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  #1  
Old 03-10-2000, 02:40 PM
mazinger-z mazinger-z is offline
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I know that Africa and Asia used to be Roman provinces, and I assume that they gave their names to the continents they were on, but what about Europe? When exactly did Europe come to be called "Europe," and where did that name come from?

On a related topic, I would also like to know where the term "Caucasian" came from. I checked in the dictionary, and it mentioned that the Caucasus region was where the first white man was supposedly sighted, but it didn't give any more details. How about some help?

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  #2  
Old 03-10-2000, 03:27 PM
Alphagene Alphagene is offline
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From EB:
Quote:
"Europa," as the more learned of the ancient Greeks first conceived it, stood in sharp contrast to both Asia and Libya, the name then applied to the known northern part of Africa. Literally, "Europa" is now thought to have meant "Mainland," rather than the earlier interpretation, "Sunset."
The Caucasus region is located between the Black and Caspian seas. The Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan area.


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  #3  
Old 03-10-2000, 03:31 PM
Alphagene Alphagene is offline
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Hell, if you really want detail:
Quote:
The name Caucasus is a Latinized form of Kaukasos .... The ultimate derivation is thought to be from Kaz-kaz, the Hittite name for a people living on the southern shore of the Black Sea.
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  #4  
Old 03-10-2000, 03:35 PM
Ursa Major Ursa Major is offline
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I thought Europa was one of Zeus' many rape victims. I recall a story of Zeus taking the form of a bull and chasing her all the way from Greece to the Atlantic (giving the land she crossed its name). Anyway, Zues caught her, knocked her up and the resulting offspring was King Minos of Crete.
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  #5  
Old 03-10-2000, 11:17 PM
Boris B Boris B is offline
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I think "caucasian", as it is most commonly used, is a corruption of Caucasoid. White people as a whole were referred to as the Caucasoid Race since Caucasians typified the race. That is, every Caucasoid ethnic group should look more or less like Caucasians, even if they didn't look much like each other. Scottsmen don't look much like Hindustanis, but the Caucasians are in between, so to speak.

The "three race" system has fallen out of favor. Nobody calls Vietnamese, or Japanese, or Malays "Mongoloid people" any more. Least not out loud. Ditto for the "Negroid Race", which contained teensy Bushmen, towering Tutsis, and straight-haired Ethiopians.

I'm just pointing out that it wasn't really proper in the old anthropological taxonomy to call any body caucasian, except folks from the Caucasus. (The racial definition has made into the dictionary, though. It's just not "anthropologically correct".)

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  #6  
Old 03-10-2000, 11:54 PM
Kyla Kyla is offline
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This is according to my Islam professor:

"Europe" comes from a Semitic word meaning "evening." I'm not sure which language directly contributed the word, but the Hebrew word for evening is erev. The sun sets in the west, and since Europe is to the west of lands in which Semitic languages are spoken, it was named after the evening.



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  #7  
Old 03-11-2000, 02:04 AM
Alphagene Alphagene is offline
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Quote:
Zeus taking the form of a bull and chasing her all the way from Greece to the Atlantic (giving the land she crossed its name).
EB says she was chased from Phoenecia (now Syria and Lebanon) to Crete.

Kyla, I guess that is the "sunset" meaning that EB says has fallen out of favor.

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  #8  
Old 03-11-2000, 09:10 PM
mazinger-z mazinger-z is offline
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Thank you, Great Hammer, for the answer to my Europe question. What I wanted to know from the Caucasian question was the details of the story about the first white man. Who sighted him? Is it some kind of myth? As always, your help (meaning all of you) is appreciated.
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  #9  
Old 03-11-2000, 09:13 PM
mazinger-z mazinger-z is offline
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I forgot to add, no one answered me about when Europe started to be called Europe. Sometime in the First Millenium, say the latter half? Is that a close guess?

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(too bad, it's my favourite poem).
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  #10  
Old 03-12-2000, 12:22 AM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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I asked a question very similar to this a while back. FYI, here is that thread:

http://boards.straightdope.com/ubb/F...ML/003001.html
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  #11  
Old 03-14-2000, 07:28 PM
ASPA ASPA is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kyla:
This is according to my Islam professor:

"Europe" comes from a Semitic word meaning "evening." I'm not sure which language directly contributed the word, but the Hebrew word for evening is erev. The sun sets in the west, and since Europe is to the west of lands in which Semitic languages are spoken, it was named after the evening.


Excellent key to the origin....


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  #12  
Old 12-19-2012, 12:50 AM
Humbaba Humbaba is offline
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Caucasian

Comes from the Caucasus Mountains, between the Black and Caspian Seas.
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  #13  
Old 12-19-2012, 01:29 AM
cochrane cochrane is online now
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Originally Posted by Humbaba View Post
Comes from the Caucasus Mountains, between the Black and Caspian Seas.
Yes, we cleared that up twelve years ago.
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  #14  
Old 12-19-2012, 01:29 AM
Anaglyph Anaglyph is offline
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See this thread in the HISTORUM history discussion forum for the different theories that lead to "Europa".
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  #15  
Old 12-19-2012, 02:46 AM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
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Christoph Meiners theorized in 1785 that there were two racial categories, Caucasian & Mongolian; he named the ones he considered attractive Caucasians--with everybody else Mongolians. Johan Friedrich Blumenbach expanded the racial classifications to the ones that remained for a very long time. His definition of varietas Caucasia...

Quote:
I have taken the name of this variety from Mount Caucasus, both because its neighborhood, and especially its southern slope, produces the most beautiful race of men, I mean the Georgian; and because all physiological reasons converge to this, that in that region, if anywhere, it seems we ought with the greatest probability to place the autochthones (birth place) of mankind.
Yes, I used Wikipedia; but I'd remembered Blumenbach's reason for the name. Science has left his theories behind--but he actually believed that members of all races were capable of excellence, making him less "racist" than many who came after him.

Europe? I know the myth but don't have a clue as to how it came to describe what Barry Cunliffe calls

Quote:
...a relatively minor peninsula attached to the Eurasian land mass.
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  #16  
Old 12-19-2012, 03:43 AM
njtt njtt is online now
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My daughter, who goes to high school with a lot of Armenian (well, Armenian-American) kids, tells me that they vehemently deny that Armenians are Caucasians.

As Armenia is slap bang in the Caucasus, my first thought was that what they really meant to deny was that they are Europeans, but it seems that, on certain quite widely accepted conceptions of the boundaries of Europe, Armenia is (just about) in Europe, too.

My best guess is that what they really mean to say is that they are not Anglos.
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  #17  
Old 12-19-2012, 04:53 AM
Namkcalb Namkcalb is offline
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I really don't get why American people call white Europeans Caucasian when most actual people from the Caucasian mountains look Eurasian

Besides, what's so bad about calling someone White or European
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  #18  
Old 12-19-2012, 07:08 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Namkcalb View Post
I really don't get why American people call white Europeans Caucasian when most actual people from the Caucasian mountains look Eurasian

Besides, what's so bad about calling someone White or European
Well, white people aren't "white", either. It's just a convention. Lots of things about language aren't logical.

Zombies, OTOH, are often white.

Last edited by John Mace; 12-19-2012 at 07:08 AM..
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  #19  
Old 12-19-2012, 07:27 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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Reminds me of the opening monologue from when Charlize Theron hosted Saturday Night Live.

Tracy Morgan: "You live here, but you was born in Africa?"

Charlize Theron: "Yes, that's right."

Tracy Morgan: "Hmm.. so you're.. you're African-American?"

Charlize Theron: "Wow! I guess I am! I.. I.. I never thought of it that way..."

Tracy Morgan: "Well, you better start thinking of it that way!"

(He offers her a Newport, she produces her pack of Kools . . . "Damn, it's about time they let a sister host this show!")
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  #20  
Old 12-19-2012, 07:51 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Since this thread first appeared, Nell Irvin Painter brought out her blockbuster The History of White People.

Caucasian as a term for white people came about in the late 18th century.

Etymonline.com:

Quote:
1807, from Caucasus Mountains, between the Black and Caspian seas; applied to the "white" race 1795 (in German) by German anthropologist Johann Blumenbach, because its supposed ancestral homeland lay there; since abandoned as a historical/anthropological term.
Etymonline.com names a different coiner than Bridget Burke does, but the idea's the same.

Both cases are examples of the Europeans' increased preoccupation with race and racial distinctions in the 17th and 18th centuries. Nothing new, but now covered with a veneer of science.

What really gets the word out, literally, is that Caucausian women - here referring to the location - start being mythologized as white slave girls, taken by the Arabs to their harems because of their great beauty. Jean-Baptiste Chaplin writes of the province Georgia in 1689:
Quote:
The blood of Georgia is the most beautiful in the Orient, & I would have to say in the world, for I've never noticed an ugly face of either sex in this country and some are downright Angelic. Nature has endowed most of the women with graces not to be seen in any other place. I have to say it is impossible to look at them without falling in love with them. No more charming faces and no more lovely figures than those of the Georgians could serve to inspire painters. They are tall, graceful, slender, and poised, and even though they don't wear many cloths, you never see bulges.
Putting the most beautiful and desirable women in the world in the ancestral home of Europe had obvious implications for people who had started to believe that they were the superior branch of humanity. Caucasian meant superior, and stayed that way for two centuries.

BTW, the OP seemed to have confused ancestral home with first sighting of a white man. The real derivation of the word Caucasus comes is the more prosaic "white with snow."
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  #21  
Old 12-19-2012, 08:27 AM
Sailboat Sailboat is offline
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All this talk about people from the Caucasus being "the most beautiful" brings to mind that Kim Kardashian is (or claims to be) Armenian.
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  #22  
Old 12-19-2012, 08:52 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
All this talk about people from the Caucasus being "the most beautiful" brings to mind that Kim Kardashian is (or claims to be) Armenian.
"Claims to be"? Is there any reason to doubt it? Her father was Robert Kardashian, whose family background is reasonably well known.
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  #23  
Old 12-19-2012, 09:02 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
All this talk about people from the Caucasus being "the most beautiful" brings to mind that Kim Kardashian is (or claims to be) Armenian.
Yeah, with a name like that, who could possibly imagine she'd be Armenian?
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  #24  
Old 12-19-2012, 01:00 PM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
My daughter, who goes to high school with a lot of Armenian (well, Armenian-American) kids, tells me that they vehemently deny that Armenians are Caucasians.

As Armenia is slap bang in the Caucasus, my first thought was that what they really meant to deny was that they are Europeans, but it seems that, on certain quite widely accepted conceptions of the boundaries of Europe, Armenia is (just about) in Europe, too.

My best guess is that what they really mean to say is that they are not Anglos.
No, I think it's something else.

Based on what I've encountered among immigrants, residents of the former Soviet Union consider the term "Caucasian" a pejorative. Josef Stalin aside, for some reason the inhabitants of the Caucuses region were not held in very high regard in the U.S.S.R. I learned long ago never to call an Armenian or a Georgian a Caucasian to their face.
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  #25  
Old 12-19-2012, 05:12 PM
njtt njtt is online now
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Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
No, I think it's something else.

Based on what I've encountered among immigrants, residents of the former Soviet Union consider the term "Caucasian" a pejorative. Josef Stalin aside, for some reason the inhabitants of the Caucuses region were not held in very high regard in the U.S.S.R. I learned long ago never to call an Armenian or a Georgian a Caucasian to their face.
They are very open and proud of their Armenian heritage, though. Why would they be proud of being Armenian but ashamed of being from the Caucasus, which is where Armenia is? If Soviet society was broadly prejudiced against people from the Caucasus, surely it would have been similarly prejudiced against Armenians as such, since they are from the Caucasus? Although I can believe that Armenian-American high school kids may be ignorant of the geographical location of their ethnic homeland (and the name of the mountains there), surely this would not have been the case for Armenian adults in the Soviet Union.

I have heard that many Russians tend to be prejudiced against Chechens, who are also from the Caucasus region. Are you saying this extends or extended to the people's of the Caucasus more generally, or was it that Armenians, Georgians, etc., were anxious not to be lumped in with Chechens?
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  #26  
Old 12-19-2012, 05:20 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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I think it's more like British people denying that they are European. Those riff-raff over there? They're European. We're our own thing.
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  #27  
Old 12-19-2012, 05:37 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Yes, it's hard for me to imagine that Armenians don't want to be considered part of Europe. They just don't want to be associated with the other countries in the Caucus region. I think it is generally considered to be part of Europe, but I suppose it wouldn't be hard to argue it's really part of Asia.
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  #28  
Old 12-20-2012, 08:12 AM
Sailboat Sailboat is offline
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
"Claims to be"? Is there any reason to doubt it? Her father was Robert Kardashian, whose family background is reasonably well known.
I just caveated myself to avoid being asked to dig up genealogical citations. No need to be snarky.
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  #29  
Old 12-20-2012, 08:27 AM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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As for the contention that Europe was named after the mythological figure "Europa", it is surely the other way around. The area was called Europe by the Greeks, and so somebody invented a story to explain the name.
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  #30  
Old 12-20-2012, 08:37 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Hell, let's vote:

Men from the Caucasus:
http://www.google.com/search?q=men+f...w=1024&bih=644

Women from the Caucasus:
http://www.google.com/search?q=women...JfTq0QHL84HABg



Men from the world -Caucasus
http://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl....1.TBGHuLFQMc4

Women from the world -Caucasus:
http://www.google.com/search?q=women...PKWR0QHcuYDYAQ
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  #31  
Old 12-20-2012, 08:41 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
As for the contention that Europe was named after the mythological figure "Europa", it is surely the other way around. The area was called Europe by the Greeks, and so somebody invented a story to explain the name.
Europa predates the Greeks.
Quote:
from L. Europa "Europe," from Gk. Europe, of uncertain origin; as a geographic name, first the Homeric hymn to Apollo (522 B.C.E. or earlier):

"Telphusa, here I am minded to make a glorious temple, an oracle for men, and hither they will always bring perfect hecatombs, both those who live in rich Peloponnesus and those of Europe and all the wave-washed isles, coming to seek oracles."

Often explained as "broad face," from eurys "wide" (see aneurysm) + ops "face." But also traditionally linked with Europa, Phoenician princess in Greek mythology. Klein (citing Heinrich Lewy) suggests a possible Semitic origin in Akkad. erebu "to go down, set" (in reference to the sun) which would parallel orient. Another suggestion along those lines is Phoenician 'ereb "evening," hence "west."
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  #32  
Old 12-20-2012, 08:47 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
I just caveated myself to avoid being asked to dig up genealogical citations. No need to be snarky.
Well you should have looked it up. Everybody else in the world knows everything about Kim Kardashian. [I honestly have no idea what she is, except I gather she's a sexy woman.]
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  #33  
Old 12-20-2012, 08:11 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
They are very open and proud of their Armenian heritage, though. Why would they be proud of being Armenian but ashamed of being from the Caucasus, which is where Armenia is? If Soviet society was broadly prejudiced against people from the Caucasus, surely it would have been similarly prejudiced against Armenians as such, since they are from the Caucasus? Although I can believe that Armenian-American high school kids may be ignorant of the geographical location of their ethnic homeland (and the name of the mountains there), surely this would not have been the case for Armenian adults in the Soviet Union.

I have heard that many Russians tend to be prejudiced against Chechens, who are also from the Caucasus region. Are you saying this extends or extended to the people's of the Caucasus more generally, or was it that Armenians, Georgians, etc., were anxious not to be lumped in with Chechens?
I think you've probably nailed it. My guess is that to Russians, Caucasians means the dozens of ethnic/tribal peoples whose desire for independence is causing all sorts of trouble. Also, those groups tend to be more backward, (Impoverished) and their liberation movements have muslim extremist backing - as opposed to the old Christian civilization of Armenia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
Well you should have looked it up. Everybody else in the world knows everything about Kim Kardashian. [I honestly have no idea what she is, except I gather she's a sexy woman.]
YMMV.
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  #34  
Old 12-21-2012, 05:54 AM
Floater Floater is offline
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Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
Everybody else in the world knows everything about Kim Kardashian.
We do? I have no idea who she is except that her name pops up every now and then.
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  #35  
Old 12-22-2012, 01:13 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_kardashian

You're welcome.
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