The name of
Italy is at least 3000 years old and has a history that
goes back to pre-Roman Italy. It initially referred to the tip of the
Italian peninsula, now called Calabria; during the Roman Empire, it
was extended to refer to the whole Italian geographical region
(including the islands of Sicily,
Sardinia and Corsica).
2 See also
4 External links
Expansion of the territory called "Italia" until emperor Diocletian.
Italia, the ancient name of the Italian peninsula, which is also
eponymous of the modern republic, originally applied only to a part of
what is now Southern Italy.
According to Antiochus of Syracuse, it included only the southern
portion of the Bruttium peninsula (modern Calabria): the
actual province of Reggio
Calabria and part of the modern provinces of
Catanzaro and Vibo Valentia. The town of Catanzaro has a road sign (in
Italian) also stating this fact.
But by this time
Italy had become synonymous and the name
also applied to most of
Lucania as well. Coins bearing the name Italia
were minted by an alliance of Italic peoples (Sabines, Samnites,
Umbrians and others) competing with Rome in the 1st century BC.
The Greeks gradually came to apply the name Italia to a larger region,
but it was during the reign of Augustus, at the end of the 1st century
BC, that the term was expanded to cover the entire peninsula until the
Alps, now entirely under Roman rule.
Diocletian the Roman region called "Italia" was further
enlarged with the addition of the three big islands of the western
Sicily (with the Maltese archipelago),
Dante in the 14th century wrote that the borders of what is
geographically and historically called "Italia" are clearly defined in
the north by the Alps (from the Vare river near
Montecarlo to the Arsa
River in Istria) and, going down the Italian peninsula, in the south
Sicily and its islands.
The ultimate etymology of the name is uncertain, in spite of numerous
suggestions. According to the most widely accepted explanation,
Latin Italia may derive from Oscan víteliú, meaning "[land] of
young cattle" (c.f. Lat vitulus "calf", Umbrian vitlu), via Greek
transmission (evidenced in the loss of initial digamma). The bull
was a symbol of the southern
Italic tribes and was often depicted
goring the Roman wolf as a defiant symbol of free
Italy during the
Social War. Greek historian
Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Dionysius of Halicarnassus states this
account together with the legend that
Italy was named after
Italus, mentioned also by Aristotle and Thucydides.
After the fall of the Western
Roman Empire and the Lombard invasions,
"Italia" was retained as the name for their kingdom, and for its
successor kingdom within the Holy Roman Empire, which nominally lasted
until 1806, although it had de facto disintegrated due to factional
politics pitting the empire against the ascendant city republics in
the 13th century.
History of Italy
^ "The Origins of the Name 'Italy'". Arcaini.com. Retrieved
^ "History of
Calabria - Passion For Italy". Passionforitaly.info.
^ "+ nome +". Bellevacanze.it. Retrieved 2015-08-25.
^ "italian travel team
Italy Guide". YouTube. 2011-03-01.
^ "Billboard image" (JPG). Procopiocaterina.files.wordpress.com.
^ Guillotining, M., History of Earliest Italy, trans. Ryle, M &
Soper, K. in Jerome Lectures, Seventeenth Series, p.50
^ Pallottino, M., History of Earliest Italy, trans. Ryle, M &
Soper, K. in Jerome Lectures, Seventeenth Series, p. 50
^ Alberto Manco, Italia. Disegno storico-linguistico, 2009, Naples,
L'Orientale, ISBN 978-88-95044-62-0
^ OLD, p. 974: "first syll. naturally short (cf. Quint. Inst. 1.5.18),
and so scanned in Lucil.825, but in dactylic verse lengthened metri
^ J.P. Mallory and D.Q. Adams, Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture
(London: Fitzroy and Dearborn, 1997), 24.
^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, 1.35, on LacusCurtius
^ Aristotle, Politics, 7.1329b, on Perseus
^ Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, 6.2.4, on Perseus
Origin of the name "Italia"
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