Omire tedertis

AttestedOmire tedertis at position 25 in the Ravenna Cosmography.  Richmond & Crawford commented on the “unity of the word”, but their photos of the manuscripts show a clear space between the two elements.

Where:  At or near Dorchester Dorset, around SY689898.  The names on either side in the Cosmography, Alauna silva and Lindinis, are not 100% certainly located, but the layout of Roman roads and the absence of any other name in the Cosmography to fit such an important place as Dorchester leave little doubt.  There is no obvious reason to think of any other nearby place, such as the fort at Waddon Hill.  The most likely site is near Frampton, where a Roman villa with fine mosaics at SY615953 was at the head of a lake formed by damming of the river Frome to feed an aqueduct delivering water to Dorchester.

Name origin:  Greek ομβρος ‘water, flood, rainstorm’ has no agreed PIE root, but it has plenty of relatives, in Latin, Irish, etc, including words in Mycenaean Greek beginning like omiri-, i.e. at a pre-Greek linguistic stage before an epenthetic (pronunciation-helping) B was inserted.  In handwriting, tedertis is very similar to cedentis, from the present participle of Latin cedo ‘to move, withdraw, depart’.  Plautus even applied cedo to water.

Notes:  Thanks to Peter Laurie for key information about Frampton.  Possibly the most remarkable feature of Roman Dorchester was its aqueduct, which snaked its way around the contours for some 9.5 km into the city, for which Umoris cedentis ‘coming hither of liquid’ would be a respectable Latin description, within scribal-error and grammatical range of this name.  An element -omi also shows up in Vindomi.  This name was puzzling for a long time, prompting discussion of Latin umere ‘to make wet’ plus interchanges of U and O, and of Homer (which meant ‘hostage’), and of Latin o mire ‘Oh, amazingly’, and of ομαλοσ ‘level’ (related to a whole class of words that begin in English with homo- ‘same’), which would make sense for an aqueduct.

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Last edited 22 September 2021     To main Menu