On February 7 you printed an interesting article "Kranj's Khislstein Castle." The article tells us about the archeological findings which tell us when the area was first settled. The settlement goes way back into history, all the way to the Old Stone Age.
The article, however, claims that . . . Its name (Carnium), as well as the name of the region (Carniola) and its inhabitants, and some rivers like the Sava (Savus) or the Kokra (Corkas) originate from the times of the Roman settlement. A reader could conclude from these examples that the names were brought by Romans and are of Latin origin, and may attempt to look for their meanings in a Latin dictionary. Unfortunately, the reader will be disappointed because no meaningful interpretation of these names will be found there.
To the above mentioned names, additional names that were also recorded during the Roman occupation about 2000 years ago, can be added. Let us look at the names of some of the rivers: Drava (Dravus), Kolpa (Kolapis), Mura (Murius), Nadrza (Natiso), Soca (Sontius), and city names such as Trst (Tergeste), and Ptuj (Poetovio) and mountains: Karavanke (Caravanca Mons) and Karniške Alpe (Alpes Carnicae).
Archeologists tell us that Slovenia was inhabited continuously for thousands of years. Even during the Ice Age, it provided a refuge for the inhabitants. After the Ice Age, the inhabitants spread north and east, according to geneticists who have studied the genetic makeup of peoples around the world. Later when the territory of the present day Slovenia became part of the Roman empire about 2000 years ago, the land was already inhabited. The inhabitants would have had names for the rivers, towns and mountains. In North America we are made aware of the indigenous peoples by the names of the rivers that they gave them and that have not been renamed by the white man. Names like Niagara, Mississauga, Ontario, Toronto, Canada, Mississippi, Temagami, etc., tell us that previous inhabitants were Indians. The present inhabitants for the most part do not understand the meanings of these names, but the North American Indians still do.
Many present day Slovenian names recorded by the Romans have no real meaning in Latin, but are meaningful, for the most part, in Slovenian. But if we cannot decipher the meaning of a name using Slovenian, the name can usually be deciphered using Sanskrit – the ancient language of India.
This may be surprising to some, but new studies have revealed that there are definite genetic and linguistic affinities between Slavs, especially Slovenians, in Europe and Indo-Aryans on the Indian sub-continent.
Let us see what the names, as transcribed by the Romans, mean by using Slovenian and Sanskrit by starting with the river names, since these are usually the most ancient:
Drava (Dravus) – Slo: drveša flowing fast. In Skt: running fast.
Kolpa (Colapis) – Skt: kala of a dark color & apas water.
Krka (Colapis) – Skt: krka white (the Krka is known for its white rapids; Karkari is a river in India).
Mura (Murius) – Skt: mura rushing, impetuous.
Nadiza (Natissa) – Slo: large spring; Skt: queen of rivers (Nadiza was once the largest river of the region in Venezia, until an earthquake changed the course of its tributaries, see Verbovšek).
Sava (Savus) – Skt: sava: water, juice of flowers, libation.
Savinja – Skt: savini a river.
Soča (Sontius) – Slo: sočna luscious; Skt: suca: pure, clear, clean.
Similarly, place names that date to Roman and pre-Roman times have meaning in Slovenian and Sanskrit, but not in Latin:
Kranj (Carnium) – Slo: krn mountain top, ship's end; Skt: karna the ear, helm of a ship.
The old part of the city is built at the confluence of the rivers Sava and Kokra. This part of the city is built on a triangular rock formation above the confluence, and this rock does resemble an end of a ship. The mountain to the west of the city resembles an ear when looking at it from Senčur, situated east of Kranj.
Ptuj (Poetovino) – Slo: potovje crossroads; Skt: patha road, vaya branch. (In Roman days, one road split to go north, while the other continued southeast).
Trst (Tergeste) – Slo: trzišče market place; Skt: durga citadel.
The names of the mountains were also recorded by the Romans, but their meanings are best deciphered with the use of Slovenian and Sanskrit. For example:
Karniske Alpe (Alpes Carnicare) – Slo: krn mountain top; Skt: karnika central mountain.
(Karnika is also another name for Meru. Meru is a name of a fabulous mountain regarded as Olympus of Hindu mythology and said to form the central point; all the planets revolve around it, and it is compared to the cup or seed vessel of a lotus. The river Ganges falls from heaven on its summit and flows thence to the surrounding worlds in four streams. The regents of the four quarters of the compass occupy the corresponding faces of the mountain, the whole of which consists of gold and gems. Its summit is the residence of Brahma and a place of meeting for the gods.)
For more information on the meaning of place names in and around Slovenia and the pre-history of Slovenia, I recommend for English readers: VENETI: First Builders of European Community by Šavli, Bor and Tomažič, which can be purchased from Mr. Anton Skerbinc, Site 1, Box 17, RR1, Boswell, BC, Canada V0B-1A0. Slovenian readers will find KOMU (NI)SMO TUJCI by Leopold Verbovšek and V SENCI ZGODOVINE by Davorin Zunkovič very informative. They can be purchased from JUTRO Crnuška c3, pp4986, 1001 Ljubljana, Slovenia or by phone 386 1 374 334
– Joze Skulj
Page Created: November 25, 2003
Last Updated: November 26, 2003
©Copyright 2003 Gary L. Gorsha
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