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’. 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.
Last Edited: 5 September 2016