14 NOVEMBER 1931, Page 17

POLITE GEOGRAPHY [To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] Su;,-- It

may (or may not) be a confession of " retrograde nineteenth-century mentality " to call Anvers Antwerp, Bruxelles Brussels or even London Londres (as the unen- lightened French (or Francais) have it), but there is every reason, pace your correspondent, why we should not write alep or Damas. They are not " illiterate English equivalents," it is true, but neither are they the titles their natives have given to them. Aleppo is Haleb to its inhabitants, and Damascus is either Dimishg or El-Sham (Esh-Sham, the name given also to Syria).

And if it is illiterate to write Aleppo, why write Jerusalem, Rosetta, etc. ? Instead of their true names, el Quds, el