Map Reveals the Secrets Behind Place Names

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you’ve got a date in New York, she’ll be waiting in New Wild Boar
City, according to a new etymological map of the world.

It is difficult
to find anyone these days who is not familiar with Middle Earth,
J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantastical world of orcs, hobbits and dwarves.
A whole generation of film-goers is familiar with such place names
like "Dead Marshes" and "Mount Doom."

But this peculiar
nomenclature isn’t unique to Middle Earth. In fact, such names are
everywhere. In France, for example, youl’ll find the City of Boatmen.
The Caucasus plays host to the Land of the Fire Keepers. And who
hasn’t dreamed of vacationing in the Land of Calves? But to get
to these places, you’ll need a new map, which should be hitting
bookstores in the Great Land of the Tattooed – Great Britain –
by the end of the month.

Called the
"Atlas of True Names," the new map traces the etymological
roots of European and global place names and then translates them
into English. The "City of Boatmen" is also known as Paris.
Should you travel to the Land of the Fire Keepers, you’d find yourself
in Azerbaijan. And Italy comes from the Latin word vitulus, which
means "calf."

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24, 2009

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