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For a relatively tiny continent, Europe has an abundance of divisions.  Ethnicity, religion, weather, and even food have divided Europe along common fault lines throughout its history.  The chart below, taken from Yanko Tsveltkov’s Atlas of Prejudice 2, is a satirically over-broad depiction of some of the most salient of divisions.  It is meant to be overly simplified to the point of absurdity, poking fun at those who hold such blunt prejudices about large swaths of territory, so please do not take offense.

20 Ways to Slice Europe (From “Atlas of Prejudice 2”, by Yanko Tsvetkov, via http://atlasofprejudice.tumblr.com/)

For many of these maps, however, there is a kernel of truth.  My mother’s ancestors hail from Greece, and my father’s from England, which are two countries which could not be more diametrically opposed within Europe.  Indeed, in the chart below, Greece and England are on different sides in 19 of the 20 maps.  From my personal life, I can attest that these divisions are based partly in fact.  Greeks, on the whole, are much louder in conversation than Englishmen, and when walking down the street in Athens, one can be forgiven for assuming that two people screaming at each other are locked in a heated argument when in fact they are just saying hello.  As for butter vs. olive oil, I do think the English enjoy cooking with butter and, especially, buttering their bread with dinner, while Greek restaurants often do not even provide butter, and people simply mop up the bread in the juices of whatever they were eating (which inevitably has some olive oil in it).

Take the prejudice maps with a grain of salt, because obviously not everyone living within these zones hold the characteristics of those around them.  But it is fun sometimes to look at what people in one zone think of people in the other, if only to confront our differences and seek to better understand each other.

For more on the Atlas of Prejudice, check out Tsvetkov’s website, and you can order the Atlas on Amazon as well.

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