Helm, on a different thread, refers to Gauchet (“The Disenchantment of the
World” who equates Europe to, in Helm’s phrase, “the then-known “world””.
It is interesting how Kripke can have it wrong? I don’t think so. In Kripke’s
theory of original baptism, it is difficult to allow for change of _denotata_,
to use the philosopher’s jargon.
We see that, for the Romans, “Europa,” in Lewis/Short’s definition, is (in a
second usage of this proper name), “the continent of Europe, [insofar as the
continent was] named after [Princess/Queen (of Crete), Europa]. They quote the
proper spelling “EuropA” -- from Mel. 1, 3, 1 et saep.; Mart. Cap. 6, § 662;
Plin. 3 prooem. § 3; 3, 1, 1, § 5; 4, 23, 37, § 121 et saepiss.:. But they also
the more Hellenic spelling “EuropE”, Mel. 1, 2, 1; 2, 1, 1; and even the
accusative Greek “Europen,” id. 1, 1, 6; 2, 6, 9; Hor. C. 3, 3, 47.
Kripke would ask who named a continent after a princess/queen?
Liddell/Scott have “Εὐρώπη” meaning “Europa,” “Europe,” and add “as a
geographical name, first in h.Ap.251, Pi.N.4.70, A.Fr.191, Hdt.1.4,al.
II. fem. pr. n. in Hes.Th.357, Hdt.1.2, etc.:—also Εὐρώπεια , ἡ, Mosch.2.15.
The idea of ‘world’ (or ‘then-known-world,’ to use Helm’s phrase) is
As for the Kripkeian question and the Kripkeian answer (why a continent is
named after a princess/queen?) – there are two Popperian hypotheses:
THEORY I: Zeus kidnapped Princess Europa and took her from Greece, to an island
across the sea in lust. The people of her kingdom (she was a princess) freaked
out and tried to find her but they never came across the particular island.
Eventually they gave up, and called the general area where she had been Europa,
which over time, became Europe.
THEORY II: As with other Greco-Roman myths, the connection is often through
children, descendants or other family members. While Princess Europa herself
does not seem to have made it to the continental European mainland, her brother
Kadmos [Cadmus] did, and there, in memory of their hometown, he founded a Greek
version of the hundred-gated Egyptian city of Thebes, although his rendition
had only seven gates. Kadmos' arrival on the mainland and his importation of
the alphabet used by their people, the Tyrians and Sidonians, is significant
because it only happens on account of his fervent search for his sister. It
might be an intentional ironic twist that he never finds her (his sister, the
Tyro-Sidonian princess) but he does find "her" (Europa, the continent).
The mythology makes the effort to locate Kadmos not just in Greece but also
further inland and northward in Illyria, where later misadventures end him up.
While Princess Europa's eldest child Minos remained on Crete Island as its
king, his daughter Phaidra [Phaedra] became queen of Athens, his brother
Rhadamanthys became king of Okaleia in Boiotia [Boeotia] and his sister
Alagonia moved to Peloponnesos [Peloponnesus] where the town of Alagonia in
Lakedaimonia [Lacedaemonia] was named after her. The idea is, additionally,
that the abducted princess Europa is the "mother" of these cities and their
There is a much less dramatic version, by the way, in which all the continents
(or rather major regions) with which the Greeks were familiar—Europe, Africa
and Anatolia—were named after daughters of the Titan Okeanos [Oceanus]: Europa,
Libya and Asia respectively.
According to R. Fowler's Early Mythography, the earliest attestation of the
Europa/Europa connection occurs in a fragment written by a certain Andron, who
says that Europe and Thrace [or "Thraike," the region of warlike peoples to the
NW of Greece] were Okeanos' daughters by an otherwise unknown Parthenope while
the same Titan had another, even more obscure wife, named Pampholyge (or
Pompholyge), who bore him Asia & Libya. John Tzetzes' commentary on Lycophron
expounds upon Libya in this context.
Herodotus might be the only ancient mythographer to write explicitly about the
Oceanid Asia giving her name to Europe's adjacent continent.
Europa is an Oceanid in Hesiod's Theogony. This Oceanid, says Stephanus of
Byzantium, bore Zeus a son called Dodon, after whom the city of Dodona, with
its famous oracle, was named.
KEYWORDS: Rigid Designation, Kripke.