Attested: Grandena at position 297 in the Ravenna Cosmography
Where: An island off western Scotland, probably Mull, if the sequence Esse - Grandena - Maiona - Longis in the Cosmography's list of names does indeed follow a geographically logical, non-intersecting path across the map.
Name Origin: Latin grandino ‘to hail’ made Richmond & Crawford think of classical authors' comments about foul weather around some British islands, but Mull, like most west-Scottish islands, is just wet and windy, not especially liable to snow and hailstorms. So the key issue is probably geology, not climate. Hailstones look like pebbles, so Latin grando ‘hailstorm’ may be cognate with Germanic words such as Old English *grand ‘gravel’ that show up in later names such as Grantham, the Isle of Grain, and the river Granta, plus Greenwich and Greenock. Google Street View offers excellent views of the shingle beaches of Mull, especially in Loch na Keal, which might have been a logical inlet for Roman ships to explore, and to comment on the contrast with white sandy beaches on Iona.
Notes: See here for some general comments on Scottish islands. The Isle of Mull was probably Ptolemy's and Adomnan's Malea.
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Last edited 10 March 2021 To main Menu