Identification: the bay at the mouth of the Water of Girvan
Rerigonion is a river-name of the kind having a river-prefix, here just the river-letter r, attached to a land-name, here Rigonion, the latter being an inversion-type topographical place-name in the hill-letter r, where Rig means ‘hill steep’. The river-letter r was apparently used by the Novantae (one sees it also in Abravannus, Ptolemy’s name for the Water of Luce), so the river-name Rerigonion indicates that the Novantae had extended the territory under their control to include part of modern South Ayrshire. Ptolemy’s Rerigonius bay will have been the bay at the mouth of the Rerigonion river, i.e. at the mouth of the Water of Girvan. The place called Rigonion may have been the hillfort on Dow Hill, immediately south of Girvan, though Ptolemy’s Rerigonium will have been a Roman fort/harbour at Girvan, the fort simply taking its name from the river. The fort will thus have been in the territory of the Novantae, as Ptolemy indicates. That the people of Ayrshire had used the hill-letter r prior to the arrival of the Novantae in the Girvan area is confirmed by Ptolemy’s Vindogara at Irvine, where the gar element also uses the hill-letter r.
[NB. Detailed information as to the different river-letters and as to how they were combined to form compound river-names, together with information as to the four categories of Celtic river-names, is given in Chapter 19: the rivers of Roman Britain. Detailed information as to the different hill-letters is given in Chapter 1 and information as to how the hill-letters were combined to form compound place-names is given in Chapter 2]
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