It is definitely something that generates confusion, but whether you believe it or not, the name Sardinia does NOT come from the fish Sardine.
Although it would make a very good story, and frankly, this theory could really make sense (it nearly got myself convinced lol), I had the duty to make things clear!!
So, here they are brief, but unequivocal definitions of “Sardinia” and “Sardine”:
Let’s start with “Sardinia”…
“The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun s(a)rd-, later romanised as sardus (feminine sarda). It makes its first appearance on the Nora Stone, where the word Šrdn testifies to the name’s existence when the Phoenician merchants first arrived. There has also been theories that identifies the ancient Nuragic Sards with the Sherden or Shardana, one of the Sea Peoples, who gave Sardinia its name. In Classical antiquity, Sardinia was called Ichnusa (the Latinised form of Ancient Greek: Υκνούσσα), Σανδάλιον “Sandal”, Sardinia and Sardó (Σαρδώ).”
and now the fish “Sardine”…
“Sardine” and “pilchard” are common names used to refer to various small, oily fish in the herring family Clupeidae. The term “sardine” was first used in English during the early 15th century and may come from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which sardines were once abundant.”
It turns out that our little fish friends, Sardines, got their name from our beautiful island and not the other way around! And that is, I think, really really cool; on top of all the other unique and amazing things we’ve got in Sardinia (come with us and check with your own eyes from 21st to 30th June 2018, book now at http://www.sardinialocaltours.com.au), now we know, and I hope this is clear forever, that our magnificent island has kindly given its name to this cute little fish!
Although they have been named after Sardinia, sardines are not one of the most traditional dish of Sardinian cuisine , while without doubt, mullets and their famous salt dried eggs, bottarga, represent an absolute delicacy of the Sardinian diet.
But let’s stop here, as that will be the topic of our next blog. A journey through the amazing world of Bottarga, the iconic town of Cabras and its precious “gold”.
Margherita and Stefano