where my theme is to interpret "How Did That Happen?" I'm using the slot today to explain how 'names' happen to be chosen for my novels.
Writing a novel can involve some very interesting decisions over the use of names. My Celtic Fervour Series includes many different types of names – names of characters, names of places, names of rivers, names of tools and implements, even names of units in the Ancient Roman Army.
I’ve always found great pleasure in finding a name that really suits what I want to describe, yet I’m also always careful, and incredibly cautious, about choosing names that are as accurate as can be. In The Beltane Choice, Book 1 of the series I wanted a credible location to site the clan members who would be the main characters of the novels. I looked at Ordinance Survey maps and chose sites which had been marked as of historical significance, sites which had been identified as having Celtic hillforts.
Since I decided to start my series in the area where the Ancient Roman Army began to infiltrate and subdue the ‘barbarian’ north, the land settled on by the Brigantes Federation of tribes was the sensible choice as a start-point. Archaeological evidence seems to indicate that the Romans had some major confrontations with the Brigantes around the time of Queen Cartimandua’s demise/ disappearance, these engagements backed up by a small amount of historical record – around AD 69. During the previous couple of decades (approximately AD 50-69) Queen Cartimandua’s dealings with Rome seems to have kept her territories relatively stable, but her rift with her husband King Venutius changed the political stability of the region. The year of the Four Emperors in
Rome, AD 68/69, meant military volatility
throughout the Roman Empire but that was also
happening in Brigantia since Venutius’ troops were in revolt, a civil war
against the forces of Cartimandua.
|copyright Nancy Jardine for Book 2 After Whorl: Bran Reborn|
The battle, which is mentioned at the end of Book 1, I named as the battlegrounds of Whorl. This is purely fictitious but I chose Whorlton on the OS map for a particular reason. There’s no historical or archaeological evidence for this being a Roman/ Iron Age tribal battle site but the Celts tended to choose a location that had a low foothill flanking a flat plain, where the infantry would be terraced on the foothills with a good flat valley floor for the chariots to ride back and forth. The hill of Whorlton seemed a perfect location for me, convenient because Stanwick isn’t too far off and the area in between a good mustering site for the forces of King Venutius and for the Roman Legions led by General Petilius Cerialis to march to.
Other locations in my series have also been chosen with great care, because I love the research involved and like to know they really work for me!