Thursday, February 7, 2013

Europe


In ancient Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess whom Zeus abducted after assuming the form of a dazzling white bull. He took her to the island of Crete where she gave birth to Minos, Rhadamanthus and Saredon. The statue here is from the museum in Delphi, where this story is believed to be related to the term Europe. Homer, on the other hand, states that Europe (Ευρώπη) was a mythological queen of Crete, not a geographical designation.


There are numerous theories concerning the etymology of the name Europa. One theory suggests that it derives from the Greek ευρύς meaning ‘wide, broad’ and ωψ-ωπ-οπτ meaning eye, face countenance. Therefore Europe means wide gazing, broad of aspect. 


Nevertheless, whatever the origin of the name of the mythological figure, Europe is first used as a geographical term in the 6th century BC, by Greek geographers such as Anaximander and Hecataeus. 

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