AttestedMedialano on iter 2 and Mediolano on iter 10 of the Antonine Itinerary;  Mediolano at position 84 of the Ravenna Cosmography;  Possibly not Ptolemy 2,3,18 Μεδιολανιον, a πολις of the Ορδουικες.

WhereWhitchurch Roman fort and settlement at SJ541416.  Despite textual difficulties in the Itinerary and no distances in the Cosmography this location seems settled by the distance from Wroxeter in iter 2.  Ptolemy's name might be a misunderstood version of another place, which the Cosmography called Mediomano.

Name origin:  PIE *medhyo- ‘middle’ combined with PIE *lendh- ‘open land’ to mean ‘middle ground’ or ‘in-between place’.

Notes:  Allocating Ptolemy's name to this site would require two of his named tribes to interpenetrate, which seems unlikely, though not impossible, since one name (Ορδουικες) looks like a comment on social organisation and the other name (Κορναουιοι) is purely geographical.  The oft-repeated claim that Mediolanum was Celtic for ‘middle of the plain’ does not fit the 40 or so modern places in France with names apparently descended from Mediolanum listed by Lacroix (2007: 194-199), which typically look like neutral (sacred) meeting places at the border between two tribal territories.  The present Mediolanum, which is the only instance in Britain, lies close to the historic England/Wales border.

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Last edited 1 September 2023     to main Menu