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Old December 1st, 2011, 07:36 AM   #1
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when were the names of European countries invented?


So, when was "France" coined? And what about Sweden, Norway, Spain, Slovakia, etc. etc. ?

There are over 40 names to consider about their origins.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 07:46 AM   #2
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do you speak about the own description like hellas or the exonym like Greece or yauna?
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Old December 1st, 2011, 08:32 AM   #3

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I believe Philip II was the first king to take the title "King of France."

Before that they were styled "King of Franks" or "King of Western Francia." Though, I believe that the French kings kept the title "King of the Franks" well into the 1700's.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 08:50 AM   #4
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Finland comes from latin word Fenni, a Finn. Although it originally meant Lapp or Sami people.

Tacitus in his work Germania mentions Fenni so it is probably loan from Germanic people.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 08:54 AM   #5

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Spain comes from Latin Hispania, a reference to the many rabbits that lived there. The rabbit originally only lived on the Iberian peninsula, where it was separated during the ice ages from its northern cousin, the hare, common throughout Europe. Rabbits had been unable to cross the Street of Gibraltar in the south, or the high peaks of the Pyrenees to the north, and had evolved differently and multiplied to great numbers, as rabbits notoriously do.

When the Phoenicians started settling the peninsula 3000 years ago the plentiful roadents reminded them of Hyraxes, a roadent common to Phoenicia, called Shapan in their own Semitic language. So Iberia became the "land of rabbits", or Ishepanim, alternatively Ishepania. The Romans took over this name from the Carthaginians, calling the land Hispania, this became España in Spanish.

Ishepanim also lives on in Sepharad, or Sefard, as the Jews of Spain came to be called. According to Sefardic tradition Jews arrived in Spain together with the Phoenicians.

There are other explanations, ofcourse. According to some the word Spain is related to the Akkadian term sapannu, meaning "sunset", or "west". Or to Phoenician sapan, meaning 'border', or 'end', or Phoenician sphan, meaning 'north'. But the rabbit-hypothesis is just too good to be left untold!

Last edited by Zeno; December 1st, 2011 at 09:42 AM.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 09:27 AM   #6

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Slovakia obviously is related to Slav, as in the Slavic peoples. The word Slav is probably based on slobo or slovo, meaning 'word', or 'the language'. Alternatively the root meant 'worshipper' (of the same religion).

The people called themselves Sloveninu, or Slověninъ; 'those who can speak', which is in fact a common autonym for many peoples - compare to Germanic theodisc 'language of the people' and modern-day Deutsch and Dutch.

The slovo- root is also found in 'Slovenia', or the 'Slavonia', a region in North-East Croatia.

Last edited by Zeno; December 1st, 2011 at 09:39 AM.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 09:39 AM   #7

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Variation of the name "Hrvatska" can be traced as far back as 3rd century AD, but it was only in the 9th century when a ruler was entitled "dux Croatorum" (Croatia is a latinized form of the name Hrvatska). In his book "De administrando imperio", Constantine VII. translates "Hrvat" as a "well armored solider" or as a "man with a lot of land".

Last edited by Karlo; December 1st, 2011 at 09:45 AM.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 09:55 AM   #8

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'Russia' comes from the Swedish Vikings who entered Eastern Europe via their Drakkars, rowing boats. In Old Norse "to row" is rodr, the rowers are called rodsmenn.
In the Finnish-Ugric languages this became Ruotsi. Ruotsalein, 'land of the rowers', today is still the Estonian name for Sweden. The Swedish vikings founded many cities along the banks of the great East European rivers like the Wolga and Dniepr. The palissaded villages were called gardrs in their Germanic language, a name that lives on in Russian -gorod, meaning town. For example Novgorod, from Novi Gorod, or Neapolis, or New Town.

The many new cities came to be known as Gardariki, or 'land of the cities', ruled by the Ruotsi, or 'rowers'. Later, similarly to what happened to the Franks in Gaul, the ruling elite was assimilated with the autochtonous population, who came to be known under their foreign masters' name: the Rus of Kiev.

Last edited by Zeno; December 1st, 2011 at 10:07 AM.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 10:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beorna View Post
do you speak about the own description like hellas or the exonym like Greece or yauna?
That!
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Old December 1st, 2011, 10:14 AM   #10
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So do you all have any idea about dates/years? Which century at least....
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