September 22, 2009
I don’t believe that ‘Europe’ comes from the name of a Phoenician princess, abducted by Zeus, who assumed the form of a bull. Sculptures inspired by this legend, in front of EU institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg, fail to impress me.
Instead, I know that Europa was a dioecesis of the Thracian province of the Roman empire, around 400 A.D.
In fact, this dioecesis, or administrative region, covers some territory of my country Bulgaria, of neighbouring Greece and for most of its part, the European territory of Turkey.
Apparently ancient Greek sailors called the two sides of the Dardanelles ‘Europa’ and ‘Asia’. But they had no clue how vast Asia was, for them, it was only a bank.
Besides, a major river in the area, called Maritsa in my country (Sylvie Vartan made this name famous with her song ‘La Maritsa’), is called Evros in Greece. Sylvie Vartan was born in Plovdiv, appearing as Philippopolis on the map above. Apparently ‘Europa’ was everything from Evros to the Bosphorus.
I take some pride, coming from a place that can claim to be the historic fundament of Europe. I also wish this region to take advantage from this heritage, to attract more visitors and investors. Probably the countries of the region would need to come up with a common strategy how to achieve such goals, under EU patronage.
Europe is not an abducted woman!Georgi Gotev