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Définition : fleuve du sud de la G. Bretagne, entre le Devon et le Cornwall.

jean-claude Even

Extrait de Ordnance Survey : Map of Roman Britain.

Les sources de la Tamar et de ses affluents sont pointés de vert Mammoù ar tamar hag hi eil-sterioù a zo merket e gwer


Étude étymologique :

* Rivet & Smith : The Place-names of Roman Britain. p. 465.


- Ptolemy II, 3, 3: Tamaron potamon ekbolai (= TAMARI FLUVII OSTIA)

- Ravenna 10826 : (=R&C 240): TAMARIS


The name is British *Tamaros (alternatively * Tamara), made up of a base *tam- with *-ar(a) suffix found in many other names (see LEUCARUM). The root is present in the British names which follow in this List, Tameia, Tamesa or Tamesis, Tamius, Tamus, and in many modern names (not recorded in ancient sources) which are listed by Jackson LHEB 487 and by W. Nicolaisen in BZN, vin (1957), 256-57: Thame, Team, Temne, etc.; also with -v- or -w- (showing British lenition), Tavy, Teviot, Tawy. Abroad the root was wide-spread too in river-names : Tamaris (Mêla III,II) or Tamara (Ptolemy II, 6, 2) > Tambre (Coruna, Spain), Tamarici Fontes in Cantabria (Spain; Pliny NH XXXI, 23), Tamarus AI, 103,1 > Tammaro, a tributary of the Calore near Benevento (Italy), *Tamira or *Tamera > Demer, a tributary of the Dyle (Belgium), and modern Tamaran, a tributary of the Bourbince (Saône-et-Loire, France: Dauzat TF 138).

*Tam- is usually interpreted as 'dark', in view of cognates cited under Tamesa, Tamesis, but modern opinion among Continental scholars would regard these as illusory. The most comprehensive recent survey is that of Nicolaisen (above), 256-62, who boldly unites a very large number of names as based on the Indo-European root *ta- *** ' flieBen ' (' to flow'). Three consonantal formations are differentiated : the first with -m-, which accounts for all the names mentioned above; the second with -n-, which explains modern British Tone, Tain, Tean, and several Continental names; the third with -y-, which embraces ancient Taua (or Tauia), modern Taw, Tay, and again Continental examples. This is amply convincing as to forms, and semantically also, since it is casier to think that so many rivers over a vast area were named simply 'flowing one, river' than that they were called 'dark', a more particular and subjective designation.

Bibliographie; sources; envois

* Eilert EKWALL : The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names. Clarendon Press. Oxford. 1936 - 1980.

* Petit Larousse Illustré. Librairie Larousse. 1979.

* A.L.F RIVET & Colin SMITH : The Place-names of Roman Britain. Batsford Ltd. London. 1979-1982.

* Xavier DELAMARRE : Le vocabulaire indo-européen. Lexique étymologique thématique. Librairie d'Amérique et d'Orient. Paris. 1984.

* A.D MILLS : Dictionary of British Place Names. Oxford University Press. 1991 - 2003

Liens électroniques des sites Internet traitant de la Tamar / Tamarus :  

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