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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces an article in the
Classical Review
Vol. 32 (1918), p70

The text is in the public domain:
E. E. Genner died in or before 1932.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!

p70 Portus Itius.

On re-reading recently Dr. Rice Homes' argument in Ancient Britain for the identification of Portus Itius with Boulogne, it occurred to me that the apparently most improbable point in that theory has an almost exact parallel in modern times. He believed that to the native settlement of Gesoriacum (or rather to its harbour) the Romans first gave the name Portus Itius, indicating the spot as the port of the district, and later the name Bononia, which was brought from Italy, though not strictly Latin. The theory involves the supposition that the term Portus Itius died out, while the other two names lasted on together for a time, till Bononia finally alone survived, and has remained to this day. So to the locality called by the natives Tekwini we have given the name, first of Port Natal, and then of Durban, which, though not English but French in origin, is an importation from Europe; and while the Zulu word is known, not by Kaffirs only, but by many Europeans on the spot, 'Port Natal' is to‑day rarely used there, and in England it is hard to find, in ordinary company, people who know that Port Natal and Durban are identical.

E. E. Genner.

Jesus College, Oxford.


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Page updated: 8 Oct 07