Attested: (1) Ptolemy 2,3,4 Ταμαρου river mouth; (2) Tamaris at position 240 in the Ravenna Cosmography's tour of harbour estuaries
(3) Ptolemy 2,3,30 Ταμαρη, a πολις of the Δουμνονιοι/Δαμνονιοι; (4) Tamaris, a place at position 5 in the Cosmography.
Where: (1) must be the mouth of the modern river Tamar's estuary, around SX4750, near Plymouth, and (2) is probably be the same. (3) has been identified with the ancient trading port of Mount Batten, at SX487530, near Plymouth, but the Roman fort recently identified further upstream on the Tamar, at Calstock, SX43626918, seems a more likely location. (4) might be the same as (3), but that creates problems with other name-to-place identifications in the Cosmography and at present the best candidate remains at or near Launceston, whose castle overlooks Polson Bridge, SX355849, where the historic road into Cornwall crossed the Tamar and a minor battle happened in 1643.
Name origin: See Tamesis about river names beginning with Tam-. The –ar part may come from PIE *ar- ‘to fit together’ because the Tamar estuary receives the Tavy, Lynher, etc. In Spain, another Ταμαρα (Ptolemy 2,6,2) / Tamaricus (Pliny 31,18) is the modern Tambre, with an estuary rather like the British Tamar.
Notes: See here for a discussion of the Cosmography's harbour estuary names in the south-west and why the north-coast joint estuary of the Taw and the Torridge no longer seems a good candidate to be another Tamaris.
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Last edited 1 May 2021 to main Menu