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The Jaén town with the Peña de Martos in the background. SUR
Martos: A walled city protected by the rock of Tuš
THE STORY BEHIND A PLACE NAME

Martos: A walled city protected by the rock of Tuš

Known as Tucci by the Iberians, theories abound concerning the meaning of the name Martos, but most favour a Moorish connection

Tony Bryant

Seville

Friday, 1 March 2024, 15:20

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Considered the largest olive oil producing municipality in Spain, Martos (Jaén), has an important history that goes back to the Iberians.

Martos is popularly known as Ciudad de la Peña, as it is located at the foot of the Peña de Martos, a large rocky mass on top of which is perched its medieval fortress.

Historians claim the origin of its toponym dates back to ancient history, when the Iberians settled in the area and named the settlement Tucci, although it experienced its greatest era after the Roman conquest of the peninsula.

Plinio, known by the name Pliny the Elder to differentiate him from his nephew (Plinio the younger), first referred to the town as Colonia Augusta Gemella Tuccitana. He is said to have done this to differentiate the town from other populations that shared the name of Tucci.

Most academics agree that there seems to be no evidence which explains the true evolution of the previous names with the etymology of Martos, although most are of the opinion that this name evolved after the Muslim conquest of the peninsula in the 8th century.

The Muslim author Al-Razi was the first person to mention the town as Tuš, which was transformed into Martuš in the 10th century, Martuš is said to refer to the fact that it was a walled city in the mountains, although the passage between these names is uncertain. Some historians declare the town's Muslim name refers to the imposing rock that protected it from invaders, so it would therefore be logical to surmise that Mar and Tuš formed a single toponym that would mean Rock of Tuš.

Another theory put forward declares that the name of Martos was given to the town by the invading Christians, who, in 1255, captured it from the Muslims on St Martha's Day, although this is also not supported by factual evidence.

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