Friday, 28 June 2019

Montenegro Place Names Explained

Having blogged samples of my books on English place names and also examined the etymologies of the nations of the world and their respective capitals I thought it time I cast my net a little wider. As English place names share some links to other tongues it would be interesting to see if any of the elements contributing to our place names could be found elsewhere. Continuing an alphabetical tour of the world and a look at the largest Montenegro cities.

Podgorica has a simple name describing the area. Here the 'region below Gorica', a hill name meaning 'little hill', refers to the small hills overlooking the city marked by cypress trees.

Herceg Novi is the Montenegrin version of the Italian Castelnuovo and the Greek Neokastron, all meaning 'the new castle'.

Bar is a shortened form of Antivari, itself owing to its location across the Adriatic from Bari in Italy, itself an Arabic personal name where Al-Bari means 'the creator'.

Cetinje takes its name from the River Cetina on which it stands. The river name is possibly from a Phrygian word zetna meaning 'carries' and a reference to the silt it moves.

Kotor can be traced back to its Greek beginnings when the city was known as Dekatera, from the Greek deka thira, meaning 'ten gates' and can only refer to the number of access points to the fortification.

Ulcinj has two possible origins. Some suggest this is from the Albanian ukas meaning 'wolf', however more likely is the Greek name of Colchinium or 'founded by settlers from Colchis'. This was the name given to an area of Georgia known to the inhabitants as Egris, Colchis coming from the Uratian Qulha and likely a proper noun.

Tivat is ultimately from the Greek Thiodhos or 'way of God'.

Note the spellings of the places are English as the piece is written in English.


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