Attested: Ptolemy 2,3,14 Ὀρρεα, a πολις of the Ουενικωνες; probably not Poreoclassis in the Ravenna Cosmography
Where: East Lomond Hill fort, at NO244062, in Fife. Not the big Roman fort at Carpow on the river Tay, at NO207179, which might be Severan, not existing in Agricola's day, and with no obvious focus of native settlement nearby to fit Ptolemy's πολις.
Name origin: Probably the same as Coria, discussed at length by Allcroft as a circle word. Greek χορεια ‘circle dance’ and Latin curia ‘court(house), assembly’ are ancient parallels, while modern English has church, court, choir, chorus, etc and Welsh has crug ‘mound’. The PIE root was probably *gher- ‘to grasp, to enclose’. The initial consonant became H in Latin horreum ‘storehouse’ (plural horrea) and in some English cognates such as rick, from Old English hrycce; here the H might have been transmitted by Agricola's troops recruited around the lower Rhine who over-wintered in Fife after the battle at mons Graupius.
Notes: This hill-fort had a “summit enclosure, which is small for the strength of its defences” looking as if it shielded something more valuable than just one warlord. A particularly fine illustrated reconstruction of it by Bob Marshall may be here. Storage of a community's food reserve was one of the key responsibilities of ancient rulers, as documented, for example, in the Bible, or seen in South America. Rejected locations include: an “unlocated Roman fort near Monifieth” on the north bank of the Tay, near Dundee, suggested by Rivet & Smith and accepted by Marx (2013); Roman sites at St Madoes (NO209196) on the north bank of the Tay or at Dun (NO689595) on the Montrose basin suggested by Woolliscroft & Hoffmann (2006:147); and an unlocated Roman camp near Moncreiffe hill fort(s) and Bridge of Earn, previously suggested here.
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Last edited 11 July 2021 To main Menu