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ICOS 2008 Conference Abstract

Agrarian Landscapes and Toponymy in the European Mediterranean Region

J Tort Donada
Universitat de Barcelona, Spain

In the countries of the European Mediterranean region (and, specifically, in the territories in which the Romance languages are spoken today), a significant part of the historical toponymy has close links with the rural world and its agrarian activities. This is no chance happening as the first extensive agrarian colonisation of these countries was carried out under the Roman Empire. It was also under the rule of this Empire that the pagus was created and became widespread: a legal (and not just a linguistic) concept that referred to the land which was to be farmed and cultivated. And, the vestiges of this concept remain visible today in features such as the landscape and the toponymy.
In this paper, we wish to present the results of our examination of the links between the agrarian landscape and its toponymy at various points of the Iberian Peninsula. In so doing, we focus our study on a series of present-day place names in Catalonia, Aragon and Valencia. We analyse the features that these names have in common and the differences that they present. And, finally, we explain the general correlations that can be observed between these toponyms and certain landscape types or patterns.

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