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ICOS 2008 Conference Abstract

Galatian Place Names Revisited: Intercultural Toponomastics in Central Asia Minor and Galatian History

Author(s):
A Coşkun
Universität Trier, Germany

Due to the limited information that either literary sources or archaeological remains convey on Ancient Galatia, our knowledge of the history of the Celtic invaders and the Phrygian population in Central Anatolia can be greatly enhanced by a systematic study of their proper names. For my contribution to ICOS XXII, I drew on personal names to demonstrate the long persistence of cultural diversity between the newcomers and the autochthonous people, as well as the transformation of specific onomastic habits in the course of Romanization and Hellenization. Similar methods may likewise be applied to place names with great profit. While previous studies have mainly concentrated on identifying Celtic place names, thereby sorting out the rest, an attempt at qualifying the samples in more detail is promising. On the one hand, some of the names hitherto characterized as Celtic turn out to be celticized (e.g., river Tem-brogios > Tembris, fortress Sinorix > Synhorion) or even entirely homonymous to Phrygian or Old Anatolian names (e.g., Malos). On the other hand, many names of mountains, rivers, villages, or towns hitherto excluded from the Galatian thesaurus may well be rooted in Celtic etymology. Every single case allows to ask new questions about the local history, whereas the whole sample opens new perspectives on patterns of settlement and interculturalization.

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