Attested: (1) Notitia Dignitatum Anderidos or Anderitos
(2) Ravenna Cosmography 68 Anderelio nuba. All 3 manuscripts definitely spell that name with an L, not a T or D, and 2 put a space in front of nuba.
(3) Probably Andredesceaster in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for AD 491, plus other post-Roman mentions listed by Rivet & Smith.
Where: (1) and (3) are generally thought to be the Saxon Shore fort at Pevensey, Sussex, Q64440477. For how Pevensey Lagoon may have looked in Roman times, before it silted up, see this video presentation or a flood risk map. The fort sat at the east end of a peninsula extending from the west side of a huge marshy bay. (2) could be almost anywhere on the “Sunshine Coast” of Sussex. Eastbourne has a nub at Beachy Head and Selsey Bill has a Nab Tower offshore.
Name origin: Greek ανδηρον ‘bank, edge of the sea’, if coupled with ιδος ‘warmth’ or ηλιος ‘sunshine’, would be very appropriate for the Sussex coast, which holds the record for maximum hours of sunshine in Britain.
Second best as an explanation is a first element like Old English and- or Gothic anda- etc, related to Latin ante ‘before, beside, against’, related to the word end, plus a second element related to Old English rithe ‘small stream, creek’ and to ried ‘meadows liable to flooding’ and to Old English hreot ‘reed’, describing the marshland into which the fort projected.
The nuba part might come from Latin novus ‘new’, but then why did the Cosmography also separately list Novia as a harbour estuary? It might also come from Germanic words for ‘protuberance’, related to words like nub or knob, or conceivably from *navis ‘river.
Notes: This name is regularly misquoted as Anderitum to support a theory that it was Celtic for ‘great ford’. However, the claim that *ritu meant ‘ford’ is based on circular logic. A real Anderitum existed in south-central France, at Javols, a tribal capital built into the valley of the small river Triboulin. Its archaeology is written up in detail here. Excavators could not identify a ford (and certainly not a “great ford”) across the river there, and guessed that where carts needed to cross that river, a bridge was more likely. That river was diverted, with monumental stone banks, before AD 50, into a new channel to create more space for a Romanised city. Thanks to Mike Haseler for working out how a previous analysis here was inadequate.
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Last edited 18 February 2023 Back to main menu