The "Romans" or "Rom" or "Rum"
have variously been Romans, Italians, Goths, Greeks, Turks, Crusaders, Romanians, and Gypsies
over the centuries, and as the capital of the Empire or as the
center of Christendom, "Rome" has minimally been sited at Ravenna,
Constantinople / Istanbul, Aachen / Aix, Salerno, Avignon, Moscow, Paris, and
During the modern colonial period "India" was also found
everywhere: in India, Ethiopia, the Caribbean Americas ("West
Indies"), Indonesia ("East Indies") and Southeast Asia.
Guinea / Ghana /
Guiana is another wandering colonial place name.
The bird we call
the "turkey" is often given a foreign geographical designation,
being called "dinde" (or some equivalent meaning "bird of India") in
many languages (including Turkish); "peru" in Portuguese (and in
parts of India); "bird of Egypt" in Macedonian; "Dutch bird"
in Malaysia; some derivative of "bird from Calicut" (India) in Dutch
and the Scandinavian languages; "French chicken" in Scottish Gaelic; and "bird of India", "bird of
Ethiopia" "bird of Greece" or "bird of Rum" in Arabic dialects . (Note that Rome
shows up again: "Rum" = "Rome" = "Turkey").
The turkey reached Europe via Spain and was called
"turkey" in imitation of the guinea fowl, which
originally was called a turkey-bird because it had
reached the West through Turkey (though originally from
According to this
theory, the attributions to "India" really meant "The
Indies" (= America). This would not explain the
attributions to Calicut, however, and one wonders
whether the Ottomans, who had direct contact with India,
would confuse America with India. (In Turkish the turkey
is Indian). I don't think that Spanish transmission from
Mexico and Peru, via India first and then the Ottoman
Empire, can be excluded.
The online etymology does verify
that the turkey was well established as an English
holiday meal by 1575, 45 years earlier than the founding
of first English settlement in North America.
"Rome" in Romanian:
The list of
words in the modern Romanian language derived from the word “Rome”
is quite a motley one. (Note that “Rumanian” and “Romanian” have
entirely different meanings):