Names of Istanbul

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Main article: Istanbul

The city of Istanbul has been known through the ages under a large number of different names. Besides its modern Turkish name, the most notable are Byzantium, Constantinople and Stambul, but there are also others. Each of them is associated with different phases of its history and with different languages. This page gives a survey of the history of these names and their use in various modern languages.


[edit] Names in historical sequence

[edit] Byzantium

Byzantium was the name of the ancient Greek city on the site of what is today Istanbul. It was founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and, according to legend, named after their king Byzas or Byzantas (Βύζας/Βύζαντας). The original Greek form of the name is Byzantion (Βυζάντιον); Byzantium is the Latinised form as it was borrowed into the Western languages. Much later, the name Byzantium became common in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire, the "Byzantine" Empire, whose capital the city had been. This usage was introduced only in 1555 by the German historian Hieronymus Wolf, a century after the empire had ceased to exist. During the time of the empire itself, the name of Byzantium was only used rarely.

Further information: Byzantium

[edit] Augusta Antonina

Augusta Antonina was a name given to the city during a brief period in the 3rd century AD. It was conferred to it by the Roman emperor Septimius Severus (193-211) in honour of his son Antonius, the later emperor Caracalla.<ref name="IA">Necdet Sakaoğlu (1993/94a): "İstanbul'un adları" ["The names of Istanbul"]. In: 'Dünden bugüne İstanbul ansiklopedisi', ed. Türkiye Kültür Bakanlığı, Istanbul.</ref>

[edit] Second Rome / New Rome

When Roman emperor Constantine the Great made the city the new eastern capital of the Roman Empire on May 11, 330, he first conferred to it the name of Second Rome (Latin: Secunda Roma, Greek: Δευτέρα Ρώμη). He also undertook a major construction project, essentially rebuilding the city. Since the 5th century, the usage shifted to New Rome (Latin: Nova Roma, Greek: Νέα Ρώμη). Neither name came into very wide use, however. The term "New Rome" lent itself to East-Western polemics, especially in the context of the Great Schism, when it was used by Greek writers to stress the rivalry with (the original) Rome. New Rome is also still part of the official title of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Further information: New Rome

[edit] Constantinople

Constantinople ("City of Constantine") was the name by which the city became soon more widely known instead of Nova Roma, in honour of its eponymic founder. The original Greek form is Kōnstantinoupolis (Κωνσταντινούπολις); the Latin form is Constantinopolis. It is first attested in official use under emperor Theodosius II (408-450).<ref name="IA"/> It remained the principal official name of the city throughout the Byzantine period, and the most common name used for it in the West until the early 20th century.

Some Byzantine writers would vary the use of the names Byzantium and Constantinople depending on religious historical context; Byzantium was associated with the city's pagan roots, while Constantinople was associated with Christianity.

Further information: Constantinople

[edit] Other Byzantine names

Besides Constantinople, the Byzantines referred to the city with a large range of honorary appelations, such as the "Queen of Cities" (Βασιλίς τῶν πόλεων). In popular speech, however, the most common way of referring to it came to be simply The City (Greek: hē Polis, ἡ Πόλις, Modern Greek: i Poli, η Πόλη). This usage, still current today in colloquial Greek, also became the source of the later Turkish name, Istanbul (see below).

[edit] Kostantiniyye

Kostantiniyye (Arabic القسطنطينية, al-Qusṭanṭiniyah, Ottoman Turkish قسطنطينيه Kostantiniyye) is the name by which the city came to be known in the Islamic world. It is an Arabic calqued form of Constantinople, with an Arabic ending meaning 'place of' instead of the Greek element -polis. After the Ottoman conquest of 1453, it was used as the most formal official name in Ottoman Turkish, and remained in use throughout most of the time up to the fall of the empire in 1923. However, during some periods Ottoman authorities favoured other names (see below).

[edit] Istanbul

The modern Turkish name İstanbul (IPA: [istambul] or colloquial [ɨstanbul]) is attested (in a range of different variants) since the 10th century, at first in Armenian and Arabic and then in Turkish sources. It derives from the Greek phrase "εἰς τὴν Πόλιν" or "στην Πόλη" [(i)stimboli(n)], both meaning "in the city" or "to the city".<ref>An alternative derivation, directly from Constantinople, was entertained as an hypothesis by some researchers in the 19th century but is today regarded as obsolete; see Sakaoğlu (1993/94a: 254) for references.</ref> It is thus based on the common Greek usage of referring to Constantinople simply as The City (see above). Non-Greek speakers are believed to have misunderstood the preceding preposition and article in the frequently encountered phrase as being part of the name. Similar examples of modern Turkish placenames derived from Greek in this fashion are İzmit, earlier İznikmit, from Greek Nicomedia, İznik from Greek Nicaea ([iz nikea]), Samsun (s'Amison = "se + Amisos"), and İstanköy for the Greek island Kos (from is tin Ko). The occurrence of the initial i- in these names may partly reflect the old Greek form with is-, or it may partly be an effect of secondary epenthesis due to the phonotactic structure of Turkish.

İstanbul was the common name for the city in normal speech in Turkish even since before the conquest of 1453, but in official use by the Ottoman authorities, other names such as Kostantiniyye were preferred in certain contexts. Thus, Kostantiniyye was used on coinage up to the late 17th and then again in the 19th century. The Ottoman chancelery and courts used Kostantiniyye as part of intricate formulae in expressing the place of origin of formal documents, such as be-Makam-ı Darü's-Saltanat-ı Kostantiniyyetü'l-Mahrusâtü'l-Mahmiyye<ref name="Ko">Necdet Sakaoğlu (1993/94b): "Kostantiniyye". In: 'Dünden bugüne İstanbul ansiklopedisi', ed. Türkiye Kültür Bakanlığı, Istanbul.</ref> In 19th century Turkish bookprinting it was also used in the impressum of books, in analogy to the foreign use of Constantinople. At the same time, however, İstanbul too was part of official language, for instance as part of the titles of the highest Ottoman military commander (İstanbul ağası) and the highest civil magistrate (İstanbul efendisi) of the city.<ref name="Dic">A.C. Barbier de Meynard (1881): Dictionnaire Turc-Français. Paris: Ernest Leroux.</ref> İstanbul and several other variant forms of the same name were also widely used in Ottoman literature and poetry.<ref name="IA"/>

After the creation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, the various alternative names besides İstanbul became obsolete in Turkish. In an edict of March 28, 1930, the Turkish authorities officially requested foreigners to cease referring to the city with their traditional non-Turkish names (such as Constantinople) and to adopt İstanbul as the sole name also in the foreign languages.<ref name="rename">Stanford and Ezel Shaw (1977): History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Vol II, p. 386; Robinson (1965), The First Turkish Republic, p. 298.</ref>

[edit] Stamboul

Stamboul or Stambul is a variant form of İstanbul. Like Istanbul itself, forms without the initial i- are attested from early on in the Middle Ages, first in Arabic sources of the 10th century and Armenian ones of the 12th. Some early sources also attest to an even shorter form Bulin, based on the Greek word Poli(n) alone without the preceding article.<ref name="EI">"Istanbul", in Encyclopedia of Islam.</ref> (This latter form lives on in modern Armenian.)

Stamboul was used in Western languages as an equivalent of İstanbul, until the time it was replaced by the official new usage of the Turkish form in the 20th century. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, English-speaking sources often used Constantinople to refer to the metropolis as a whole, but Stamboul to refer to the central parts located on the historic peninsula between the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus.<ref name="Dwight">H. G. Dwight (1915): Constantinople Old and New. New York: Scribner's.</ref>

[edit] İslambol

İslambol or İslambul, literally full of Islam, was a folk-etymological adaptation of İstanbul created after the Ottoman conquest of 1453 to express the city's new role as the capital of the Islamic Ottoman empire. It is first attested shortly after the conquest, and its invention was ascribed by some contemporary writers to Sultan Mehmed II himself.<ref name="IA"/> Some Ottoman sources of the 17th century, most notably Evliya Çelebi, describe it as the common Turkish name of the time. Between the late 17th and late 18th centuries, it was also in official use. Under Sultan Mustafa III, in an edict from 1770, it was decreed that Islambol should replace Kostantiniyye on coins. However, it was again replaced by Kostantiniyye and other names by the 19th century.<ref name="EI"/>

[edit] Other Ottoman names

Like the Byzantines, the Ottomans used to refer to the city by a range of other honorary appellations. Among them are Dersaadet (در سعادت 'Gate of Felicity'), Derâliye (در عاليه) or Bâb-ı Âlî باب عالی 'The Sublime Porte', or Pâyitaht (پایتخت, 'The Seat of the Throne'). The 'Gate of Felicity' and the 'Sublime Porte' were literally places within the Ottoman Sultans' Topkapi Palace, and were used metonymically to refer to the authorities located there, and hence for the Ottoman government as a whole. This usage is mirrored in the use of Sublime Porte or simple The Porte in Western diplomacy before the 20th century.

Further information: Porte

[edit] Historical names in other languages

Many peoples neighboring on the Byzantine Empire used names expressing concepts like "The Great City", "City of the Emperors", "Capital of the Romans" or similar.

[edit] Slavic

East and South Slavic languages referred to the city as Tsargrad, 'City of the Emperor', from the Slavonic words tsar ('Caesar') and grad ('city'). This was presumably a calque on a Greek phrase such as Βασιλέως Πόλις (Basileus Polis), 'the city of the emperor [king]'. The term is still occasionally used in Bulgarian, whereas it has become archaic in Russian. It was also borrowed from the Slavic languages into Romanian in the form Ţarigrad.

Further information: Tsargrad

[edit] Germanic

The medieval Vikings, who had contacts with the Byzantine empire through their expansion through eastern Europe (Varangians) used the Old Norse name Miklagarðr (from mikill 'big' and garðr 'city'). This name lives on in the modern Icelandic name Mikligarður.

[edit] Persian and Arabic

Besides Kostantiniyye, Persian, Arabic and other languages of the Islamic world used names based on the title Cesar ('Emperor'), as in Persian Kayser-i Zemin,<ref name="IA"/> or on the ethnic name Rum ('Romans'), as in Arabic Rūmiyet al-kubra ('Great City of the Romans') or Persian Taht-i Rūm ('Throne of the Romans').<ref name="EI" />

[edit] Modern languages

Most modern Western languages have adopted the name Istanbul for the modern city during the 20th century, following the usage imposed by the Turkish Republic. However, many languages also preserve other, traditional names. Greeks continue to call the city Constantinople (Κωνσταντινούπολη Konstantinupoli in Modern Greek) or simply "The City" (η Πόλη i Poli). Languages that use forms based on Stamboul include Russian, Albanian, and Kurdish. Hebrew uses Qushta, a shortened form based on the name Constantine. Armenian uses Bolis, based on the Greek Poli(s) 'City'. Icelandic preserves the old Norse name Mikligarður.

Further information: List of names in European languages

[edit] References

<references />

bg:Истанбул (имена)

tr:İstanbul (şehir)#Etimoloji

Names of Istanbul

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