Monday, August 31, 2020

Clarifying Herodotus on "Palestine"

Every Arab and pro-Palestinian will quote Herodotus to "prove" that the "original" name of this country called Eretz-Yisrael was "Palestine".*  You can read: 

The name “Palestine” first appeared in Herodotus’ 5th century BCE histories to describe the coastal area of the Levant where the Philistines lived

So the name did not start with the Romans and Herod but from a Greek text.

But let's quote Herodotus, I:105:

The Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine 


Thence they went on to invade Egypt; and when they were 
in Syria which is called Palestine
(ἐνθεῦτεν δὲ ἤισαν ἐπ᾽ Αἴγυπτον. καὶ ἐπείτε ἐγένοντο ἐν τῇ Παλαιστίνῃ Συρίῃ)

But that continues so:

and as they retreated, when they came to the city of Ascalon in Syria,

Is "Palestine" a separate country or a region and is it in Syria?

In III:5, we read,

Now by this way only is there a known entrance to Egypt: for from Phenicia to the borders of the city of Cadytis belongs to the Syrians who are called of Palestine, and from Cadytis, which is a city I suppose not much less than Sardis, from this city the trading stations on the sea- coast as far as the city of Ienysos belong to the king of Arabia, and then from Ienysos again the country belongs to the Syrians as far as the Serbonian lake

Obviously, the geography of then is not continguous today. That 464 BCE text filtered down to the Romans.

There are other assumptions as this
As early as the Histories of Herodotus, written in the second half of the fifth century B.C.E., the term Palaistinê is used to describe not just the geographical area where the Philistines lived, but the entire area between Phoenicia and Egypt—in other words, the Land of Israel. Herodotus, who had traveled through the area, would have had firsthand knowledge of the land and its people. Yet he used Palaistinê to refer not to the Land of the Philistines, but to the Land of Israel. His understanding of the geographical extent of Palestine is reflected in his reference to the population of Palaistinê as being circumcised. However, the Philistines, as we know from the Bible, were uncircumcised. The Israelites, of course, were circumcised. Herodotus seems to have known about the Jewish people and their history because he mentions the destruction of Sennacherib’s army by an act of God. This can only be the same natural disaster that relieved Jerusalem of the Assyrian siege in the late eighth century B.C.E. (see 2 Kings 19-35–36)...the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria, who lived in the early first century C.E., occasionally uses the name Palestine when referring to the Land of Israel of his day. For example, he remarks that a considerable proportion of Palestinian Syria is occupied by the populous nation of the Jews...The striking similarity between the Greek word for “wrestler” (palaistês) and the name Palaistinê—which share seven letters in a row, including a diphthong—is strong evidence of a connection between them. Adding to this the resemblance of Palaistinê to Peleshet, it would appear that the name Palestine was coined as a pun on Israel and the Land of the Philistines. In Greek eyes, the people of Israel were descendants of an eponymous hero who was a god wrestler (a palaistês);

In any case, it was not an Arab country until the area was invaded and conquered by Arabs Moslems in 638 CE. Indeed, there are those who seek

to accord [Arab] Palestinians exclusive rights to antiquity and indigeneity in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, while at the same time maintaining their Arab heritage. The obvious problem with this is that the Palestinian people quite clearly trace their origins to seventh-century Arabia. It is true that there had been an Arab presence in parts of the territory prior to this, but there is little in contemporary Palestinian identity which demonstrates continuity of any kind with the ancient peoples who inhabited the land—Canaanites, Philistines, or Israelites. 

* A detailed example and a counter argument: 

It was during the former period that Masalha’s star witness, Herodotus, famously described the land of Palestine. Masalha suggests that Herodotus “uses the term in its wider sense and not merely in reference to Philistia, or the coastal strip of the land from Carmel to Gaza, but also the interior of the country (Herodotus 1841: 135) … Herodotus not only mentions Palestine as an autonomous district of Syria but describes it geographically, as the country we know today, but also including some adjoining areas in the Sinai and the north, as well as in the area east of the river Jordan.” There are a number of problems with this. For one thing, there’s no consensus among the scholars as to the accuracy of Herodotus’s writing; in any case, his writings strongly suggest that he only visited the coastal plain. During the Persian and Ptolemaic periods, the official name for the area was Coele-Syria, with Judaea the official name for the part of the country where Jews were a majority. Herodotus specifically refers to the peninsula running from Phoenicia beside the sea by the way of Syrian Palestine: “The region I am describing skirts our [Mediterranean] sea, stretching from Phoenicia along the coast of Palestine-Syria till it comes to Egypt, where it terminates.” Clearly, Herodotus is describing the coastal plain of present-day Israel and Gaza. Masalha does not cite any sources in support of his claim that Herodotus is “describing it as the country we know today,” or that “Herodotus’ conception of Palestine included the Galilee.”


Alex said...

Are you searching for a HACKER for HIRE?
The solution to all hacking jobs is right here.
Are you looking for 100% services in terms of CREDIT SCORE increase,
BESTAPPSHACKERS@GMAIL.COM OR TEXT HIM ON WHATSAPP +1(602)-609-4730 for all jobs and efficient delivery of services is guaranteed

Sharon Wayne said...

I want to thank Dr Emu a very powerful spell caster who help me to bring my husband back to me, few month ago i have a serious problem with my husband, to the extend that he left the house, and he started dating another woman and he stayed with the woman, i tried all i can to bring him back, but all my effort was useless until the day my friend came to my house and i told her every thing that had happened between me and my husband, then she told me of a powerful spell caster who help her when she was in the same problem I then contact Dr Emu and told him every thing and he told me not to worry my self again that my husband will come back to me after he has cast a spell on him, i thought it was a joke, after he had finish casting the spell, he told me that he had just finish casting the spell, to my greatest surprise within 48 hours, my husband really came back begging me to forgive him, if you need his help you can contact him with via email: or add him up on his whatsapp +2347012841542 is willing to help any body that need his help.