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Why is the Black Sea called “black”?

The sea attracts people with its mystery and inaccessibility. Its inhabitants are often surrounded by a mystical halo, the human imagination places in the sea depths of the most terrible monsters. The names, too, are surrounded by legends and myths. Why the Black Sea is called “black”, there is no exact answer. But there are plenty of interesting options presented by historians, geographers, hydrologists and sailors.

Legends and hypotheses about the appearance of the name “Black

Such a variety of names awarded to the sea by different peoples is something to be proud of. No other body of water is so honored. It was named by geographic location and then obtained paradoxical facts. For example, the Arabs called the North and the Greeks the East. The inhabitants of the coast did their part, bravely defending the villages from raids, for which he was nicknamed Kara-Dengiz, inhospitable.

Black Sea - why is it called that?

Here are a few guesses:

  1. Black Sea legends colorfully describe certain events, and one cannot help but believe that at the bottom lies a bogatyr sword or a golden arrow that can divide the world in two, so the sea boils and darkens, trying to throw out of its depths a terrible weapon.
  2. Another explanation why the Black Sea is called black lies in its willful character. Storms, though rare, come suddenly, causing the water to take on a dark hue. After that, piles of brown algae and dark gray silt remain on the shore.
  3. The next version belongs to hydrologists, who confirm the fact that the bulk of marine life does not go below a depth of 100 m. Important: the reason lies in the hydrogen sulfide permeating the lower layers. Bacteria reign there, feeding on the remains of dead animals and plants.
  4. Sailors say that a few hours before the storm, the water darkens dramatically in the depths.
  5. There are many reasons why the sea is called the Black Sea. Another version says that the name of the Black Sea was given by Magellan, who saw the expanse raging during the storm.

When was the sea first called the Black Sea?

Many people, flying in an airplane over the smooth waters, note that they really look black and opaque. It immediately becomes clear why the Black Sea is so called. According to images from space, it also looks like a dark spot, so the name is justified.

Over the centuries, the sea has constantly changed its name depending on who was talking about it. There is no certainty as to who came up with the idea to call the sea the Black Sea. According to some reports, the origin was given by the translation of the Greek Pontus of Aksin, inhospitable, black.

Why was the sea called black?

The second is the voyage of Magellan, who was caught in a storm and saw dark shafts without the slightest glimmer of light. It is worth sympathizing with the captain, who did not have a chance to admire the wonderful soft glow of water or the dance of frolicking dolphins in the transparent jets. It is quite possible that he would have given the sea a different name then.

An older version goes back to the 1st century BC, when the inhabitants of the shores of the Azov Sea in the comparison to determine which waters are darker sea. Logic says that dark means black. This is how the name Temarun was established. The Scythian tribes agreed, giving the name Akshaen, with the meaning of the names being the same.

What used to be the name of the Black Sea?

Why is the Black Sea black?

The borders of several countries, including Turkey, Russia, Romania, Georgia, Bulgaria, the variety of names of the sea is striking. Greeks, Arabs, and travelers from European cities added options.

In different eras the names were in use:

  • Pontus of Axina;
  • Temaroon;
  • Cimmerian;
  • Scythian;
  • Ocean;
  • Holy;
  • Ahshaena;
  • Surozhskoe;
  • Tavricheskoe;
  • Blue.

Each name has a rationale, most often reflecting geographic location, first impression, the name of the people living in the coastal villages. The modern interpretation is the same, in Bulgarian, English, French, Italian and Turkish the meaning is the same, only the pronunciation differs.

Effects of hydrogen sulfide on the name of the sea

The peculiarities of the Black Sea are:

  • relatively poor fauna and flora;
  • a small number of predatory species;
  • the limitation of the habitat area by depth;
  • rare storms.

Several dozen centuries ago, the Caspian and Black Seas were a single basin; after their separation, global changes began. A large number of rivers have desalinated the water of the Black Sea, creating special conditions for the survival of species.

The main factor limiting the spread of living organisms in the lower layers is considered to be the large amount of hydrogen sulfide in the water. It is concentrated below the 150-200 m mark. Only microorganisms and bacteria live there, working to dispose of the remains of plants, animals and fish. An interesting property appears in the interaction of hydrogen sulfide with metals. The process of oxidation gives their surface a black color, which was also the reason for naming the sea Black.

Another name sounds like “Sea of Dead Depths,” which means undead, black. Below 200 m, life almost dies out, leaving room for primitive organisms that can survive in special conditions.

The beauty and identity of the Black Sea will be preserved in any case, no matter whether its name is changed again or remains the same.

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