The Mythical names of Rhodes

The origin of the name of Rhodes that has prevailed is mainly associated with the rose, the sacred flower of the sun god.

The plant may have been different in antiquity because the rose as we know it nowadays is a product of successive intersections.

Judging by the shape of the flower as it is depicted in ancient Rhodian coins, the ancient name givers of the island were probably inspired by the rose bud or the pomegranate, as it is claimed by some researchers.

Moreover, according to the ancient writers, Rhodes occasionally had acquired other names, referring to the vegetation, the shape, the climate as well as other properties of the island.

Aethria, (Αιθρία) Cloudless for its nice climate.

Anemoessa (Ανεμόεσσα) Windy due to the strong northern winds in the summer and the equally strong northeastern winds in winter.

Apollonia (Απολλωνία) due to the worship of the Sun god Helios-Apollo. It is likely that Helios was initially worshipped as an autonomous deity but after the Dorian invasion, the god was merged or combined into the worship of Apollo.

Asteria (Αστερία) Starry due to the clear sky of the island during the night where the stars can be clearly seen.

Attavyria ( Ατταβυρία) due to the name of the highest mountain on the island (Attavyros).

Elafousa (Ελαφούσα) due to the numerous small size deer that live on the island. Elafos (Έλαφος) means deer.

Helias (Ηλιάς) due to the abundant sunlight all year round.

Corymbia (Κορυμβία) due to an extensive number of corymbs.

Corymb is a form of inflorescence in which the flowers form a flat-topped or convex cluster, the outermost flowers being the first to open. Corymbs were also used to decorate ships in antiquity so the name may imply that the island had many ships.

Macaria (Μακαρία) due to the name Macarus, the son of god Helios.

Omvria (Ομβρία) due to the heavy rain at winter time which may cause disastrous floods. Omvros (Όμβρος) means “rain” in ancient Greek.

Ophiousa (Οφιούσα) due to the many snakes that live on the island. Ophis (Όφις) means “snake” in ancient Greek.

Pelagia (Πελαγία) due to the myth of the emersion of the island from the sea.

Pontia (Ποντία) due to the myth of the emersion of the island from the Sea. Pontos (Πόντος) means “sea” in ancient Greek.

Telchinis (Τελχινίς) due to the name of the oldest inhabitants of the island.

Trinacria (Τρινακρία) due to the geographical shape of the island. It refers to the three capes of Rhodes. The name “Trinacria” also referred to Sicily.

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