What inspired C.S. Lewis to name his imaginary world “Narnia?”


2 Answers 2


Walter Hooper, Advisor and Consultant to the literary estate of C.S. Lewis (and avid collector of Lewis artefacts) claimed that the name came from a map that Lewis had as a child, referring to the Italian town of Narni(a). Hooper evidently had the map in his possession.

"It will perhaps surprise you to hear that I spent a day (in Narni/Narnia) in October (1996). In fact, this was my second trip, as my godson and I were there first five years ago. C. S. Lewis came across the name 'Narnia' in a classical atlas he used as a boy, and continued to use it all his life. I have it now, and it's interesting to see that he underscored the name when he first saw it back in about 1914. In Italian Narnia is called 'Narni', and it's under that name that you will find it on modern maps.

Narnia and Narni

  • The above seems interesting, yet somewhat lacking, to me. Because Hooper appears to be somewhat suspect (see Lindskoog’s criticisms of this “amanuensis”), I would like to see the actual atlas for myself. Moreover, is Narni ever spelled “Narnia,” and was it spelled so in Lewis’s supposed map? Does Narni have anything reminiscent of Narnia, other than a similar sounding name? In Hooper’s story, he seems to be trying way too hard to equate both names, yet he never states directly that Lewis told him about this equation. And, how would he know that Lewis underscored this around 1914? Mar 4, 2021 at 9:14
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    @ferjsoto42yahoocom - If you look at the comment directly above yours, you can see a reproduction map of Italy with the original Latin names, including Narnia
    – Valorum
    Mar 4, 2021 at 9:18
  • Thank you. , This helps to make the case for the possible Narni-Narnia link. Mar 4, 2021 at 9:26
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    There is also the locally prominent Saint Lucy of Narni/Narnia affiliated with this town. Given Lucy Penvensie's role as ideal devout woman in C.S. Lewis' Narnia stories, I suspect this is not unrelated.
    – Lexible
    Apr 18, 2021 at 21:29
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    @OrangeDog - Try this one. narnia.it/atlanteNarnia.jpg
    – Valorum
    Nov 10, 2021 at 9:52

The above explanation sounds reasonable but I like to think it came from the word Naronia.I am no CS Lewis expert but he seemed to be a bit of a mystic. I believe he thought the would was multi-dimensional and such. Other names for Naronia would be Merkabah Ascension, Kundalini Rising, and The Christian Resurrection Body. Just a thought.

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    Do you have any evidence for this theory?
    – DavidW
    Jan 28 at 22:16
  • 3
    It's preferable for answers to questions like to be based on evidence from an official source, rather than just one's own personal headcanon. Jan 28 at 22:16

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