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Meaning and derivation of the name Ethiopia

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The name Ethiopia derived, from the Greek form, aithiopia, from the two words aitho, “I burn”, and ops, “face”. It would hence mean the colored man’s land — the land of the scorched faces.

The Greeks called all peoples south of Egypt (particularly the area now known as Nubia; modern usage has transferred this name further south to the land and peoples known in the late 19th and early 20th century as Abyssinia) Ethiopians.

The former name of Ethiopia is Abyssinia, a word of uncertain origin. Some people consider it comes from an Arabic word meaning “mixed” – a reference to the country’s many ethnic groups; others believe that the name belonged to an early Ethiopian tribe.

However other origin is claimed for the name by many modern writers, some of whom say that the Greeks borrowed the word from the Egyptians, and that as early as the Twelfth Dynasty the Egyptians knew the land under the name Ksh, or Kshi.

One form of this word, with the aleph prefix, Ekoshi (the Coptic eshoosh, eshôsh, ethosh) would hence be the real root-word.

Others consider that it is derived from the Arabic word atyab, the plural form of tib, which means “spices”, “perfumes” (Glaser, “Die Abissinier in Arabien und Afrika”, Munich, 1895), or from an Arabo-Sabean root word, atyub, which has the similar meaning.

Keywords: Ethiopia, aithiopia, aitho, ops, Ksh, Kshi, Ekoshi, eshoosh, eshôsh, ethosh, atyab, tib, atyub, Nubia,

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