Tuessis

Attested:  Ptolemy 2,3,5  Τουεσις estuary;   Tuessis at position 212 in the Ravenna Cosmography;   Ptolemy 2,3,13  Τουεσις a πολις of the Ουακομαγοι

Where:  River Spey, with a probable Roman camp at Bellie, Fochabers, NJ355611

Name Origin:  Two PIE roots *teuə- ‘to swell’ and *teuə- ‘to pay attention’ compete to explain this name.  The first might fit the shape of this estuary (as Ptolemy called it, not a river mouth), or that of the next river along the Moray coast, the Loxa (Lossie). As explained under Taba, roots based on *teuə- developed a sense of ‘strong’,  The Spey is the fastest-flowing river in Scotland and must have dropped a lot of sediment since Roman times (in addition to the effect of isostatic rebound) so its estuary was probably wider back then.  The second PIE root might fit the way that the north coast of Morayshire looks out over a wide expanse of the North Sea.  The only generally accepted successor of an extended form *tus- is thousand (and its cognates), but the name Τοισοβιος (Conwy) may be related.  The modern modern name Spey has no accepted etymology but looks suspiciously close to the words spew, spate, etc.

Notes:  Welsh tywys ‘guide, lead’ has been suggested as suitable for what may have been the northernmost outpost of the Roman army.  This word, related to Irish taoiseach ‘leader’, probably came from *to-wissu-, which puts it among other leadership words such as toga (in heretoga ‘Herzog’), which may derive from a sense of pulling (like tug, tow) or of showing (like Old English ęteowan or Gothic at-augjan, literally ‘at eyes’).  The obvious guess for a native power centre to explain Ptolemy's πολις would be Castle Hill, but the whole area is rich in stone circles.

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Last edited 4 April 2020     to main Menu