The Isis

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The Isis is the name given to the part of the River Thames above Iffley Lock which flows through the city of Oxford. The name is especially used in the context of rowing at the University of Oxford. Historically, and especially in Victorian times, gazetteers and cartographers insisted that the river Thames was correctly named the River Isis, Camden's Britannia, 1586. Translated into English, with additions and improvements by Dr Edmund Gibson, 1722. from its source until Dorchester-on-Thames, where the river meets the River Thame and becomes the "Thame-isis" (from which the Latin (or pre-Roman Celtic) name Tamesis is derived), subsequently abbreviated to Thames; current Ordnance Survey maps still label the Thames as "River Thames or Isis" until Dorchester. However since the early 20th century this distinction has been lost in common usage even in Oxford, and some historians s.v. Isis suggest the name Isis is nothing more than part of Tamesis, the Latin name for the Thames.

A number of rowing regattas are held on the Isis, including Eights Week, the most important Oxford University regatta, in the Trinity term (summer), Torpids in the Hilary term (spring) and Christ Church Regatta for novices in the Michaelmas term (autumn). Because the width of the river is restricted at Oxford, rowing eights normally have a staggered start near Donnington Bridge and must then aim to "bump" the eight in front (i.e.,...
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