Talk:List of Greek place names

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This whole article needs to show etymological proof of the word relationships. Many words here are not Greek in origin. If this is not implemented, I will start to delete those which have no relationship to Ancient Greek because otherwise the article serves only as an incomplete Greek vocabulary list. --Mrg3105 20:23, 26 December 2006 (UTC)


"America" doesn't seem to meet any of the criteria for inclusion in this list:

  • It was not known to the ancients
  • It is not an official name
  • It does not derive from a Greek stem

Adam 03:47, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

I kinda stretched that one for its association with Latin, but I suppose Greek linguistic involvement in the formation of that name was negligible. - Gilgamesh 10:38, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
One possible resemblance could be Homerica.--Odysses 10:45, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
  • It was not known to the ancients

With the exception of Plato, Homer, Apollodoros, Plutarch, Eratosthenes, Stesichorus and more. See also Scheria.--Odysses 15:04, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Well, "America" is just one example of the problem. (... see below for copy of the same text ...). Womtelo 15:32, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
For the interest of future discussion, I (Womtelo 09:15, 18 November 2006 (UTC)) am copying below my recent dialogue with Gilgamesh:
Well, "America" is just one example of the problem. But the same issue is raised by a number of other forms in the list, such as Australia Αὐστραλία, Hamburg Ἁμβοῦργον, Berlin Βερολῖνον, Bloemfontein Μπλουμφοντέïν, Καμπέρα Canberra, Καζακστάν Kazakhstan, and so on and so forth. What's the point in having these names (and many others) in this list, esp. the supposedly Ancient Greek column?! OK it's great fun to imagine Plato or Homer saying 'Kasdakstán' [and perhaps Βῶρατ ‘Borat’ ;-) ], but as far as encyclopaedic accuracy is concerned, I find it problematic to introduce fake ancient names that just never existed. Do you see what I mean? Needless to say, the rest of the list is great, and incredibly useful; and of course, having ancient names listed for Ireland, Ethiopia, Caucasus…, is perfectly OK, since these words appear as early as Herodotus or Plato (even Homer for Ethiopia!), if I remember well. Womtelo 15:32, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Let me add one line: I'm not even sure the inclusion of these names is justified by their use in Modern Greek either, at least in those cases when they are no more than a phonemic transcription of the vernacular or international form (exception = Berolinon). Otherwise the list should include all names of countries, capitals, important cities, and so on, which would be just too much. [interested people should visit the Greek WP in that case]. I hope you get my point. Cheers, Womtelo 14:21, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Well, the issue is that the "ancient" column is not all that ancient. It also covers Attic Greek (which continued to have literary and academic value and continues to have religious value) and Katharevousa (which is an intentional archaism that was the official language of Greece, until only a few decades ago). It is still of academic interest. As for America, Australia, Kazakhstan, etc., they are places today that have significant Greek expatriate communities. Kazakhstan especially—the ancient Greek communities on the former Soviet Black Sea coast were all but completely deported to Kazakhstan by Stalin. - Gilgamesh 17:38, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. I got your point, however I still have some reservations about several of these names (e.g. does Bloemfontein really have a significant Greek community?); and also about the Katharevousa transcription. For example, as far as I know, the transcription of /ζ/ as [sd] corresponds to a very ancient state of Attic phonology; as early as κοινη times (see Zeta), this phoneme had already evolved into [dz] or more probably [z]; and obviously Katharevousa does not have such a pronunciation. Even if I understand the difference between phonetics and transliteration, I find it problematic to transcribe a place name of the XXth century like Kazakhstan using transliteration conventions that date 25 centuries back in time (Kasdakstan). Note that /ζ/ is just one example, then there is also the issue of iotacism, and more generally the choice of an archaic, Pericles'-time spelling to transliterate place names that are not even pronounced that way in modern katharevousa -- e.g. modern terms Ινδονησία Indonēsía or Μικρονησία, Mikronēsía, which have always been pronounced [-nisia] since their creation; likewise Μπλουμφοντέïν transcribed with an aspirated [ph], although such consonants turned into constrictives about two millennia ago. What I would have chosen probably is to leave the Attic/Classical Greek column blank for those names that are clearly too modern to be compatible with an archaic-like transliteration. Anyway... Cheers, Womtelo 20:49, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
For starters, Bloemfontein is one of the three capitals of South Africa, a country with a significant Greek immigrant community. Whether Bloemfontein itself has a significant Greek population is something I can't recall, but it seemed relevant on a national level—even Greek South African citizens go to Bloemfontein for supreme court matters. Also, I am not inflexible, and I could understand /ζ/ being retransliterated to /z/ (and to /zz/ after a vowel). Similarly, I could understand /ξ/ being retransliterated to /x/, and I would also probably not object to /χ/ being retransliterated to /ch/. However, even Katharevousa and the modern Greek Orthodox Church kept full polytonic orthography, including markings no longer pronounced for millennia. These systems (either only recently discontinued or still used together, depending on field) intentionally preserve archaisms in their writing. As such, leaning towards detail, I would still transcribe aspir as /h/, /η/ as /ē/, /ω/ as /ō/, /ευ/ as /eu/, /φ/ as /ph/, etc., and this is to be understood as a detail-preserving systematic transcription and not necessarily a modern phonetic realization, and therefore the context should be clear. Considering that archaisms in Classical Greek phonology were still carried into these modern systems either demonstrates that the standards themselves are frivolous, or that it is not at all frivolous to reflect the same amount of detail in our academic transcriptions. Since I am in no position to judge the frivolity of any surviving modern uses of polytonic orthography, I am inclined to believe that there is no harm in keeping these highly-detailed transcriptions the way they are. - Gilgamesh 23:43, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Alright, Gilgamesh. I'm glad I made this important point, now it's up to you and other wikipedians to take proper decisions. I won't change these names, except one which really has nothing to do in this list under any consideration, namely Bloemfontein. One can't reasonably include among traditional Greek place names just all modern cities where some Greek communities go for shopping  ;-) (note that I'll stick to Bloemfontein because its Greek name is purely predictible as a simple transliteration of the original name; one could still discuss about Melbourne, Canberra and many other places, but I'll leave this to your decision guys.) Thanks, Womtelo 09:15, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm pretty new to Wikipedia editing, but I think the removal of the modern terms as is suggested by Womtelo and others on this discussion page would be the right thing to do. I first thought this when I was looking over the list before I read the discussion. In the spirit of the various Wikipedia rules, and to be germane to the idea of the list itself, I don't believe items such as 'Washington, D.C.' should be included. This is my vote for 'against.' Thanks for your consideration. C. Shanks, 7 December 2006

Well, I had something else in mind with the Attic/Classical column. Katharevousa, which uses polytonic. Also, even if a modern name is to be removed for whatever reason from the Classical column, it should still be retained in the modern column as it has significance to modern Greek diaspora. They should stay. - Gilgamesh 13:58, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
... Then why not just name the column 'Katharevousa'? This would avoid a lot of the confusion and puzzlement going on, I think. Womtelo 14:14, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
I would suggest to change the column title to ῾Ἀττική – καθαρεύουσα". Although places like America were unknown in ancient times, most ancient names are still the same in katharevousa. But Kazakhstan and Bloemfontein clearly have no place in this list.  Andreas  (T) 14:31, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
No, Kazakhstan has a very significant Greek diaspora minority, largely descended from Black Sea Greeks forcefully relocated by Stalin. - Gilgamesh 21:13, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
OK Gilgamesh, but then if you really want to keep such names as Kazakhstan and New York etc., then you must delete the word "traditional" from the title of the page. -- Womtelo 23:13, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
You have a point there. It started as a traditional list, but I couldn't judge quite where to draw the line of relevance. Maybe "List of place names significant to Greek society and culture". - Gilgamesh 10:33, 13 December 2006 (UTC)


I know I originally put them all in to begin with, but I'm seriously wondering now if this article even needs IPA sections. It would seem to me that the Dimotikí data should be enough, and that anyone who cares enough about Dimotikí would learn about it and its phonology. Is this an improper assumption? Besides, many of the Dimotikí forms are academic, and modern Greek uses different names for many places, such as Μάλτα (instead of traditional Μελίτη) for Malta. - Gilgamesh 10:38, 20 September 2005 (UTC)


This article was nominated for deletion. The result was no consensus. See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of traditional Greek place names · Katefan0(scribble) 02:19, 24 September 2005 (UTC) Well, it is maybe because "Kazakstan" is not from a greek stem, nor "America" (Amerigo Vespucci) Also, Magnesia is now Manisa.

The article does not satisfy its own objective of showing that these words are derived from TRADITIONAL Greek! In order to be traditional, they have to have had use in Greek, and most did not. Further they need to satisfy some elymological logic and none of the terms do that either. In fact many other specific Wikipedia entries contradict etymology of entries here creating real confusion and ambiguity contrary to intent of Wikipedia rules. --Mrg3105 07:49, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Split the article?[edit]

Isn't the list too eterogenous? I mean wouldn't it be better to leave on this list only the names knew by ancient & Byzantine Greeks and put in another page, or at least in a distinct section, the names which come 1) from an official name 2) from a Greek stem? Aldux 09:53, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

No...I don't think so. You see, Greek is still something of an international language, though primarily in the realm of scientific naming. Also, though they are fewer now, there are still important Greek-speaking populations outside Greece and Cyprus, such as those in Turkey (Pontic Muslims), Albania (South Epirotes) and Italy (Grikos), with smaller lasting ancient populations in Russia, the Ukraine, and Alexandria, and even some that Stalin deported to Kazakhstan during WW2. Also notice that I didn't include modern Greek names that differ from the ancient form, such as Malta. See also List of traditional Arabic place names. - Gilgamesh 10:35, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Aldux--personally, I'd like to at least see this article have two lists in it: one for historic place names, another for places later named deliberately in Greek. Something like Latin names of rivers, for example. I would have to assume the Ancient Greeks named places with Greek names that later had their names changed. (Perhaps this is an idea for a separate article, though.) RobertM525 02:35, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Duplication of transliteration[edit]

This artice seems to be using two different transliteration schemes for the Modern Greek versions, headed Dimotikí and Dhimotiki respectively. This is nowhere explained. I propose that one or the other of these should be removed, as the present duplication is just confusing, particularly for those who are not so familiar with Modern Greek. Ideally we should use the "standard" transliteration, if we can decide which this is! --rossb 17:12, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

I assume the first is a transliteration and the second a transcription. The transcription regularly uses <d> for <ντ> even after vowel. I do not think this is common practice. See Transliteration of Greek into English. The Greek transliteration problem appears on almost every page that has to do with Greek or Greece. It would be nice if consensus could be reached and put into the Style Guide, but I guess this would be rather difficult given the diversity of opinions. Andreas 22:07, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
The first modern transliteration is the standard accepted by the United Nations. The second modern transliteration is used by the United States Board on Geographic Names and is widely used in things such as television closed captioning and by Greek immigrants in English-speaking countries, e.g. "Efharisto" instead of "Efcharisto", and "Yianni" instead of "Gianni". - Gilgamesh 14:02, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
These two systems of transliteration/transcription are presented in Transliteration of Greek to the Latin Alphabet. The BGN transcription in the present article is different from the one promoted by the United States Board on Geographic Names. Notably, Antiochia is transcribed as Adiohia, whereas the BGN transcription would demand Andiokhia. In my opinion, Adiohia is not acceptable because <ντ> after vowel is pronounced [nd] and not [d], and <χ> is pronounced [ç] (voiceless palatal fricative) and not [h]. It is true that Greeks pronounce English <h> like Greek <χ>, and regard [nd] as an allophone of [d], but this does not help because a trascription is meant to help non-Greek speakers to pronounce Greek. I would propose to change the transcription to comply with the BGN standard. Andreas 15:39, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Hey, you're right... ...then why do I keep seeing things like "efharisto" and such? - Gilgamesh 03:14, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Article Layout[edit]

Maybe it's just me, but I think this article's layout could use some major work. The lists seem inconsistent and can be slightly confusing to read. By comparison, Latin names of rivers, for example, is a much "nicer" looking article and is much easier to read. This article, IMO, could stand to be reformatted to such a layout. RobertM525 02:35, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

What about Pergamon?[edit]

Το τοπωνύμιο "Πέργαμος" είναι ελληνικό ή προέρχεται από κάποια άλλη αρχαία γλώσσα;

Is the place name "Pergamon" Greek or does it come from another ancient language?

Petros The Hellene 20:41, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Dear Petros The Hellene,

I have heard that The name "Pergamon" is actually a word of Anatolian origin apart from Greek. The natives of Anatolia is actually different than of the Greeks. I have heard that after the immigrations from Greece, Greek is used more than of Anatolian languages. There might be a chance of the word "Pergamon" being the merging of the different languages. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:16, 10 October 2010 (UTC)


To counter some of the criticism on the talk page, I think this is a really useful article, and in an encyclopaedia, useful is good. Thanks to Gilgamesh for creating it. On layout: moving the contents box to the top/minimising the introduction would make it easier to navigate. Njál 16:42, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

I'm not good at minimizing any introductions. I have a tendency to be verbose and not know when I've said enough or if I haven't said enough, so I tend to err towards verbosity. I have a major communications handicap. I'd be willing to work with others on such a task, but I wouldn't be very good at doing that myself. - Gilgamesh 01:17, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
I stuck in Amphryssos but I don't know how to format it in all the different alphabets, IPA etc. I'm sorry.Tony 18:12, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Too many "modern" names[edit]


I noticed that this contains too many "modern" names, which do not belong in a list of "traditional" names, therefore I suggest they be either placed in a separate article or removed completely (Wikipedia is not a dictionary, and Greek translations can be found in Wiktionary.). 08:49, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Hello "". This is essentially the topic of the discussion under "America" above, especially the one I had last week with Gilgamesh. I basically made the same point as you, and I still think there is a problem that has to be solved. Womtelo 17:44, 23 November 2006 (UTC)


Istropolis is the ancient Greek name for Bratislava, but it was artificially coined in the Middle Ages. Is it eligible for placement in this list? Does anybody know the Greek spelling? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Jancikotuc (talkcontribs) 15:08, 18 January 2007 (UTC).

Cape Town? Australia? Bonn?[edit]

According to the criteria at the top of the article, the list includes:

  • Places involved in the history of Greek culture, including but not limited to:
    • Historic Greek regions, including but not limited to: Ancient Greece ..., Hellenistic world ..., Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire ..., Ottoman Empire ..., Septinsular Republic ..., Modern Greece and Cyprus, and also what remains of treaty Greek minorities in Turkey
    • Places that have or had important Greek-speaking or ethnic Greek minorities or exile communities
    • Places of concern to Greek culture, religion or tradition, including but not limited to: Greek mythology, Greek Jews, Greco-Buddhism, Christianity until the Great Schism, Greek Muslims.
  • Places whose official names include a Greek form.
  • Places whose names originate from the Greek language, even if they were never involved in Greek history or culture.

This means that the list should not simply be a directory of the names of all places in Greek. The names should have a direct connection to Greek culture and the Greek language. Why does the list then include cities and countries like Saint Petersburg, Cape Town, Hamburg, Australia, Belgium, Berlin, Beirut, Wallachia, Bonn, Bucharest, Brazil, Brussels, Germany, Switzerland, etcetera? These place names bear no relation to the Greek language, and as such are not Greek place names. AecisBrievenbus 11:34, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Most of those places have significant Greek exile communities, and St. Petersburg is named after Peter, a Greek name. Other names are derived from names in the Roman Empire, of which Greek was the primary language of learned people. Many places are contacted peoples which the Greeks gave enough thought to name, and many of these places were heavily populated by Greeks during the Hellenistic period. It's rarely quite as simple as you say—there is a Greek affiliation (though admittedly not often Greek origin) in all these names in some way or another. - Gilgamesh 10:53, 14 April 2007 (UTC)


Okay, the "cleanup IPA" tag doesn't say exactly that, but it's easy to fix: The stress mark goes before the stressed syllable, not the stressed vowel. When we write *[eolikˈa nisçˈa], we're saying that the syllabification is *[e.o.lik.a nisç.a], when it should be [ nis.ça] ([eoliˈka nisˈça). Actually, because of people copying from US dictionaries, I would think that this was supposed to be *Αιολίκα Νήσια if I didn't have the Greek right there to correct me. kwami (talk) 02:42, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Can someone add this?[edit]

Someone add this i dont get the page format.

including, but not limited to[edit]

"Including, but not limited to" is lawyer-speak and is unnecessary since "including" implies additional items already. --Unimath (talk) 17:34, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Cheers! Glad to see some people still know their English around here... Pasquale (talk) 18:55, 31 August 2009 (UTC)


The introduction seems to imply that because of the Great Schism, the Eastern Orthodox church is not Christian. Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't this say Catholic instead? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:08, 17 January 2012 (UTC)


Call me crazy, but I think the meaning of many of these names would be of as much or more interest than the fine points of transliteration. I realize that in some cases, we aren't going to know the origin of these names, but in the cases where it is possible to provide this, I think it would be nice to do so.

Terry J. Carter (talk) 05:36, 23 August 2012 (UTC)