AttestedEsse at position 296 in the Ravenna Cosmography

Where:  An island off western Scotland.  If the Cosmography's sequence of names Daroeda - Esse - Grandena - Maiona - Longis does indeed follow a geographically logical, non-intersecting path across the map, the island should be one of the Treshnish islands, or Gometra, or Ulva, or Inchkenneth, or Eorsa.  Although the name Eorsa resembles Esse, the best candidate is Gometra, where the monastic community of Iona is said to have grown, or stored, food in post-Roman times, and/or its bigger neighbour Ulva.

Name Origin:  Latin esse meant ‘to eat’ as well as ‘to be’.

Notes:  Similar words in Greek meaning ‘clothed, armoured’ hardly seem suitable, but Greek εσσην, used for a priest of Artemis, probably originated in Indo-European Anatolia, not in Semitic Judaea, but also got used more generally to mean ‘king’.  In Saint Columba's time, these islands were home to Christian anchorites, spiritual successors of the Jewish ascetic sect of Essenes.

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Last edited 11 September 2022     To main Menu.