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I received the following in email:
"Something seldom mentioned when discussing ancient Rome is that Romans never referred to themselves as Italian any more than one mentions the Italian Empire. Italia and Roma have distinct meanings often seen from different poles. It is believed that the word Italia comes from an older word -- Vitulis -- which may mean 'sons of the bull god' or 'the bull king.' This was first limited to the southern part of the peninsula."
It prompted me to put up an article on competing possibilities for the origin of the name Italia. Read: What Is the Etymology of Italia (Italy)? Also see my review of Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin, by Nicholas Ostler.

Comments

August 10, 2010 at 12:22 pm
(1) Jim Vito says:

What about the theory of Thucydides( The Peloponnesian War, Book 6, paragraph 2) and Diodorus Siculus that Italus was the name of the king of a tribe called Sicels.
This tribe was located in Italy and eventually moved into Sicily. They are one of the three native peoples that the Greeks found on the island when they began settling there.

August 10, 2010 at 12:41 pm
(2) ancienthistory says:

Italus is actually in one of the citations, but I didn’t summarize the entry with a mention. I’ll do that. Thanks.

August 10, 2010 at 1:08 pm
(3) eric says:

So it had nothing to do with their font styling preferences?

July 8, 2012 at 6:45 am
(4) Fred Guido says:

This is a comment by the Italian Department of Foreign Affairs on their website:

“Calabria was once called ‘Italy’ in honour of its inhabitants who were known as Itali.”

It is therefore known that the word “Italia” was first given to the region of Calabria in ancient times.

April 18, 2013 at 10:25 pm
(5) Stephen Helisek says:

What dose calabria mean ?

October 6, 2013 at 10:12 am
(6) Fred Guido says:

Are you serious?? Have you not heard of Calabria ? It is the “toe” of Italy. That region has an amazing history that is never told because of ignorance from the media. It is the region that was the first to be called Italy. The first laws of the western world came from there. Plus our calendar was created by a Calabrian. It had cities more powerful than Athens in ancient times. Plus it produced many famous people from antiquity to modern times. Today it’s history is overshadowed by its reputation of criminal activity. This is used to hide its glorious past and to stop people from going there to see it’s many famous sights and ancient/medieval towns and castles. It’s a pity though as it has so much to offer.

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