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Culture

How Did Italy Get Its Name?

Have you ever wondered about the etymology of "Italy"?

The name “Italia” is about 3,000 years old! The name can be traced back to southern Italy, specifically Calabria. The name was originally extended to refer to Italy, the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica during the Roman Empire. There are several theories as to how Italy received its name.

The most widely believed explanation is that the name “Italy” is derived from ” Osacan víteliú which means “land of young cattle”.   Southern Italians spoke Oscan from 500 to 100 BCE.

One of the oldest names in Italy is Enotria which comes from the Greek ôinos meaning wine. According to Aristotle and Thucydides, the king of Enotria was an Italic hero called Italus, and Italy was named after him.

Another widely believed hypothesis is that “Italy” comes from the Persian word Atalu which means land of sunset. In comparison to ancient Persia, Italy is located in the west. So according to ancient Iranians, the sun set near Italy.

Another theory is that” Italy” comes from the Greek Aithalìa which means land of fire. This name would be in reference to Mount Etna, a volcano located in Sicily.

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