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Λιμνος by harlotscurse

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Λιμνος
<center>_Ptolemy’s Map of Ireland – Part 68_</center>

<center>~ [Part 1](https://steemit.com/ireland/@harlotscurse/ptolemy-s-map-of-ireland-part-1)~</center>

<center>https://i.imgur.com/ya4IoOY.jpg</center><center>**Limnos**</center>

In the final section of his description of Ireland—_Geography_, Book 2, Chapter 2, § 10—Claudius Ptolemy records the names and coordinates of nine islands, five of which lie to the north of Ireland and four to the east. The last of the four eastern islands is called Λιμνου ἐρημος [The Desert Island of Limnos].

In his 1883 edition of the _Geography_, Karl Müller records only a single variant reading of this toponym. Friedrich Wilberg records this same variant in his 1838 edition of the _Geography_.

Source|Greek|English
-|-|-
Most MSS|Λιμνου |Limnou
B, E, L<sup>2</sup>, Z|Λίνου|Linou

 * **B** and **E** are two of the _Codices Parisini Graeci_ in the _Bibliothèque nationale de France_ in Paris: [Grec 1404](https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b11000304t?rk=21459;2) and [Grec 1403](https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b107237734?rk=21459;2) respectively.

 * **L<sup>2</sup>** is a manuscript from the library at [Vatopedi](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatopedi), the ancient monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. Müller makes a distinction between **L** and **L<sup>2</sup>**, but he never clarifies what this distinction entails.

 * **Z** is Vaticanus Palatinus Graecus 314, a Greek manuscript from the old Palatinate Library of Heidelberg, which is now part of the Vatican Library in Rome. In addition to **B** and **E**, Wilberg also attributes this variant to **Pal. 1**, which possibly refers to this manuscript.

It is curious that these four manuscripts are the same ones that record the variant reading Ὄδρου [Odrou] for Ἄδρου [Adrou] in the name of the preceding island. Perhaps this means that these manuscripts were copied from a common original. It is probably safe to dismiss this reading as a simple typographical error.

<center>https://i.imgur.com/4Q0lyMO.jpg</center><center>**Ptolemy’s Islands of Ireland (After Marcian)**</center>

The name of this island, like that of its immediate predecessor, is qualified with the adjective ἐρημος [erēmos]:

>**ἐρημος** _Desolate_, _lonely_, _lonesome_, _solitary_ ... (Liddell & Scott 577) 

Presumably, this means that these two islands were uninhabited. ἐρημος, I take it, stands for νησος ἐρημος, _desert island_. Note that while νησος [nēsos], _island_, is a feminine noun, it was common practice to qualify it with the masculine form of the adjective (Smyth 74).

Λιμνου [Limnou] is clearly the genitive case of Λιμνος [Limnos]. Λιμνου ἐρημος means: _Desert Island of Limnos_. Müller seems to imply that this is the case by identifying this island with a similarly named island mentioned in the _Natural History_ of Pliny the Elder:

>_Lumnus_ (codex **A**) or _Silumnus_ (codices **R** and **D**) in Pliny [4:30]; perhaps _Linnonsa_ in the _Ravenna Cosmography_  (1:50). (Müller 81)

As we have already seen, Pliny gives a list of islands off the shores of Britain and Ireland:

>This last island [Hibernia] is situate beyond Britannia ... Of the remaining islands none is said to have a greater circumference than 125 miles [200 km]. Among these there are the Orcades, forty in number, and situate within a short distance of each other, the seven islands called Acmodæ, the Hæbudes, thirty in number, and, between Hibernia and Britannia, the islands of Mona, Monapia, Ricina, Vectis, Limnus, and Andros. (Pliny 351)

Here, _Limnus_ (_Lumnus_, _Silumnus_, _Silimnus_) surely refers to the same island as Ptolemy’s _Limnou erēmos_, confirming that the correct form of the name is Limnos.

The [_Ravenna Cosmography_](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravenna_Cosmography), an anonymous collection of toponyms compiled at the beginning of the 8th century, includes the following:

>Similarly, in that western Ocean are located several islands, some of which we will name, to wit: Corsula, Mona, Regaina, Minervae, Cunis, Manna, Botis, Vinios, Saponis, Susura, Birila, Elaviana, Sobrica, Scetis, Linnonsa [_Linonsa_] (Pinder _et al_ 440-441)

In his analysis of this section of the _Cosmography_, Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews identifies Scetis [Scitis] with the Scottish [Isle of Skye](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isle_of_Skye), which leads him to suggest a novel candidate for Linnonsa:

><_Linnonsa_> may be an error for *_Limnus insula_, although it is not necessarily the same as the Λίμνου ἔρημος of Ptolemy (II.2, 10), which is identified with Lambay. Working backwards from _Scitis_, Skye ... The name which follows Skye, *_Limnus Insula_, could be the island of [Raasay](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raasay), to the north. With so obscure a list, there can be no certainty. (Fitzpatrick-Matthews 81)

<center>https://i.imgur.com/mQx3kyx.jpg</center><center>**Lambay Island**</center>

# Identity #
Having identified Ptolemy’s Adros with Ireland’s Eye, a small island off the north coast of Howth, Karl Müller was satisfied that Limnus referred to Lambay Island, a somewhat larger island about 9 km to the north of Ireland’s Eye. Ptolemy, however, places Limnus half a degree _south_ of Adros in latitude 59° (in the same longitude of 15°), but Muller was sufficiently confident of his identification to emend Ptolemy’s coordinates:

>Adros, lying adjacent to Eblana, is a small island which is called _Ireland’s Eye_. Nearly 60 stadia [~9 km] to the north of this, _Lambey_ island appears to be Limnu, so much so that it might have been recorded before the island of Adru in the following manner:
>
Λιμνου [Limnou]|59° 35'
-|-
Ἄδρου [Adrou]|59° 30'
>(Müller 81)

Henry Bradley also noted the unhelpful order in Ptolemy:

>The other uninhabited island off this coast, Limnus, may perhaps be Lambay, although in that case the relative situations of Edrus and Limnus have been reversed. (Bradley 396)

Lambay has been a popular choice for Limnos over the centuries. It should be noted, however, that the modern name is of Old Norse origin, meaning _Lamb Island_. It cannot possibly have any connection with Ptolemy’s Limnos. Furthermore, if Limnos does refer to Lambay, then that must be an old name for the island that had fallen out of use at an early date. In our native records, the island was known as _Rechru_, a name it shared with Rathlin Island off the coast of County Antrim:

>Lambay is merely an altered form of _Lamb-ey_, i.e. Lamb-island; a name which no doubt originated in the practice of sending over sheep from the mainland in the spring, and allowing them to yean on the island, and remain there, lambs and all, during the summer. Its ancient Irish name was _Rechru_, which is the form used by Adamnan, as well as in the oldest Irish documents; but in later authorities it is written _Rechra_ and _Reachra_. (Joyce 111)

The temptation to identify Limnos with Lambay has proved too great for some scholars. It is even possible that some of those who know better suspect that there is an etymological connection. Perhaps the Vikings called it Lambay because it was referred to locally by a similar-sounding name? But no such name is known to history.

<center>https://i.imgur.com/eFSRiHV.jpg</center><center>**The Nose of Howth**</center>

# _Roman Era Names_ #
As usual, the experts at _Roman Era Names_ have gone their own way, suggesting a Greek etymology for the name and identifying it with the Nose of Howth:

>Λιμνου νησος (_Limnu_ 2,2,12) was an island south of Εδρου [Edrou] and close to Dublin. It has been identified with Dalkey island, which is tiny, as is Ireland’s Eye, but it is probably better to guess that the Nose of Howth peninsula was at least a tidal island in Ptolemy’s day. The name is much more likely to derive from Greek λιμην [limēn] ‘harbour’ than from Celtic words for ‘smooth’ or ‘elm’. ([_Roman Era Names_]())

The Nose of Howth is a rocky promontory in the northeastern corner of the Howth Peninsula. It was certainly not a tidal island in Ptolemy’s day. Perhaps they are referring to another feature on the peninsula.

# Early Scholarship #
In the 16th century, the English antiquary [William Camden](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Camden) suggested that Ptolemy’s Limnos referred to Ramsey Island off the southwest coast of Wales:

>I was heretofore of Opinion, that this _Scalemy_ was the _Silimnus_ of Pliny; but since, I have had reason to be of another mind. For the _Silimnus_ in Pliny may probably, from the resemblance of the two names, be the _Limni_ in Ptolemy. That this _Limni_ is the same which the Britains call’d _Lymen_, is clear from the name it self, tho’ the English have given it another, _viz_. that of _Ramsey_. It lies over-against the episcopal See of St. _David_, to which it belongs; and was famous in the last age for the death of _Justinian_ a holy man ... In the history of his life, this Island is often call’d _Insula Lemeneia_. (Camden 1438)

<center>https://i.imgur.com/8qBD608.jpg</center><center>**Ramsey Island**</center>

[William Baxter](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Baxter_(scholar)) agreed with Camden, adding a fanciful Celtic etymology of his own, which would derive _Limen_ from _Liv Inis_, or _Island in the Flood_ (Baxter 152-153).

The Irish antiquary [James Ware](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Ware_(historian)) was aware of the Norse etymology of _Lambay_, but was still seduced by the similarity between the modern name of this island and Ptolemy’s _Limni_:

>**Limni**, an Island. Now _Lambay_, an Island near the Shore belonging to the County of _Dublin_; and this seems to be pointed out both by the Name, and by the Situation given to it by _Ptolemy_. _Camden_ makes it the Island of _Ramsey_ in _Pembroke-shire_ in _Wales_. The Exposition of _Lambay_ is the Isle of _Lambs_, as _Ramsey_ is the isle of _Rams_, and _Shepey_ in _Kent_, the isle of _Sheep_. (Ware & Harris 41)

[Eilert Ekwall](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eilert_Ekwall) derives the toponym _Ramsey_ from the Old English: **Hramsa**, _ramson, wild garlic_ (Ekwall 362, 243).

In the late 18th century, the Irish scholar [William Beauford](https://www.libraryireland.com/irishartists/william-h-beauford.php) accepted Ware’s identification, another victim of the coincidental similarity between _Limnos_ and _Lambay_:

>Ware justly supposes this to be _Lambey_ on the coast of the county of Dublin. (Beauford 72)

A quarter of a century later, another Irish scholar, [Fr Charles O’Conor](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_O%27Conor_(priest)), repeated this claim (O’Conor lvi).

[Goddard Orpen](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goddard_Henry_Orpen), writing near the end of the 19th century, was one of the first Irish scholars to reject the identity of Ptolemy’s Limnos and Lambay Island:

>What Λίμνου ἐρημος represents is more doubtful. from its position it cannot be Lambay, which, too, is probably a Norse name. It may possibly be Dalkey Island, as Ptolemy frequently places his islands much too far from the mainland. It is evidently the Limnus of Pliny. (Orpen 128)

<center>https://i.imgur.com/41uq17d.jpg</center><center>**Dalkey Island**</center>

As we saw in the preceding article in this series, the French scholar André Berthelot identified the two uninhabited islands of Adros and Limnos with sandbanks off the east coast of Ireland:

>Adros and Limnos, “deserted”, the first off the coast of Eblana, the second off the coast of the Oboka, seem to us to designate the uninhabitable shallows, which were probably uncovered in those days during low tide: the [Kish Bank](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kish_Bank) or the [Codling Bank and the Arklow Bank](https://books.google.ie/books?id=74x30npbgeIC&pg=PA110&lpg=PA110&dq#v=onepage&q&f=false). This is the interpretation on Ortelius’s map, the only interpretation compatible with Ptolemy’s coordinates. (Berthelot 247)

On Abraham Ortelius’s 1608 map of Ireland, these three banks are displayed with the names: North Groundes, Midell Groundes, and South Groundes. On his [earlier map of 1592](https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ortelius_1592_Ireland_Map.jpg), they appear as actual offshore islands.

<center>https://i.imgur.com/Bl3qdxj.jpg</center><center>**Abraham Ortelius’s Map of Ireland (Detail)**</center>

We also saw in the preceding article that Louis Francis identified these two islands with Jura and Islay in the Scottish Hebrides (Francis Section 2).

<center>https://i.imgur.com/LRCm28S.jpg</center><center>**Isle of Raasay**</center>

# Conclusions #
As we have already seen, the nine islands that Ptolemy categorized as Irish actually comprise a list of islands that lay to the west of Britain. Some of them undoubtedly belong to Britain rather than to Ireland. There is, therefore, no particular reason why Limnos should be Lambay Island rather than, say, Raasay or Ramsey—or Lundy, for that matter. The old name of Ramsey Island, however, may preserve a trace of Ptolemy’s Limnos. To my mind that carries more weight than the fact that Ptolemy assigned these nine islands to Ireland.

---

## References ##
 * [William Baxter](https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_3go2AAAAMAAJ/page/n180), _Glossarium Antiquitatum Britannicarum, sive Syllabus Etymologicus Antiquitatum Veteris Britanniae atque Iberniae temporibus Romanorum_, Second Edition, London (1733)
 * [William Beauford](https://www.jstor.org/stable/30078934), _Letter from Mr. William Beauford, A.B. to the Rev. George Graydon, LL.B. Secretary to the Committee of Antiquities, Royal Irish Academy_, _**The Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy**_, Volume 3, pp 51-73, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin (1789)
 * [André Berthelot](https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k6200184q/f263.image), _L’Irlande de Ptolémée_, in **_Revue Celtique_**, Volume 50, pp 238-247, Librairie Ancienne Honoré Champion, Paris (1933)
 * [Henry Bradley](https://archive.org/details/archaeologiaopt248sociuoft/page/396), _Ptolemy’s Geography of the British Isles_, **_Archæologia_**, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 379-396, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1885)
 * [William Camden](https://archive.org/stream/gri_britanniaora02camd#page/n464/mode/1up), _Britannia: Or A Chorographical Description of Great Britain and Ireland, Together with the Adjacent Islands_, Second Edition, Volume 2, Edmund Gibson, London (1722)
 * [Eilert Ekwall](https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.184064/page/n407), _The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names_, Third Edition, Clarendon Press, Oxford (1947)
 * [Keith J Fitzpatrick-Matthews](https://www.academia.edu/4175080/BRITANNIA_IN_THE_RAVENNA_COSMOGRAPHY_A_REASSESSMENT), _Britannia in the Ravenna Cosmography: A Reassessment_, [Academia](https://www.academia.edu/) (2013)
 * [Ptolemy, Louis Francis (editor, translator)](http://ota.ox.ac.uk/desc/2422), _Geographia: Selections, English_, University of Oxford Text Archive (1995)
 * [Jean Hardouin](https://archive.org/details/caiipliniisecund21778plin/page/200), _Caii Plinii Secundi Naturalis Historiae cum Interpretatione et Notis Integris_, Wilhelm Gottlob Sommer, Leipzig (1778)
 * [Patrick Weston Joyce](https://archive.org/stream/originhistoryofi01joycuoft#page/111/mode/1up), _The Origin and History of Irish Names of Places_, Volume 1, Longmans, Green, & Co, London (1910)
 * [Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott](https://archive.org/stream/greekenglishlex00lidduoft#page/1240/mode/1up), _A Greek-English Lexicon_, Eighth Edition, American Book Company, New York (1901)
 * [Karl Wilhelm Ludwig Müller](https://archive.org/stream/bub_gb_i_JfAAAAMAAJ#page/n0/mode/2up) (editor & translator), _Klaudiou Ptolemaiou Geographike Hyphegesis_ (_Claudii Ptolemæi Geographia_), Volume 1, Alfredo Firmin Didot, Paris (1883)
 * [Karl Friedrich August Nobbe](https://archive.org/details/claudiiptolemae03ptolgoog/page/n94), _Claudii Ptolemaei Geographia_, Volume 1, Karl Tauchnitz, Leipzig (1845)
 * [Karl Friedrich August Nobbe](https://archive.org/stream/claudiiptolemae06ptolgoog#page/n6/mode/2up), _Claudii Ptolemaei Geographia_, Volume 2, Karl Tauchnitz, Leipzig (1845)
 * [Charles O’Conor](https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89095854790&view=1up&seq=66), _Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores Veteres_, Volume 1, _Prolegomena, Pars I_, John Seeley, Buckingham (1814)
 * [Goddard H Orpen](https://archive.org/stream/journalofroyalso24royauoft#page/128/mode/1up), _Ptolemy’s Map of Ireland_, _The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland_, Volume 4 (Fifth Series), Volume 24 (Consecutive Series), pp 115-128, Dublin (1894)
 * [Moritz Pinder, Gustav Parthey (editors)](https://archive.org/details/ravennatisanony02ravegoog/page/n473), _Ravennatis Anonymi Cosmographia et Gvidonis Geographica_ [_The Cosmography of the Anonymous of Ravenna and the Geography of Guido of Pisa_], Friedrich Nicolai, Berlin (1860)
 * [Pliny the Elder, John Bostock, Henry Thomas Riley](https://archive.org/stream/naturalhistoryof1855plin#page/350/mode/2up), _The Natural History of Pliny_, Volume 1, Henry G Bohn, London (1855)
 * [Claudius Ptolemaeus](https://digi.vatlib.it/view/MSS_Vat.gr.191), _Geography_, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat Gr 191, fol 127-172 (Ireland: 138v–139r)
 * [Herbert Weir Smyth](https://archive.org/stream/agreekgrammarfo02smytgoog#page/n94/mode/2up), _A Greek Grammar for Colleges_, American Book Company, New York (1920)
 * [James Ware, Walter Harris (editor)](http://www.askaboutireland.ie/reading-room/digital-book-collection/digital-books-by-subject/history-of-ireland/harris-the-whole-works-of/), _The Whole Works of Sir James Ware_, Volume 2, Walter Harris, Dublin (1745)
 * [Friedrich Wilhelm Wilberg](https://archive.org/stream/claudiiptolemae00ptol#page/n3/mode/2up), _Claudii Ptolemaei Geographiae, Libri Octo: Graece et Latine ad Codicum Manu Scriptorum Fidem Edidit Frid. Guil. Wilberg_, Essendiae Sumptibus et Typis G.D. Baedeker, Essen (1838)

## Image Credits ##
 * [Ptolemy’s Map of Ireland](https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Prima_Europe_tabula.jpg): Wikimedia Commons, Nicholaus Germanus (cartographer), Public Domain
 * [Greek Letters](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_numerals): Wikimedia Commons, [Future Perfect at Sunrise](https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Future_Perfect_at_Sunrise) (artist), Public Domain
 * [Lambay Island](https://eoceanic.com/images/harbours/81/eoceanic_the_boat_harbour_lambay_island_county_dublin_ireland_Joachim%20S.%20M%C3%BCller%20via%20CC%20BY_NC_SA%202.0.jpg): © [Joachim S Müller](https://www.flickr.com/photos/joachim_s_mueller/), Creative Commons License
 * [The Nose of Howth](https://www.geograph.ie/photo/897431): © [Phillip Perry](https://www.geograph.ie/profile/21974), Creative Commons License
 * [Ramsey Island](https://community.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/farming/b/farming-blog/posts/rspb-ramsey-island-and-local-restaurant-strike-farm-to-fork-deal): © David Wooton, Fair Use
 * [Dalkey Island](https://www.reddit.com/r/ireland/comments/4ly8pr/dalkey_island_this_evening/): © [Stephen Devine](https://www.reddit.com/user/sdevine89/), Fair Use
 * [Abraham Ortelius’s Map of Ireland (Detail)](https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_England_and_Ireland,_and_the_Progeny_of_the_kings_of_England_by_Abraham_Ortelius.jpeg): Abraham Ortelius (cartographer), _Theatrum Orbis Terrarum_, London (1608) Public Domain
 * [Isle of Raasay](https://www.homeaway.com/d/26475/isle-of-raasay): © 2019 HomeAway, Fair Use

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vote details (545)
@curie ·
Congrats on a Curie vote!
Hi harlotscurse,
<div class="pull-right">
https://steemitimages.com/DQmXgrYG8AKimJKRSu2urPB5SPcftN6GCGx2gVJJMwBkuTu/Curie%20Logo%2075px.png
</div>
This post  has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed).  Have a great day :) <br>
 
Visit <a href="http://curiesteem.com/">curiesteem.com</a> or join the <a href="https://discord.gg/G6RPUMu">Curie Discord community</a> to learn more.
👍  
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vote details (1)
@road2horizon ·
this is a great story! your search is full of details and valuable information !! do you do it for work or is it just a hobby for you? congratulations on your work and the curie vote
👍  
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@harlotscurse ·
Just a pastime, but one I am passionate about. Thank you.
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@marcybetancourt · (edited)
Many times I am surprised to find well-documented academic papers on steemit. However, there are!
This post is amazing.
However, if you can suggest that I do this work in 2 parts since it is very extensive and sometimes it is difficult to read because of the slow internet connection (at least in my country).
A wonderful work like this in 2 chapters, as if it were Treasure Island, would allow you to digest reading and geographical and historical data in a more pleasant way.
It has been an honor and a pleasure to have read @harlotscurse
👍  
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vote details (1)
@harlotscurse ·
Thank you for the kind comments.
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