(ORDO NEWS) — “Seven Seas” is not just an idiomatic expression. In different eras, people meant different reservoirs.
We owe the very expression to the Sumerian priestess and poetess Enheduana. She used it in a hymn to the goddess Inanna.
The Sumerians were generally fond of septenary systems – for example, they introduced the idea of \u200b\u200bthe seven classical planets into everyday life. The Romans under the seven seas meant all the lagoons and lakes at the mouth of the Po River.
The ancient Arabs and their neighbors in the region believed that seven seas separated their homeland from distant China. This number included the Arabian and East China Seas, as well as five bays – Persian, Bengal, Malacca, Singapore and Siam.
Arab travelers wrote that each of the seven seas is different in color, winds and fish.
Islamic geographers also noted the seven Arabian seas – the Black, Mediterranean, Caspian, Arabian, Red and Adriatic Seas, as well as the Indian Ocean. These seas were well known to the Arabs due to intensive trade.
Europeans in the Middle Ages also used the concept of seven seas, similar to the Arabian one, with the difference that instead of the Indian Ocean, the more famous Persian Gulf was usually included in the list.
The era of geographical discoveries expanded the Europeans’ understanding of the world. The sailors who were engaged in the tea trade with China said that they sailed across the seven seas, referring to the waters of the East Indies – the South China, Timor, Java Seas, as well as Bandu, Sulawesi, Flores and Sulu. At this time, the seven seas became a symbol of travel to the other end of the world.
In the 19th century, the seven seas finally turned into oceans. True, the oceans themselves were still divided into regions, so the list included the Indian, Arctic oceans, and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans were divided into northern and southern parts. The seventh was considered the Antarctic Ocean.
In 1896, the English writer Rudyard Kipling published the poetry collection The Seven Seas and brought back the popularity of this expression. With the light hand of Kipling, the list of seven seas included four oceans, the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas, as well as the Gulf of Mexico.
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