Cerma

Attested:  RC Cerma

Where:  Probably Bochastle Roman fort, at NN614079, on the river Teith, near Callander “Gateway to the Highlands”.

Name Origin:  Greek κερμα ‘coin, slice’, a word possibly derived from PIE *(s)ker- ‘to cut’, and related to Cermalus, one of twin peaks of a hill in Rome.  Presumably this refers to the way that the old military road (modern A84) slices into the hills as it follows the river Leny (Garbh Uisge) through some quite steep valleys.  Another possible parallel is cuirm, Scottish Gaelic for ‘feast’ or Old Irish for ‘beer’, which might fit with evidence for beer-making in ancient Scotland Nelson (2005) and the Gallo-Latin inscription NATA VIMPI CVRMI DA ‘pretty girl bring beer’.

Notes:  Archaeologists know of seven Roman forts near the edge of the Scottish Highlands, between the Clyde at Dumbarton and the Don at Aberdeen.  It seems almost too good to be true that they match up well with six names supplied by RC (Cindocellum, Cerma, Veromo, Matovion, Ugrulentum, Ravatonium) plus one by Ptolemy (Λινδον). 

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Last edited: 17 July 2018