Identification: the river Nith, Dumfries and Galloway

It is not entirely clear whether Ptolemy’s Novius is a variant form of Ravenna’s Anava (the Annan) or a different name referring to the river Nith. On the assumption that the Novius is the Nith the Celtic river-name will originally have been similar to Abone/Abona comprising the river-letter b corresponding to the hill-letter s. The river-name was modified slightly to Novius (b→v→n and n→v) and at a later date the river-letter t corresponding to the hill-letter l2 was added, the river-name now being somewhat of the form Novitia. The ov was at some stage lost or omitted and t changed to th to give the modern river-name Nith.



[This page was last modified on 12 February 2021] 

[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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