Latin names of cities
Users of Neo-Latin
have taken the Latin language to places the Romans
never went; hence a need arose to make Latin names of cities
that did not exist when Latin was a living language.
The first places that needed Latin names were encountered by Bible translators, who had a need to figure out what to call the many place names in the Bible in Latin. They either reworked the place names into Latin or Greek shapes; in one version, Jerusalem becomes Hierosolyma. Or, they adopted them directly, often treating the new place names as indeclinable nouns; here Jerusalem is brought over as Ierusalem.
Similar strategies are used with United States and North America and other place names that Latin writers needed to give Latin names to. A number of methods are used:
- A classical ending such as -um or -a is added or substituted on the end of the source word. Hence Baltimorum for "Baltimore," Albania for "Albany."
- The words already fit into Latin declensions, as do Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Atlanta.
- Calques are resorted to if the New World name is based on an Old World name; the various Parises in the United States are likely to become Lutetia, and Novum Eboracum or Neo-Eboracum represents New York, because Eboracum is the city of York in England.
- The words are respelled to eliminate non-Latin sounds; hence Washington becomes Vasingtonium.
- The words are adjusted to fit Latin declensions; Kansas appears as either Cansas, Cansatis or Cansa, Cansae; Chicago, Ohio, and Idaho become consonant stems, with genitives Chicagonis, Ohionis, Idahonis, &c.
- The words are re-interpreted to fit Latin declensions; Illinois is treated as a third-declension noun.
- The words are treated as indeclinable, like some Biblical names; Connecticut is sometimes treated this way.
In many cases, there is no consensus as to how to treat any given names, and variants exist. If a university
or the see
of a bishop
is in a town, the odds increase that there is a standard form hallowed by usage. Note that names of cities are usually feminine
in Latin, despite ending in -us
. This rule is not always strictly observed in the New World
- There are latin forms of Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, and other Oceanian-South Pacific communities as well.
- One example is London, Ontario which can be translateable to Londinium in Latin, while the rest of the other non-Latin languages like Greek and French for other Londons that are not London, England is spelt "London" (from English).
Here are the names that are listed in Latin and its modern meaning on the right for the world, except for Europe, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Kurdistan.
- This list includes Azerbaijan, Kurdistan southeast of Arbil, Abkhazia, Chechnya, Tatarstan, Dagestan, Malta and Pantelleria, and the whole of Kazakhstan, and Russia east of the ural mountains.
|Latin Name||English Name, [other name(s)], [older name(s)], [province], [state]|
|Alexandria (Aegyptus)¹||Alexandria (Al-Iskandriyah), Egypt|
|Alexandria (Colombia Bretannicum)||Alexandria, British Columbia|
|Alexandria (Ontario)||Alexandria, Ontario|
|Alexandria (Virginia)||Alexandria, Virginia|
|Arbela, Arbila||Erbil, Arbil|
|Baltimorum, Baltimori||Baltimore, Maryland|
|Bona Aera||Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|Cansae, Civitas||Kansas City|
|Civitas Alphabeticum||Alphabet City (New York, New York|
|Civita California||California City, California|
|Citiva? Florida||Florida City, Florida|
|Civita Oklahoma||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma|
|Citiva Panama||Panama City, Florida|
|Columbus||Columbus, North Carolina|
|Corpus Christi||Corpus Christi, Texas|
|Damascus||Damascus (Dimashq), Syria|
|Flumen Januarii||Rio de Janeiro|
|Hippo Regius||Bone, Algeria|
|Indianapolis (4)||Indianapolis, Indiana|
|Jericho²||Jericho, West Bank (Palestine)|
|Leptis Magna, Lepcis Magna||near Tripoli, Libya|
|Londinium, Africa Australia||London, South Africa|
|Londinium (Ontario)||London, Ontario|
|Marathon (Ontario)||Marathon, Ontario|
|Medaba||Mecca (Makkah), Saudi Arabia|
|Medina, Arabia||Medina, Saudi Arabia|
|Medina, Nova Eburaca||Medina, New York|
|Mons Regius||Montreal, Quebec|
|Minneapolis (4)||Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|Nova Aurelia, Novum Aurelium||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Novum Baltimorum||New Baltimore, Michigan|
|Novis? Hamburgensis||New Hamburg, Ontario|
|Novum Eboracum||New York, New York|
|Novum Londinium*||New London, Connecticut|
|Olympia (Vasingtonia)||Olympia, Washington|
|Philadelphia¹ (America)||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Phoenix¹, Arizona||Phoenix, Arizona|
|Praetoria?||Pretoria, South Africa|
|Providenia?||Provideniya, Russia, west of Alaska|
|Providentia||Providence, Rhode Island|
|Sancti Spiriti||Sancti Spiriti, Argentina|
|Tempe (Arizona)||Tempe, Arizona|
|Tiberias||Tiberias (Teverya), Israel|
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- or Novo Londinio
- 1 - Latinized form of the Greek-derived name.
- 2 - Latinized form of a Hebrew derived name
- 3 - Latinized form of an Amerindian languages-derived name.
- 4 - only polis is a Greek derived name.