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Italy

Directly Italy

The Latin name Italia is of Oscan origin (Viteliu). The ancients derived it from that of an enotrio
prince, Italo, or put it in relation with Lat. vitulus “calf”. According to modern scholars, Italy
would mean “land of the Itali” and the Itali would have been an Italic population whose totem
was the calf. The name initially designated (Hecateus) the southern extremity of Calabria; later
(Herodotus) it extended to Metaponto and Taranto; then, in the 3rd century. BC, to Campania;
shortly after, to the whole peninsula south of the Arno and Esino rivers and finally to the
Alpine chain (Polybius and Cato). The official sanction of the name came with Octavian in 42
BC; the administrative union of the islands with Diocletian (Italian diocese). The geographical
meaning of the name has always remained in use since then, beyond the historical-political
events