To the Romans it was Eboracum. It is said that this name comes from the Celtic personal name, Eburos. For almost four hundred years the Romans kept a strong military presence in Eboracum, to help control the Celtic British tribes (especially the restless Brigantes to the west) and to provide reinforcements for Hadrian’s Wall to the north. The Romans built the first stone walls around Eboracum, so it could be defended.
When the area was invaded and settled by the Angles, from the 5th Century onwards, it is said that they mistook ‘ebor’ for ‘eofor’, which in Old English meant ‘wild boar’. To this they added the Old English ‘wic’, giving the name Eoforwic. Eoforwic became the capital of the Anglian kings of Northumbria and, when the Anglo-Saxons were eventually converted to Christianity, it also became a centre for the new religion.
The city fell to Scandinavian invaders in AD 866. The first part of the name was simplified to ‘jor’, perhaps a result of the Old English and Scandinavian languages being combined. The Old English ‘wic’ became the Scandinavian ‘vik’ and the settlement’s new name, Jorvik, emerged.