Attested: RC Traxula
Where: The Isle of Portland, located by its position in RC's tour of harbour estuaries.
Name origin: Latin tragula ‘kind of javelin or dart attached to a strap’ is similar in shape to the pointed Isle of Portland at the end of long, thin Chesil Beach. Tragula is discussed carefully by Descroix (1948); it survived into French dialect as trachlle.
Notes: The Roman harbour entrance was probably by Weymouth, at SY684787, where the river Wey led to Radipole, and then to Dorchester (Durnonovaria), rather than the medieval harbour of The Fleet, sheltered by Chesil Beach, or the modern harbour, which is man-made. Roman authors were unsure whether to derive tragula from traicio ‘to throw across’ or from trago ‘to drag’. The letters G and X were closely related in Latin: think of lex/legis, rex/regis, the ancestors of lax and languid, and the Runic alphabet, which used X to represent a G sound.
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Last edited: 02 January 2019