AttestedEsica at position 150 in the Ravenna Cosmography and on the Amiens Patera; Aesica in the Notitia Dignitatum

Where:  Roman fort at Great Chesters NY704667 on Hadrian's Wall

Name origin:  Most likely related to Latin esus ‘food’, from edo ‘to eat’, because this site is more surrounded by lush green fields than most of Hadrian's Wall and the fort seems to have been a relatively late addition to the Wall.  Notice how the plain E in early forms of the name later became AE, perhaps influenced by aes ‘iron’.

Notes:  Maybe this site was originally a farm, responsible for feeding troops at the Gabaglanda fortlet at Haltwhistle Burn, which it superseded when the Wall was built.  Esus or Aesus “comes from a widely distributed and very ancient European religious idiom, probably of Bronze-Age descent and long propagated in shared oral religious traditions in Italy, Gaul, Britain and Germany” (Nash Briggs, 2011).  ESICO on Icenian coins is a “theophoric personal name or title of office”, which is “unrecorded in any linguistically Celtic context, but it and several other very similar names are liberally attested in early Germanic literary and inscriptional contexts”.  See also Ansehis.

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Last edited 17 January 2023     To main Menu