Rhodes – The names of the island in ancient time until today
The first mention of the name of the island is made in Homer’s Iliad.
So the name seems to come from the homonymous flower “Rhodes“, which was the favorite flower of the Sun God.
Many more ancient coins of Rhodes, on one side bear the sun God, while on the other a Rhodes.
From time to time, Rhodes had other relevant names,
which came from various properties and characteristics of the island.
Some of them along with their origin are:
Ofiousa – Oloessa: many snakes in the island
Pelagia: The island emerged from the sea
Asteria: because of the full of stars sky
Aithria: for its good clima
Trinitakria: its capes makes a triangle
Poiesa: βbecause of its germination
Ataviria: Its highest mountain is called Atavyros
Ilias: due to the extensive sunshine during the year.
Korymvia: for the cone shape that ends in two different peaks.
Makaria: which means happy
Pontia: which means sea
Stadia: because its shape is like an ancient stadium
Telchinis: by its mythical first inhabitants, the Telchines.
Other written references to the names are found in ancient writers:
Plinios the Elder: Ofiousa, Asteria, Aithria, Trinakria, Korymvia, Poiesa, Makaria, Oloessa.
Stravon: Ofiousa, Stadia, Telchinis.
Ammianos Markellinos: Pelagia
Nowadays, the island of Rhodes is also referred to as:
- The “island of the knights”, due to the large number of monuments left
- by the Order of the Knights of St. John, from the period that the island occupied.
- The “island of the sun”, due to the extensive sunshine throughout the year.
- The “emerald island”, due to its shape, which refers to the gemstone.