Attested: RC Marcotaxon
Where: Uncertain. Marcotaxon occurs after Victorie in RC's sequence of names and must be somewhere between Stirling and Perth, most likely near the Ochil Hills. The temporary camp at Dunning, from which Roman troops may have marched out to fight the battle of mons Graupius, is a strong candidate, but it was not a long-lived fort.
Name origin: Marco- 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. See under Taximagulus for possible roots of -taxon: the most likely is *tag- ‘to set in order’, whose descendants include tactics, taxation, and the element tagus seen in Prasutagus. Greek ταξω ‘draw up in battle order’ or Latin taxo ‘to judge, to reproach’ may suit the vicinity of mons Graupius.
Notes: Is it too simplistic to translate this name as ‘march out in battle order’? How did the Romans interact politically with local chieftains before and after the big battle?
Last Edited: 29 June 2017