Re: [tied] Balkan?

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 13087
Date: 2002-04-08

I think Callimachus (his Latinised pen-name) did have some first-hand Balkan experience. By 1490 he had been working in the Polish diplomatic service for sixteen years, and had visited Istanbul several times with various embassies. Neither Poles nor Italians would have had any problems with the sound [v], and the term <Wol/och> 'Vlach' (with East Slavic phonetics) had long been familiar to the Poles (we reserve the West Slavic variant <Wl/och> for the Italians, so Callimachus was a Wl/och himself, and he surely knew enough Polish to realise that :))).
----- Original Message -----
From: x99lynx@...
Sent: Monday, April 08, 2002 6:16 AM
Subject: [tied] Balkan?

"The first time the word Balkan was mentioned was in a letter written by an Italian humanist, writer and diplomat, Buonaccorsi Callimarco [actually Callimaco] for a mountain in northern Bulgaria, in 1490. He took the Turkish name Bal.kan which meant 'woody mountain.'"

Now, I don't know the details on how Callimaco heard the name.  But it occurs to me that Balkan doesn't have to have been a Turkish name for anything specific in this scenario, but rather just a misunderstanding on Callimaco's part.  I.e., he thought the Turkish word for a simple description of a piece of land was a proper name.  Again, I don't know where Callimaco got his information from or in what form he ended up writing the word <balkan>.  He appears to have gotten his information about the Romanians in Poland and I
don't know if he ever visited Bulgaria or not.