So where is Narnia?


I’m still working away at my maps of the languages of ancient Italy. Going through all the examples of Greek inscriptions from Italy in the SEG, I found one from Narnia. I’d come across the ancient city of Narnia (modern-day Narni) when I was writing my book, and then kind of forgotten about it until this jogged my memory, but I always enjoy reminding people about it.

As I said to Carly, it is real, and it gets better. Because Narnia turns up quite a few times in ancient sources, and so gives us the opportunity for some very funny sentences. For example, I always enjoy the fact that Narnia refuses to help Rome fund the war against Hannibal (Livy 27 9). And the emperor Nerva was born in Narnia in 30 AD.

I can’t confirm whether CS Lewis got the name from ancient Italy or not, although people have speculated and the town does well on the tourist trade. In any case, Sophie Hay (@pompei79) tells me that there’s a great restaurant in Narnia called Gattamelata, if you ever happen to find yourself there.


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