From: Ton Sales
I thank You very much indeed! So, after Coromines, the only existing
(published) hypothesis about Barcino is Villar's connection with *wara
'water' (or not?)...
I've had never heard about the connection you mention. What I have always heard is that Barkeno (> Latin Barcino > Barcelona) was most probably Iberian, like Tarrako (> Tarragona, Tàrrega) and numerous others --e.g. the Catalan placenames beginning with Pre-Roman Il-, as Lleida (< Caesar's Ilerda), Llers or Olorda, which are duly discussed by Coromines. (In Il-/Ol- he sees some commonalities with Basque Iri-/Uri-, hinting an Iberian substrate for Basque "town" rather the other way round.)
In the common lore, Barcino has been always attributed to a Phoenician/Carthaginian Barca, either because of Amilcar Barca (Hannibal's father), who happened to travel to the zone around the time of its foundation, or because the Semitic (Phoenician?) barqa (= fortune) as an ancient Lybian sea-side town is still called today. However, the Semitic connection, popular but not firmly grounded, seems to be in the class of 'popular etymologies' and Hannibal stories of Romans versus Carthaginians.
More recently, some connections with barca (= boat) and/or barraca (> barrack, of recognized Catalan origin) have been hinted as well, but with no further connections suggested.
Another (distant) possibility: Some relation, maybe, with Barcelos (in Northern Portugal, where the nearby town --and patronymic-- Guimar ães has a twin in the Catalan town --and patronymic-- Guimerà)
I suspect Coromines was unsure enough to skip the entry --for personal reasons, he underlined: "In the case of the country's capital", he said, "one needs to be authoritative". On similar grounds he wrote "reduced entries" for Tarragona/Tàrrega, Ebre, Maó, and Alacant. He argued that "in the present state of our linguistic knowledge, trying to get the primal form and sense of these words is folly".
Ton Sales (from Barkeno)