Origin of the name "Europe"
In Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess who was abducted by Zeus in bull form and taken to the island of Crete, where she gave birth to Minos. For Homer, Europa (Greek: Ευρώπη) was a mythological queen of Crete, not a geographical designation. Later Europa stood for mainland Greece and by 500 BC its meaning was extended to lands to the north.
The term Europe is generally derived from Greek words meaning broad (eurys) and face (ops). A minority, however, see a Semitic origin, pointing to the Akkadian word gharoob or erebu which means "sunset". From a Middle Eastern viewpoint, the sun sets over Europe: the lands to the west. Likewise, Asia is also thought to have derived from the Akkadian word asu, which means "sunrise" and is the land to the east from a Mesopotamian perspective.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Europe".