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04/02/2010 13:59:04

Définition :

* M.N. Bouillet (1863) : "ORCADES, Orkney en anglais, Orcades en latin. Groupe d'îles au nord de la pointe septentrionale de Écosse, par 58° 42' - 59°33' de lat. nord et par 4°35' - 5° 35' longitude Ouest. On en compte 30, dont 26 habitées. (Pomoma ou Mainland des Orcades, Hoy, les deux Ronaldshay, Sanday, etc. sont les principales); 28000 hab. Climat humide, pluies perpétuelles, froid moins vif que n'indiquerait la latitude; sol peu fertile, pâturages, bétail; pêche (la navigation d'île à île est difficile et n'a lieu qu'à l'été. - Les Orcades, jointes au Shetland, forment un des comtés de Écosse; Kirkwall en est le chef-lieu.".  

* Larousse, 1979 : "ORCADES, en anglais Orkney, archipel britannique au nord de l'Écosse, comprenant 90 îles, dont la plus grande est Mainland, ou Pomona. Élevage. Pêche. Les Orcades forment un comté de 1 700 hab. Chef-lieu : Kirkwall, dans l'île de Mainland".


Extrait de Ordnance Survey : Map of Roman Britain

Histoire :

- M.N Bouillet (1863) : "C'est la flotte d'Agricola qui fît connaître ces îles aux romains vers 83, et qui les soumit. Au Xè siècle, elles furent conquises par les pirates normands qui en exterminèrent les habitants. plus tard, elles passèrent au danemark. Jacques VI les acquit par son mariage avec Anne de Danemark". 

Étymologie :

* Rivet & Smith, p 433 : 

SOURCES : These are numerous. The islands are first mentioned by Mela II, 6, 85, and next by Pliny NH IV,103; then by most writers down to Bede. The name is regularly Qrcades, accusative Orcadas. The spelling is normally with -c-, but Eutropius has -ch-, and so do several later writers who perhaps followed Paeanius's Greek spelling with ~x~. See The discussion in Chapter II, p. 40.

DERIVATION. The base is also that of  the next name, Orcas : Celtic *orco-s from Common Celtic *porko-s, cognate with Latin porcus 'pig, boar'. A related word is Latin orca, thought to have resulted from a contamination of two onginally different words, Greck oruga and urca; its sense is apparently somewhat variable, 'whale, narwhal, dolphin', perhaps 'sea-monster 'also, and this rnay not have been without influence in the way that the islands' name was interpreted (if not upon the original naming) ; see C.-J. Guyonvarc'h in Ogam, XIX (1967), 233-39. Celtic *orco-s has left no Brittonic descendants, but Old Irish orc is recorded as meaning 'piglet, young boar'; there is also Irish erc 'salmon', and this, according to Guyonvarc'h, is a word related to orc because in form they continue a well-attested alternation of Indo-European, *perk-/pork-. For the possible extension of the sense 'pig' in Celtic, Williams helpfully notes Welsh mor-hwch 'dolphin', literally 'sea-pig'. We thus have several possibilities. The name might mean literally 'whale islands' or refer to a sea-monster or to some large creature such as seals or porpoises (Williams), or it might mean 'îles de saumon' (Guyonvarc'h) ; it can scarcely refer literally to pigs or boars. But it is also possible, according to Watson CPNS 28-30, that the name derives from a tribal designation, *Orcoi 'boars', which as Watson notes was a noble animal in Celtic folklore; this is supported by Jackson PP 135, who thinks *Orci Celtic and 'doubtless a totemistic appellation'. This notion is supported by C. Thomas in Arch.J., CXVIII (1961), 40, in view of te strong evidence of such totemistic references in the names of N. British tribes.

Both Orcas and Orcades seem to be treated in our texts as very Greek names (especially in the termination -ades), which may indicate that they were already old when they came to Mela, and had been first set down in the Greek of Pytheas. Watson thinks both names adjectival, without quite explaining how he thought they functioned. He also observes that when the name became known to Pytheas, a Celtic people must already have been established in the island. See also Holder, II,869 and Whatmough DAG 466".

IDENTIFICATION. The Orkney Islands.

Les Orcades dans la tradition arthurienne. 

* Ronan Coghlan, p 196 : 

" O R K N E Y. In Malory, the Orkney Islands form part of the realm of Lot. This seems a late development. In Geoffrey, Lot is the King of Lothian who becomes King of Norway. In the Middle Ages the Orkney Islands had many Norse associations and these probably led to their being regarded as part of Lot's domain. Geoffrey gives them a separate king, Gunphar, who voluntarily submitted to Arthur. In the sixth century the Orkneys seem to have been organized into some sort of kingdom, itself subject to one of the Pictish kings, for Adamnan's Vita Columbae mentions a petty king (regulus) of the Orkneys".

* Ruth Minary & charles Moorman, p 141 : 

" Orcanie (Orquenie, Orkney, Orcades). résidence d'Arthur (Perceval). Royaume de Lot dont hérite Gauvain (Lancelot-Graal). 

Sources : 

- M.N Bouillet : Dictionnaire universel d'histoire et de géographie. Librairie L. Hachette et Cie. Paris. 1863.

- ALF RIVET & Colin SMITH : The Place-Names of Roman Britain. Batsford Ltd. 1979.

- Larousse : Petit dictionnaire illustré. 1979.

- Ronan Coghlan : The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends. Elements Inc. 1991-1993.

- Ruth Minary et Charles Moorman : Petit dictionnaire du Monde arthurien. Terre de Brumes. 1996.

- envoi de **

Liens électroniques des sites Internet traitant des îles Orcades / Orkney / 

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