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.

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Last Edited: 28 September 2016