Elementymology & Elements MultidictThis site comprises 120 pages of text and photos, one for each element, and several pages for access. – For captions or explanatory texts move your mouse over illustrations, links etc. 29 Cuprum Copper Koper – Kupfer – Cuivre – Cobre – 銅 – Медь – 銅 Cu Multilingual dictionary
Indo-European Cuprum Latin
Koper Frisian (West)
Kopar, ²Eir Icelandic
Kobber (Bokmål), Kopar (Nynorsk) Norwegian
Cupru Romanian - Moldovan
Мед [Med] Bulgarian
Медзь [medz'] Belarusian
Бакар [Bakar] Macedonian
Медь [Med'] Russian
Бакар [Bakar] Serbian
Мідь [mid'] Ukrainian
Copar Gaelic (Irish)
Copar Gaelic (Scottish)
Cobbyr Gaelic (Manx)
Χαλκος [chalkos] Greek
Պղինձ [pghindz] Armenian
Bakër, ²Bakri Albanian
Æрхуы [ærhuy] Ossetian
Мис [Mis] Tajik
কপার [kapāra] Bengali
مس [ms] Persian
તાંબુ [tā'bu] Gujarati
ताम्र [tāmra] Hindi
Ыргӧн [Yrgön] Komi
Вӱргене [Vürgene] Mari
Серае, Сере [serae, sere] Moksha
Пăхăр [Păhăr] Chuvash
Мыс [mys] Kazakh
Жез [Žez] Kyrgyz
Зэс [zès] Mongolian
مىس [mis] Uyghur
სპილენძი [spilenżi] Georgian
نحاس [nuHās] Arabic
נחושת [nahoshet] Hebrew
Ram, ²Ramm Maltese
銅 [dou] Japanese
구리 [guri] Korean
ทองแดง [thongdaeng] Thai
銅 [tong2 / tung4] Chinese
ചെമ്പ് [cemp] Malayalam
செப்பு [ceppu] Tamil
Kupri, ²Nahasi Swahili
North-America Chīchīltic tepoztli Nahuatl
South-America Anta Quechua
Creole Kupru Sranan Tongo
Artificial Kupro Esperanto
Copre Atomic Elements
melting point 1083 °C; 1982 °F
boiling point 2567 °C; 4653 °F
density 8.96 g/cc; 559.35 pounds/cubic foot Known to the ancients χαλκος κυπριος (chalkos kuprios) = metal from Cyprus (Greek) History & Etymology
The discovery of Copper goes back to prehistoric times. Estimates of the earliest use of Copper vary, but 5000 BC is not unreasonable. Gold was probably the first metal to attract man's attention because of its sparkling yellow color, and Iron in the form of meteorites may have been used before Copper in some localities.
By about 3500 BC Copper was being obtained in the Middle East by charcoal reduction of its ores, and by 3000 BC the advantages of adding Tin in order to produce the harder bronze was appreciated in India, Mesopotamia and Greece. This established the "Bronze Age", and copper has continued to be one of man’s most important metals.
The earliest recorded use of copperware in India has been around 3000 BC the findings at Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, bear this out. The earliest documented observation of smelting of metals in India is by Greek historians in the 4th century BC.
Copper has been mentioned in the Periplus as an article of export from India. In those days Copper ore was extracted in a big way and it was smelted locally in South India and Rajputana, according to the Periplus Maris Erythreae, a maritime geography of the east-west trade, written in about the first century AD.
In his biography of the charismatic teacher and miracle worker Apollonius of Tyana (first century AD), the Greek biographer Lucius Flavius Philostratus of Lemnos (c. 170-c. 245) gives a detail account of Apollonius's journey to India. In the town of Taxila, the capital of the kingdom Hinduš (or Indus-country) he mentions a shrine, in which were hung pictures on Copper tablets representing the feats of Alexander and Porus. In his own words, "The various figures were portrayed in a mosaic of Orichalcum, Silver, Gold, and oxidised Copper, but the weapons in Iron. The metals were so ingeniously worked into one another that the pictures which they formed were comparable to the productions of the most famous Greek artists."
In astrology alchemy the seven heavenly bodies known to the ancients were associated with seven metals also known in antiquity:Sun (Sol) Gold (Aurum) Mercury (Mercurius) Mercury (Hydrargyrum) Venus Copper (Cuprum) Moon (Luna) Silver (Argentum) Mars Iron (Ferrum) Jupiter Tin (Stannum) Saturn Lead (Plumbum)
In ancient India Copper was also known as Tamara, Copper plate was called Tamara-Patra. Tamrakar meant a Copper smith and Tamara-pana meant a Copper coin.
The long history of Copper is reflected in the many different words for this metal. See the list of names to the left and in the overview of Copper in over 100 languages (click here).
We can identify at least seven different roots. The main European branches of the Indo-European language (except Slavic) use derivations from the Latin cuprum.
Derivations are used in almost all Italic languages (except Italian!), Celtic and Germanic languages, also Finnish.
Used in most of the Slavic and Altaic languages.
In Japanese, the character 銅 is pronounced as "dou". But another widely used pronunciation is "akagane" ("aka" = red, "kane" = money, metal, or gold).
A peculiar website from Lavian-American Andis Kaulins, Indo-European Afro-Asiatic Words for Metals - Copper Lead Tin Iron Bronze Gold Amber. I am not sure what to think of the value of his unorthodox information, but give it for what it is worth. Kaulins presents the following list for Copper:
Sumerian KAxUD.BAR (or) UDxKA.BAR (or) SI.BAR
Latvian VARsh, dim. VARinsh
Old Prussian WARgien
Latvian SVAR- < *sa-VARS "weight"
Akkadian SIPARRU Hebrew SEPER
Sumerian URUDU ? ("copper, copper colored?)
Latvian RUDU- "copper colored"
Latvian RUDVARIS (var. RUDU VARA )
And similar lists for Iron, Tin, and Lead. In examining all of these ancient terms for these metals, Kaulins sees that all names have two basic roots as their origin:
(1) "bar, var, par". Indo-European for "to smelt, boil" (Latvian var).
(2) "dzel, zil", meaning "yellow, gold, blue, dark blue, shiny" (Latvian zil).
According to Kaulins, the Latin Cuprum is not derived from Cyprus, but the other way round: the name Cyprus comes from the word for Copper.
COPPER, the Siamatic bond metal
'Tween integral parts of British Empire,
And Britain with all important nations,
Is a yellow tinged red colour'd metal,
Named Cuprum, moderately hard, ductile,
Very tenacious, and melts at white heat. J. Carrington Sellars, Chemistianity, 1873, p. 164 Further reading
- Mary Elvira Weeks, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 18-29.
- Grant Duff, Ancient India's Contribution to Production Technology and Mechanical Engineering. 1997. (on-line)
- S. Srinivasan and S. Ranganathan, Metallurgical Heritage of India (on-line).
- James B. Calvert, "Copper, Silver and Gold" 2002 (on-line).
Sources Index of Persons Index of Alleged Elements