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Natural Environment How Human History has been impacted by the environment, science, nature, geography, weather, and natural phenomena


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Old December 6th, 2012, 05:55 AM   #1
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What was the Atlantic Ocean called?


Does anyone know what the Atlantic Ocean was called during the sixth century BC?

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Old December 6th, 2012, 07:22 AM   #2

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In the 5th Century BC it was called by Herodotus the "Sea of Atlas" Ἀτλαντὶς θάλασσα--thus Atlantic Sea. One can presume that it had already been called that for a long time before Herodotus commenced writing.
The ancient civilisations generally called the bodies of water beyond the Mediterranean "Ocean"--Oceanus or Ὠκεανός, which itself comes from a Phoenician root. From classical times right through to the Rennaissance the water to the West of Northern Europe was simply "The Ocean Sea". When the Portugese began to explore down the coast of Africa, the South Atlantic came to be called "The Ethiopian Sea"-(nothing to do with the modern country-
Αἰθίοπας merely meant any lands South of Egypt inhabited by people with "burnt faces".
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Old December 6th, 2012, 08:05 AM   #3

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The Babylonian world map from the 5th century BC, the oldest world map found to date, calls the salt water "ring" around the continents "salt water" or mar-ra-tum in Akkadian.

Click the image to open in full size.

Possibly the the word ocean goes back to Sumerian a-ki-an (literally water-land-sky).
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Old December 6th, 2012, 10:53 AM   #4

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During the Middle Ages, Arabs knew the Atlantic by several names, one of them was Bahr al-Zulumat=Sea of Darkness. Also in Medieval Europe it was common to name it Mare Tenebrosum, with the same meaning.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 02:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeno View Post
The Babylonian world map from the 5th century BC, the oldest world map found to date, calls the salt water "ring" around the continents "salt water" or mar-ra-tum in Akkadian.

Click the image to open in full size.

Possibly the the word ocean goes back to Sumerian a-ki-an (literally water-land-sky).
Thank you for the information on the Babylonian map, it will help me with my book.
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Old December 20th, 2012, 12:08 AM   #6

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Ancient Egyptians used the definition "Great Green" to indicate the Mediterranean Sea. They had a conception of "ocean", the "primordial ocean" which they called "Nun" [like the deity].

Anyway to identify Nun with the Atlantic Ocean is a bit forced [Egyptian weren't aware that it didn't surround all, so probably they made reference to something imaginary of their mythology].
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 11:44 AM   #7

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Polybius in II BC used term Outer sea.
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