Carpathian - Name

Name

The name "Carpathian" may have been derived from Carpi, a Dacian tribe. According to Zosimus, this tribe lived until 381 on the eastern Carpathian slopes. The word could come from an indo-European word meaning "rock". In the Thracian Greek Καρπάτῆς όρος (Karpates oros), means "rocky mountain",

The range is called Karpaty in Czech, Polish, Russian, Slovak and Ukrainian, Carpați in Romanian, Karpaten in German and Dutch, Kárpátok in Hungarian and Karpati (Карпати) in Bulgarian and Serbian.

The name Carpates may ultimately be from the Proto Indo-European root *sker-/*ker-, from which comes the Albanian word kar (rock), and the Slavic word skála (rock, cliff), perhaps via a Dacian cognate which meant mountain, rock, or rugged (cf. Germanic root *skerp-, Old Norse harfr "harrow", Middle Low German scharf "potsherd" and Modern High German Scherbe "shard", Old English scearp and English sharp, Lithuanian kar~pas "cut, hack, notch", Latvian cìrpt "to shear, clip"). The archaic Polish word karpa meant "rugged irregularities, underwater obstacles/rocks, rugged roots or trunks". The more common word skarpa means a sharp cliff or other vertical terrain. Otherwise, the name may instead come from Indo-European *kwerp "to turn", akin to Old English hweorfan "to turn, change" (English warp) and Greek καρπός karpós "wrist", perhaps referring to the way the mountain range bends or veers in an L-shape.

In late Roman documents, the Eastern Carpathian Mountains were referred to as Montes Sarmatici (meaning Sarmatian Mountains). The Western Carpathians were called Carpates, a name that is first recorded in Ptolemy's Geographia (2nd century AD).

In the Scandinavian Hervarar saga, which describes ancient Germanic legends about battles between Goths and Huns, the name Karpates appears in the predictable Germanic form as Harvaða fjöllum (see Grimm's law).

Thirteenth to 15th century Hungarian documents named the mountains Thorchal, Tarczal or less frequently Montes Nivium.

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