Tamesa or Tamesis
Attested: Caesar Tamesis river; Tacitus Tamesae estuary; Ptolemy 2,3,6 Ιαμησα estuary; Cassius Dio Ταμεσαν.
Where: River Thames. Ptolemy's coordinates point far out in the wide opening of the estuary, quite different from RC's Tamese, which appears to be at Westminster.
Name origin: Nicolaisen WFH ‘Die alteuropäischen Gewässernamen der britischen Hauptinsel’. Beiträge zur Namenforschung 8, 211-268, 1957 spelled out the analysis that is most accepted today, notably by R&S, who wrote: “ ... a very large number of names ... based on the Indo-European root *ta- *tə- ‘to flow’. Three consonantal formations ...: the first with -m-, which accounts for [Tamar, Thames, etc]; the second with -n-, which explains modern British Tone, Tain, Tean, and several Continental names; the third with -y-, which embraces modern Taw, Tay, and Continental examples. This is amply convincing as to forms, and semantically also ...”. This interpretation outranks the old idea of a Celtic word for ‘dark’.
Notes: Tamesis differs only by a letter T from Amesis the river Ems, where Anglo-Saxons are said to come from, so maybe Ptolemy's initial letter I cannot be corrected into a T with total certainty.
Last Edited: 28 September 2016