Gabrosentum

Attested:  RC Gabrocentio;  ND Gabrosenti

Where:  Probably the Roman coastal fort at Moresby, at NX982210, near Whitehaven, Cumbria.

Name Origin:  PIE *kapro- ‘goat’ led to Latin caper, capra, and the Capricorn emblem of several Roman legions, including II Augusta, which served in Britain.  Initial G is claimed to be distinctively Celtic, since it appeared in Old Irish gabor, but it also appeared in a range of proper names in non-Celtic areas of the Continent.  R&S suggested the –sent part meant ‘path’, from PIE *sent- ‘to go’, but the other meaning of *sent- ‘to perceive’ may be better, in the sense of ‘lookout’, perhaps related to the word sentinel.  Latin sentus ‘thorny’ could also make Gabrosentum mean ‘buckthorn’.

NotesSea buckthorn is useful for food and dyeing, and is now being encouraged to grow on the Cumbrian coast.  It is native to Britain, and can form great thickets on sand dunes.  The coast below the Roman fort has been much altered in recent centuries, but it might have had extensive dunes in Roman times.

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Last Edited: 29 May 2016