Attested: (1) Ptolemy 2,3,28 Ουεντα, a πολις of the Βελγαι; Venta Velgarom at position 41 in the Ravenna Cosmography; Venta Belgarum on iter 7 and Venta Velgarum on iter 15 of the Antonine Itinerary
(2) Ptolemy 2,3,21 Ουεντα, a πολις of the Ικενοι; Venta Cenomum at position 103 in the Ravenna Cosmography; Icinos on iter 5 and Venta Icinorum on iter 10 of the Antonine Itinerary; Ad Taum on the Peutinger map
(3) Venta Silurum on iter 14 of the Antonine Itinerary; Ventaslurum at position 48 in the Ravenna Cosmography
(4) Procurator Gynaecii Bentensis in Britannis in the Notitia Dignitatum.
Where: (1) Near Twyford, SU481250, fixed by the track and mileages of Iter 15, on the river Itchen, before it was modified to let barges reach Winchester 5km north.
(2) Caistor St Edmund, TG230035, beside the floodplain of the very wiggly river Tas, and 5 km from modern Norwich city centre.
(3) Caerwent, ST469905, next to Nedern Brook Wetlands, subject to seasonal flooding.
(4) Discussed carefully by Wild (2002), with Roman Winchester (as the urban successor to earlier Twyford) fractionally most likely.
Name origin: Venta was described by Rivet & Smith (pp 262-5) as “a well-known problem”. It is often translated as ‘market’ under influence from French vente ‘sale’, but a better solution may lie in all the tribes across Europe with names similar to Veneti, who occupied river floodplains liable to seasonal flooding, and a word recognised elsewhere in early place names as Vindo.
Notes: Once one recognises the pattern, it becomes obvious the most other Venta-related names refer to river-valley homelands. That applies to Bannaventa, Glanoventa, possibly to Cantaventi, Bannavem Taburniae, and the Ουενικονες people. The Veneti were not a single tribe of epic migrators, and attempts to translate their name as ‘conquerors’ (based on a PIE root that led in English to wound) are not convincing. Loicq (2003) listed 18 or so of them and Weiss (2018) added more. Other examples overseas include Beneventum in Italy, Ωυεννικνιοι in Ireland, and some Alpine tribes listed in the Tropaeum Alpium.
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Last edited 12 February 2023 to main Menu