10 largest cities in Germany
Frankfurt am Main
Mainz (Latin: Moguntiacum) is the capital of the State of
Rhineland-Palatinate and, with 218,578 inhabitants, also its largest
city. Mainz is a district, one of the five regional centers in
Rhineland-Palatinate and part of the Rhine-Main area. With the
neighboring Hessian state capital Wiesbaden, it forms a cross-border
dual center with around 495,000 inhabitants. Mainz and Wiesbaden are
the only two capitals of German territorial states with a common
The city, which was founded in Roman times, is the seat of the Johannes Gutenberg University, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mainz and several television and radio companies, such as the Südwestrundfunk (SWR) and the Second German Television (ZDF). Mainz is a stronghold of the Rhenish Carnival.
Development of the city name
In the course of history, the name of the city has changed several times, and it has only been possible to speak of a binding spelling since the 18th century. The Roman name "Mogontiacum" can be derived from the Celtic deity Mogon (Mogont-i-acum = "Land of Mogon"). Mogontiacum was first mentioned in the historiography by the Roman historian Tacitus in his early 2nd century work Histories in connection with the Batavian revolt. Different spellings and abbreviations were already common at the time of Roman rule: "Moguntiacum" or shortened as "Moguntiaco" in the Tabula Peutingeriana.
In Middle Latin, the name was shortened from the 6th century and from then on "Moguntia" or "Magantia" was written and pronounced. In the 7th century the city name changed to "Mogancia", "Magancia urbis" or "Maguntia", in the 8th century to "Magontia". In the 11th century the name came back to "Moguntiacum" or "Moguntie". In general, the city name was often not influenced by actual language development, but by the prevailing "fashion" of pronunciation. The 12th century referred to the city as "Magonta", "Maguntia", "Magontie", and "Maguntiam". An Arabic world map from the same period calls it "maiansa". From 13./14. by the 15th century, the name changed from "Meginze" to "Menze", which is the name development in Latin sources. German-language sources speak of “Meynce” in 1315, “Meintz” in 1320, “Maentze” in 1322, “Meintze” in 1342, “Meintz” in 1357 and “Mayntz” in 1365. The surname “Mayntz”, which originated at that time, is still in use today in this spelling. Later they were also called Mainzer. The term Magenza also appears in Jewish literature of the Middle Ages.
In the 15th century the spelling “Maintz” appears for the first time. The spelling “Menze”, “Mentz (e)”, “Meintz” or “Meyntz” were more common at this time. The name forms with ai or ay prevailed since the 16th century and finally in the Baroque period. Since the 18th century there have hardly been any changes to the city name. An exception is the French form of the name Mayence during the French occupation in 1792/93 and when it belonged to France from 1798 to 1814.
There are two variants of the city name in the Mainz dialect, Meenz and Määnz, and the population has different opinions about their correctness. Studies have found that the spelling and pronunciation form Meenz (pronounced with a closed e-sound) is preferred in the old town, the other variant Määnz (with an open e-sound) is more used in the Neustadt, the suburbs and the surrounding area of the Rhine-Hesse region.