Presidium / Praesidio

Attested:  (1) RC Presidium;  (2) ND Praesidium and Praesidio.

Where:  (1) At or near Newton Stewart, where the Roman road heading west on the north of the Solway Firth needed to cross the river Cree, possibly at Machermore ford NX413651 or a little downstream.
(2) R&S wondered if this name should be placed at York, by linking two lines in ND: Praefectus legionis sextae and Praefectus equitum Dalmatiorum, Praesidio.  That seems unlikely, so other possibilities have been discussed, including a suggestion that Praesidio was a variant of Praetorio at one of the destinations of Roman roads on the Yorkshire coast, such as Bridlington, Filey, Whitby, or Scarborough, where the Romans had a signal station and perhaps even a fort under the mediaeval castle.  On balance, however, the strongest candidate seems to be the Roman fort at Newton Kyme SE45644535, reported here, because it was large, occupied in the late Roman period, and close to a large henge.

Name Origin:  Latin praesidium is often translated as ‘garrison post’, as discussed by Bishop (1999), but it literally meant ‘presiding over’ applied to soldiers serving as a guard, garrison, escort, or convoy.  This might fit a fort next to a power centre of local people.

Notes:  Downstream of (1) were Ptolemy's Ιηνα estuary (the mouth of the river Cree) and Λουκοπιβια (near Wigtown).  ND named a unit of Dalmatian cavalry based at (2), but that does not help to pin down a location.  At least ten other Praesidia are mentioned in RC elsewhere across Europe, and it might be interesting to see how they relate to nearby indigenous central places.

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Last Edited: 23 August 2017