, Ptol. 2.3.27
; in the Tab. Peut. and Not. Imp. Rutupae; in the Itin. Ant. Ritupae, also Portus Rutupensis and Portus Ritupius: Adj. Rutupinus, Luc. Phars
. 6.67; Juv. 4.141
), a town of the Cantii on the E. coast of Britannia Prima, now Richborough
Rutupiae and Portus Rutupensis were probably distinct, the former being the city, the latter its harbour at some little distance.
The harbour was probably [p. 2.861]Stonar,
which latter town seems to have sprung up under the Saxons, after Rutupiae had begun to fall into decay, and was indeed probably built with materials taken from it.
According to Camden (p. 244) the etymology of the name of Rutupiae is analogous to that of Sandwich,
being derived from the British Rhydtufeth,
signifying “sandy bottoms” ; a derivation which seems much more probable than that from the Ruteni, a people who occupied the district in France now called La Roergue.
The territory around the town was styled Rutupinus Ager (Auson. Parent.
18.8) and the coast Rutupinus Littus (Luc. l.c.
The latter was celebrated for its oysters, as the coast near Margate
is to the present day. Large beds of oyster-shells have been found in the neighbourhood, at a depth of from 4 to 6 feet under ground.
The port is undoubtedly that mentioned by Tacitus (Agric.
38), under the erroneous name of Trutulensis Portus, as occupied by the fleet of Agricola.
It was a safe harbour, and the usual and most convenient one for the passage between France and England. (Amm. Mare. 20.1, 27.8.6.)
The principal Roman remains at Richborough
are those of a castrum and of an amphitheatre.
The walls of the former present an extensive ruin, and on the N. side are in some places from 20 to 30 feet in height. Fragments of sculptured marbles found within their circuit show that the fortification must have contained some handsome buildings.
The foundation walls of the amphitheatre were excavated in 1849, and are the first remains of a walled building of that description discovered in England.
There is a good description of Richborough,
as it existed in the time of Henry VIII., in Leland's Itinerary
(vol. vii. p. 128, ed. Hearne). Leland mentions that many Roman coins were found there, which still continues to be the case. Other Roman antiquities of various descriptions have been discovered, as pottery, fibulae, ornaments, knives, tools, &c. Rutupiae was under the jurisdiction of the Comes litoris Saxonici, and was the station of the Legio IIda Augusta. (Notitia,
A complete account of its remains will be found in Roach Smith's Antiquities of Richborough,