Verteris

AttestedVerteris on iter 2 and iter 5 of the Antonine Itinerary;  Verteris twice in the Notitia Dignitatum; Valteris at position 127 in the Ravenna Cosmography.

WhereBrough Castle, at NY791141, in Cumbria west of the Pennines, was a Roman fort whose outline survives as the bailey of a later castle open for visiting.  It sat between a river and a marsh, on top of a modest hillock, which was just one among many hillocks nearby, all dwarfed by distant hills with summits up to 500 metres higher.

Name origin:  German Werder ‘river island’, cognate with *werth ‘marsh’ in English place names, and with Dutch wierde ‘dwelling mound’, a variant of terp, is an excellent fit to the geographical situation of Verteris.  Rivet & Smith followed Ifor Williams in suggesting Welsh gwarther ‘summit’ as a parallel.  Also the many possible meanings of PIE *wer- lead to other potential parallels, including Welsh gwerthyr ‘fortification’, Old English weart ‘wart’, Latin vertex, and Sanskrit vartra ‘defending’.

Notes:  Roman finds at Verteris (mostly catalogued in RIB volume 2, part 2, under number 2411, not yet online) indicate the presence of cohorts of Thracians, Nervians, and possibly Raetians and Pannonians, none of whom are strong candidates to have been Celtic speakers.

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Last edited 9 April 2020     to main Menu