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) was probably 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, and (4) may be the same.

Name origin:  This analysis rejects the idea that (3) was the ancient trading port of Mount Batten, at SX487530, near Plymouth.  The Roman fort recently identified at Calstock, SX43626918 is such a strong candidate to be Ουξελλα that it can no longer claim Ταμαρη.  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 28 April 2023     to main Menu