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 149597
(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. Campbells 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. 198199) is one from [Greek Text]
galeoV a shark, or from [Greek Text] galewthV a sword-fishthe 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.]
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. 3334.
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