14 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2022
    1. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-the-pagan-gods-that-still-exist-in-israeli-city-names-1.8924898?v=1647845941967

      Cities in Israel named after Semitic gods of the ancient Near East.

      Jerusalem was likely originally Ir Shalem ('The City of Shalem') because the central shrine was dedicated to the Canaanite god Shalem, aka Salem, the personification of the Evening Star.

      Shahar, the twin brother of Shalem, was the personification of the Morning Star and was presumably the tutelary god of Zareth-Shahar. This town is in modern day central Jordan and was mentioned in Joshua 13:19.

      While the original Zareth-Shahar didn't survive into modernity, another town dedicated to the same god may have existed on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee at a site known by the Arabic name for the morning star. A kibbutz named Ayelet HaShachar was built there after 1915. Ayelet HaShachar is a poetic biblical term for the Morning Star (Psalms 22:1).

      Jericho may have taken it's name from the tutelary god Yareakh, the moon god.

      Similarly the site Beit Yarekh may attest to that moon god being worshiped there as well.

      The sun god Shemesh may have created the eponymous names for cities Beth-Shemesh ('House of Shemesh', Joshua 15:10), En-Shemesh ('Spring of Shemesh", Joshua 15:7), and Ir-Shemesh ('City of Shemesh", Joshua 19:41). The modern day city Beit Shemesh was established in 1950 at a site with the Arabic place name 'Ain Shems which was believed to be the site of the ancient city Beth-Shemesh.

      The storm god Baal is the root of cities including Kiryat Baal (Joshua 18:14), Baal Perazim (II Samuel 5:17), Gur Baal (II Chronicles 26:7), Baal-Gad (Joshua 11:17), Baal-Hermon (Judges 3:3), and Baal-Hazor (II Samuel 13:23). There are also cities Baal-Peor (Numbers 23:28) and Ball Shalishah (II Kings 4:42).

      Canaanite god El was the tutelary god of the town Bethel mentioned frequently in the Old Testament including in Genesis 12:8. The Palestinian town Beitin is thought to be the site of the ancient Bethel. Beit El, an Israeli settlement, was created near it in 1977.

      Dagon was the namesake of Beth Dagon (Joshua 15:41). It continued until 1948 when the Palestinian town Bayt Dajan was depopulated leading up to the Israeli War of Independence. The site is now an Israeli town called Beit Dagan.

      Reshef, an ancient Semitic god from Elba and later identified with Apollo lent his name to the todays Arsuf, which is also known as Apollonia. During the Persian period, the Phoenicians had named a town there for Reshef.

      Horon, possibly a desert god with power over animals and snakes, is the inspiration of Beth Horon (I Chronicles 7:24). A modern settlement Beit Horon was founded in 1977.

    2. In ancient times, it was common for towns to be named for the town’s main shrine and the tutelary deity worshipped therein. Thus many of the towns and cities mentioned in the Bible, even those said to have been home to Israelites, have the names of foreign gods embedded in them.
    1. Dagon’s father was El, the head of the West Semitic pantheon. The name Israel, shows that El was originally the tutelary god of Israel (it’s right there in the name!), but over time, Yahweh took El’s place:“When the Most High (El Elyon) divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord's (Yahweh’s) portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance” (Deuteronomy 32:8-9).

      In the West Semitic pantheon of gods, El was the father of Dagon who was in turn the father of Baal. El Elyon is mentioned in Deuteronomy 32:8-9 and his name is a root word of the endonym Israel.

  2. May 2021
    1. Here's the video version of this article: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLQ6XlG0MQ4

    2. You don't have to be a Welsh speaker to realise these place names make Wales different.They connect us to our history and our shared identity.
    3. But, and this is a big but, replacing Welsh place names with English ones, just because some people can't pronounce them or they just don't like the sound of them, is not ok.It's deleting your cultural distinctiveness. Your heritage and the uniqueness of these British islands. It's getting rid of one of the oldest languages in Europe, one place name at a time.
    1. Place names and songlines together reminds me of a great BBC segment "Disappearing Welsh Names" I saw recently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLQ6XlG0MQ4

      It highlights by analogy the value of indigenous culture, knowledge, and creativity which the survival of songlines also provides us with. (It also saddens me because it starkly reminds me of all the knowledge and languages we've lost already.)

      I've been learning Welsh since the pandemic started and just a few simple words of Welsh has given me a far greater appreciation of places in the UK and what they mean. It's helped not only to expand my vocabulary, but increased my creativity in creating local songlines. It's also made it much easier to learn to say and remember the town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

      <table> <thead><tr> <th>Cymraeg</th> <th>Meaning</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td>Aber</td> <td>Where one river flows into another body of water (example: Aberystwyth)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Ban, Bannau</td> <td>Peak(s), beacon(s)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Bron</td> <td>Breast of a hill</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Bryn</td> <td>Hill</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Caer</td> <td>Fort</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Cas</td> <td>Castle</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Crug</td> <td>Hill, tump</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Cwm</td> <td>Valley</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Derw, Deri</td> <td>Oaks</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Dinas</td> <td>Hill-fort</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Dyffryn</td> <td>Valley, vale</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Ffin</td> <td>Border, boundary</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Isaf</td> <td>Lower, lowest</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Llan</td> <td>Church, church land (often followed by the name of the saint to whom the church was dedicated, eg, Llangatwg - a place with a church dedicated to St Catwg)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Morfa</td> <td>Salt-marsh</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Nant</td> <td>Brook, dingle</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Pont</td> <td>Bridge</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Porth</td> <td>Gate</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Rhos</td> <td>Moor</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Tyle</td> <td>Hill-side, ascent</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Uchaf</td> <td>Upper, highest</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Ystrad</td> <td>Vale</td> </tr> </tbody> </table>

      It also uncovers quirks of place names like Breedon on the Hill which translates from Brythonic, Saxon, and Modern English to "Hill Hill on the Hill" and crystalizes, as if in amber, the fact that Brythonic, Saxon, and English speakers all conjoined for a time on a hill in England. Similarly there's also Barnack Hills in England which translates from old Celtic (barr), Scottish Gaelic (cnoc) and English as "flat topped hill hill hills". It's almost hillarious.

    1. Article about the renaming of Welsh place names into English which erases culture and history.

    2. The Welsh name for Snowdon, Yr Wyddfa, means grave and is pronounced like "er with-va".The story goes in a legend that the giant Rhita Gawr, the king of Wales, was buried under a cairn of stones on the summit of the mountain, following a battle with King Arthur.It is said that the giant defeated 30 kings of Britain, taking their beards to create a cloak of the beards, reaching from his shoulder to the floor.
    3. Australia's giant monolith Ayers Rock was renamed Uluru in 1993, switching from its colonial namesake, former South Australian Premier Sir Henry Ayers, to the language of its traditional owners, the Anangu people.In 2002, that dual name was officially reversed, making it Uluru/Ayers Rock. Almost all Australians now refer to it as Uluru.
    4. The highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, is not commonly known by its Tibetan name Chomolungma, meaning goddess mother of the world.Many Sherpas, a community indigenous to the Himalayan region, believe that the summit of Chomolungma is home to the Buddhist goddess Miyolangsangma.Its English name comes from Colonel Sir George Everest, who was born in Crickhowell, Powys, in 1790, who was a Surveyor General of India.
  3. Apr 2021
      • Llyn Bochlwyd (lake gray cheek)
      • Foel Fawr
      • Coed Llugwy
      • Cwm Cneifion

      Erasure of culture

      Memory and place names

      "A nation which forgets its past has no future." - Winston Churchill (check quote and provenance)