Attested: Minox at position 231 in the Ravenna Cosmography, fourth in the diversa loca discussed here. The vowel O is clearly readable in all three manuscripts.
Where: As the Cosmography's sequence of names heads out of the Firth of Forth it passes several islands that Roman sailors would need to recognise as navigation markers and hazards fitting the etymology suggested below. Bass Rock is a weak candidate. The Isle of May around NT656992 is stronger: it has “reefs and large numbers of wrecks ”. Possibly the strongest candidate is Bell Rock at NO761269, which is 25 km out to sea but was extremely dangerous to shipping and liberates the next name in the Cosmography, Taba, to be near the mouth of the Tay estuary.
Name origin: Latin minax ‘jutting out, threatening’. Dictionaries struggle a bit with the multiple PIE roots of form *men- or similar. Pokorny cites obvious descendants such as eminent and menacing plus also mountain and mouth.
Notes: This analysis rejects Fife Ness at NO638097, the eastern extremity of land between the Forth and Tay estuaries, whose headland is cut off by a linear feature called Danes Dyke, of unknown date, with Roman-era archaeological finds in a cave there, and a Roman temporary camp 9 km away at Bonnytown.
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Last edited 13 May 2020 to main Menu.