Vernalis

Attested:  2x Vernilis, 1x Vernalis at position 8 in the Ravenna Cosmography

Where:  Somewhere in Cornwall, probably Penwith, the far southwest peninsula.

Name origin:  Latin vernilis ‘servile’ might reflect Julius Caesar's proelio bellum Venetorum totiusque orae maritimae ‘victory in the war with the Veneti and the whole of the sea coast’ (Gallic War, book 3 chapter 16), after which he killed all their senate and sold the rest into slavery.  Alternatively, Latin vernalis ‘of spring’ might refer to the way that west Cornwall experiences spring earlier than anywhere else in Britain (hence its daffodil industry).  It is much less attractive to amend the name to *Vectis and declare that applicable to many islands, not only the Isle of Wight, but here St. Michael's Mount, being Pliny's Mictim and Diodorus Siculus' Ικτιν.

Notes:  Since the Veneti had a great many ships and were accustomed to sail to Britain, many survivors must have fled to Cornwall.  Did they live there as defiant free men (rather like the Bretons who rallied to De Gaulle in 1940)?  Or were they sold as slaves there?  One wonders who bought all those slaves that Caesar sold as war-booty.  Were they mostly women and children, so brutalised that their descendants would supinely, even willingly, accept the Roman conquest of Britain a century later?  The world's largest hoard of Celtic coins, found in Jersey, supplies archaeological evidence of a big upset around that date.

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Last edited 9 April 2020     To main Menu