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This webpage reproduces an article in the
American Journal of Philology
Vol. 43, No. 2 (1922), pp166‑167.

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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p166 The Origin of the Name Cilicia

The first certain appearance of the name Cilicia is in the cuneiform inscriptions of Tiglathpileser III (not IV), where Ḫilakku refers to the mountainous district later occupied by the Isaurians1 and the southwestern corner of Cappadocia, a connotation which the word still possessed in classical times, though the modern definition was already coming into use. In the Hittite texts of the second millennium, southeastern Cilicia is called Arzawa, Babylonian Ursu, a name which survived in classical Rhosus (not Arsus)2 and modern Arsus. Some centuries later, we find that this district is called in the Assyrian and Aramean inscriptions, as well as in the Old Testament by the name Quweh (Que, Qwh).

On Persian coins of Cilicia we find usually the form הלך, corresponding to the Assyrian, but on coins of the satrap Pharnabazus the orthography כלך occurs instead. The latter spelling cannot be explained by the Greek Κιλικια, but both evidently have a common source, older than the dissimilated form Ḫlk, though both forms may have existed side by side for many centuries. There is, therefore, no phonetic objection to the identification of the Kl(r)kš, who appear among the Anatolian peoples who p167threatened Egypt in the thirteenth century, with the Cilicians; the ending š is, as is well-known, a gentilic ending (cf. Jour. Pal. Orient. Soc. I, 57, n2). On the other hand, we must now distinguish between the Klkš-Cilicians and the Teucrian Gergithes, who appear on the Egean coast of Asia Minor and in Cyprus, though the latter may well be identical with the Girgashites of Canaan.

Attention may be called, in this connection, to the name Halikalbat, the archaic designation of the district later known as Melid, Greek Melitene, which extended, like Katmuḫ or Kutmuḫ (Commagene) on both sides of the Euphrates. The name is written Ḫanigalbat (formerly read Ḫanirabbat), Ḫaligalbat[û] (Scheil, Délégation en Perse, II, 95 f.) and Ḫanakalbat. The native form, in the text of the Mitannian Agatbaḫa, was Ḫalig(k)albat; Ḫanigalbat and Ḫanakalbat are the Babylonian forms, which unquestionably originated in the dissimilation of the first l. Schroeder's artificial suggestion, Orient. Lit., 1918, 175, that LI had a "Ḫanigalbatean" reading ana is impossible, as well as wholly gratuitous. It is barely possible that the correct form, Ḫalikalbat, should be analyzed as Ḫalik-albat, and combined with Kilik-Ḫilak, Cilicia. However, one must not forget the fate of an older hypothesis of this type, combining Ḫanigalbat, read Ḫanirabbat, with Ḫana = 'Anah, as "Great Ḫana."

W. F. Albright.

American School of Oriental Research,

Jerusalem, Palestine.

The Author's Notes:

1 The antiquity of the name Isaurian is confirmed by the recent discovery in the Boghaz‑keui collections of the classical Garsaura, northwest of Tyana, as Kursaura, in a text purporting to describe events of the thirtieth century B.C. The element saur thus belongs to the primitive Cappadocian language, probably the prefixing Eteo-Hittite (a better term than Proto-Hittite) language described by Forrer.

2 This "classical" form has been invented by Professor Sayce; see Jour. Eg. Arch., VI, 296. The relation between the various writings Ursu, Uršu, and Arzawa has been pointed out by the writer in Jour. Eg. Arch., VII, 80 f., unfortunately without noting Sayce's blunder. Another, much more portentous mistake of the same kind (loc. cit.) is Sayce's statement that Yarmuti is "classical" Armuthia. The source of this is Tompkins, Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch., IX, 242, ad 218 (of the Tuthmosis list): "Mauti. Perhaps the Yari-muta of the Tel el‑Amarna tablets, now (I think) Armūthia, south of Killis." This is the modern village of Armûdja, a hamlet some three miles south of Killis, not on the coast at all, but in the heart of Syria, and with no known classical background.

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Page updated: 21 Oct 06