When was a river delta first called a "delta"?

Sorry, Fierra, no offense, :slight_smile: but I wuz just readin’ along and ran spang into this and went, “umm…”


It’s probably incredibly Euro-centric of me, but I always assumed that the term “delta” for the mouth of a river was first coined/applied by modern Western geologists, who tend to be obsessed with labeling things. Wouldn’t the early Greeks simply have called it the “mouth” of the river in Greek or something?

My Webster’s Deluxe Unabridged doesn’t give a date for the first usage. We need Samclem to get in here with his OED. :smiley:

Well, I know about 1/100th the amount of Greek that Fierra does, but my first Google hit came up with this.

From: http://www.bartleby.com/61/59/D0115900.html

From: http://www.georoots.org/term_page.asp?terminit=d

Then of course going to the source, we have from Book 2, Chapter 12 of Histories by Herodotus. The supreme cosmic irony is that I actually happened to be reading the “Histories” just last night whilst stuck in Atlanta 11 hours late for a Delta Airlines flight canceled 6 times and sent to the wrong State and IT JUST KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER ALL THE TIME AND THEY REFUSE TO PROVIDE COMPENSATION FOR A ROOM OR MEAL AND WHAT GOOD IS PLATINUM MEDALLION ANY MORE…ahem.

(In English)

I’ve been told that the original Greek has “delta” as the descriptive at this point but finding an original Greek source online that lines up with my book is problematic. And the Perseus website at Tufts is so slow that I think they must be on a 2400 baud modem, as there can’t be that many people online on a Friday trying to look up original Greek versions of the “Histories”.

Perseus is works fine for me. The English translation by A. D. Godley is

The transliterated Greek is

I am truly in awe, bib.

And Fierra, congrats on a magnificent guest Report, and we hope for more from you (subtle hint.)

[ digs out from under avalanche of information to feebly wave congratulatory flag before collapsing again]


Aren’t you glad I got here late. :slight_smile:

I was going to ask, “When is a delta not a delta?”

Answer: When it’s a luvial.

But I thought better of it.

Some people are easily impressed, I guess. It’s not like I translated or even transliterated it myself. It’s pretty easy to find such things after you’ve gotten used to how the Perseus Digital Library works. Provided it’s running at better than a snail’s pace.

I thought you’d have gone mathematical with “When is a delta not a delta?”

Answer: When it’s the same…

And thank you for the congratulations :).

I know it’s not cool to post "me too"s, but I gotta agree that it was an awsome staff report. I was impress not only by the exellent research that went into it, but also in the writing. You made a potentially dry subject interesting, without resorting to gags and winks. (I just re-read it and I’m still not sure how you did it. But you did.)