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p863 Paradisus

Unsigned article on pp863‑864 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

PARADI′SUS (παράδεισος), was the name given by the Greeks to the parks or pleasure-grounds, which surrounded the country residences of the Persian kings and satraps. They were generally stocked with animals for the chace, were full of all kinds of trees, watered by numerous streams, and enclosed with walls (Xen. Anab. I.4 § 10, Cyr. I.3 § 14, 4 § 5, Hell. IV.1 § 33, Oec. IV.13; Diod. Sic. XVI.41; Curt. VIII.1 § 11, 12; Gell. II.20). These paradises were frequently of great extent; thus Cyrus on one occasion reviewed the Greek army in his paradise at Celaenae (Xen. Anab. I.2 § 9), and on another occasion the Greeks were alarmed by a report that there was a great army in a neighbouring paradise (Id. II.4 § 16).

Pollux (IX.13) says that παράδεισος was a Persian word, and there can be no doubt that the Greeks obtained it from the Persians. The word, however, seems to have been used by other Eastern nations, and not to have been peculiar to the Persians. Gesenius (Lexicon Hebraicum, p838, Lips. 1833) and other writers suppose it to be the same as the Sanskrit paradésa, but this word does p864not mean a land elevated and cultivated, as Gesenius and others state, but merely a foreign country, whence is derived paradêsinî, a foreigner. The word occurs in Hebrew (פֵרְדֵּס, paredês) as early as the time of Solomon (Eccles. II.5; Cant. IV.13), and is also found in Arabic (firdaus), and Armenian (pardes, Schroeder, Dissert. Thesaur. Ling. Armen. praemiss. p56).


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