Caesaromagus

AttestedCaesaromago on iter 5 and Cesaromago on iter 9 of the Antonine Itinerary; Cesaromago at position 98 of the Ravenna Cosmography; Baromaci on the Peutinger map

WhereChelmsford, Essex, around TL709062.

Name OriginCaesar- is obviously Roman, while -magus became a common place-name element across the Empire whose exact significance is disputed.  Its most likely origin is Graeco-Latin magis ‘platter’, discussed under Magis, which could develop in sense towards any area of flat land, and also towards ‘town square, marketplace’.  This analysis outranks any link to Celtic words such as Gaelic machair ‘grassy plain’ or to the Germanic place names such as Magdeburg discussed by Udolph (2012:45-8) as based on PIE *magh- ‘to have power’.

NotesCaesaromagus began as a Roman fort established close to the tribal centre of the powerful Trinobantes and had a twin on the Continent at modern Beauvais, in territory of the powerful Belgic tribe the Bellovaci.  It is debatable whether magus here refers to the geographical situation, on the edge of the East Anglian plain, or to the assertion of Roman Imperial power, particularly after Boudicca's rebellion.

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Last edited 16 February 2022     To main Menu