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Eth. GABRANTOVICI Γαβραντουΐκων εὐλίμενος κόλπος is one of the notices in Ptolemy (2.3.6) of a locality lying between Dunum Sinus (Δοῦνον κόλπος) and Ocellum Promontorium (Ὀκέλλου ἄκρον). Name for name, and place for place, Dunum is Dun-s-ley Bay near Whitby in Yorkshire. Ocellum is probably Flamnborough Head. This makes the bay of the Gabrantovici the equivalent to the present Filey Bay. Philipps (in his Mountains and Rivers of Yorkshire) takes this view; which is, probably, the right one. Others, however, and amongst them the editor of the Monumenta Britannica, place it at Burlington, or Hornsea--in which case the Ocellum Promontorium must be Spurn Head. If so, a promontory so important as Flamborough Head has no name in Ptolemy. If so, too, the entrance to the Humber is mentioned twice over--first, as Spurn Head (Gabrantovicorum Sinus), and next, as, the outlets of the river Abus, i. e. the headland is mentioned, and so are the waters immediately in contact with it. This is not the ordinary form of Ptolemy's entries. Hence, the reasoning lies in favour of Filey Bay, strengthened by the fact of the entry in this case being a double one in a single form--Γαβραντουΐκων εὐλίμενος κόλπος.

But the “bay with the good harbour” was one thing, the “Gabrantovici” was another: indeed, the form in--vici (rather than--vicae or--vica) is an assumption. All that we collect from the form of the word is, that the object expressed by the crude form Gabrantovici-was an object of which the name had a plural number. It might be the name of a population; it might be the name of something clse.

Whatever may have been the real case, it is a word which in the eyes of what may be called the minute ethnologist is one of great interest; since it bears upon a question which, every day, acquires fresh magnitude, viz. the extent to which German or Scandinavian settlements had been made in Britain anterior, not only to the time of Hengist and Horsa, but to the time of Roman conquest. Professor Philipps, and probably others besides the present writer, have believed that German glosses and German forms are to be found in the British part of Ptolemy.

Now, if we admit the possibility of Gabrantovic being a German word, we have as a probable analysis of it the participle gebraente (=burnt) and the Substantive wie (village, station, bay). What determined the name is uncertain. It might be the presence of a beacon. This, however, is not the main point; the main point is the extent to which it is an equivalent to the modern compound Flam-borough. This, in the mind of the present writer, is not an accident. Further remarks on the question to which this notice relates are found under the words PETUARII and VANDUARII.


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    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 2.3
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