The origin of the name “Etna” is linked to stories, myths and legends. And like everything that comes from myths and legends, it is not easy to find an exact answer.
In Greek, the name Etna is feminine (Αitna). It is the name of a nymph, the daughter of Uranus and Gaea (Heaven and Earth) or of the Titan Oceanus, or of the Giant Briareus.
According to some legends, one day Aitna joined Hephaestus , the god of fire, and from this union the Palici were born, two strong twins who, with the cyclops, helped Hephaestus in his work as a celestial blacksmith.
According to other tales, the Palici are the sons of Zeus and Thalia, the daughter of Hephaestus.
Others suggest that Aitna derives from αἵυο, a verb that expresses the act of burning with intense heat, linking the origin of the name “Etna” to the Greek colonisers in the 7th century BC.
The populations that succeeded one another on the island gave the majestic volcano other names.
The Arabs, during their rule over Sicily around the year 1000, called it “Giabal Huthamet”, meaning mountain of fire.
The word Giabal, which in Arabic means “Mount”, underwent many changes, becoming Gibel.
During the French rule by King Charles of Anjou in the 13th century, the word Gibel was joined by the French equivalent of mount, Mons. Etna then became “Mons Gibel”, which when translated into English would mean “Mount Mountain”. In the Middle Ages, Mons Gibel became Mongibello, a name still used locally today for this wonderful volcano.