The Roman Map of Britain The Ravenna Cosmography
centuries after the cleric put down his pen, his work stands as a most
intriguing source of place-names. Encompassing the world, both known and fabled,
the document has come to be known as The Ravenna Cosmography. The British
section lists several hundred place-names unique to the Roman occupation.
Dispersed among them is narrative describing visible features and spatial
relationships - evidence of his source, a map of Roman Britain. The place-names
are a unique mixture of Latin and British specific to the Roman province.
The Cosmographer's inventory was methodical. On his map of Britain certain lines (longitude and latitude?) were enhanced to define the extent of more-detailed regional maps. Guided by this convenient array of compartments he made his list.
Earlier students were troubled by the sudden regional jumps, but therein lies the key to re-constructing the map. Textual boundaries within the 'cities' section may be defined by noting these transitions.
Using the enumeration of Richmond and Crawford*, these are: (1) R&C 1-5; (2) R&C 6-28; (3) R&C 29-47; (4) R&C 48-61 (5) R&C 62-66; (amendment to (3)) R&C 67; (6) R&C 68-74; (5, 6 or 7) R&C 75-78, (7) R&C 79-87; (8) R&C 88-94; (amendment to (5)) R&C 95; (9) R&C 96-100; (9 or 10) R&C 101; (10) R&C 102-105; (11) R&C 106-130; (12) R&C 131-142; (W) R&C 143-155; (amendment to (11)) R&C 156-158; (13 and 14) R&C 159-190; (15) R&C 190-200; (16) and beyond R&C 201-227.
*[I. A. Richmond and O. G. S. Crawford in 'The British Section of the Ravenna Cosmography', Archaeologia*, XCIII (1949), 1-50]
DEFINING THE BOUNDARIES
A transcription of the
of Cod.Vatican.Urb. Lat. 961 relating to Britain
fol. 45v Islands of the northern ocean (R&C 303-306). Cities of the Cornish peninsula, southern England and south-eastern Wales (R&C 1-51).
fol. 46r The remaining cities of Wales and England, Hadrian's Wall, and a portion of south-western Scotland (R&C 51-167).
fol. 46v The remaining cities of Scotland (R&C 167-227). The wetlands (R&C 228-235) and rivers (R&C 236-271) of Britain.
fol. 47r Irish rivers (R&C 272-274) and islands of the Western Ocean (R&C 275-302).