Daroeda

AttestedDaroeda (or Daroecla) at position 295 in the Ravenna Cosmograhy

Where:  An island off western Scotland, probably Tiree, to make the Cosmography's list of names follow a simple track across the map, and because of the name Ethica Terra used in Latin written around AD 800 by Adomnan describing events around AD 500 in the Life of St (Columba).  Tiree is famously low-lying and consists essentially of three lumps of hard rock surrounded by peat marsh mixed with wind-blown crushed-seashell sand.  This is rather like the Isles of Scilly, except that post-glacial rebound is making them lose land to the sea whereas it is raising Tiree.

Name Origin:  Δαρος is described by Greek dictionaries as the Doric-dialect version of δηρος ‘long-lasting’, but the pattern of cognates in other Indo-European languages, including Sanskrit, suggests a basic meaning of ‘far’, while the -oeda part (seen also in Μοναοιδα, probably Arran) may be Greek for ‘swollen’, from οιδεω ‘to swell’ as in modern oedema.  This fits the general pattern for Scottish islands of having good Greek parallels, for which there are many possible reasons.

Notes:  This name may claim a record for the number of guesses proposed and now rejected:
- Richmond & Crawford pointed to words for ‘tree’, similar to Irish dair ‘oak’, but Tiree has no trees and other western islands have few.  For the ending they suggested an unlikely parallel in Welsh gwedd ‘appearance’, but if one accepts loss of a W sound, many other PIE roots become possible candidates, including those that led to water, weather, widow, woe, and divide.
- Welsh daear ‘earth’ plus the pluralization suffix oedd could yield an overall meaning of ‘lands’.  Strangely, no Celtic scholar seems to have suggested this.
- Maybe Roman sailors recruited from the Frisian islands, who went on to name Ταρουεδουμ ‘tear-water’ point, made a disparaging comment similar to Old English daro/daru, which developed into later dere ‘harm’.
- Greek τυρος ‘cheese’ is invoked in a geographic context for Τουεροβιος.
- As Watson (1926:86) explained, reinterpretation of Adomnan's Eth- into Irish íath ‘land’ indicates that “the second part is not Gaelic, possibly not even Celtic”.  This suggests that, if Daroeda was indeed Tiree, its name must have been opaque to Gaelic speakers.
- There is a possible parallel in *Durbedis, a place in Lusitania, which Villar (2010) suggested had a first element similar to over a dozen rivers with names similar to Duria, plus a banal adjective-building suffix -eto.
- Old English Úd ‘safety’ is an unlikely explanation of the ending, because Tiree is statistically the windiest and also the sunniest place in Britain.  Although surrounded by fine beaches it is so low-lying that modern yachtsmen describe it as “not a place to be when it's rough or windy from any direction”.
- Also probably irrelevant is an the ancient musical instrument like a lyre, the citharoedus (which gave its name to the guitar) to be likened to Tiree's Ringing Stone, which emits a musical tone when struck.
- Dividing the name Da-roeda might fit Greek δα- ‘very’ plus ροωδης ‘having strong currents’.

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