Verolamium

AttestedVerolamio on iter 2, Verolami on iter 6 , and Verolamo on iter 8 of the Antonine Itinerary;  Virolanium at position 96 in the Ravenna Cosmography
   Ptolemy 2,3,21 Ουρολανιον, a πολις of the Κατουηλλαυνοι;  Tacitus Verulamio;    Coins VER, VERL, VERO, VERLAMIO, VIR

Where:  St Albans Roman town around TL134073

Name originVer- is one of those troublesome short syllables that have many potential meanings, but coming from PIE *per- ‘to lead, pass over’ (the origin of modern fare) could give a sense of ‘causeway’, while –lamium may come from PIE *lama- ‘swamp, puddle’ (hence Latin lama).  The sprawling pre-modern state of the river now called Ver, which Ekwall (1928) reckoned was a back-formation from the place, would be a perfect fit to an artist's impression of the pre-Roman place that St Albans museum used to have posted online.  Notice how little basis there is for a letter U in the middle of the name.

Notes:  Coates (2005) took an 8-page look at this name, spelled out how difficult it is to explain in Celtic, ignored the Old English parallels fær ‘journey’ and lam ‘mud, loam’, and bizarrely ended up invoking a personal name meaning ‘crooked hand’.

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Last edited 2 January 2021     to main Menu