Ταρουεδουμ

Attested:  Ptolemy 2,3,1 and 2,3,5  Ταρουεδουμ η και Ορκας ακρα;  Marcian of Heraclea 2,45 Ταροαιδουνου.

Where:  In northern Scotland: Cape Wrath (at NC255749) according to Marx (2013), though Dunnet Head and/or Duncansby Head would preserve clockwise rotation in Ptolemy's list of names.

Name Origin:  The only Roman soldiers actually described as sailing round the north of Scotland were Usipii (from the lower Rhine) to whom *tarwedum would have meant ‘tear water’, with first element similar to Dutch taar ‘tear’ from PIE *der- ‘to split’, and second element from PIE *wed- ‘water’.  Alternatively, the second element might come from PIE *we- ‘to blow’, the source of both weather and wind in English.  Latin orca ‘whale’, as in the Orkneys, would make η και Ορκας ‘or also whales’.  Notice that ακρα appears plural unlike the apparent singular at Lands End.

Notes:  R&S offered a Celtic suggestion, with first element like Welsh tarw ‘bull’, from PIE *tauro- ‘bull’, and second element dunum ‘fort’ based on the spelling offered by Marcian.  Not convincing.

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Last edited: 26 September 2018