The name Goa came to European languages from the Portuguese, but its precise origin is unclear. In ancient literature, Goa was known by many names such asGomanta, Gomanchala, Gopakapattam, Gopakapuri, Govapuri, Govem, and Gomantak. The Indian epic Mahabharata refers to the area now known as Goa, asGoparashtra or Govarashtra which means a nation of cowherds. Gopakapuri or Gopakapattanam were used in some ancient Sanskrit texts, and these names were also mentioned in other sacred Hindu texts such as the Harivansa and the Skanda Purana. In the latter, Goa is also known as Gomanchala. Parashurambhoomi is a name that the region is referred to in certain inscriptions and texts such as the Puranas. In the third century BCE, Goa was known as Aparantha, and is mentioned by the Greek geographer Ptolemy. The Greeks referred to Goa as Nelkinda in the 13th century. Some other historical names for Goa are Sindapur, Sandabur, andMahassapatam.