Where Did Asia Get Its Name?

By: George Adelman  | 
Asia and other continents
An image of a map of the continents

Asia is the largest and the most densely populated continent in the world. According to studies, Asia has an area of 44,579,000 square kilometers, which roughly covers a large area of the world. Asia is known for its dense population; however, there are many regions in the continent that are barely populated.

Moreover, Asia has both the highest and lowest points on the surface of the Earth and has the longest coastline. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean on its northern side, the great Pacific Ocean on its eastern side, and the Indian Ocean on the southern side.


Asia has a very rich history and is indeed a very interesting continent. However, have you ever wondered where Asia got its name from? Keep on reading to discover how Asia got its name.


Greek Writings
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The word Asia was originally a concept of the Greeks in 440 BC. It is believed that the name may have been driven from the word ‘asu,’ which means east. It was first referred to as Anatolia in Herodotus; however, it was in use long before that too, but not for the entire continent. Anatolia was the name of the land on the east side of the Aegean Sea. The English word comes from Latin literature, where it was referred to as Asia. The ultimate source of this word is, however, still uncertain. According to historical data, Asia, Europe, and Libya are all names of Greek queens.

Most Greeks thought that the name Asia came from Prometheus’s wife, who was the god of fire according to Greek mythology.

In Greek mythology, Asia was known as a nymph or a titan. This is a form of a female deity or a goddess. The concept of Asia originated from the Greeks about 200 years ago. It later spread to the Romans and then to the Europeans. From the Europeans, it spread all across Asia and to the rest of the world.

There is another interesting story about the name ‘Asia.’ Asia and Europe lie in the east and west of Mesopotamia. Thus, according to the Akkadian language of Mesopotamia, the land on the eastern side was named ‘Asia,’ which means sunrise, and the land on the western side was termed ‘Erebu,’ which means sunset. These names instantly gained popularity and spread all across the world.

There are many theories about the origins of the name Asia. There is still very little evidence available to validate the correct theory. The history of most of the continents is full of secrets and mysteries. It is quite fascinating to find out how the name ‘Asia’ was coined for such a massive piece of land.