AttestedCunia at position 270 in the Ravenna Cosmography

Where:  Christchurch harbour, located by its position at the end of the Cosmography's list of harbour estuaries, preceded by Raxtomessasenua (in the Solent) and followed by Velox (Poole harbour).  Christchurch harbour is fed by three rivers (Avon, Stour, and Mude) and closed off by Hengistbury Head, famous as a prehistoric trading site.  The harbour entrance, at SZ183915, is now remarkably narrow but its width in Roman times is uncertain.

Name origin:  Latin cuneus ‘wedge’ from the shape of the headland is a better explanation than the narrow harbour entrance being a cunette ‘water channel’, as at Cunetio.  The name Hengistbury is a modern invention, based on earlier forms that included Hynesbury, which may preserve the name Cunia after conversion of PIE K to Germanic H.

Notes:  Celtic ‘hound’ is a red herring, despite Strabo stating that Britain exported hunting dogs: dogs have conical muzzles.

You may copy this text freely, provided you acknowledge its source as, recognise that it is liable to human error, and try to offer suggestions for improvement.     Last edited 3 May 2020     To main Menu