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dernière mise à jour 20/02/2015 18:29:35

Définition : Angleterre, comté de Hampshire.

Ancienne ville de la tribu bretonne des Belgae, à l'embouchure de la rivière Itchen; aujourd'hui incluse dans Southampton.


Extrait de la carte Ordnance Survey : Map of Roman Britain.



a) Clausentum

* A.L.F Rivet & C. Smith, Place-Names of Roman Britain, p 308.


- AI 4781 (Iter VII) : CLAUSENTUM

DERIVATION. This is a diffîcult name. There is no reason to doubt the accuracy of AI's form; it may be associated with Clausetia in Aquitanica Prima and Clausonna > Clausonne (Alpes-Maritimes, France), to be analysed Claus-etia and Claus-onna (onna being a recognised Gaulish element). If this is right, we are not able to take the second element as British -sento- (see below) and must conclude that the whole is of unknown meaning. Indeed Jackson in his study of AI's names simply enters a query.

It may be, however, that AI's form reflects a development of spoken Latin. If we consider it as a development from *Clavi-sentum several possibilities emerge, together with further analogues such as Clavenna > Chiavenna to the north of Lake Como (N. Italy) and Clavicum in Spain (but not British 'Clavinium', q.v.). *Clavisentum as a restoration of a more classical form does not present too much difficulty. One might compare in Gaul Lautro- for earlier Lavatro-, and perhaps Quadruis (dat.) for Quadrivis (JRS, LIV (1964), 178), Suleis for Sulevis (dat.) in RIB 105 (Cirencester).

For Clavi- two roots are possible. Williams lists a root *kleu 'to hear' (now Pokorny 605), in other forms 'what is heard, famous', and *cleuos (with cognate Greek Kleos) which has produced Welsh clyw, Breton clevet with the sense of 'something heard, fame (also Irish clu 'glory'), seen in the compound Dumnoclevios. The other root is suggested by R&C (under their Clavinium) : a British *clauo-s 'nail ' equivalent to the Latin root seen in clava 'cudgel', clavis 'key' and clavus 'nail' (related to claudo, claudere : Pokorny 604, *kleu- *klau-); they cite also Welsh clo-yn, clo-en from the root *kel- *kla- (now Pokorny 545) 'schlagen, hauen', and try to give the present name a meaning perhaps associated with 'log-built enclosures, as in English place-names from stocc-'. Evidently none of these possibilities impressed Jackson enough for him to mention them, but they seem reasonable. For the -sentum element, Celtic *sento- 'path', compare Gabrosentum. If Clausentum is a coastal site, and since concrete elements are commoner in toponymy than abstracts such as 'famous', we might take the second proposed root for Clavi- and speculate on an allusion to a 'nailed' or 'hewn' path, perhaps a causeway or a quay or similar construction.

IDENTIFICATION. Either the Roman town and naval base at Bitterne, Hampshire (SU 4313) or the settlement at Wickham, Hampshire (SU 5711); see the discussion on p. 166. The final suggestion above would favour the former, since Wickham lies inland.


Racines étudiées par comparaison  :

- ? celtique *Claus-onna ou *Claus-etia (comparaison avec Clausonna, aujourd'hui Clausonne, Alpes-Maritimes), 

- ? latine *clavi- : à comparer à une racine *kleu = entendre (breton : klevout = entendre).


b) Bitterne

* Eilert Ekwall : Byterne 1172 EP, 1242 Cl; Bitterne, 1284 EP. "Second element apparently OE aern 'house'. The first might be OE byht 'bend' refering to the horseshoeshaped ridge close by ' .

Selon Hampshire Field Club proceedings : Storehouse at the bend (of the river).

Formes bretonnes anciennes : ?


* A.L.F RIVET & Colin SMITH : The Place-names of Roman Britain. Batsford Ltd. 1979. Édition 1982.

Envois de

J.C. BEARD; County Librarian; Hampshire District Library Hearquarters. Southampton; 08.07.1982.

Liens électroniques des sites Internet traitant de Bitterne / Clausentum :  

* lien communal officiel : 

* forum du site Marikavel : Academia Celtica

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