Attested: Ptolemy 2,3,31 Σκητις (or Οκητις); RC Scetis
Scia insula in the Life of St. Columba by Adomnan, written about AD 700 describing events in about AD 500.
Where: Colonsay-plus-Oronsay, two islands at high tide, just one at low tide. Not Skye!
Name Origin: PIE *skei- ‘to cut’ had descendants in many languages including Greek σχίζω, Latin scindo ‘to split’, Irish
sciacute;ath ‘shield, wing’, and Germanic words such as English sheath, shed, ski, etc or Old Frisian sketha ‘to separate’. Conceivably the final -is might mean ‘island’.
Notes: It has long been assumed that Skye preserves a memory of both name and location from Roman times. However: (a) there are linguistic difficulties with this thinking; (b) in general, Gaelic names for western islands do not preserve Roman names except reinterpreted as if later inhabitants knew nothing about the Roman period in Scotland; and (c) Skye is too far north for the names listed in that part of RC or for Columba's zone of operations around Iona. Skye's ancient name was possibly Magantia.
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Last edited: 27 September 2018