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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Northman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 12:36
We had a discussion about the origin of the name America a month before this thread was started in 2006. You can read it here.
 
It is based on this article (same link in the thread) which sums nicely up, all old theories, and brings a new one on the table - America is an old norse combined word, Ommer-rike.
 
A small quote from the article:
"Combined, the old Norse words 'omme' and 'rike' would be pronounced 'Oh-ma-reeg-eh' - virtually identical to 'America' "
 
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Edited by Northman - 24-May-2009 at 12:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 13:01
Originally posted by Chilbudios Chilbudios wrote:

Quote Nobody ever named anything after a first name.
Georgia comes from George, Louisiana from Louis, Carolina from Charles (Carolus in Latin), Alexandria from Alexander, Konstanz from Constantine, Johannesburg from John (Johann), that's not to add lots of places with names like St. George (e.g. one of Danube's mouths), or Valea lui Mihai (in western Romania, this names means Michael's Valley).

True, but only in the case of kings and saints, who are generally known by just their first names (eg King George or St. George).

Amerigo Vespucci was neither a king nor a saint, and, at least in Western European culture of the era, you won't find first name toponyms - with the exception of kings and saints - being coined in the 16th century. 



Edited by edgewaters - 24-May-2009 at 13:05
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chilbudios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 13:47
Originally posted by edgewaters edgewaters wrote:

True, but only in the case of kings and saints, who are generally known by just their first names (eg King George or St. George).
 
Amerigo Vespucci was neither a king nor a saint, and, at least in Western European culture of the era, you won't find first name toponyms - with the exception of kings and saints - being coined in the 16th century.
Johannesburg comes neither from a king named John, nor (directly) from a saint named John. Neither many other thousands of villages/cities, peaks, capes, valleys, brooks derived from personal first names. And this is appliable also to explorers/founders, e.g. the practice of naming after wives/daughters: mount Belinda (South Sandwich islands), cape Ann (Antarctica), Hellensville (New Zealand) etc
 
I doubt any modern scholar could forbid or dictate Waldseemüller how to name the new geographical features from his cosmographia. Because he claims he named it after Americus Vesputius, and he also explains why he chose a feminine form of it ( http://books.google.com/books?id=gH2fQm3fBCsC&pg=PA9 ). Any revisionism must first deal with that.
 
For different theories on origins of the name America it should be noted that this was initially only the name of South America (note that North America is surrounded by waters):
 
 
 
 


Edited by Chilbudios - 24-May-2009 at 13:52
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2009 at 01:45

Originally posted by Chilbudios Chilbudios wrote:

Johannesburg comes neither from a king named John, nor (directly) from a saint named John. Neither many other thousands of villages/cities, peaks, capes, valleys, brooks derived from personal first names.

Johannesburg was named in the early 1800s. That was a typical practice during THAT era. Especially for settlements that had not been planned and sponsored but had simply arose in an unplanned fashion, as Johannesburg did (having originally been a prospector's camp that grew with a gold rush). When Johannesburg was originally founded, and named, as a temporary prospecting settlement (one among several in the area) the nearest permanent settlement of any note was Pretoria, named after Andries Pretorius.

Quote Because he claims he named it after Americus Vesputius, and he also explains why he chose a feminine form of it ( http://books.google.com/books?id=gH2fQm3fBCsC&pg=PA9 ). Any revisionism must first deal with that.
Waldseemuller didn't create the name. Accompanying his map was a text in which the name is attributed to Vespucci, but the name was already in use (it is generally acknowledged even by supporters of the Vespucci theory that it is simply the first time it appeared in print - as far as we can know for certain from surviving maps).
Waldseemuller did not write the Cosmographia and didn't coin the term. That was Matthias Ringmann, who had the erroneous notion that Vespucci had discovered the New World, an idea he picked up while a student in Italy. Waldseemuller corrected the error in a later edition.


Edited by edgewaters - 25-May-2009 at 02:01
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chilbudios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2009 at 02:01
Originally posted by Edgewaters Edgewaters wrote:

Johannesburg was named in the early 1800s. That was a typical practice during THAT era. Especially for settlements that had not been planned and sponsored but had simply arose in an unplanned fashion, as Johannesburg did (having originally been a prospector's camp that grew with a gold rush). 
First you said "nobody ever named anything after a first name", then you conceded to "true, but only in the case of kings and saints" (the italics are mine) and now you move to a new position and probably will do so to any inconvenient argument.
 
Quote
Waldseemuller didn't create the name. Accompanying his map was a text in which the name is attributed to Vespucci, but the name was already in use (it is generally acknowledged even by supporters of the Vespucci theory that it is simply the first time it appeared in print - as far as we can know for certain from surviving maps).
Have you read that link/book? Do you understand the two passages in Latin?
 
Quote Waldseemuller did not write the Cosmographia and didn't coin the term. That was Matthias Ringmann, who had the erroneous notion that Vespucci had discovered the New World, an idea he picked up while a student in Italy. Waldseemuller corrected the error in a later edition.
That's merely a speculation. There's no evidence on who actually wrote that text, we conventionally associate Waldseemüller with the publishing of that map.
 
Meanwhile I searched on the Amerike link, one of my findings is one entry in a book on word myths: http://books.google.com/books?id=pCADvlnbHFQC&pg=PA126 
 
 
 


Edited by Chilbudios - 25-May-2009 at 02:10
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2009 at 11:37
The Amerigo Vespucci theory is still the only one that doesn't seem completely farfetched. It makes sense to name a new land after the one who discovered it, and is far more likely than an entire continent being named after a random Welsh merchant or a district in Nicaragua. Amerigo in its latinized form is Americus, feminine place name form would be America, makes perfect sense. The fact that they used his first rather than last name is not sufficient to undermine this theory, as popular traditions do not necessarily follow established conventions, and Vespuccia sounds so awkward it would never have catched on.
Hwæt! wē Gār-Dena in geār-dagum,
þeod-cyninga, þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-May-2009 at 07:51

Originally posted by Chilbudios Chilbudios wrote:

That's merely a speculation. There's no evidence on who actually wrote that text, we conventionally associate Waldseemüller with the publishing of that map.

There are a few fringe historians who believe that Waldseemuller wrote the Introductio himself. But the accepted theory among historians is that Ringmann did, pop culture associations notwithstanding.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chilbudios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-May-2009 at 08:16
The fringe series named Cambridge History of Science published by the pop culture association Cambridge University Press claims that Ringmann and Waldseemüller named America in Vespucci's honor:
 
To be sure, it can be Waldseemüller's mom the one who wrote the passage on naming the New World, what it really matters is that this first mention of the word America is as a name invented from Americo (following the pattern of Europa and Asia).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chilbudios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-May-2009 at 09:07

On naming practices check this 16th century map showing a toponym in South America "Amerigo's valley":

 
 
 
 
 


Edited by Chilbudios - 26-May-2009 at 09:13
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-May-2009 at 10:27

Amerigo is a surname, too. 

http://www.theoriginalrecord.us/database/search/search/amerigo

Quote The fringe series named Cambridge History of Science published by the pop culture association Cambridge University Press claims that Ringmann and Waldseemüller named America

Not very fringe. Ringmann is acknowledged. Everyone knows that they were working together, with Ringmann doing translations and Waldseemuller doing the cartography.

The reason Ringmann is usually attributed as being the author of the text is that it is, in part, a translation of a Greek text (Ptolemy) and Waldseemuller didn't know Greek. Ringmann did, plus he was also experienced with printing, and had a background in  cosmography. Furthermore, Waldseemuller claimed authorship of the globe and the map, but didn't claim authorship of the text. There were actually five scholars working on the thing as a whole: Walther and Nicholas Lud, Johann Viator, Johann Basin Sandaucourt, Matthias Ringmann and Martin Waldseemuller. But only two had the technical skills to actually produce printed, translated documents (Ringmann) or maps (Waldseemuller). The others were probably involved as consultants. Ringmann is the only one of the bunch with all the skills necessary to produce the text of the Introductio - just as Waldseemuller was the only one who could have produced the maps.



Edited by edgewaters - 26-May-2009 at 10:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chilbudios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-May-2009 at 14:45
Originally posted by edgewaters edgewaters wrote:

Amerigo is a surname, too. 

http://www.theoriginalrecord.us/database/search/search/amerigo 

 
This is ludicrous. The name is on that map (roughly in modern Venezuela) because there was an explorer named Amerigo Vespucci. Either you present evidence of another explorer named x Amerigo after whose name that toponym was created, or simply you must accept the evidence that not only first names were used to create toponyms in various periods and culture (contrary to your claims), but even Amerigo's own name was.
 
Quote Not very fringe. Ringmann is acknowledged. Everyone knows that they were working together, with Ringmann doing translations and Waldseemuller doing the cartography.
It is fringe enough according to your dismissive earlier claim that everyone knows it was Ringmann. Like me, CHS fails to give him the full credit (maintaining a healthy agnosticism about issues which are virtually unsolvable).
 
Quote The reason Ringmann is usually attributed as being the author of the text is that it is, in part, a translation of a Greek text (Ptolemy) and Waldseemuller didn't know Greek. Ringmann did, plus he was also experienced with printing, and had a background in  cosmography. Furthermore, Waldseemuller claimed authorship of the globe and the map, but didn't claim authorship of the text. There were actually five scholars working on the thing as a whole: Walther and Nicholas Lud, Johann Viator, Johann Basin Sandaucourt, Matthias Ringmann and Martin Waldseemuller. But only two had the technical skills to actually produce printed, translated documents (Ringmann) or maps (Waldseemuller). The others were probably involved as consultants. Ringmann is the only one of the bunch with all the skills necessary to produce the text of the Introductio - just as Waldseemuller was the only one who could have produced the maps.
Vespucci's travels weren't written in Greek and Ptolemy was already translated by the time Waldseemüller conceived his map (e.g. Jacopo d'Angelo's translation in Latin from early 15th century) so he didn't actually need Greek to access the information (which he did anyway for his map).
 
The actual arguments for Ringmann or Sandaucourt as authors of the passage on Vespucci are other factoids, rather concerning their style, their vision (Ringmann authored other passages about words and names of feminine gender). However in the end we can't really say who authored those particular paragraphs.
 
It should also be noted that the map shows two portraits: of Ptolemy and Vespucci. Here's the portrait of Vespucci: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/earlyamericas/online/aftermath/images/object142_t.jpg
Whoever authored the text, the author of the map was well-aware about the naming of the continent described in the text.


Edited by Chilbudios - 26-May-2009 at 14:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-May-2009 at 05:23

Originally posted by Chilbudios Chilbudios wrote:

It is fringe enough according to your dismissive earlier claim that everyone knows it was Ringmann. Like me, CHS fails to give him the full credit (maintaining a healthy agnosticism about issues which are virtually unsolvable).

CHS doesn't credit Waldseemuller as the sole author of the text, as the fringe historians I referred to do. Simple.

Quote Vespucci's travels weren't written in Greek and Ptolemy was already translated by the time Waldseemüller conceived his map (e.g. Jacopo d'Angelo's translation in Latin from early 15th century) so he didn't actually need Greek to access the information (which he did anyway for his map).
Yes, he did. Even in that time, working from a secondary source - such as a translation - was considered bad scholarship because a translation doesn't convey the nuances of the language in which the text was originally written. 
 
Quote It should also be noted that the map shows two portraits: of Ptolemy and Vespucci. Here's the portrait of Vespucci: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/earlyamericas/online/aftermath/images/object142_t.jpg
Whoever authored the text, the author of the map was well-aware about the naming of the continent described in the text.

It's there, for sure. One might suspect that during his work with Ringmann, Waldseemuller was influenced by his wild enthusiasm for Vespucci. Afterwards, however, Waldseemuller was somewhat less enthusiastic. In his later works, the name "America" is omitted and the error is corrected - Waldseemuller didn't, in the end, believe that Vespucci discovered the mainland.

Not that this has any bearing on the origins of the name, though it does make clear that Vespucci's reputation among that particular group, at the time the map was printed, was overblown. 

Vespucci's claim is not as rock-solid as some believe. Webster's, for instance, states: "Americus Vespucius … but < ? Sp. Amerrique … used by early explorers for the newly discovered lands < ? AmInd." There are a number of etymologists who aren't so sure anymore either, for instance:

http://www.jstor.org/pss/453925?cookieSet=1



Edited by edgewaters - 27-May-2009 at 05:36
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chilbudios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-May-2009 at 10:17
Originally posted by edgewaters edgewaters wrote:

Yes, he did. Even in that time, working from a secondary source - such as a translation - was considered bad scholarship because a translation doesn't convey the nuances of the language in which the text was originally written. 
But this doesn't change the fact on this map we have information from a Greek source, and unless the authorship of the map itself is contested, we have no reason to deny Waldseemüller's access to the available sources, Ptolemy or Vespucci.
 
Quote It's there, for sure. One might suspect that during his work with Ringmann, Waldseemuller was influenced by his wild enthusiasm for Vespucci. Afterwards, however, Waldseemuller was somewhat less enthusiastic. In his later works, the name "America" is omitted and the error is corrected - Waldseemuller didn't, in the end, believe that Vespucci discovered the mainland.
 
Not that this has any bearing on the origins of the name, though it does make clear that Vespucci's reputation among that particular group, at the time the map was printed, was overblown.
  We don't know what Waldseemüller believed or if that was indeed an error (error vs what truth?).
The name of the continent wasn't corrected after some other explorer (so apparently there was not a simple misattribution) but to the more neuter Terra Nova or Terra Incognita (e.g. Tabula oceani occidentalis seu Terrae Novae from 1513). There could be several reasons for such a change: outside pressure (invoked by several scholars as a possible cause), or even that in the later works the two Americas are no longer two separate continents as in the 1507 map and he wouldn't want the northern part of the continent to be named after a explorer of the south and/or he chose a more suitable name as long as the geography of the new continent was still revealing. In the end we can't really know what triggered this change.
 
Quote

Vespucci's claim is not as rock-solid as some believe. Webster's, for instance, states: "Americus Vespucius … but < ? Sp. Amerrique … used by early explorers for the newly discovered lands < ? AmInd." There are a number of etymologists who aren't so sure anymore either, for instance:

http://www.jstor.org/pss/453925?cookieSet=1 

These are fringe/obsolete claims if anything. Rea's objections were mostly refuted in the thread and in the links/books I provided. As that book on word myths well put it: this revisionism is mostly about ethnic pride and honor.
 
 
 
 
 
 


Edited by Chilbudios - 27-May-2009 at 10:18
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-May-2009 at 11:30

Originally posted by Chilbudios Chilbudios wrote:

We don't know what Waldseemüller believed or if that was indeed an error (error vs what truth?).

What? Absolutely we know it was an error. Even if you accept Vespucci's voyages on face value (which many do not), his voyage was supposed to have been in 1501-1502. John Cabot's voyage was in 1497, and he is widely credited as having been the first to sight the mainland.

Quote There could be several reasons for such a change: outside pressure (invoked by several scholars as a possible cause), or even that in the later works the two Americas are no longer two separate continents as in the 1507 map
But they were still two separate continents, in all of Waldseemuller's works. Not until Mercator's 1538 map were they joined as a single mainland ... by which time Waldseemuller had been dead 16 years.
Quote These are fringe/obsolete claims if anything. Rea's objections were mostly refuted in the thread and in the links/books I provided
Did you even read Rea's argument? Because you haven't addressed it at all. Rea's point was that the passage in the Introductio is ambiguous; it could be read either as an explanation for the innovation of the name, or as a defence of using an already extant name.


Edited by edgewaters - 27-May-2009 at 11:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chilbudios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-May-2009 at 11:38
Originally posted by edgewaters edgewaters wrote:

What? Absolutely we know it was an error. Even if you accept Vespucci's voyages on face value (which many do not), his voyage was supposed to have been in 1501-1502. John Cabot's voyage was in 1497, and he is widely credited as having been the first to sight the mainland.
Huh? Vespucci explored South America, Cabot North America, Waldseemüller named South America after Vespucci, not the Northern one (look at his map). A core difference between the maps of 1507 and 1513 is the merging of the two continents as one.
 
Quote
But they were still two separate continents, in all of Waldseemuller's works. Not until Mercator's 1538 map were they joined as a single mainland ... by which time Waldseemuller had been dead 16 years.
Wrong, in that map from 1513 they are joined as a single mainland:
 
 
It's interesting also the note on Columbus, which lends support to the theory he might have dropped America because some external pressures. Please note there's nothing about Cabot.
 
Quote
Did you even read Rea's argument? Because you haven't addressed it at all. Rea's point was that the passage in the Introductio is ambiguous; it could be read either as an explanation for the innovation of the name, or as a defence of using an already extant name.
Did you even read the links/books I provided? Because there's all addressed in there. Rea's argument falls short because of his flawed assumptions:
- that first names were not used to name discoveries
- that Americus is an unusual Latinization for Amerigo
etc.
 
So we have no reason at all to assume the passage is a defence for an already extant name. Some people doubt that the continent was named after Vespucci mostly because they have their agenda-driven theories about British merchants and sponsors or obscure Native Americans.
 
 


Edited by Chilbudios - 27-May-2009 at 11:56
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-May-2009 at 12:00

Ok, I see he did join them. But in context ... not as a New World at all. It still remained for Mercator to be the first to represent a New World as a single land mass.

Waldseemuller's map indicates that by 1513, it was recognized that there was a continuous coastline from Florida to South America (whether it extended to the well-known territories around the mouth of the St. Lawrence is left rather ambiguous). But it should be remembered that Florida and the territories around the mouth of the St. Lawrence were still believed, at this time, to be connected to Asia. With the realization that the south was not a separate continent, the territories were viewed by cosmographers as an extension of the Asiatic continent and not a new continent at all. In September of 1513 Balboas crossed the Central American isthmus and discovered the Pacific on the other side.

It took quite a while for cosmographers to digest this. For instance, the 1531 Finé map:

http://www.discoveryeditions.com/images/cached/FAR_PRODUCTzoom_image222w800h600norm-.jpg

This map was the definitive world map of its time, just before the Mercator map.

Ironically, Waldseemuller's 1538 map which was the first to show the Americas as a joined landmass separate from Asia, were not much regarded in his own time. The view that the mass was connected to Asia still dominated, as can be seen in Gastaldi's celebrated 1546 Universale map:

http://www.raremaps.com/maps/medium/18531.jpg



Edited by edgewaters - 27-May-2009 at 12:19
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chilbudios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-May-2009 at 12:20
But the exact same known part of the North-American continent (the coast around Florida) is shown in the 1507 map separate and in the 1513 map joined with South America. Which proves the point the continent envisioned by Waldseemüller in his work from 1513 and the following ones was much larger than the one from 1507, even though much of the North-American geography was still unknown to him.
 
 
And Waldseemuller's map from 1507 shows the two American continents separated from Asia, so even when in a later map he names Florida "Terra de Cuba, Asie Partis" we should read it as a homage to the explorers (e.g. Columbus for Asia).
In the 1513 map he named the new continent Terra Nova which means literally the New World (Land).
 
 
 
 
 


Edited by Chilbudios - 27-May-2009 at 12:23
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Craze_b0i Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Jun-2009 at 18:49
Quote Meanwhile I searched on the Amerike link, one of my findings is one entry in a book on word myths: http://books.google.com/books?id=pCADvlnbHFQC&pg=PA126 
 
I studied the Cabot voyages during my Masters. I am doubtful of the Amerike theory.
 
However the link above made me chuckle... Having dismissed one myth (Amerike giving his name to America) it then reports-as-fact another urban myth: that Bristol fisherman had discovered America a century before Colombus but kept it a secret. LOL
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