Tamion

AttestedTamion/Tainon/Tamson at position 244 in the Ravenna Cosmography's series of harbour estuaries

Where:  The river Taff leading to Cardiff, with mouth around ST1972, located by its position between Isca and Aventio.

Name origin:  This name resembles Greek ταμειον (or ταμιειον) ‘storehouse, treasury, inner room’, which Beekes (2009) relates to ταμια ‘housekeeper’, and to τεμνω or ταμνω ‘to cut’, from PIE *temə- ‘to cut’.  That would be an apt meaning for the Taff, which really does cut through a narrow cleft at Castell Coch, before slicing through the low ground of south Wales.  The -on ending might be related to the -ona ending seen on many river names.

Notes:  Maybe this name is relevant to the whole mystery of the class of rivers that begin with Tam- (Thames, Thame, Tame, Teme, Tamar, etc), about which so much has been written.  See under Tamesis for a quote from R&S endorsing the view of Nicolaisen, that the basic root is PIE *ta- ‘to flow’.  A more recent endorsement is by Wyn Owen & Morgan (2007): “The root is British *Tam- once thought to mean ‘dark’, but now generally understood to be ‘to flow’”.  Against that is the way that no one explains what an M adds to Ta-.  Also the Tamar and Thames are real cuts into the landscape.

You may copy this text freely, provided you acknowledge its source as www.romaneranames.uk, recognise that it is liable to human error, and try to offer suggestions for improvement.
Last edited 22 August 2019     to main Menu