Tobar Nam Maor – a Pictish symbol stone with a Scottish Gaelic name

💧Tobar Nam Maor is a standing stone with Pictish symbols that got its name when it was found being used as a cover stone for a well of that name in 1910. Here’s a brilliant 3D model you can have a look at & interact with on Sketchfab:

📝 The name translates to “The Well of the Stewards”, or sometimes “Shepherds”. It’s been pointed out by those better at Scottish Gaelic than me – I’m still learning – that sources labelling it Tobar NA Maor rather than Tobar NAM Maor are incorrect, likely dropping the “m” from the end of “Nam” by mistake due to the next word beginning with “m”. This shows us how important it is to double-check things in the original language of the items we’re researching, particularly if they’re minority languages like Scottish Gaelic because this makes any issues both more likely to occur & more likely to be overlooked, even by otherwise reliable sources unfortunately…

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 More details on the Scottish Gaelic name issues – “nan” (or “nam” in the case of words beginning with b, f, m or p) is the genitive article for plural nouns & so can be used with both masculine & feminine nouns to indicate possession or close association. However “na” as a genitive article is not only singular, but cannot be used with masculine nouns like “maor”, so this grammatical impossibility is what tells us that the “m” in “nam” has been dropped. Hopefully that made sense & I obviously welcome any comments native &/or fluent Gaelic speakers may have. See these helpful tables from Learn Gaelic for further clarification.

⭐️ Canmore Info for this stone can be found here

⭐️ Highland Historic Environment Record info can be found here

⭐️ Further HER entry showing a source with an example of correct spelling & translation can be found here

📸 Featured Photo credit: Pexel

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