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4 XI (4.45 Warsaw time): Paweł Nowakowski (UW), The origin of the toponym Galata (suburbs of Constantinople). Some further thoughts


The use of the toponym “Galata” for the suburbs of Constantinople situated beyond the Golden Horn is poorly attested in the early Byzantine period. One finds it not until the ninth century, in the fond recollections of their childhood by Theophanes and the patriarch Nikephoros. The actual meaning and origin of this placename has also been debated. As a result, we consider it as a rather late designation, and a number of very different etymologies can be found in modern works–some reasonable and compelling, others hilarious and unfounded.
In my talk, I will first revisit proposed etymologies, then I will look into the earliest recorded cases of the use of this toponym. I will conclude with an overview of an epitaph from Nicaea in Bithynia, possibly dating from the Theodosian period, which may change the way we look at the toponomastic history of Galata district. In comparison with my earlier talks on this topic at the Warsaw Papyrological-Epigraphical Seminar, and the Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar, Oxford, in late winter/early spring of 2021, the present talk will feature more problematized conclusions including feedback from other scholars with whom I further discussed the issue.