According to some ancient historians (e.g. Herodotos, Dionysius of Halicarnassus) and poets (e.g. Virgil) there was some ethnic relation between the people of the East Coast of Asia Minor (where Troy was situated and where later Lydia evolved) and these of nowadays Italy (either Etruscans or Latins/Romans). I know that this hypothesis is very controversial, however, in the same time it appeared to me that the sound difference between Lydia vs Latium (Lazio) is very similar to this of Lithuania (Lietuva) vs Latvia.

My main question is whether there is some etymological relation between the above names? And in case this is just a coincidence, my secondary inquiry is - what are the etymologies of the names, if known?

PS What is the etymology of the similarly-sounding Slavic word for people, pronounced "люди" (lyudi) / "лугье" (lugye) / ludzie / lide in the different Slavic languages?

  • According to etymonline.com/index.php?term=Latin, a possible etymology of Latium is stela, which I personally don't get at all...
    – Newbie
    Oct 6, 2015 at 19:53
  • Consider Russian stlatь (borrowed from Church Slavonic) "to lay, make spread"
    – Anixx
    Oct 6, 2015 at 22:37
  • stlatь is just the plural, 3rd person form of стьлати. I still don't get how this may transform into Latium. If this were to be the etymology, there should be explained how st- had disappeared? Otherwise, I agree that the proposition makes sense semantically.
    – Newbie
    Oct 6, 2015 at 22:56
  • Compare English word "latitude" from the same root. The Proto-Italic form was sla-. But de Vaan notes that the etymology connecting it with the mentioned Slavic word is outdated because that root is now reconstructed stel- (without laryngeal) in PIE. There is no obvious better etymology though. But the meaning in Latin was definitely "broad".
    – Anixx
    Oct 6, 2015 at 23:00
  • 1
    I get it now. Thank you for the clarification.
    – Newbie
    Oct 6, 2015 at 23:11

1 Answer 1


Etymology of "люди" is from Proto-Indo-European e̯leudheros "free, adult person", or, more precisely, from e̯leudhis "people". The root initially meant something like "grow up".

  • So it has no relation with Latvia, Lithuania (unless the later are Germanic exonyms)?
    – Newbie
    Oct 6, 2015 at 22:05
  • @Newbie there are many theories of the etymology of the names of these countries. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_country-name_etymologies#L Most likely the names are from river Lietava which is in central Lituania. Lieatava's name would nean "pouring, flowing".
    – Anixx
    Oct 6, 2015 at 22:19
  • Thank you. This list is very useful. It's strange I haven't found it heretofore. I wish the main Wikipedia pages for a given country had these etymologies, instead of the trivial "the name of Xxx-ia is derived from the name of the tribe Xxx's".
    – Newbie
    Oct 6, 2015 at 22:31
  • @Newbie - if you have a reliable published source for the information, you are very welcome to add it to the Wikipedia article.
    – Colin Fine
    Oct 7, 2015 at 17:52
  • 2
    It has English cognates, it turns out: lede / leod (and less directly, liberal). Oct 11, 2015 at 9:44

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