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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb resource, 17 Jun 2014
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E. L. Wisty "World Domination League" (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Place Names of Roman Britain (Hardcover)
Out of print (but used copies can be picked up cheaply) and undoubtedly out of date in parts (published 1973), this is still a superb resource. The main sections are of literary references to place names, Ptolemy's geography, the Peutinger table, the Antonine Itineraries, the Ravenna cosmography, the Notitia Dignitatum, and the second half of the book is an alphabetical list of names, for each giving the sources, identification and linguistic derivation. Utterly indispensable for anyone with a serious interest in Roman Britain.
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5.0 out of 5 stars placenames of Roman Britain, 11 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Place Names of Roman Britain (Hardcover)
Brilliant book. Fantastic for reference. Highlights some links with british recruited Roman forces and points to where they were serving on the continent
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5.0 out of 5 stars An exceedingly informative and impartial view of Roman and post ..., 15 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Place Names of Roman Britain (Hardcover)
An exceedingly informative and impartial view of Roman and post Roman Britain derived from a font of historical place names. Any serious student o this era must have this reference book.

Mike Field
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic book, 19 May 2013
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This review is from: Place Names of Roman Britain (Hardcover)
This remains a classic and definitive book. It is so good that really now it should carry a health warning that it is not infallible. It was written when everyone believed that Celtic was the only language in play in Roman Britain, apart from Latin. Nowadays, one can see just how many alternative etymologies Rivet and Smith failed to mention that are actually more descriptive of the function or topography of the places concerned. Surprisingly many of those misses are in Latin, but they also ignore many examples of continuity into Old English. To offer just one example, they analyse Calleva Atrebatum (Silchester) as Celtic while ignoring the element calewa(n) 'bald, bare, lacking vegetation' that is common in English place names, as was well known when they wrote.

Naturally there have been new discoveries since Rivet and Smith wrote, but they are scattered across dozens of journals and symposium volumes. For example, British archaeology has revealed a second Verlucio, a Spanish scholar recognised that some points on the Antonine Itinerary were road junctions not places, and some linguists accept that the meaning of duro- was closer to 'door' than to 'fort', but above all the Internet now makes mountains of data available. One day someone will write a definitive new analysis of ancient British place names, but that someone will definitely base it on Rivet and Smith. And until then, absolutely anyone who is seriously interested in ancient Britain must have their book.
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Place Names of Roman Britain
Place Names of Roman Britain by Colin Smith (Hardcover - 26 Nov 1979)
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