The Info List - Caer

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(Welsh pronunciation: [kɑːɨr]; Old Welsh: cair or kair) is a placename element in Welsh meaning "stronghold", "fortress", or "citadel",[1] roughly equivalent to the Old English
Old English
suffix now variously written as -caster, -cester, and -chester.[2][3] In modern Welsh orthography, caer is usually written as a prefix, although it was formerly—particularly in Latin—written as a separate word. The Breton equivalent is kêr, which is present in many Breton placenames as the prefix Ker-. The term is thought to have derived from the Brittonic *kagro- and to be cognate with cae ("field, enclosed piece of land").[4] Although stone castles were largely introduced to Wales by the invading Normans, "caer" was and remains used to describe the settlements around some of them as well. An example is the Roman fort at Caernarfon, formerly known in Welsh as Caer
Seiont from its position on the Seiont; the later Edwardian castle and its community were distinguished as Caer
yn ar Fon ("fort in the land opposite Anglesey").[2] However, the modern names of the Roman fort
Roman fort
and Edwardian castle themselves are now Segontiwm or Castell Caernarfon, while the communities carry on the name caer.


1 Britain

1.1 Wales 1.2 England 1.3 Scotland

2 In fiction 3 See also 4 References

Britain[edit] Gildas's account of the Saxon invasions of Britain
Saxon invasions of Britain
claimed that there were 28 fortified Roman cities (Latin: civitas) on the island, without listing them.[6] The History of the Britons traditionally attributed to Nennius includes a list of the 28, all of which are called "caer".[5][10] Controversy exists over whether this list includes only Roman cities or a mixture of Roman cities and non-Roman settlements[11]. Some of the place names that have been proposed include:

Roman Britain (1911).

Cair Guorthigirn. ("Fort Vortigern": Little Doward?[8] Carmarthen?[12]) Cair Guinntguic. ("Fort Venta": Winchester?[8] Norwich
or Winwick?[9]) Cair Mincip. ("Fort Municipium": St Albans) Cair Ligualid. ("Fort Luguwalos": Carlisle) Cair Meguaid. ("Fort Mediolanum": Meifod?[8][9] Llanfyllin?[13] Caersws?[14] in Powys) Cair Colun. ("Fort Colonia": Colchester?[8][9]) Cair Ebrauc. ("Fort York": York) Cair Custoeint. ("Fort Constantius or Constantine": Caernarfon;[16] or poss. a Devonian hillfort[17]) Cair Caratauc. ("Fort Rampart": Salisbury?[9] Sellack?[8]) Cair Grauth. ("Fort Granta": Cambridge[18]) Cair Maunguid. (Manchester?) Cair Lundem. ("Fort Londinium": London[19]) Cair Ceint. ("Fort Kent": Canterbury) Cair Guiragon. ("Fort Weorgoran": Worcester) Cair Peris. (Porchester?[9][8] Builth Wells?[8]) Cair Daun. ("Fort Don": Doncaster) Cair Legion. ("Fort Legion": Chester) Cair Guricon. (Warwick?[9] Wroxeter?[8]) Cair Segeint. ("Fort Seiont": Caernarfon;[8] or poss. Silchester[9]) Cair Legeion Guar Usic. ("Fort Legion on the Usk": Caerleon-upon-Usk) Cair Guent. ("Fort Venta": Caerwent[8] or Winchester[9]) Cair Brithon. ("Fort of the Britons": Dumbarton in Strathclyde[8][20]) Cair Lerion. ("Fort Leir": Leicester) Cair Draitou. (Drayton?[9] Dunster?[8]) Cair 'Pensa vel Coyt'. ("Fort Penselwood":[21] Exeter?[9] Ilchester?[8]) Cair Urnarc. (Wroxeter?[9] Dorchester?[8]) Cair Celemion. (Camalet?[23] Silchester?[8]) Cair Luit Coyt. ("Fort Grey Wood": Wall[26])

derives its name from the Edwardian Caernarfon
Castle, although it is now known in Welsh as Castell Caernarfon...

...while the Roman fort
Roman fort
now known as Segontium
derived its name from a Latinization of the British community along the Afon Seiont.[2]

Wales[edit] Examples in modern Wales

(Caerllion, "Fort Legion") Caernarfon
("Fort Arfon") Caerphilly
(Caerffili, "Fort Ffili") Caerwent
("Fort Venta") Cardiff
(Caerdydd, "Fort Taf") Holyhead
(Caergybi, "Fort Cybi")

England[edit] Modern Welsh exonyms for English cities include:

(Caergrawnt, "Fort Granta") Canterbury
(Caergaint, "Fort Kent") Carlisle (Caerliwelydd, "Fort Luguwalos") Chichester
(Caerfuddai ) Gloucester
(Caerloyw ) Exeter
(Caerwysg, "Fort Usk") Lancaster (Caerhirfryn ) Leicester
(Caerlŷr, "Fort Leir") Lichfield
(Caerlwytgoed, "Fort Grey Wood") Salisbury
(Caersallog ) Winchester
(Caerwynt ) Worcester
(Caerwrangon )

Carriden House, a refurbished Roman fort
Roman fort
which formerly formed part of the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
in Scotland.

Scotland[edit] Southern Scotland, the former Old North of the Romano-Britons, contains many modern placenames with variant forms of caer, including:

Carriden ("Fort Eidyn") Cramond
("Fort Almond") Caerlanrig ("Fort Clearing") Carfrae ("Fort Brae") Cardrona ("Fort Ronan") Carruthers Kirkcaldy
("place of the hard fort" or "place of Caled’s fort")[27]

In fiction[edit]

Cair Paravel Caer

See also[edit]

Welsh toponymy


^ Carlisle, Nicholas. Topographical Dictionary of the Dominion of Wales, "Glossary", p. xxx. W. Bulmer & Co. (London), 1811. ^ a b c Allen, Grant. "Casters and Chesters" in The Cornhill Magazine, Vol. XLV, pp. 419 ff. Smith, Elder, & Co. (London), 1882. ^ More precisely, these English placename elements derive from Latin castrum ("fortified post") and its plural form castra ("military camp"), making them the more precise equivalent of the Welsh castell. ^ Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, vol. 1, p. 384. ^ a b "JTK". "Civitas" in Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 451. ABC-CLIO (Sta. Barbara), 2006. ^ De Excidio Britanniae, §3. (in Latin) Cited in the "Civitas" entry of Celtic Culture.[5] ^ a b Nennius (attrib.). Theodor Mommsen
Theodor Mommsen
(ed.). Historia Brittonum, VI. Composed after AD 830. (in Latin) Hosted at Latin
Wikisource. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Ford, David Nash. "The 28 Cities of Britain" at Britannia. 2000. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Newman, John Henry & al. Lives of the English Saints: St. German, Bishop of Auxerre, Ch. X: "Britain in 429, A. D.", p. 92. James Toovey (London), 1844. ^ Latin
names according to Mommsen's edition of Nennius,[7] translations and modern equivalents according to Ford,[8] Ussher,[9] or as otherwise noted. ^ Breeze, Andrew. "Historia Brittonum" and Britain’s Twenty-Eight Cities at Journal of Literary Onomastics. 2016. ^ Veprauskas, Michael. "The Problem of Caer
Guorthigirn" at Vortigern Studies. 1998. ^ Williams, Robert. "A History of the Parish of Llanfyllin" in Collections Historical & Archaeological Relating to Montgomeryshire, Vol. III, p. 59. J. Russell Smith (London), 1870. ^ Roman Britain Organisation. "Mediomanum?" at Roman Britain Archived 2007-04-01 at the Wayback Machine.. 2010. ^ On page 20 of Stevenson's 1838 edition of Nennius's works. ^ Bishop Ussher
Bishop Ussher
cites another passage in Nennius:[15] "Here, says Nennius, Constantius the Emperor (the father probably of Constantine the Great) died; that is, near the town of Cair Segeint, or Custoient, in Carnarvonshire". Nennius stated that the emperor's inscribed tomb was still present in his day.[9] Ford credits this to Constantine, son of Saint Elen.[8] ^ Per Ford, who ascribed Nennius's "Caer-Custoeint" to one of the Dumnonian kings named Constantine.[8] ^ Although note that Bishop Ussher
Bishop Ussher
ascribed this to the Cambridge
in Gloucestershire.[9] ^ Both Ussher and Ford use the transcription Lundein; with regard to Mommsen, note the similarity with Lindum, the Roman name for present-day Lincoln, and the generic name *Lindon, "lake". ^ Bishop Ussher
Bishop Ussher
argued for Bristol.[9] ^ Coit is Welsh for "woods" or "forest". Ford takes the name as a single construction "Caer-Pensa-Uel-Coyt" ("Fort Penselwood"), while Mommsen and Ussher treat vel as the Latin
word for or: "Cair Pensa or Coyt".[7][9] ^ Cited in Frank Reno's The Historic King Arthur: Authenticating the Celtic Hero of Post-Roman Britain, Ch. 7: "Camelot and Tintagel", p. 201. ^ Usser,[9] following John Leland.[22] ^ In Academy, Vol. XXX, Oct. 1886. ^ Wolcott, Darrell. "Glast and the Glastening". Center for the Studies of Ancient Wales
(Jefferson), 2010. ^ Henry of Huntington previously ascribed it to Lincoln, which was followed until the 19th century, when Bradley placed it at Lichfield,[24] thinking it to be the Roman Letocetum.[25] Instead, excavations have shown that Letocetum
was located at nearby Wall instead.[8] ^ http://fife-placenames.glasgow.ac.uk