Trucculensis Portus

Attested:  Tacitus (Agricola 38) Trucculensem Portum with marginal emendation to Trutulensem.  See Wolfson (2008).

Where:  Probably the Montrose Basin, around NO7058, leading to the river South Esk.  Or possibly the estuary of the river North Esk, a little way north, because, after the battle of Mons Graupius, Agricola's army needed logistic support in the Angus and Aberdeenshire areas of north-east Scotland.

Name origin:  Latin for ‘savage harbour’.

Notes:  Wolfson (2008) looked carefully at the Latin of Tacitus's sole surviving manuscript and argued for taking the emended spelling and emending it further to trux tulensem, in order to support a theory that Agricola's navy did not just glimpse Thule in the distance, but surveyed all of Shetland and spent time in Lerwick harbour.  An interesting idea, but unnecessary.  Montrose was a difficult harbour for Roman sailors because of the fast tidal race (what the Norse later called Stroma ‘stream’) at the narrow mouth of the large Montrose Basin, the same issue as led to the name Velox for Poole Harbour.  That whole coastline would have been different in Roman times, before the effects of siltation and of land rising relative to sea because of isostatic rebound, with the North Esk estuary possibly much bigger.

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Last edited 18 March 2020     to main Menu