Finding names is often simple...
... but it can get complicated if (and when) names change.
People change names, often when they marry or change their names for professional reasons. Take, for instance, Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, aka “Sting.” Names can get arbitrarily complicated when people change their professional names multiple times (such as the rapper born as Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr., who has been known by the names Snoop Rock, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Snoop Lion, DJ Snoopadelic, Snoopzilla Bigg, Snoop Dogg, and Snoop Scorsese). And, of course, to make it REALLY difficult, there are artists like Prince RogersNelson, aka Prince, who also used the songwritier aliases of Jamie Starr, Joey Coco, Tora Tora, Alexander Nevermind, and Christopher Tracy. He is, of course, also referred to as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince (TAFKAP), and has the difficult to search for symbol:
|Go ahead for for this artist's name. "Search by Image" works well here.|
Today, though, let’s think just about place names.
For instance, the city of Venice, Italy, is known as “Venezia” in Italian, and has a nickname of “La Serenissima.” But historically it was known to Latin speakers as Venetia, and to the Greeks as Ἐνετοί.
Likewise, the Greek island of Crete, with its long history, has many names: Modern Greek-Κρήτη ['kriti]; Ancient Greek: Κρήτη, [Krḗtē]; Candia (to the Venetians), and Kaptara before that it was known to the ancient world as Κρήτη!
Probably the best-known name-shifting city is the city-currently-known-as Istanbul, which was previously known as Constantinople. (There’s even a song about the name change! “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”)
|Mosque in Istanbul (Not Constantinople)|
So let's spend some time working on a few Challenges on this topic. Can you figure these out?
1. Where is El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula? What is that city called today? What would that place have been called in 1600?
2. Where is/was Humqaq? What was that place called in the late 1500s? 3. Where is the city of Óbuda? And what’s this place called now? 4. What was the name of the country where the city of Dar Es Salaam is... before 1964? (That is, if you're looking for historical documents about the city of Dar Es Salaam, what country do you need to look for?)
5. What was the name of the capital of Zaire in 1900?
6. You probably did a number of searches to answer these Challenges. Is there a single reference work (hopefully online!) that would let you answer all of these questions? What would should a work be called?
These Challenges range from simple to tricky. I hope you enjoy finding these answers as much as I did!
In my answers (next week), I'll talk about what the challenges are of finding place names, especially as names change over time and language.
As always, be sure to tell us not just the answer, but ALSO what queries you did to find the answers! (Be sure to tell us if you just knew it off the top of your head!)