Red Sea is a direct translation of the Greek Erythra Thalassa (Ερυθρὰ Θάλασσα), Latin Mare Rubrum (alternatively Sinus Arabicus, literally “Arabian Gulf”), Arabic: البحر الأحمر‎, romanized: Al-Baḥr Al-Aḥmar (alternatively بحر القلزم Baḥr Al-Qulzum, literally “the Sea of Clysma”), Somali Badda Cas and Tigrinya Qeyyiḥ bāḥrī (ቀይሕ ባሕሪ). The name of the sea may signify the seasonal blooms of the red-coloured Trichodesmium erythraeum near the water’s surface. A theory favoured by some modern scholars is that the name red is referring to the direction south, just as the Black Sea’s name may refer to north. The basis of this theory is that some Asiatic languages used colour words to refer to the cardinal directions. Herodotus on one occasion uses Red Sea and Southern Sea interchangeably.

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