) is the term
used by Hans Krahe
(1964) for the
language of the oldest reconstructed stratum of European
in Central and Western Europe
. The character
of these river names is pre-Germanic
and dated by Krahe to
the 2nd millennium BC
European hydronymy has been taken as indicating an early (Bronze
Age) Indo-European predecessor of the later centum languages.
European river names are found in the Baltic and southern Scandinavia, in Central Europe, France, the
Isles, and the Iberian and Italian peninsulas.
This area is
associated with the spread of the later "Western" Indo-European
dialects, the Celtic
branches. Notably exempt are the
Balkans and Greece, as well as
the Eastern European parts associated
with Slavic settlement.
locates the geographical nucleus of this area as stretching from
the Baltic across Western Poland and Germany to the
Swiss plateau and the upper Danube north of the Alps, while
he considers the Old European river names of southern France, Italy
and Spain to be later imports, replacing "Aegean-Pelasgian"
and Iberian substrates (p.
81), corresponding to Italic
"invasions" from about 1300 BC.
German linguist Theo Vennemann
suggested that the language of the old European hydronyms was
Dur, a preceltic linguistic root meaning 'water, stream'.
Kent, Latin Dubris (United Kingdom)
- the Dore (France),
- the Doron (France),
Douro (Portugal and Spain (known as Douro in portuguese
and Duero in spanish)),
Dropt Roman Drotius (France),
- the Drave and probably the Drac (France),
- the Drava (Italy, Austria (known as Drau),
Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary)
Durenque, tributary of the Agout
- the Eder, tributary of the Fulda
- the Oder (Germany and Poland)
- "Old European" in this sense is not to be confused with the
term as used by Marija Gimbutas who applies it to
- Theo Vennemann, Patrizia Noel Aziz Hanna, Europa Vasconica,
Europa Semitica, Published by Walter de Gruyter, 2003, ISBN
Rohlfs, Le Gascon, 1935.
- Hans Krahe, Unsere ältesten Flussnamen, Wiesbaden