2020, Volume 17, Issue 3

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Richard Coates
University of the West of England
Bristol, UK

The Island Name Krk, Croatia, in its Mediterranean and European Context

Voprosy onomastiki, 2020, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp. 186–208 (in English)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2020.17.3.039

Received on 31 January 2020

Abstract: Krk is one of the two largest islands in the Adriatic archipelago of Croatia, along with Cres. Its name has been discussed most recently by Dubravka Ivšić Majić (Voprosy Onomastiki 16.1, 2019) in the context of an analysis of the survival of the pre-Slavic names of islands presently in Croatia that are recorded in medieval sources, which is based in part on her doctoral dissertation. However, Krk has apparently never been discussed in the wider perspective that is attempted here. The purposes of this article are (1) to examine a moderately large range of similar names in or adjacent to the Mediterranean (understood broadly to include the Ægean, Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas), and (2) to try to form a view about the possible origin and significance of the name and its etymon, along with their possible relation to certain other names and lexical words in languages of the Mediterranean, notably Ancient Greek, and Insular Celtic. Particular attention is paid to the geology, geomorphology and cultural significances of the places bearing names of this type. It is tentatively concluded that the names originally referred to striking geological features invested with cultural significance because of some exceptional additional characteristic, such as the mysterious appearance or disappearance of pure water. Certainty is not possible about the language of original formulation, but the range of variation in the name-types and their apparent dialectology are considered. Greek is the medium of transmission for the majority of the names analysed. A brief footnote glance is taken at superficially comparable names and lexical items even further from the epicentre of the phenomena considered here.

Keywords: Krk, toponymy, etymology, geography, geology, rocks, caves, springs, Croatia, Greek-speaking lands in Antiquity.


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