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See also: Hispània and Hispânia



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Proper nounEdit


  1. (historical) The Iberian Peninsula, when under the control of Ancient Rome.




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Traditionally thought to derive from a Phoenician/Punic name 𐤔𐤐‎𐤍‎𐤀𐤉‎‎‎ (‘i shapan) meaning "land of hyraxes" (cognate to Hebrew שָׁפָן(shafan, hyrax)), supposedly applied because the Phoenicians thought the land's many rabbits resembled hyraxes. This theory had some currency among Roman authors,[1] and may explain why Hispania is depicted with rabbits on some Roman coins. But later scholars have sometimes doubted this interpretation[2] and proposed other possible Phoenician etyma, like ‎‎𐤑𐤐𐤍‎‎𐤀𐤉‎‎‎ (‘i ṣapun "(is)land to the north").[3]


  • (Classical) IPA(key): /hisˈpaː.ni.a/, [hɪsˈpaː.ni.a]
  • (file)

Proper nounEdit

Hispānia f sg (genitive Hispāniae); first declension

  1. Iberia; modern day Spain and Portugal
    • 27 BCE – 25 BCE, Titus Livius, Ab urbe condita libri XXIX.1:
      Eadem aestate in Hispania coortum ingens bellum conciente Ilergete Indibili nulla alia de causa quam per admirationem Scipionis contemptu imperatorum aliorum orto: eum superesse unum ducem Romanis ceteris ab Hannibale interfectis.
      During this summer an extensive war broke out in Spain at the instigation of Indibilis, whose sole motive was his intense admiration for Scipio which made him think lightly of other commanders. The people looked upon him as the only general the Romans had left to them, all the others having been killed by Hannibal.
  2. (New Latin) Spain (modern country)


First-declension noun, singular only.

Case Singular
Nominative Hispānia
Genitive Hispāniae
Dative Hispāniae
Accusative Hispāniam
Ablative Hispāniā
Vocative Hispānia

Related termsEdit



  1. ^ Simón, M. A., editor (2012) Ten years conserving the Iberian lynx, Junta de Andalucía, Seville: Consejería de Agricultura, Pesca y Medio Ambiente, ISBN 8492807806, page 1950:
    Hispania, the name that the Romans gave to the peninsular, derives from the Phoenician i-spn-ya, where the prefix i would translate as “coast”, “island” or “land”, ya as “region” and spn[,] in Hebrew saphan, as “rabbits” (in reality, hyraxes). The Romans, therefore, gave Hispania the meaning of“land abundant in rabbits”, a use adopted by Cicero, Cesar, Pliny the Elder and, in particular, Catulo, who referred to Hispania as the cuniculus peninsula.
  2. ^ Azevedo, Milton (2005) Portuguese: A Linguistic Introduction, ISBN 0521805155, page 6. He calls the rabbit theory "a charming legend [...of] a Phoenician name, i-shepham-im or 'land of rabbits'".
  3. ^ Dietler, Michael; López-Ruiz, Carolina (2009) Colonial Encounters in Ancient Iberia, ISBN 0226148483:
    Cunchillos 2000:224 [...] offers a new interpretation of the etymology of the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula, i.e., Hispania, as derived from the Northwest Semitic word meaning “island/coast” ('i) and “north” (spn), therefore “northern island, island to the north,” or else “island of the metals (root spy/h, "beat metals", etc.). Both senses would fit well with geographic perceptions that the Iberian Peninsula might have triggered for the Phoenicians.


Proper nounEdit


  1. Spain

Related termsEdit