Group 26: Moray, Buchan and Kinkardine

















Kair House?


This group follows on from the anti-clockwise tour around the north of Scotland, but reverses the direction; beginning with *Pinnata (Castra), Ptolemy’s Πτερτον Στρατοπεδον (Geography II.3,9) it appears to travel around the coast of Scotland in a clockwise direction. Tuesis, also in Ptolemy (II.3,8), is clearly a site on the River Spey, the Τουεσις εισχυσις of Ptolemy (II.3,4), which can hardly be other than the marching camp at Bellie (Rivet & Smith 1979, 481); the distances implied by Ptolemy would then place Pinnata Castra in the vicinity of Inverness, a not unreasonable suggestion.

Rivet and Smith have been much criticised for removing the name Pinnata Castra from the legionary fortress at Inchtuthil (e.g. by Frere 1980, 421). However, their argument is based on what seem to be marching orders used by Ptolemy’s source and appears to be irrefutable and conclusive: moreover, in lowland Scotland these apparent marching-orders have enabled the only coherent identifications of his placenames with Roman sites to be made. The data in Ptolemy clearly indicate that Pinnata Castra lay to the west of the Spey, although on strategic grounds a site in the vicinity of Inverness, such as Easter Salcautry, makes more sense than the Culbin Sands proposed by Rivet and Smith (1979, 441). The marching camp discovered and partially excavated by Barri Jones at Balnageith, south of Forres (Frere 1990, 310), provides concrete proof of Roman penetration at least along the southern shore of the Moray Firth, farther west than Culbin Sands.

Rivet and Smith (1979, 290) connected Lodone with the tribal name Caledones, an attractive suggestion, but the position of the name in the Cosmographer’s ordering of places would also suit the marching camp at Auchinhove. Sir Ifor Williams (in Richmond & Crawford 1949, 38) was able to adduce a number of parallels for the name Lodone, whose meaning remains obscure, however. *Litanomago is a perfectly acceptable Celtic form (Rivet & Smith 1979, 394), which may be attached to the marching camps at Glenmailen.

Deuoniis clearly related to the name of the River Don (Rivet & Smith 1979, 338) and must be the marching camp at Kintore. Whether or not it is the same as the Δηουανα of Ptolemy (II.3,9) is unclear, as this latter appears to incorporate the name of the Dee rather than the Don, and so it may refer to the camp at Normandykes.

<Memanturum> has been connected by Rivet and Smith (1979, 426) with Nouantarum (Peninsula), the Mull of Galloway two hundred kilometres to the south-west, despite their acceptance that this section deals with places north of the Antonine Wall. The emendation *Nemanturum (‘the enemy people’) proposed by Sir Ifor Williams (in Richmond & Crawford 1949, 41) is easier and does not involve the supposition that the Cosmographer has suddenly jumped across Scotland to name a distant coastal feature whose name cannot have been written in a manner permitting it to be read as if referring to a place near Aberdeen. The name is rather more likely to refer to the marching camp at Kair House instead. If the name were conferred by Celtic-speakers attached to the invasion force, as seems likely (Rivet 1980, 19) then it could well refer to an area of particularly fierce local resistance, perhaps of a group owing no political allegiance to those subdued by or allied with the Romans during Agricola’s campaigns.