August 18, 2005

i'm up at 5 a.m. and i was wondering about the etymology of "scandinavia" and unsurprisingly there was a wiki:


The etymology for the names Scandinavia and Scania is considered to be the same.

The name is most probably derived from the Germanic *Skathin- meaning "danger" (cf. English scathing and unscathed) and *awjo meaning "island". It may have referred to the dangerous banks around Skanör (skan- is the same as in Scandinavia, and -ör means "sandbanks") and Falsterbo in Scania in southernmost Scandinavia.

Alternatively, the first element is sometimes attributed to the Scandinavian giantess Skadi from Norse mythology.

The original form would have been *Skaðinawjo, which gave rise to different forms in Germanic languages and by non-Germanic scribes. In Beowulf we meet the forms Scedenigge and Scedeland. Ptolemy uses the form Scandia, and Scatinavia appears in Roman texts, e.g. Pliny the Elder, whereas Pomponius Mela used the deviant form Codanovia. The form Scadinavia, the original home of the Langobards, appears in Paulus Diaconus' Historia Langobardorum[1], but in other versions of Historia Langobardorum appear the forms Scadan, Scandanan, Scadanan and Scatenauge[2]. In Jordanes' history of the Goths (AD 551) we meet the form Scandza their original home, separated by sea from the land of Europe (chapter 1, 4)[3].

The name of the Scandinavian mountain range, Skanderna in Swedish, is artificially derived from Skandinavien in the 19th century, in analogy with Alperna for the Alps. The commonly used names are Kölen "the Keel" or fjällen "the fells, the mountains".


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