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Gallia Narbonensis

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Narbonese Gaul was one of the first Roman provinces, named after its capital Narbo founded in 118 BC. Before, it was centered around the Greek colony of Massilia and named Gallia Transalpina. The province was comprised between the Alps, the Mediterranean Sea, the Pyrenees, and the Cevennes Mountains. Following the low Rhone valley, its territory extended close to Lyon, the capital of neighbouring Gallia Lugdunensis.

Before the Roman conquest, the region was inhabited by many tribes and confederations. In later province of Alpes Maritimae, those of the Vediantii (ancient diocese of Nice), Nerusii (ancient diocese of Vence), Sentii (ancient diocese of Senez), an unknown people of the Maritime Alps (ancient diocese of Glandèves), Bodiontici (ancient diocese of Digne), and Caturiges (ancient diocese of Embrun). In later province of Alpes Cottiae, that of the Ceutrones, Medulli, Segusini (ancient dioceses of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, Moûtiers-Tarantaise, and Susa). In later Narbonensis II, those of Deciates (ancient diocese of Antibes, later Grasse), Oxybii (ancient diocese of Fréjus), Albici (Vulgientes etc.) (ancient diocese of Apt), Salyes (ancient diocese of Aix-en-Provence), Reii (ancient diocese of Riez), Sogiontii (ancient diocese of Sisteron), and Avantici (ancient diocese of Gap). In later Viennensis, those of the Comani (ancient dioceses of Toulon and Marseille), Anatilii (ancient diocese of Arles), Desuviates and Cavares (ancient dioceses of Avignon, Orange, and Cavaillon), Tricastini (ancient diocese of Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux), Memini (ancient diocese of Carpentras), Vocontii (ancient dioceses of Vaison and Die), Segovellauni (ancient diocese of Valence), Allobroges (ancient dioceses of Vienne, Génève later Annecy, Grenoble, and Belley), and Helvii (ancient diocese of Viviers). In later Narbonensis I, those of the Volcae Arecomici (ancient dioceses of Agde, Nîmes with Alès, Maguelonne later Montpellier, Bèziers, Lodève, and Uzès), Volcae Tectosagi (ancient dioceses of Toulouse with Saint-Paopul, Lombez, Pamiers, Rieux, Lavaur and Mirepoix, Carcassonne, Narbonne with Alet and Saint-Pons-de-Thomières), and Sardones (ancient diocese of Elne later Perpignan).

Common remarks: the place-names have been put in the nominative case, an asterisk * means not attested, reconstructed form. The late place-names of probable Latin origin have not been included. The IE roots are in the form given by Pokorny's Indogermanische Wörterbuch. The links will be active when the single pages will be published, see the main page. For any comment, suggestion, email me.

Gallia_1 (1430K)

Vediantii

Cemenelum

Nerusii

Varus fl., Varum

Vintium
  • Place: Vence, department Alpes-Maritimes, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Vintium (Ptol.)
  • Etymology: Usually related to Gaulish uinto- 'wint', which reflects the IE participe form *ue-nt- 'the blower'. Thus the name meant although '(the place) of Vintius (a wind's god)' [Delamarre, p. 272] or simply 'the windy (place)'.

Deciates

Antipolis

Oxybii

Aegitna

Anteae

Argenteus fl.
  • Place: river Argens, department Var, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Argenteus fl. (Ptol., Plin., Cicer.)
  • Etymology: Latin or Celtic, from the word for 'silver' related to the colour of the water [Delamarre, p. 58].

Athenopolis
  • Place: not proveably Saint Tropez, department Var, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Athenopolis (Plin., Mel.)
  • Etymology: A Greek compound name, meaning 'the town of Athena'. Incidentally, the etymology of latter is Pelasgian, as the aspirated stop shows, likely from the IE root *ak't- meaning 'head' in this context (the goddess was born from the forehead of Zeus). The theonym is clearly related to the name of the city of Athens, also of Pelasgian origins.

Comani

*Borma

Citharista pr.
  • Place: Bec de l'Aigle, department Bouches-du-Rhône, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Citharistes pr. (Ptol.) Citharista portus (Plin., Mela) Citharistium pr. (Avien.)
  • Etymology: The promonotry was called after a surname of Apollon, 'the lyre's player'. The name is continued by that of Ceyreste, a town near La Ciotat in whose municipality the promontory is.

Lacydon

Massilia

Olbia

Tauroentium

Telo Martius

Anatilii

Arelate

Caenus fl.

Mastramela stagnum

Metapinum ostium

Pisavis

Rhodanus fl.

Tericiae

Desuviates or Nearchi

Bellintum

Ernaginum
  • Place: Saint-Gabriel of Tarascon, department Bouches-du-Rhône, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Ernaginum (Ptol., It. Ant., Gad.) Ernagina (Peut.) Arnagina (Burd.)
  • Etymology: The stem *erno- has been identified in several Celtic place-names but its interpretation is highly conjectural (Falileyev). Similarly, multiple meanings have been proposed for the possible second term *-ago-, while the ending of the placename is a suffix. A different analysis from a personal name *Erno-genos in [Delamarre, p. 152].

Glanum

Tarusco

Cavares

Acunum

Arausio
  • Place: Orange, department Vaucluse, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Arausio (Ptol., Plin., Strab., Mel., Burd.) Arusio (Peut.) Arasio (Rav.)
  • Etymology: It reflects a Gaulish araus(i)o- that is usually [Delamarre, p. 55; Falileyev] intepreted as *(p)ar-ausi-on meaning 'temple, cheek'. Arausio was also a Gaulish theonym.

Avennio

Cabellio
  • Place: Cavaillon, department Vaucluse, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Cabellio (Ptol., Plin., It. Ant., Gad.) Caballio (Strab.) Cavellio (It. Ant.) Cavallina (Peut.)
  • Etymology: Usually derived from the Gaulish name caballo-, cabello- 'horse', but with "various degrees of scepticism" (Falileyev).

Druentia fl.

Senomagus
  • Place: Saint-Pierre-de-Sénos of Bollène, department Vaucluse, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Senomagus (Peut.) Bonomagus (Rav.)
  • Etymology: A Gaulish compound name with seno- 'old' and mago- 'field, market-place' [Delamarre, p. 235].

Tricastini

Memini

Carbantorate

Albici (Vulgientes etc.)

Apta
  • Place: Apt, department Vaucluse, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Apta Iulia (Plin., It. Ant., Peut., Not. Dign.)
  • Etymology: A Roman colony founded in 45 BC by Julius Caesar, it took its specification by him. However, it is not clear whether the first term Apta is related to Latin aptus 'adapt' or it is an older placename.

Catuiacia
  • Place: Saint-Sauveur of Céreste, department Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Catuiacia (Peut., Gad.) Catuiaca (It. Ant.)
  • Etymology: Usually [Delamarre, p. 109; Falileyev] interpreted as a compound name with the first element being a Gaulish catu- 'battle'. For the second term, some scholars point out at Welsh iach 'healthy', which is a cognate of Old Irish hicc 'cure, healing'. Thus a senseful meaning could have been '(place of the) healing after the battle'.

Salyes or Salluvii

Reii

Alebaece

Sentii

Sanitium
  • Place: Senez, department Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Sanitium (Ptol.)
  • Etymology: Reconstructed [de Bernardo Stempel] as *seni-t-iom from an unattested Gaulish counterpart of Old Irish sain 'different, particularly', which reflects the IE root *seni- 'for oneself, separate'. But [Delamarre, p. 228] considers this etymology dubious.

Unknown people of the Alpes Maritimae

Matavo
  • Place: Cabasse, department Var, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Matavo (Peut.) Matavonium (It. Ant.) Pataum (Rav.)
  • Etymology: Usually [Delamarre, p. 193; Falileyev] interpreted as a Gaulish name related to the adjective matu- 'good', from whence also the Celtic taboo name of the 'bear'.

Bodiontici

Dinia
  • Place: Digne-les-Bains, department Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Dinia (Ptol., Plin.)
  • Etymology: It has been interpreted [Isaac] as 'place of slaughter', from a posited Gaulish element *dino- 'destruction, slaughter', which would reflect the IE root *gwhdhei- 'to perish, destroy', or [Delamarre, p. 137] as 'repair', from an equally unattested Gaulish cognate of Irish din 'protection' (unknown to Pokorny).

Sogiontii

Alaunium

Segustero

Avantici

Alabons

Cambonum

Ictodurum

Vapincum
  • Place: Gap, department Hautes-Alpes, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Vapincum (It. Ant.) Vappincum (Burd., Gad.) Bapincum (Rav.)
  • Etymology: Unknown. Explained very unlikely by [Delamarre, p. 258] with the Gaulish uepo- as 'the speakers' (place)'. However, in Gaulish and other Celtic languages the cognates of the IE root *uekw- 'say, utter' changed their meaning into that of 'face, aspect'.

Vocontii

Darentiaca

Gaura m.
  • Place: Col-de-Cabre pass, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Gaura m. (Burd.)
  • Etymology: As the present name meaning 'pass of (accessible only to) the goats' indicates, the placename reflects the Gaulish appellative gabro- 'goat' (Falileyev). The Gaulish b was somehow pronounced as a bilabial w.

Noviomagus
  • Place: Nyons, department Drôme, region Rhône-Alpes, France
  • Name: Noeomagus (Ptol.)
  • Etymology: A clear Gaulish compound name, from novio- 'new' and mago- 'field, market'. See [Delamarre, p. 208] for the historical meaning 'free marketplace' of such denomination.

Vasium

Vologates
  • Place: Beaurières, department Drôme, region Rhône-Alpes, France
  • Name: Vologates, Volocates (Burd.)
  • Etymology: Unknown. Explained from a personal name in [Delamarre, p. 277].

Segovellauni

Cerebelliaca

Isara fl.

Umbennum
  • Place: Ambonil, department Drôme, region Rhône-Alpes, France
  • Name: Umbennum (Burd.)
  • Etymology: It seems a compound name with an unclear praeposition and the Gaulish appellative benno- 'height'. Tentatively, from the survival of the name one could infer an assimilated form *am(bi)-benno- 'by the hill'.

Caturiges

Alpes Cottiae, Matrona m.

Brigantio

Caturigomagus

Eburodunum

Rama
  • Place: La Rohce-de-Rame, department Hautes-Alpes, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • Name: Rama (Peut., It. Ant., Burd., Rav., Gad.)
  • Etymology: Interpreted [Isaac; Delamarre, p. 218] as meaning 'excataveted (land)', from a possible Gaulish appellative rama cognate to Middle Irish rama 'an agricultural tool (spade?)' and ultimately derived to the IE root *ar(e)- 'to plough'.

Stabatio

Allobroges

Bautae

Bergusium

Casuaria
  • Place: Viuz of Faverges, department Haute-Savoie, region Rhône-Alpes, France
  • Name: Casuaria (It. Ant.)
  • Etymology: Unclear.

Caturissium
  • Place: possibly Le Bourg-d'Oisans, department Isère, region Rhône-Alpes, France
  • Name: Catorissium (Peut.) Cantourisa (Rav.)
  • Etymology: A Gaulish compound name, whose first element is catu- 'battle, army'. The second element has received several interpretations, among which that of an adjectival form *rig-s-io- from rig-s 'king' (see Falileyev).

Condate

Cularo
  • Place: Grenoble, department Isère, region Rhône-Alpes, France
  • Name: Cularo (inscr.) Culabo (Peut.) Calarona (Not. Dign.) Curaro (Rav.)
  • Etymology: Explained by [Delamarre, p. 130] with a Gaulish cularo(n) 'cucumber, gourd', as '(field of) gourds'.

Durotincum

Etanna
  • Place: Yenne, department Savoie, region Rhône-Alpes, France
  • Name: Etanna (Peut.) Tenussilay (Rav.)
  • Etymology: The name has been explained [Delamarre, p. 152] from *etna, i.e., Gaulish (p)etna- 'bird(s)', a cognate of the IE root *pet- 'to fall, to fly'.

Genava

Lavisco

Lemincum
  • Place: Lémenc of Chambéry, department Savoie, region Rhône-Alpes, France
  • Name: Lemincum (Peut., It. Ant.) Lenicium (Rav.)
  • Etymology: Usually related to Gaulish lemo-, limo- 'elm', a kind of wood that was very much used by the Gauls. From a personal name in [Delamarre, p. 174].

Mantala
  • Place: close to Saint-Pierre-d'Albigny, department Savoie, region Rhône-Alpes, France
  • Name: Mantala (Peut., It. Ant., Rav.)
  • Etymology: The placename reflects a Gaulish appellative mantalo- 'path, road' (*'the stamped'), derived from the IE root *men- 'to step, trade over, press' [Delamarre, p. 189].

Metlosedum

Morginnum

Tegna

Turedonnum
  • Place: Revel-Tourdan, department Isère, region Rhône-Alpes, France
  • Name: Turedonnum (Peut.) (T)urdonnum (Rav.)
  • Etymology: A Gaulish compound name, whose second element is probably only apparently coincident with Gaulish donno- 'dark' (but also 'noble') and is rather a local variant of duno- 'fort'. The first element could be a cognate of Gaulish turno- 'height' [Delamarre, p. 256] or rather a cognate of Latin turma 'band, flock'. These words are derived by Pokorny from two different IE roots of the type *tuer-.

Vienna

Ceutrones

Alpes Cottiae

Axima

Bergintrum

Darantasia

Gaesabona
  • Place: Cesana Torinese, province Torino, region Piemonte, Italy
  • Name: Gessabona (Guid., Rav.) Gadaona (Peut.) Gesdaona (Burd.) Gaesaeona (Gad.)
  • Etymology: Interpreted [Falileyev] as gaesa-bona from Gaulish gaeso- 'spear' and bona- 'foundation'. The latter is considered of unclear etymology, but probably it reflects the IE root *bheu- 'to be, grow'. Note that intervocalic b tended to vanish in some varieties of Gaulish language.

Obilonna

Segusio

Volcae Arecomici

Agatha (i.)
  • Place: Agde, department Hérault, region Languedoc-Roussillon, France
  • Name: Agatha (Ptol., Strab., Plin., Mel., Rav.)
  • Etymology: Founded by Phocaeans settlers from Massilia, the port kept a Greek omen name meaning 'good (luck)'.

*Alestum

Ambrussum

Andusia

Arauris fl.

Baeterrae

*Brigetia

Cessero

Dehae
  • Place: Dio of Dio-et-Valquières, department Hérault, region Languedoc-Roussillon, France
  • Name: Dehae (Greg. Tur.)
  • Etymology: Unclear. Tentatively related to the IE root *dhegwh- 'to burn'. Similalrly to the nearby Combusta, the name could have pointed to a burn-off practice to clear land for agriculture.

Latara

Ledus fl.

Luteva

Magalona

Mesua

Nemausus

Orobis fl.

Setius m.

Sextantio

Ucetia

Ugernum

*Venedubrium

Vindomagus

Helvii

Alba

Volcae Tectosagi

Atax fl.

Badeia

Candidum pr.
  • Place: Cape Leucate, department Aude, region Languedoc-Roussillon, France
  • Name: Candidum pr. (Avien.)
  • Etymology: The name means 'white (promotory)' in Latin. However that could be simply a translation of a previous Greek name, which is inferred by the survival of the current name Leucate.

Carcasum

Eburomagus

Elusio

Hungunuerro
  • Place: La Tonguère of Maurens, department Gers, region Midi-Pyrénées, France
  • Name: Hungunuerrum (Burd.)
  • Etymology: Unknown.

Narbo

Sostomagus
  • Place: Castelnaudary, department Aude, region Languedoc-Roussillon, France
  • Name: Sostomagus (Burd.)
  • Etymology: Usually [Delamarre, p. 241; Falileyev] considered as a compound name with the first element possibly being the Latin sextus 'sixth' and the second element the Gaulish magos 'field' or better 'market-place'.

*Tasgodunum
  • Place: not identified, probably department Haute-Garonne, region Midi-Pyrénées, France
  • Name: inferred from Tasgoduni (Plin.)
  • Etymology: Likely a Gaulish compound name with duno- 'fort'. The first element tasgo- is traditionally [Delamarre, p. 249] interpreted as 'badger'. Another explaination [Isaac] compares it with the nearby river Tescou. Thus tasgo- could have been an hydronym and it could have meant 'splashing', probably from an onomatopoeic Celtic word.

Tolosa

Usuerva

Vernodubrus fl.

Vernosolis

Sardones or Sordes

Caucoliberis

Iliberris, Iliberris fl.

Pyrenaeus m., Ad Pyreneum
  • Place: The Pyrenees, France/Spain (Pyrenaeus m.) Col du Perthus (Ad Pyrenaeum)
  • Name: Pyrenaeus m. (Ptol., Plin., Liv., Mel., Sil. It.) Pyrene (Strab.) Pyrenaea (Plut.)
  • Etymology: Unknown. Often [Nègre, p. 288-289] related to a city called Pyrene mentioned by Herodotus as being at the sources of the Danube in a possibly confused Western geography.

Ruscino, Ruscino fl.

Sordus fl.

Telis fl.
  • Place: river Têt, department Pyrénées-Orientales, region Languedoc-Roussillon, France
  • Name: Telis fl. (Mel.) Tecus fl. (Plin.) *Tetus fl. (inferred from the survival of the name)
  • Etymology: Original spelling unclear.

Tichis fl.

Conclusions

The most important stratum that is possible to recognize in the region is obviously the Gaulish one, which is attested by several compound names. Many clear Gaulish appellatives are as well recognized in the toponyms.

Other strata are more difficult to identifiy. There is some evidence of a non-negligible A-language stratum in the coastal south of the region. Apart from this vocalism (and the presence of p- which contrast to known Celtic languages), no other particular shifts seemingly characterize this stratum. We might be tempted to attribute these toponyms, often hydronyms, to the Alteuropaeisch ('old European') stratum first proposed by H. Krahe as a substrate to historically known Celtic, Germanic, etc. languages.

Given the territorial continuity to Liguria in Italy, where two distinct non-Gaulish strata were identified - a possibly Celtic but pre-Gaulish one and a Liguro-Sicanian one - some of the A-language toponyms could actually belong to one of these two strata, particularly the Liguro-Sicanian one that was surely an A-language.

Finally, near the borders of Spain, there is at least one clear example of a name explained by Basque language, which points at an Vasco-Iberian superstratum that partially displaced a previously A-language or Celtic domain.

Greek names are of course rather popular in the coastal areas colonized by Greeks in the 1st millennium BC.