The origin of the word "admiral": from the history of naval terms


It would seem that the etymology of the naval rank “Admiral” has long been clarified and disassembled by bones. Consequently, no doubt and discussion is not subject. Nevertheless, disputes over the origin of this word that is known and familiar to all of us do not stop.


The main version that has firmly entered the vast majority of explanatory and terminological dictionaries is the statement about the Arab roots of the rank, which has been the highest for military sailors from about the XNUMXth century. Here, they say, everything is simple: the local sheikhs called their commanders flotillas none other than amīr al-baḥr, "amӣr al-bahr." "Amir" (or "emir") - a prince, lord, ruler. “Bahr” is understandable, the sea, it is even present in the name of one of the most oil-bearing countries in the Middle East. Consequently, it turns out to be a "sea prince" or "master of the seas."

Well, even later, the Dutch, who liked this word, picked it up and shifted in their own manner, turned it into admiraal. The French adopted amiral, admiral.

It was considered that Peter the Great brought the title to Mother Russia, according to Peter the Great, who built the fleet in the Dutch manner and, accordingly, got all the terminology from there. It would seem that everything is extremely clear and there is nothing to argue about. However, you should not rush to the final conclusions.

Alternative versions of the origin of the word "admiral"


As usual, there were those who began to build alternative versions on this occasion, not wanting to give primacy to the sheikhs and emirs. In principle, some of their arguments sound logical. For example, this: representatives of what people were the most seasoned sailors of antiquity? Greeks? Let’s have them look for “admiral’s roots”! Imagine, they found: aλμυρός “admiros” - that is how “salty” sounds in Greek. But what could be a real admiral, if not salted sea waves? In tune. By the way, the ruins of the city with the same name are in sunny Hellas. And this city, judging by the chronicles, was famous just for its ports and flotillas.

Other enthusiasts are trying to argue that the name for someone who leads a mighty and formidable navy could only be born in the Roman Empire. And the “admiral” in fact is nothing but the re-rotated Latin admirabilis (“admirabilis”), that is, “wonderful”, “delightful”, “stunning the imagination”. Proponents of this version rely on the fact that the Romans, inclined (especially closer to the decline of their empire) to pomp and luxury, probably dressed their navy "commander-in-chiefs" so richly and magnificent that they could really amaze the imagination - at least with the gleam of their gilded armor and splendor Sultans on helmets.

However, the research of those researchers who drew attention to a very interesting detail in ancient texts, both Arabic and European, perhaps deserves much more attention. For example, in one Spanish document of the XNUMXth century we meet “almiraje de la mar”. That is ... "sea admiral"! It turns out there were land? The text of the famous "Song of Roland", which mentions "Si li tramist li amiralz Galafes" - "Admiral of Galafia" makes one think about this. Halafia is the ancient name of the current Syrian city of Aleppo. It turns out that the term “admiral” was still not originally tied to the sea?

Very similar to that. Another proof - the title of the first admiral of the future "mistress of the seas" of England, assigned in the XNUMXth century to William de Leyburn, was: "Amiral de la Mer du Roy d'Angleterre". Again, we see a direct clarification that this rank is related to the fleet and the sea.

The closest to truth can be considered the opinion that the term we are talking about from the very beginning simply meant “emir” - the commander-in-chief of large military forces. Most likely, the “admiral” that is familiar to us can indeed originate in Arabic, but from the name amīr al-ʻālī it means “supreme emir”. Well, the naval sound came to him later, which, however, cannot in any way diminish the trepidation and respect experienced by all military sailors before this title.
Author:
Photos used:
Wikipedia / portrait of F.F. Ushakov (State Hermitage Museum)
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  1. KVU-NSVD 9 June 2020 07: 57 New
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    Choto old Heinlein remembered .. He had such a phrase in one of the novels - approximately "... who wrote the Iliad? There is debate whether it was Homer or another Greek with the same name .." He knew how to pick it up ..
    1. Uncle lee 9 June 2020 08: 02 New
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      Checked out! hi Or maybe not Homer, or maybe not Greek .....
      1. KVU-NSVD 9 June 2020 08: 10 New
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        Or maybe not Homer, or maybe not Greek
        Dark depths of centuries and light in them is rare ..
        1. alebor 9 June 2020 09: 20 New
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          By the way, about the Greeks. The word aλμυρός given in the article is pronounced “almyros” in ancient Greek or “almiros” in modern Greek, but not “admiros”. (the second letter in the word "lambda" -l, not "delta" -d).
        2. Van 16 9 June 2020 11: 22 New
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          Heinlein struck me another phrase, in my opinion from the Road of Glory, of course I do not remember literally, but something like this:
          “After six months, I was promoted to corporal. In two years, I was promoted seven times. To corporal.”
          smile
    2. Bersaglieri 9 June 2020 17: 31 New
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      Heinlein generally a visionary (written in 1940) - ".. The rocket in Kansas city was crowded. I had to sit next to another passenger, a strong man in his late thirties. We looked at each other, and then each went about his business. I put forward the table began to tidy up orders and other papers accumulated over the days spent in Cincinnati.The neighbor sat back and watched a television movie on the screen in front of the passenger compartment.
      He pushed me to the side and, when I turned around, he pointed his finger at the screen. There was visible a square filled with people. People fled to the steps of the massive temple, over which the banner of the Prophet and the pennant of the bishopric fluttered. The first wave of people broke on the lower steps of the temple.
      A temple guard platoon ran out of the side door and quickly mounted flamethrower tripods at the top of the stairs. Then the scene was filmed by another camera, obviously mounted on the roof of the temple, because we saw the faces of the attackers, directed in our direction.
      What followed this made me ashamed of the uniform that I had recently worn. To prolong the torment of people, the guards aimed flamethrowers on the legs. People fell and rode in terrible torment on the square. I watched the rays hit the legs of a guy and a girl who were running, holding hands. They fell bleeding, but the guy found the strength to crawl to the girl and reach out to her face. The camera left them and moved onto the general plan.
      I grabbed the headphones that hung on the back of my chair and heard: "... Apolis, Minnesota. The city is under the control of local authorities and no need to send reinforcements. Bishop Jenning has declared martial law. Satan's agents are surrounded. Arrests are being carried out. Order has been restored. The city is being transferred to fasting and prayer: The Minnesota ghettos will be closed and all the guys transferred to the Wyoming and Montana reservations to prevent further outbreaks.
      .. "
  2. Galleon 9 June 2020 09: 17 New
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    Kipling recalls me in a poem:
    "for to admire ..." - and admire
    I will not argue that the root, but consonant.
    and admire, and breathe, and live in the vastness of the roads -
    to no avail, I could say, but I couldn’t quit.
    1. Bersaglieri 9 June 2020 17: 32 New
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      Take up the White Man's burden—
      Send forth the best ye breed—
      Go bind your sons to exile
      To serve your captives' need;
      To wait in heavy harness
      On fluttered folk and wild—
      Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
      Half devil and half child.

      Take up the White Man's burden—
      In patience to abide,
      To veil the threat of terror
      And check the show of pride;
      By open speech and simple,
      An hundred times made plain.
      To seek another's profit,
      And work another's gain.

      Take up the White Man's burden—
      The savage wars of peace—
      Fill full the mouth of famine
      And bid the sickness cease;
      And when your goal is nearest
      The end for others sought,
      Watch Sloth and heathen Folly
      Bring all your hopes to nought.

      Take up the White Man's burden—
      No tawdry rule of kings,
      But toil of serf and sweeper—
      The tale of common things.
      The ports ye shall not enter,
      The roads ye shall not tread,
      Go make them with your living,
      And mark them with your dead!

      Take up the White Man's burden—
      And reap his old reward:
      The blame of those ye better,
      The hate of those ye guard—
      The cry of hosts ye humor
      (Ah, slowly!) Toward the light: -
      "Why brought ye us from bondage,
      Our loved Egyptian night? "

      Take up the White Man's burden—
      Ye dare not stoop to less—
      Nor call too loud on Freedom
      To cloak your weariness;
      By all ye cry or whisper,
      By all ye leave or do,
      The silent, sullen peoples
      Shall weigh your Gods and you.

      Take up the White Man's burden—
      Have done with childish days—
      The lightly profferred laurel,
      The easy, ungrudged praise.
      Comes now, to search your manhood
      Through all the thankless years,
      Cold-edged with dear-bought wisdom,
      The judgment of your peers!
      1. Galleon 9 June 2020 22: 21 New
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        Wow! good
        For to admire
        The Injian Ocean sets an 'smiles
        So sof ', so bright, so bloomin' blue;
        There aren't a wave for miles an 'miles
        Excep 'the jiggle from the screw.
        The ship is swep ', the day is done,
        The bugle's gone for smoke and play;
        An 'black ag'in the settin' sun
        The Lascar sings, "Hum deckty hai!" ["I'm looking out."]

        For to admire an 'for to see,
        For to be'old this world so wide -
        It never done no good to me,
        But I can't drop it if I tried!

        I see the sergeants pitchin 'quoits,
        I 'ear the women laugh an' talk,
        I spy upon the quarter-deck
        The orficers an 'lydies walk.
        I thinks about the things that was,
        An 'leans an' looks acrost the sea,
        Till, spite of all the crowded ship
        There's no one lef 'alive but me.

        The things that was which I 'ave seen,
        In barrick, camp, an 'action too,
        I tells them over by myself,
        An 'sometimes wonders if they're true;
        For they was odd - most awful odd -
        But all the same, now they are o'er,
        There must be 'eaps o' plenty such,
        An 'if I wait I'll see some more.

        Oh, I 'ave come upon the books,
        An 'frequent broke a barrick-rule,
        An 'stood beside an' watched myself
        Be'avin 'like a bloomin' fool.
        I paid my price for findin 'out,
        Nor never grutched the price I paid,
        But sat in Clink without my boots,
        Admirin '' ow the world was made.

        Be'old a crowd upon the beam,
        An '' umped above the sea appears
        Old Aden, like a barrick-stove
        That no one's lit for years an 'years!
        I passed by that when I began,
        An 'I go' ome the road I came,
        A time-expired soldier-man
        With six years 'service to' is name.

        My girl she said, "Oh, stay with me!"
        My mother 'eld me to' er breast.
        They've never written none, an 'so
        They must 'ave gone with all the rest -
        With all the rest which I 'ave seen
        An 'found an' known an 'met along.
        I cannot say the things I feel,
        And so I sing my evenin 'song:

        For to admire an 'for to see,
        For to be'old this world so wide -
        It never done no good to me,
        But I can't drop it if I tried!
  3. Undecim 9 June 2020 13: 08 New
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    It would seem that the etymology of the naval rank “Admiral” has long been clarified and disassembled by bones.
    Indeed, clarified and disassembled. However, the propagandist Kharaluzhny also managed to cast a shadow on the wattle fence and distort the etymology.
    The etymology of the word "admiral" really goes back to the Arabic amīr al-baḥr. In medieval Latin documents, the Arabic word "amir" in the meaning of "commander" appears in the XNUMXth century with various suffix formations such as amiratus, admirandus and admirallus.
    Specifically, the use of the word admirallus for the naval commander first appears in Sicily during the Norman conquest in the XII century. Then the Genoese picked up the baton, then the French, Spaniards, and Portuguese, and by the XNUMXth century in English the word had finally fixed in the form of admiral.
    Therefore, alternative versions about Rome disappear automatically, but about the Greeks are generally sucked out of the finger.
    Firstly, aλμυρός is not an “admiros”, but an “almiros”, and secondly, the Greek naval commander was called navar, this has long been known.
    Further, the author generally drove a gag about options with land admirals. The British would have been greatly surprised to learn that their first admiral was William de Leybourne.
    The first English admiral was Sir Richard de Lucy, the second - Sir Thomas Moulton and only the third was Sir William de Leybourne, who received the title Admiral of the Sea of ​​the King of England, in French amiral de la mer du roi d'Angleterre, in Russian - Admiral of the English Royal Seas.
    1. Kote Pan Kokhanka 9 June 2020 14: 00 New
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      Greetings to Victor Nikolaevich! Do not take to heart a series of articles about marine “compasses” and “rumbas” !!! There is an order, there is an article !!! Alas, not a drop of salt water, a sea soul and the noise of open spaces in these works is not! I understood this from my previous work about the “market” !!! To be honest, having read the real work, I was sad, it would be better if they would be rolled up by A. Shtentsel or books for the children's chantropa of the Soviet Union, which was called “Pioneers of ships, sailors and the sea”! Alas, I don’t remember the Author !!! And so, sparingly, sorry and not informative !!!
      It’s just that the list of the first Petrovsky admirals would indicate the work! Moreover, Peter took the system of sea titles from the British, and not the Dutch!
      Throughout our history, the ranks of admirals have been repeatedly abolished, corrected, changed! This is not a word, because it was worth mentioning at least the return of Admiral's knowledge in the Soviet period.
      And finally, the Turkish version of the title Admiral has not been disclosed! And she is one of the fundamental after the Arab!
      Regards, Kote!
      P.S. Remarks made for constructive criticism! Without a shadow, belittle the Author! We will assume that Alexander was in a hurry !!!
    2. 27091965 9 June 2020 19: 03 New
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      That is ... "sea admiral"! It turns out there were land? The text of the famous "Song of Roland", which mentions "Si li tramist li amiralz Galafes" - "Admiral of Galafia" makes one think about this. Halafia is the ancient name of the current Syrian city of Aleppo. It turns out that the term “admiral” was still not originally tied to the sea?


      Quote: Undecim
      Further, the author generally drove a gag about options with land admirals.


      Do not blame the author for this, there are different versions of the origin of the term admiral. If you take the version of Henry Spelman (1562 - 1641) set out in the British Encyclopedia published period from 1768-1771, then read in it:

      "....... was received from the Saracens and during the holy wars and adopted in Europe, for the Admiral, in Arabic, represents the prince or chief ruler, and was the usual title of governors of provincial cities..... "

      This is not a "gag" of the author, but a very real fact printed in the encyclopedia.
      1. Undecim 9 June 2020 19: 13 New
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        In Arabic, the word "admiral" was not. Absolutely. There was a word "amir" - a prince, prince, ruler. It was a title, not a military rank. Therefore, no land admirals did not exist.
        1. 27091965 9 June 2020 20: 22 New
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          Quote: Undecim
          In Arabic, the word "admiral" was not. Quite


          In England, this is not claimed.

          . There was a word "amir" - a prince, prince, ruler. It was a title, not a military rank.


          For you again.

          "....... for admiral(European term) in arabic("amir" is an Arabic term from which the term "admiral" is derived) personifies the prince or chief ruler, and was the usual title of governors of provincial cities....
          1. Undecim 9 June 2020 21: 26 New
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            You again, not for me, but for yourself read the comment and decide what you want to prove to me.
            1. 27091965 9 June 2020 21: 37 New
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              Quote: Undecim
              What are you trying to prove to me?


              Why, to prove something. I wrote my opinion on your comment regarding the article.
            2. 27091965 10 June 2020 10: 52 New
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              Further, the author generally drove a gag about options with land admirals.


              For example, in one Spanish document of the XNUMXth century we meet “almiraje de la mar”. That is ... "sea admiral"! It turns out there were land? The text of the famous "Song of Roland", which mentions "Si li tramist li amiralz Galafes" - "Admiral of Galafia" makes one think about this. Halafia is the ancient name of the current Syrian city of Aleppo. It turns out that the term “admiral” was still not originally tied to the sea?


              Defident hi
  4. Tuzik 9 June 2020 13: 11 New
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    For me, the most plausible version is the Roman one.
    "Latin admirabilis (admirabilis"), that is, "wonderful", "delightful", "staggering the imagination" "... the Romans must have dressed their naval" commanders-in-chief "so richly and magnificently that they could really hit the imagination - at least the brilliance of their gilded armor and the pomp of the sultans on their helmets. "
    In addition, these words could be called for success on the battlefield. Plus, in the word admirabilis there are all the letters that are in the word admiral, they simply reduced it.
  5. ANB
    ANB 9 June 2020 23: 31 New
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    Lieutenant
    StarLay
    Kaplay
    Capxnumx
    Capxnumx
    Capxnumx
    Atmiral
    :)
    Old naval joke.
  6. Roman 4912 10 June 2020 23: 03 New
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    In the English and Spanish versions, where there is the word "sea" - this is the title. Like ours: Rear Admiral, Vice Admiral, Admiral.