Marcotaxon

Attested:  RC Marcotaxon

WhereMarcotaxon occurs after Victorie and before Tagea in RC's sequence of names, which places it somewhere between Stirling and Perth, as probably the camp from which Roman troops marched out to fight the battle of mons Graupius on the edge of the Ochil Hills.  The temporary camp near Forteviot at Broomhill, NO039175, west of the Water of May, seems the most likely candidate.  That would allow the temporary camp at Dunning, which was apparently re-occupied in the later (Severan) invasion of Scotland, to claim the name Victorie.

Name originMarco- has several possible explanations: R&C and then R&S favoured Celtic, citing Welsh march ‘horse’, from PIE *marko- ‘horse’, whose descendants include English mare; Latin offers marcus ‘large hammer’ (maybe Edward I was not the first Hammer of the Scots!); and Germanic offers descendants of PIE *merg- words for ‘boundary, border’, as in march, Mercia, Denmark, etc.  However, the best parallel is Greek μαργων, used to mean ‘spoiling for a fight’in Aeschylus' play Seven against Thebes, and related to μαργαινω ‘to rage furiously’.  The ending -taxon continues the Greek theme, because of ταξις ‘arrangement, especially in battle order’.

Notes:  This analysis implies a strong Greek influence, perhaps due to Alexander the Great, upon Roman military terminology.  Macatonion may be an analogous site, associated with a battle against Caratacus.

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Last edited: 24 July 2018