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Old 04-09-2018, 03:59 AM
Ann Drysdale's Avatar
Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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Location: Old South Wales (UK)
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I apologise for being a bit dismissive of John's remark on the location of Spain in Roman times. However, I think perhaps we're looking at the map the wrong way. And perhaps at the original Latin.

If we look at Britain (without Scotland) as the double-headed axe that Tacitus mentions, and then look at other translations (Townshend, for instance) which speak of Germany and Spain not "to" but "opposite", it's much more interesting. If we take the Easternmost point (Lowestoft or thereabouts) and draw a line to the country opposite - we get within hailing distance of (modern) Germany and if we stand at the tip of the Lizard peninula and set off to the "opposite" shore we arrive at ... (Well, there's no ferry from the Lizard but there is from Plymouth - to...) Santander.

Of course when we consider his assertion that (Ultima) Thule (Shetland) is, by linguistic implication, the edge of the world. we have to smile at his limitation, but that's easy from where we stand now in relation to it.

But I am far more intrigued by the seas that stretch far up into the mountains. Well, of course they do if we ignore the undeniable downliness of the progress of water. But when we've done smiling at his silliness, let's consider the matter from the point of view of men in boats, seeking to infiltrate this new and exciting territory, fascinated by how penetrable it is if you see the waterways (especially the great tidal rivers) as arteries rather than veins in relation to the mysterious heart of the ocean.

The Tay, for example. is tidal for its first forty miles upstream, and Agricola made good use it.
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