Σεταντιων λιμην

Attested:  Ptolemy 2,3,2 Σεταντιων λιμην.

Where:  The river Wyre, with mouth around SD342484.  Any Roman harbour installation has probably been lost to the sea north of Fleetwood.

Name origin:  ‘Wide opposite’.  The first element was probably similar to Old Irish sith- ‘long’ (which outranks Old English sid ‘wide, spacious, large’ as a parallel on this side of Britain) derived from PIE *sē- ‘to sow, to spread out’.  The second element was similar to Greek αντιος, from PIE *h2enti- ‘opposite’.  This fits the situation of Fleetwood at one extremity of the wide expanse of Morecambe Bay.

Notes:  The personal name Sétanta of the mediaeval Irish mythological tale Cú Chulainn was presumably a reference to the young hero's appearance, most likely meaning ‘wide forehead’ based on the original meaning of PIE *ant- ‘front, forehead’, preserved in Irish étan ‘brow, forehead’.  There is therefore no reason to follow Watson (1926:25) in supposing that “the Setantii were an ancient British tribe” except insofar as some people lived around the port.

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Last edited 9 April 2020     To main Menu.