Musings on Sports Economics

Great moments in marketing: Beneventum

Waaaaay back when, before there was a Roman Empire, Rome was a small city state and it got into a war with a neighboring people called the Samnites.  They had a series of brutal wars but ultimately Rome conquered Samnium and absorbed it into its growing territory.  One of the cities they conquered was called Maleventum by the Romans (it may have been Maloentum originally… remember in Latin V sounds like W, so oe Malo-entum and malo-wentum are pretty similar).

Anyway, in Samnian (which I think is classified as an Oscan language, a dead form of Indo-European, similar to Latin), Maloentum probably just meant something like Mountain Marketplace.  But to Latin speakers, Maleventum could mean Bad Wind or Bad Event, depending on how you split it up.  Suffice it to say that when the Romans took over and wanted to encourage people to move there, a name like “Bad Wind” was not going to really do the job.

So, with typical Roman directness, they changed the name to Beneventum, i.e., Good Winds, and voila, we have the modern town of Benevento to this day.

Posted by
Andy Schwarz

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