Rastafari sunbathing in his Adriatic cognate! 
Posted: 27 March 2008 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]
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There was some heated discussion on the origins of Adrian in the Lagavulin thread. It is fairly clear that the name is derived (ahem!) from the town of Atria, which also gave birth (ah, this is feels more scholarly by the minute!) to the Adriatic sea.

I ran across another interesting derivation of Atria, and would like your feedback on it!

According to http://www.etymonline.com, Atria is related from the L. atrum ("black"). Upon further scrutiny (the Lewis & Short Latin Dictionary) atrum itself is a cognate (or whatever!) of the Greek αἴθω (“burnt black like coal”), which is the very godfather (ahem!) of the Ethiopians’ name!

[ Edited: 27 March 2008 06:00 AM by Pavlos ]
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Posted: 27 March 2008 06:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Varro (a Roman linguist) has an etymology of atrium ‘entrance hall’. He felt because the Romans got so much from the Etruscans, they had borrowed the name of this town for the feature they may have also borrowed. Other, more modern scholars, link atrium with ater ‘(flat) black’ (which may be cognate with the Greek word you cite, link and link), linking the hole in the roof with a way of getting smoke from a hearth out of the building. I note that the Venetian Atria was in former Venetic-speaking country that was conquered when the Etruscans expanded into that area in ca. post-6th century BCE. Venetic was probably an Italic language (though there’s one very vocal guy who claims they were Slovenian speakers, which theory I seriously doubt) and Etruscan was definitely a non-Indo-European language. It is possible that the Etruscans borrowed the placename from the Venetic-speakers in the area of Atria and that it may have been cognate with Latin ater (which yields English atrocious).

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Posted: 27 March 2008 07:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Fascinating, as our friend from Hephaestus would say!
Allow me some further elaboration, which circumvents the somewhat contrived explanation of “linking the hole in the roof with a way of getting smoke”:
The classical (and modern) Greek word related to atrium is αἴθριον which is a neuter form of αἴθριος ("bright, open air") which is derived > αἴθρη ("clear sky") > αιθήρ ("aether") > αἴθω ("to burn, shine")! Friends and family include the Skt. inddhe ("burst into flames") and the O.Ir. aed ("fire").

Sources: Liddell-Scott, http://www.etymonline.com

Yet the question remains: is this a correct approach for the etymology of Hadrian / Adriatic ?

[ Edited: 27 March 2008 11:34 PM by Pavlos ]
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