Mona

Attested:  Caesar  Mona;  Pliny Mona (2x);  Tacitus Monam insulam (3x);
   Dio/Xiphilinus Μονναν, Μοννηςς;  Ptolemy 2,2,12 Μονα island;  RC Mona

Where:  Either or both of the Isle of Man and Anglesey.  Ptolemy’s coordinates match the Isle of Man, according to Kleineberg et al (2012), and the texts of RC and Caesar put Mona there too.  Tacitus and Dio clearly refer to military operations against Anglesey, and Pliny’s Mona must be Anglesey too since he also supplies another name Monapia to be Man.

Name origin:  PIE *men- ‘to project’ is the root of many words, from mouth to mountain (or Welsh mant to mynydd), which seems to have led to several islands being called Mona, presumably related to Latin mons ‘hill’, because they could be seen for a distance at sea.

Notes:  There were many other island names similar to Mona, which seem to have made ancient writers as confused as modern ones!

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Last Edited: 07 June 2016