GALLEVAT, s. The name applied to a kind of galley, or war-boat with oars, of small draught of water, which continued to be employed on the west coast of India down to the latter half of the 18th century. The work quoted below under 1717 explains the galleywatts to be “large boats like Gravesend Tilt- boats; they carry about 6 Carvel-Guns and 60 men at small arms, and Oars; They sail with a Peak Sail like the Mizen of a Man-of-War, and row with 30 or 40 Oars.… They are principally used for landing Troops for a Descent.…” (p. 22). The word is highly interesting from its genealogical tree; it is a descendant of the great historical and numerous family of the Galley (galley, galiot, galleon, galeass, galleida, galeoncino, &c.), and it is almost certainly the immediate parent of the hardly less historical Jolly-boat, which plays so important a part in British naval annals. [Prof. Skeat takes jolly-boat to be an English adaptation of Danish jolle, ‘a yawl’; Mr. Foster remarks that jollyvatt as an English word, is at least as old as 1495–97 (Oppenheim, Naval Accounts and Inventories, Navy Rec. Soc. viii. 193) (Letters, iii. 296).] If this be true, which we can hardly doubt, we shall have three of the boats of the British man-of-war owing their names (quod minime reris!) to Indian originals, viz. the Cutter, the Dingy, and the Jolly-boat to catur, dingy and gallevat. This last derivation we take from Sir J. Campbell’s Bombay Gazetteer (xiii. 417), a work that one can hardly mention without admiration. This writer, who states that a form of the same word, galbat, is now generally used by the natives in Bombay waters for large foreign vessels, such as English ships and steamers, is inclined to refer it to jalba, a word for a small boat used on the shores of the Red Sea (see Dozy and Eng., p. 276), which appears below in a quotation from Ibn Batuta, and which vessels were called by the early Portuguese geluas. Whether this word is the parent of galley and its derivatives, as Sir J. Campbell thinks, must be very doubtful, for galley is much older in European use than he seems to think, as the quotation from Asser shows. The word also occurs in Byzantine writers of the 9th century, such as the Continuator of Theophanes quoted below, and the Emperor Leo. We shall find below the occurrence of galley as an Oriental word in the form jalia, which looks like an Arabized adoption from a Mediterranean tongue. The Turkish, too, still has kalyun for a ship of the line, which is certainly an adoption from galeone. The origin of galley is a very obscure question. Amongst other suggestions mentioned by Diez (Etym. Worterb., 2nd ed. i. 198–199) is one from [Greek Text] galeoV a shark, or from [Greek Text] galewthV a sword-fish—the latter very suggestive of a galley with its aggressive beak; another is from [Greek Text] galh, a word in Hesychius, which is the apparent origin of ‘gallery.’ It is possible that galeota, galiote, may have been taken directly from the shark or sword- fish, though in imitation of the galea already in use. For we shall see below that galiot, was used for a pirate. [The N.E.D. gives the European synonymous words, and regards the ultimate etymology of galley as unknown.]

The word gallevat seems to come directly from the galeota of the Portuguese and other S. European nations, a kind of inferior galley with only one bank of oars, which appears under the form galion in Joinville, infra (not to be confounded with the galleons of a later period, which were larger vessels), and often in the 13th and 14th centuries as galeota, galiotes, &c. It is constantly mentioned as forming part of the Portuguese fleets in India. Bluteau defines galeota as “a small galley with one mast, and with 15 or 20 benches a side, and one oar to each bench.”

a. Galley.

c. 865.—“And then the incursion of the Russians ( [Greek Text] twn RwV) afflicted the Roman territory (these are a Scythian nation of rude and savage character), devastating Pontus … and investing the City itself when Michael was away engaged in war with the Ishmaelites.… So this incursion of these people afflicted the empire on the one hand, and on the other the advance of the fleet on Crete, which with some 20 cymbaria, and 7 galleys ( [Greek Text] galeaV), and taking with it cargo-vessels also, went about, descending sometimes on the Cyclades Islands, and sometimes on the whole coast (of the main) right up to Proconnesus.”—Theophanis Continuatio, Lib. iv. 33–34.

A.D. 877.—“Crescebat insuper diebus singulis perversorum numerus; adeo quidem, ut si triginta ex eis millia una die necarentur, alii succedebant numero duplicato. Tunc rex Aelfredus jussit cymbas et galeas, id est longas naves, fabricari per regnum, ut navali proelio hostibus adventantibus obviaret.”—Asser, Annales Rer. Gest. Aelfredi Magni, ed. West, 1722, p. 29.

c. 1232.—“En cele navie de Genevois avoit soissante et dis galeis, mout bien armées; cheuetaine en estoient dui grant home de Gene.…”—Guillarme de Tyr, Texte Français, ed. Paulin Paris, i. 393.

1243.—Under this year Matthew Paris puts into the mouth of the Archbishop of York a punning

  By PanEris using Melati.

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