Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) has very similar names in the languages currently spoken around the Mediterranean, which form two distinct groups.
The first consists of words which derived from the classical Greek word Petroselinum and the second of words directly related to Maydanoz, the Turkish word for parsley.
To illustrate this remarkable fact I have designed a political map of of Europe, Near Asia (including the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and a bit of the Aral Sea), and North Africa, where each country is marked with its official language word for parsley. Of course this is an over-simplification for there are many countries where several languages are spoken.
- Words derived from Petroselinum.
- Words derived from Petroselinum possibly going out of fashion.
- Words related to the Turkish word Maydanoz.
- Arabic words derived from Maydanoz.
Europe belongs overwhelmingly to the Petroselinum group.
However Greece and the Balkan region belong to the Maydanoz group which extends over Turkey, of course, and the Arabic speaking world.
This Maydanoz domain still reflects the enormous influence that the Turks had during the Ottoman Empire. Compare it with a map of the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century, shown below.
It is worth mentioning that Malta - the tiny archipelago between Sicily and North Africa - was never under the Turks and that the Maltese for 'parsley' is Tursin and not Maydanoz.
For more etymological and historical details visit Parsley: what's in a name.
Please note that the parsley map is copyright, copies may be made with due
acknowledgment to me.
However any commercial exploitation is forbidden without my permission.
5 December 2001, Colchester, Essex, England
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