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Headword: Νίσιβις
Adler number: nu,426
Translated headword: Nisibis
Vetting Status: high
[Genitive] Νισιβέως . 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:
Νίσιβις, Νισίβεως. ὄνομα πόλεως. καὶ Νισιβηνός, ὁ πολίτης. τύπῳ δηλαδὴ τῶν περὶ Εὐφράτην καὶ ἕω, Αἰγυπτιστὶ δὲ καὶ Λιβυστὶ Νισιβίτης. εἰδέναι δὲ χρῆ ὡς τὴν Νίσιβιν πόλιν ἐν τῇ περαίᾳ τῇ πρὸς τῷ Τίγριδι ποταμῷ Φίλων μὲν Νάσιβιν γράφει διὰ τοῦ α δηλοῦσαν τὰς στήλας, Οὐράνιος δὲ Νέσιβιν σημαίνουσαν Φοινίκων φωνῇ λίθους συμφορητούς.
[1] In NE Mespotamia; present-day Nusaybin. See generally OCD(4) s.v.
[2] From Herodian, περὶ παρωνύμων p. 887 Lentz, Stephanus of Byzantium, Ethnica p. 477 Meineke: "It should have been Νισιβίτης , but that form is Egyptian and Libyan, while the form in -ηνος [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 -ίτης suffix is peculiar to North African languages or dialects of Greek, but that it is applied preferentially to North African placenames, while -ηνός 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.


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