Maiona

Attested:  Ravenna Cosmography Maiona

Where:  An island off west Scotland, probably Iona, if the sequence Esse - Grandena - Maiona - Longis in the Cosmography's list of names does indeed follow a geographically logical, non-intersecting path across the map.

Name originMaiona resembles Latin maiora ‘greater, larger’ (neuter plural).  This would make Iona analogous with Maia further south at Bowness-on-Solway, as the local centre of power, indigenous and/or briefly Roman, for communities of the inner Hebrides united by sea travel.  Compare the Roman legal concept of imperium maius ‘local commander-in-chief’, best known from powers given to Pompey to stamp out piracy in the eastern Mediterranean.

Notes:  This analysis rejects any link to Greek μαιον ‘ptarmigan’ or to the islands called Mona etc, or to Irish móin ‘peat’, the base of Gaelic maonag ‘bog-berry’.  The Isle of Mull was probably the Cosmography's Grandena and Ptolemy's and Adomnan's Malea.

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Last edited: 2 October 2018