Epocessa and Ypocessa

AttestedEpocessa and Ypocessa at positions 59 and 60 in the Ravennna Cosmography

Where:  Somewhere in the headwaters of the river Severn close to the line of the later Offa's Dyke: possibly at Forden Gaer (at SO20799890), which was a Roman civil settlement with military origins, or among the fort and complex of marching camps around Pentreheyling/Brompton.  The Cosmography lists these names after Branogenium (Caersws) and before Macatonion (probably in the Welsh borders, on the way to Gloucester).

Name origin:  Latinized forms of εποικισις ‘settlement of a colony’.  Εποικεω meant ‘occupy as the seat of offensive operations against’, which would fit the situation here if the Roman administration encouraged retired soldiers and friendly Britons to settle in a border area with a history of rebellion.

Name origin:  These two names might be an accidental duplication in the Cosmography, but they could also be two distinct settlements, with lightly differentiated names.  The concept of regime-friendly farmers holding territory is familiar from later history, for example in the 1108 settlement of Flemings in Pembrokeshire.  Celticists think of horses whenever they see epo, so Richmond & Crawford suggested a meaning like ‘horse-stalls’: not credible.

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Last edited 26 February 2023     To main Menu.