Wistlawudus & Moravias

Here are some topics of interest from the British Isles.  The source for these words may be Scandinavian Norse or Slavic.  If it were Slavic, it should be remembered that the there were Slavs in the various Viking raiding parties that seized vast tracts of Britain so no great surprise there.  Of course, if these names were older…

Wistla Water

This is an outtake from the 1654 map of Orkneys and Shetlands.  The area of interest is the Shetland island of Mainland (yes, they weren’t very creative back then).  Here is the first picture:


Now take a look at this one where we highlighted some interesting water names:


For another Wiesle in the Alps see here.  And what of Tresta?  Croce sound? Twar?  What is the Vo. exactly to stand for?

Moravia & Rosia

We should note, however, that interesting names abound in Britain (particularly in the North), such as that of the Lugi or the Smertes.  Or for that matter of the Iceni and its leader Boudicca.  We raised some questions before on this topic and will return to it but in the meantime.. on a more lighter note:

Enjoy the first printed – surviving – map of Scotland (so called Paulo Forlani Map) dated to 1566-1570 but based on earlier materials (of George Lily and Hector Boece); another version apparently exists in the Netherlands:


Now, Nessa (Nysa) can be explained with “wet” (German nass) albeit, if that explanation were to be accepted, a name like “wet river” does not exactly differentiate that body of water from any other… but it leads to… Loch Ness – hence Nessa?  But why is Loch Ness so ness as compared to other lochs?  What’s the differentiating factor here?  (does this explain the need for a sea-monster to put the place on the map?).

Rossia could be explained by the presence of Roslagen Vikings among the invaders…

Moravia – a Latinization of the name for the land next to Murray Firth.  But what does “murray” then really mean? It may come from Muireb (or Moreb) or, earliest form (736): Moerheb.  Note too the Norse Merrhaefi.  Or for that matter the Polish murawa or, if you want to get creative, marchew; after all carrots sit in the ground.  Is it wet ground?


What’s interesting, however, is that here we have all three such names right next to each other – a situation which would be easily explainable in Eastern Europe but is a remarkable coincidence in Britain.

And this before we even get to Britain’s Pennines range.  If you thought the the Pyrenees were fun, wait till these hillocks come under consideration.


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April 17, 2016

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