geographic names of places in Israel in Herodotos

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Posted by Eliyahu Green on November 03, 2003 at 10:48:26:

There has long been a question of the identity of the Israeli place names Cadytis and Azotos in Herodotos [book II]. In the 18th century, the French priest Bonnaud identified Cadytis as Jerusalem, pointing to the phonetic similarity of Cadytis to Qadosh, the Hebrew word for holy. After all, Jerusalem has always been considered a holy city. Others have pointed to the statement in H that Cadytis was near the sea. This justified for them that Cadytis was Gaza. The Selincourt trans. [Penguin pubs] translates Cadytis as Gaza in one place but not in another, as I recall. Selincourt and others, I believe, identify Azotos as Ashdod. Certainly there is a phonetic resemblance to Ashdod and indeed in the Hellenistic-Roman period of rule in Israel, Ashdod was called Azotos. Nevertheless, I hold that on linguistic, historical, textual, and other grounds Cadytis is properly identified with Jerusalem and Azotos with Gaza. I published a letter on this matter several years ago in the Hebrew quarterly HaUmmah. Now, the case is basically as follows. The Encyc Judaica reports that an inscription `azzat was found in the Gaza area in the old Hebrew/Canaanite alphabet. This fits the Hebrew name for Gaza, `Azah, except for the final T. Yet, we know that in Semitic tongues, final T and final H can be interchangeable. Further, the second syllable of `Azah has the vowel qames, which was originally pronounced o or aw [as in saw]. This fits Azotos except for the "os" ending, which is a typical Greek ending added by Greek-speakers and does not fit either `Azah/Gaza or Ashdod. So Azotos was Gaza. Now, how did Azotos come to be the name of Ashdod after Alexander's conquest? Arabs had inflitrated/migrated into the Negev and into the Gaza region after the Persian conquest, also overrunning Edom and dispossessing the Edomites who themselves migrated to southern Judah, which was later called Idumaea after them. Now, the Arabic name for Gaza begins not with an `ayin but the Arabic consonant ghayn, nowadays pronounced as Rh, but then as a "G"-like consonant. Under the influence of Arab traders in Gaza, Greek traders and sailors began to call the city by the Arabic name and transposed Azotos to Ashdod.
Cadytis is easily identified as Qadosh or Qadush. The Greek "is" ending falls off and the final T in Cadyt should be seen as interchangeable with "sh". Consider the Aramaic tor and the Hebrew shor, both meaning bull [taurus]. The Y in Cadyt is of course pronounced U. Hence, Cadyt is Qadush. But what about Herodotos' remark that Cadytis is near the sea? Strabo, the Greek geographer who wrote in Roman times explicitly writes that Jerusalem is near the sea. Distance is after all a matter of perspective and interpretation. Jerusalem is about 50 km from the Mediterranean.
So the border of Cadytis in H is in fact the border of the kingdom of Judah. Here the Greek-writing Herodotos named the territory after its chief city. This should settle reservations about the identification of "Palestinian Syrians" with the Jews.
I would be interested to hear of comments.

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