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England. Bro Saoz. Angleterre

La rivière Erme

Aramis / Armis


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dernière mise à jour 10/09/2009 13:17:52

Définition : rivière de Grande Bretagne, en Devon.


* Rivet & Smith, Place-names of Roman Britain, p. 258 : 


- Ravenna 10615 : ARAMIS; variante ARANUS

- Ravenna 10619 : ARMIS.

DERIVATION. The entries make an obvious duplication, but it is hard to know which form is the better. It is likely that a river-name is in question, the Cosmographer as often having misread this from his map-source(s) as though it were a habitation-name. There are several possibilities :

(a) If Armis is approximately right, the name compares with Armis(s)a, earlier *Armisa, > Erms (a tributary of the Neckar, Germany), and with the Arma river of Piedmont (N. Italy), a tributary of the Stura, whose name survives in that of Botro dell'Arme near Siena. These names are ultimately related to *Ara, commonly found in water-names (Indo-European *ora 'to set in motion'), according to Nicolaisen in BZN, VIII (1957), 229. See also, for *ar(a) as suffix or element, British LEUCARUM. If this is right, Ravenna's Armis could be for *Artnisa, with -s- (in absolute internal position) still heard in British speech (before its loss in the second half of the first century : see LHEB 521-25). Equally, since final -is in Ravenna sometimes represents -a, the name could have been *Arma like that of the Italian river. In either case, the river might be the modern Erme of S. Devon, or a place on it. Ekwall ERN 149-50 discusses this name and its possible but difficult English origin, leaving open the possibility that it might be British, as would be natural enough in Devon. For the vowel development, compare *Arno- > Earn river of Somerset, and several in Scotland. The Erme seems to have suflficient size to warrant mention on a Romano-British map.

(b) Armis is readily adjusted to *Arnus, and the var. Aranus may support this. If so, the name is the common *Arno- river-name of Celtic (Holder I. 218), discussed by Ekwall ERN 139 as the origin of the Somerset Earn; but this is too small to have been mentioned on an early map, and the name might apply to another southern or south-western river.

(c) If the form Aramis is of any value, it might represent a British equivalent of Gaulish *aramon, Indo-European *ar(a)mo-, Germanic arm (English arm) aram-, discussed by Whatmough DAG 1205; a metaphorical application as in 'arm of the sea, brazo de mar' would be possible. 

IDENTIFICATION : Probably the river Erme, Devon".

Bibliographie :

* Ordnance Survey : Map of Roman Britain. 1956

* A.L.F Rivet & Colin Smith : The Place-Names of Roman Britain. B.T Batsford Ltd. London. 1979. Édition 1982.

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