Roman Middlewich: Glossary of Terms

Amphora 
A large container made from clay that was used in the transport of wine, oil and non-perishable items that could not be placed in a wooden case. (These were often re-used to hold something else such as brine waste at the salt works.)

Auxilia 
Auxiliary military units attached to the legions. There were about 150,000 soldiers serving as auxiliaries. They were not Roman citizens and were usually from one of the Roman provinces, but were granted citizenship on retirement. They were organised in cohorts.

Barbarian 
Those living outside the frontiers of the Roman Empire.

Brine
Water containing salt

Briquetage 
Baked clay used for linings and containers in the salt works

Britannia
The Roman name for Britain

Celtic 
A general term used to describe the tribes of Northern Europe during the Iron Age.

Centurion 
A rank in the Roman Army

Cohort 
A Military unit within a legion. There were 10 cohorts, each divided into six centuries within each legion. The name also applies to infantry units with the auxiliary army and to units within the Praetorian guard.

Condate 
Possible name for Northwich ‘conflux of two rivers’ (may still be Middlewich)

Cornovii
The Celtic tribe that lived in the area which included Middlewich

Denarius 
A silver coin of which there were 25 to a gold piece (Denarii plural of Denarius)

Diploma
Two small engraved bronze tablets bound together with bronze threads. These recorded the privileges granted to the soldier on his discharge. These included citizenship and the right to be married legally.

Flagon
Pottery container for wine

Fort
A permanent base for units of auxiliary troops

Fortress
The permanent base for units of Roman legions

Freedman 
A slave or servant who had given loyal and trustworthy service and had been given his or her freedom.

Garum
A sauce made from Mediterranean fish and salt. It was a favourite ingredient in Roman cookery.

Legion 
The base military unit in the army. Each legion contained 5,000 infantry and 120 cavalry. The soldiers in the legions were all Roman citizens. The number of legions in the Roman army fluctuated between 25 and 33, depending on how many the current emperor decreed there should be.

Mortarium 
A heavy, pottery dish used to grind foodstuffs into powders, pastes or liquids.

Mosaic 
A design or scene laid in a floor or wall. This was made of small (about 2cm. square) coloured and glazed tiles laid in a foundation.

Oppidum 
A Celtic settlement, often highly fortified.

Principia 
The central headquarters building in a fort or fortress.

Quern stones 
The stones used for grinding grain into flour

Republic
The period of the Roman Empire between 510 and 31 BC

Salinae
Means salt springs, another possible name for Middlewich

Samian-ware
Glazed fine pottery often with a raised design. Originally imported from Gaul.

Sestertius 
A brass coin worth four asses, or a quarter of a denarius

Sextarius
A unit of measurement for liquids. Equal to one imperial pint (0.568 litres)

Tribe
The political and social grouping favoured by the Celts. Headed by a chief.

Woad
A blue dye the Celts used to paint their skins in order to instil fear in the enemy.

Wroxeter
Roman settlement of Viroconium, close to the tribal centre of the Cornovian tribe

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