Monday, September 28, 2015

Oxford and Bosphorus

These two words, these two places are two very different locations, with varied significance for the world. Oxford, known as a University City, as a place of learning, showing the beauty of an English city and architecture. The Bosphorus played a crucial part in the life of Constantinople and later Istanbul, separating the Byzantine capital into its European and Asian sides, uniting the Black Sea with the Mediterranean Sea. Nevertheless, these two locations are related in a weird way.

Both these words have exactly the same meaning. The Latin term for ‘ox’ is ‘bos’ and the Greek word for it is ‘bous’ (βους). The second part, i.e. ford and porus/phorus, means in English ‘ford’. This word, according to the Cambridge Dictionaries Online means an area in a river or stream that is not deep and can be crossed on foot or in a vehicle, whilst as a verb it means to cross a river, where it is not deep, on foot or in a vehicle. Both terms, therefore mean an ox crossing a river. It is interesting how both places, in opposite sides of Europe, have exactly the same name in both English and Greek. 

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