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Aesica : forteresse romaine du Mur d'Hadrien; aujourd'hui Great-Chesters; Angleterre, Northumberland.

Entre Magnis / Carvoran, à l'ouest, et Vindolanda / Chersterholm à l'est.


Extrait de la carte Ordnance Survey : Map of Roman Britain.

Aesica / Great-Chesters est surlignée en bleu

Histoire; Archéologie

* I.A Richmond; Roman Britain; p 107 : présence d'un aqueduc.

* RIB 1738, datant du 3è siècle : garnison de la Cohors I Asturum / Ière cohorte asturienne.



A. Aesica

* Rivet & Smith, Place-names of Roman Britain, p 242 : 


- Amiens patera : ESICA

- Ravenna 10727 (= R&C 150) : ESICA

- ND XL,42 : Tribunus cohortis primae Asturum, AESICA.

DERIVATION. The name is connected with that of the Celtic god Esus or Hesus, variously equated with Mars, Apollo and Mercury, and known to Latin authors. His name is interpreted as 'seigneur, maitre' by Anne Ross, EC,IX (1961), 405; for other possible meanings and etymologies, see L. H. Gray in EC.VI (1953-54), 70. Here it has an adjectival termination which could be Latin or Celtic (represented now by Breton -ek, etc.; in Old Irish -ech, HolderI.21), but we cannot guess what the unexpressed noun might have been. It is not known whether the god's name originally had E- or Ae- (British ai), since records show the same variation as does the British place-name. While ai > è early in British, the ae / e uncertainty is common also in Vulgar Latin, as Jackson notes (LHEB 324). From a Celtic point of view the -s- is a fossil (LHEB 523), but if the name is considered as Latin, in the usage of a Latin-speaking garrison and army administration, this -s- of course continued unchanged. The name may have survived for a time: R&C observe that 'The Vita S. Cuthberti mentions Ahse, midway between Hexham and Carlisle, which Cadwallader Bates (Hist. Northumb., 67) identified with Aesica. This may well be correct.' The name Aes- is found in toponymy abroad, but in areas where there is no obvious Celtic influence : the Aesis river > Esino (Piceno, Italy) had a settlement Ad Aesim upon it (AI 3164), its ethnicon being Aesinates, and there was an Aesius river in Bithynia. The divine name or more probably a personal name derived from it is present on the coins of three British tribes : of the Dobunni (Mack Nos. 388-89), EISV; of the Iceni (Mack Nos. 432 and 434a), respectively AESV and ESIGO; and of the Coritani (Mack. No. 456b), ESVP ASV.

IDENTIFICATION. The Roman fort at Great Chesters, Northumberland (NY 7066), whose third-century garrison was Cohors I Asturum (RIB 1738).


B. Great Chesters : de l'anglais great = grand; + chesters = du latin *castra = forteresse, fortifications.


* I.A Richmond : Roman Britain.

* Eilert EKWALL : The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names. Clarendon Press. 1980.

* A.L.F RIVET & Colin SMITH : The Place-names of Roman Britain. Batsford Ltd. London. 1979

Liens électroniques des sites Internet traitant de Great-Chesters / Aesica :  

* lien communal officiel : 

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