed the direct route between Caistor and Colchester along RR3 whereas Iter IX followed a more circuitous route.

Identifying the places between Caistor and Colchester in Iter IX, which also appear in the Peutinger table but not in Iter V, is problematic. It is easiest to consider them from south to north. Rivet and Smith conclude that Ad Ansam must refer to a site near a bend in the R. Stour (ibid. p.169) however there are two Roman roads from Colchester that cross the river, one at Nayland (RR322) and the other near Stratford St. Mary, Suffolk (RR3c), and both could form part of a route to Caistor. The Nayland crossing seems unlikely, partly because there are no probable identifications with known Roman sites either at Nayland, or at stages further on, and partly because the distance by the this route is about six miles further. Bearing this in mind, RR3c seems a better bet, although the exact course of a crossing of the river Stour near Stratford St. Mary is not known. There is a probable Roman settlement near Higham, about ¾ mile upstream (Pastscape mon. 386555) which seems a likely candidate.

The next stage, Conbretovium, some 22 miles further on along RR3c, is usually identified as the large Roman settlement at Baylham House, near Coddenham (Pastscape Mon. 388704), where no less than five roads meet. The settlement must also have been on the route of Iter V but is not listed. The name may well also have applied to the two known Roman forts nearby.

From here, however, things are far less certain as it seems that the route diverted to a site known as Sitomagus (location uncertain) which must be on a different road. The course advocated by Rivet and Smith is along RR34 to Peasenhall, then along RR35 until it rejoins RR3d, then on to Caistor. The distances aren’t quite enough. For this to work, the site of Sitomagus would have to be another three miles east from the junction of the two roads, on a currently unknown road, placing it near Yoxford where the itinerary would actually double back on itself along the same road to get to Caistor. It isn’t a perfect solution by any means, however there is an alternative which fits much better. By turning WSW from Conbretovium along RR34a and then heading north along RR330 would bring the traveller to the fort and later settlement at Ixford, Suffolk (Pastscape Mon. No  385185 ) a distance of about 23 Roman miles. Whilst there is some uncertainty about the course of both roads, the probable distance agrees extremely well with the 22 miles of the Itinerary.

From there, by means of RR33a, RR331, RR37 and RR3d to Caistor, it is a further 33.6 miles, 1.6 miles more than the stated distance. This could feasibly be the source of missing mile from the stated total of the itinerary. Given the uncertainty about the route of RR37, the distances are acceptable and Ixworth seems a much better contender for Sitomagus than a so far undiscovered site near Yoxford. However, two other contenders have  emerged in east Suffolk, namely the possible settlement at Knodishall (31 miles from Caistor, 20.5 miles from Coddenham) and a nearby possible settlement at East Green, a mile north of Knodishall (30 miles from Caistor and 20 miles from Coddisham) (Steerwood 2003). Unfortunately, the roads proposed to make these suggestions work are only partially known so there has to be a large element of doubt (N.B. Steerwood also proposes the major settlement at Wenhaston, but the distances are impossible to explain).

Considering the route of Iter IX south of Colchester, the only place not known is Durolitum. Sixteen miles from Chelmsford along the road to London (RR 3a) takes us to Gidea Park in the outskirts of Romford, which is also 15 Roman miles from London. There is, unfortunately, no real evidence for a settlement site at or near this location, although there have been Roman finds in the vicinity. Another possibility, which is accepted by many, is that Durolitum is the known settlement at Little London, Chigwell (Pastscape Mon. No. 408199). Gravel workings have removed most of the evidence of occupation but evidence discovered prior to that leaves no doubt that this was a settlement site. The site is on RR30 to London, however there is no known road linking it to Chelmsford, which is problematic, and it would be 18.5 miles from Chelmsford along an almost straight route (which isn’t really possible), not the 16 of the itinerary or the distance stated in Rivet and Smith (Rivet and Smith, 1979, p.170), although a town zone may account for this. From Chigwell, it is 13.5 miles from London rather than the 15 of the itinerary, too short. Chigwell has been left as the possible site of Durolitum in this Itinerary, albeit reluctantly, because there is currently no other alternative site.

Entry written and compiled by Mike Haken, last updated: 18 October 2017