[Usenet article posted around September 1993]

In response to a recent discussion on the origins of the terms "Anatolia" and "Asia Minor" in soc.culture.greek, I would like to crosspost this to a number of relevant newsgroups; as both terms refer to the same geographical area (roughly equivalent to Turkey minus Eastern Thrace) but are (intentionally?) obscured in Greece and Turkey, respectively, the topic can be politically charged, so I plead for restraint and no flames from those responding.

"Asia Minor" is self-explanatory, of course, although the origin of the term is not known to me. In p. 85 of "Archaeological History of the Ancient Middle East" (Dorset Press, 1979), Jack Finnegan states:

"The center of the Hittites was in Anatolia, roughly equivalent to Asia Minor (a term not used by the classical geographers, and first found in Orosius in the fifth century)."

Paulus Orosius was a Spanish theologian, so one can say that "Asia Minor" can be viewed as a "Christian" term, becoming increasingly infrequent after the evacuation of the Greek population in 1922; as for classical geographers failing to mention it, I have only checked Herodotus, who states the following in 4.38, as translated by David Greene ("The History", University of Chicago Press, 1987):

"From the region bounded by these two seas, westward there stretch out two peninsulas (which I will now describe) to the sea. On the north side, one of these peninsulas, starting from the Phasis, stretches seaward along the Pontus and the Hellespont as far as Sigeum in the Troad. To the south, this same peninsula stretches along the seacoast from the Myriandic Gulf in Phoenicia as far as the Triopian Cape. In this peninsula there are thirty nations."

Consistenly with Herodotus, modern Greek maps failed to mention "Asia Minor" until late 19th century, showing each region/nation by its own name; today the term is widely used as "Mikra Asia" or "Mikrasia". Turkey avoids the term ("Kucuk Asya") altogether, although it often surfaces even in Ekrem Akurgal's "Ancient Civilizations and Ruins of Turkey" (Mobil Oil Turk A. S., 1970).

With "Anatolia" (close to Greek "Anatolee" = "East" or "Land of rising sun" and to Turkish "Anadolu" = "Land full of mothers" or "Motherly Earth"), the situation reverses: seldom used in Greece, widely used in Turkey (since ?). It is quite possible that Turkey, eager to place emphasis on "unclaimed" Eastern civilizations predating Greek presence (always downplayed as "Ionian", "colonial", "migratory", etc--"the Greeks came in 1919", a Turkish guide said to me once, referring to the 5/15/19 landing of the Greek Army in Smyrna and the 40-month war that ensued), made an expedient choice by going back to the oldest known term. For, "Anatolia" seems to be an old term, indeed; in Carel J. Du Ry's "Art of the Ancient Near and Middle East" (Abrams, 1969), for example, we read (p. 166):

"Anatolia is an old name for the region comprising the present Turkish Republic together with Armenia. The Hattians appear to have settled chiefly in the central portion of this area. Objects from the Hattian period (c. 2300-2000 B.C.) are of a distinctly homogeneous character and show a markedly individual style, especially in ceramics and metalwork."

So, where does "Anatolia" come from and what does it mean? Could it be related to the Western Semitic goddess Anat? I think that many netters would appreciate some answers and references from the experts.

George Baloglou

(broadcasting from the southeastern shores of Lake Ontario)

"thv glwcca mou edwcav Ellhvikh ctis ammoudies tou Omnpou"

(Oducceas Eluths)

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