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Wednesday September 13th 2017Tim Candler9

 

      Iberia is a Roman name for lands in the Caucasus that lie between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Don't get me wrong, the people who lived in Iberia, didn't call themselves Iberians and probably didn't even know where Iberia was. The name Iberia was given to the area by Ancient Greeks and Romans. The other Iberia is named after a River which cuts across the north of Spain and is now called the Ebro River, and was the Roman name for all of Spain and Portugal. The two Iberia's are sometimes distinguished by calling one Caucasian Iberia and the other The Iberian Peninsular. These days it's the more pompous who go on about Iberia this and Iberia that, and can in moments of high confusion get all muddled up between Iberia, Anatolia which is the Roman name for Turkey, and Al-Andalusia which is the Arab name for Spain. So best to be wary and just call it Spain and Portugal, or the Armenia that constantly upset the latter stages of the Ottoman Empire and the Georgia the Russians are so regularly aggravated by and which doesn't have the Brown Thrasher as its State Bird.

 

Past

     "Hiber" is the Latin word for "Wintering." So for the more fortunate in our number you have words like Hibernating to wrap the mind around. The Romans, or one of them, chose to give Ireland the name Hibernia, or the Land of Wintering. But don't get me wrong, Hibernia didn't last long as a totally inappropriate name for Ireland. Following the fall of Rome, contact between Ireland and Europe all but disappeared for centuries, and this gave the Irish a chance to rid themselves of Hibernia and allowed them to go back to thinking of themselves as belonging to a land named after a wondrous Gaelic Goddess called Eriu, or Erin who might not have been a very Christian person. Eire is the Irish for Ireland. Erin is the Welsh name for Ireland. These days Hibernians are mostly either Bankers, Rugby Players, Soccer Players and there's an airline. Either way a slightly unbalanced person who might have spent far too many hours in Latin Detention can take some joy from the painfully slow withering of the Roman written language, watch it flop about like a drowning fish, and occasionally yell "I told you it was ridiculous" at no one in particular.

 

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