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Headword: *ni/sibis
Adler number: nu,426
Translated headword: Nisibis
Vetting Status: high
[Genitive] *nisibe/ws. Name of a city.[1] Also [sc. attested is] 'Nisibenos', [meaning] the citizen [sc. of it].
Clearly in a form of those on the Euphrates and in the East; but in Egyptian and Libyan, [it is] 'Nisibite'.[2] One needs to know that Nisibis is a city on the far side of the Tigris river. And Philo writes it as Nasibis with an alpha, meaning 'the columns',[3] but Uranius [writes it as] Nesibis, meaning in the Phoenicians' language 'stones gathered-together'.[4]
Greek Original:
*ni/sibis, *nisi/bews. o)/noma po/lews. kai\ *nisibhno/s, o( poli/ths. tu/pw| dhladh\ tw=n peri\ *eu)fra/thn kai\ e(/w, *ai)guptisti\ de\ kai\ *libusti\ *nisibi/ths. ei)de/nai de\ xrh= w(s th\n *ni/sibin po/lin e)n th=| perai/a| th=| pro\s tw=| *ti/gridi potamw=| *fi/lwn me\n *na/sibin gra/fei dia\ tou= a dhlou=san ta\s sth/las, *ou)ra/nios de\ *ne/sibin shmai/nousan *foini/kwn fwnh=| li/qous sumforhtou/s.
[1] In NE Mesopotamia (Barrington Atlas map 89 grid D3); present-day Nusaybin, Mardin Province, Turkey. See generally OCD(4) s.v.
[2] From Herodian, peri\ parwnu/mwn p. 887 Lentz, Stephanus of Byzantium, Ethnica p. 477 Meineke: "It should have been *nisibi/ths, but that form is Egyptian and Libyan, while the form in -hnos [is used] by the Euphrates and the East, as in Sophene, Tabene, Cambysene." (Sophene in Armenia, Tabis in Arabia, Cambyses River in Media.) This means not that the -i/ths suffix is peculiar to North African languages or dialects of Greek, but that it is applied preferentially to North African placenames, while -hno/s is applied to West Asian placenames.
[3] Herennius Philo FGrH 790 F6, cited in Herodian, De Prosodia Catholica p. 87, 276, 556 Lentz and Stephanus of Byzantium, offering an etymology of the name.
[4] Uranius FGrH 675 F30, cited in Stephanus of Byzantium.
Keywords: definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; geography; historiography
Translated by: Nick Nicholas on 25 November 2009@06:03:10.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (expansions to notes; tweaks and cosmetics) on 25 November 2009@08:46:52.
David Whitehead on 10 June 2013@03:59:43.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 7 August 2014@04:42:51.
Ronald Allen (typo n.1, added map reference, augmented n.1) on 22 June 2021@17:50:17.


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