View Full Version : Why is Turkey labelled "Asia Minor" on maps?
05-06-2003, 05:58 PM
Is it supposed to be a minor continent, or something? In that case, why aren't Greenland or New Zealand considered so as well?
05-06-2003, 06:16 PM
It was a term that came in use in the early Christian era among Byzantine writers ( which also could be translated as "Little Asia" ). The why had little to do with geology - It was just a political/poetic designation for the outthrust penninsula, which was more or less the heartland of the Byzantine state ( even before most of the rest of its territories were sheared off by the Muslim conquests - Syria was the manufactuary, Egypt the granary, but Asia Minor was the recruiting ground ).
05-06-2003, 06:18 PM
Among the Greeks (who wrote the precursors to our geographies), there were three great lands: Africa, south of the Mediterranean, Asia, east of the Mediterranean and south of the Black Sea, and Europe, north of the Mediterranean and northwest of the Black Sea.
As civilization moved up into Europe, the Europeans, (from whom we inherit most of our terms), continued with the basic definitions, but came to regard all the lands east of the Volga (and, later, the Caucasus Mountains) as "not Europe" (since that is where the Huns, Goths, Vandals, and, later, the Tartars and Mongols originated). As the understanding grew that Asia was connected to the source of the barbarian invasions, (since the Black Sea was not all that big), they began calling everything out to the East "Asia." Then, to distinguish between the bulk of the Asian landmass to the east from the known lands of Turkey and the lands to the south, they began calling Turkey (particularly the peninsula extending out to form the northeast corner of the Mediterranean) "little Asia" or, in Latin, Asia Minor.
05-06-2003, 06:25 PM
At 840,000 sq. miles, Greenland is substantially larger than New Zealand (104,000 sq. miles) or Turkey (302,000 sq. miles), but it is far smaller than the continent of Australia, (2,966,000 sq. miles), so none of them get referred to as continents. (Although, as noted, Turkey's "Asia Minor" is not a claim that it a "small" continent--although India (1,266,000 sq. miles) is sometimes referred to as a subcontinent.)
vBulletin® v3.7.3, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.