Magis

Attested:  ND Magis, where the Praefectus numeri Pacentium was based.

Where:  Probably the large Roman fort at Blennerhasset, Cumbria, at NY190413, beside the river Ellen.  This location seems more likely than the Burrow Walls fort, at NY00363004, by Workington on the Cumbrian coast, by the mouth of the river Derwent, suggested by R&S.

Name originMagis looks like a fossilised locative plural of the place-name element -magus that was common throughout the Roman Empire.  Celticists like to interpret it as analogous with Gaelic machair, meaning ‘plain’ and hence a market place developing on open land.  That might fit this location, but a more likely meaning is ‘power place, administrative centre’, from PIE *magh- ‘to have power’.  Udolph (2012:45-8) explained how this element developed and led to names such as Magdeburg.

NotesMag- shows up nearby in Maglona and further north at Maromago, while Maia and two instances of Magnis are similar.  Greek μαγδωλος ‘watch tower’ was used to translate the Semitic word migdol in describing the birthplace of Mary of Magdala at the water’s edge.

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Last Edited: 11 December 2016