Attested: Sorbiodoni on iter 15, or Sorvioduni in the erroneous duplication on iter 12, of the Antonine Itinerary.
Where: Probably at or near Wattons’s Ford, SU138016, where a ford there can still be used. Margary’s Roman road 422, approximating the A31 from London, would cross the Hampshire river Avon there, according to Clarke (2003), quoting Soffe & Johnson (1974) Rescue Archaeology in Hampshire 2, 111-112, not yet checked.
Name origin: Latin sorbeo ‘to suck up, to absorb’ might refer to boggy ground around a river. PIE *srebh- has many descendants around Europe, but nothing closer in Celtic than Old Irish srúb ‘snout’ or in Germanic languages than slurp, sherbet, service tree, and rivers called Sorpe. Latin donum ‘gift, votive offering’ could fit the observed name, but *danu- ‘river’ may be most appropriate.
Notes: This analysis overrules Old Sarum, taking -doni as a variant of dunum ‘fort’, suggested by Rivet & Smith and widely repeated, which is seriously incompatible with mileage figures in the Itinerary. This location allows iter 15 to be a straight line for 12 more Roman miles to Vindogladia at Poole, not near the river Stour (whose course has changed a lot over the centuries, as for example, at Eyemead beside the Lake Farm Roman camp). An excellent parallel is ancient Sorbiodurum, modern Straubing, on the Danube, where that river was very liable to flood and create marshes.
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Last edited 26 January 2021. To main Menu