Tuesday, January 19, 2021



John Hines, "The Roman Name for Manchester," in G.D.B. Jones, Roman Manchester (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1974), pp. 159-163 (at 160, notes omitted):
The name MAMUCIUM has found its way into the Ordnance Survey Map of Roman Britain, and (as the received version) into such authoritative works as Crawford and Richmond's 'The British Section of the Ravenna Cosmography', and Rivet and Jackson's 'The British Section of the Antonine Itinerary', which came out in 1949 and 1970 respectively.

The form MAMUCIUM, then, has as strong manuscript support as has MANCUNIUM, although popular tradition still holds to the latter. When one considers what the popular mind is capable of making of names ('Manchester' was in Camden's day locally supposed to be the 'city of Men', or of the 'good burghers and true' who fought back the Danes) this particular consideration gives the received form no real advantage. Those who accept the form MAMUCIUM as the original Latinised Celtic name have the problem of finding a satisfactory derivation. Indeed this did not prove too difficult, since the word MANS, MAMM, is to hand. This means in Irish or Welsh 'breast', 'mother' or 'womb'. To the specialist scholar, then, the name means 'breast-like hill' and is compared to CICUTIO, a place-name with similar meaning of a fort sited in Wales (Y Gaer).
Hat tip: Eric Thomson.

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