Archive for the ‘dates’ Tag

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 52 (fruit trees in the desert)   Leave a comment

I stumbled upon these lines in Sarjveladze & Fähnrich, p. 525. The citation is from an 11th-cent. manuscript, H-341 (46). (Incidentally, it is a boon to the dictionary that the authors scoured not only editions, but manuscripts, too, thus including unedited textual pieces and even, it seems, some marginal notes and colophons.)

დამიკჳრდა უდაბნოსა მას ესევითარი ხეოანი, რამეთუ იყო ფინიკი, ბროწეული, თრუნჯი, ატამი

Ich staunte über so einen solchen Baumbestand in der Wüste, denn es gab Dattel, Granatapfel, Orange, Pfirsich.

  • და-მ-ი-კჳრ-დ-ა aor 3sg O1 (here indir. vb) დაკჳვება to be amazed, astounded
  • უდაბნოოჲ wilderness
  • ხეო(ვ)ანი having trees (ხეჲ)
  • ფინიკი date
  • ბროწეული pomegranate
  • თრუნჯი orange or some other citrus fruit
  • ატამი peach

I was amazed at such a tree-area in the wilderness, because there were [trees of] date, pomegranate, citrus, and peach.

Plant-names are notorious for spreading across languages, and we have some such words here, words it would be easy to follow down many interconnected paths. To take two of the Georgian words above, for ფინიკი we have Greek φοίνιξ (φοινικ-), for თრუნჯი we have Persian turunǧ, Aramaic etrog (Mandaic trunga, Syriac ṭruggā), Arabic utruǧ/nǧ. (For Aramaic terms, see I. Löw, Aramaeische Pflanzennamen.) Wholly unrelated, however, to the Georgian word ატამი above is a widespread term for peach: MP šiftālūg/NP šaftālū(ǧ/d)/Tajik шафтолу/Turk şeftali/Tatar шәфталу; NP has another related word šaftarang for a kind of red peach, and another word hulū. We could, of course, go on, both more deeply and broadly, but for now let’s stop at this marvelous oasis that appeared in the wilderness to the Georgian speaker above.


Dried meat in Bar Bahlul   Leave a comment

In a recent post, I mentioned Bar Bahlul’s source “the Proverbs [or tales] of the Arameans”. Among other entries in his lexicon where he cites that source, here is another:

Bar Bahlul, Lexicon, ed. Duval, col. 2072

Bar Bahlul, Lexicon, ed. Duval, col. 2072


Tmirā I found it in the Proverbs [or tales] of the Arameans. I think it is tatmīr, that is, seasoned, salted meat.

Here is an image from a manuscript of the Lexicon, SMMJ 229 (dated 2101 AG = 1789/90 CE), f. 311v:

SMMJ 229, f. 311v

SMMJ 229, f. 311v

This is not a particularly special copy of the Lexicon; it’s just one I had immediately at hand. It is, not surprisingly, slightly different from Duval’s text, including the variants he gives. Note that the Persian word at the end is misspelled in this copy.

Payne Smith (col. 4461) defines tmirā as caro dactylis condita (“meat seasoned with dates”), with Bar Bahlul cited, along with some variation in another manuscript, including alongside tatmīr the word تنجمير. I don’t know anything certain about this additional word (rel. to Persian tanjidan, “to twist together, squeeze, press”?).

The word tatmīr is a II maṣdar of the root t-m-r, which has to do with dates. The Arabic noun is tamr (dried) dates (do not confuse with ṯamar fruit), and probably from Arabic Gǝʿǝz has ተምር፡; cf. Heb. tāmār, JPA t(w)mrh, Syr. tmartā, pl. tamrē. (Another Aramaic word for date-palm is deqlā.) The Arabic D-stem/II verb tammara means “to dry” (dates, meat) (Lane 317). While the noun tamr means “dates”, the verb tammara does not necessarily have to do with drying dates, but can also refer to cutting meat into strips and drying it. Words for tatmīr in the dictionary Lisān al-ʿarab are taqdīd, taybīs, taǧfīf, tanšīf; we find the description taqṭīʿu ‘l-laḥmi ṣiġāran ka-‘l-tamri wa-taǧfīfuhu wa-tanšīfuhu (“cutting meat into small pieces like dates, drying it, and drying it out”) and further, an yaqṭaʿa al-laḥma ṣiġāran wa-yuǧaffifa (“he cuts meat into small pieces and dries it”).  All this makes it doubtful that the word above in Bar Bahlul’s lexicon really has anything to do with dates. Why not simply “dried, seasoned meat”?

As for the passive participle mubazzar, b-z-r is often “to sow”, but may also be used for the “sowing” of seeds, spices, etc. in cooking, so: “to season” (Lane 199). Finally, the last word is Persian namak-sud “salted” (Persian [< Middle Persian] namak salt + sudan to rub [also in Mid.Pers.)

A short Syriac chronicle for the time of Adam to the mid-fifteenth century   7 comments

I continue with cataloging the collection of the Chaldean Cathedral of Mardin. In a very important manuscript, some other texts of which I hope to publish in the near future, I’ve come across a short work counting the years from Adam up to the mid-fifteenth century. I’ve just uploaded a document with both the Syriac text and an English translation here, and below just the translation is given.

CCM 20, f. 235r

CCM 20, f. 235r

The text comes from an East Syriac manuscript dated to 1770 AG (= 1458/9 CE), Chaldean Cathedral of Mardin (CCM) 20, ff. 235r-235v (olim Diyarbakır 106). Judging from the text itself, it is original to this manuscript (i.e. it’s not a copy). In its details for the years, I have not compared it with other similar texts in Syriac or other languages, but I offer it with an English translation simply as an example of how a fifteenth-century Syriac scribe looked back very briefly across human history as he saw it. In addition, Syriac students might find it to be a short and easy text, especially to practice their knowledge of Syriac numbers.


With God’s help I note down an index of the sum of years from Adam to today, [the years] sometimes defined, indicating the years of the Greeks. Our Lord, help me!

1 From Adam to the Flood there are 2242 years.

2 From the Flood to the building of the Tower [of Babel], 700 years.

3 From the building of the Tower to the promise [made to] Abraham, 500 years.

4 From the promise [made to] Abraham to the exodus from Egypt, 430 years.

5 [From that time to the time] of Moses, Joshua b. Nun, 67 years.

6 [From that time to the time] the kings, 524 years.

7 [From that time to the time] of the Babylon[ian captivity], 70 years.

8 From the freedom from Babylon to the crucifixion of our savior, 480 years.

9 From the crucifixion of our savior until the Persians ruled, 81 years.

10 From [the time] that the Persians ruled [f. 235v] until the Arabs [ṭayyāyē] ruled, 505 years.

11 From [the time] that the Arabs ruled to the year in which this book was noted down, 862 years.

12 The sum of all the years is 6950 years.

13 The years that the Persians ruled are 550 years.

14 The blessed lady Mary received the good news [i.e. the Annunciation] in the year 303 of the Greeks.

15 Our savior was born in the year 304.

16 He was baptized by John in the year 334.

17 He suffered, died, arose, and ascended to heaven in the year 337 of the Greeks.

18 From the ascension of our Lord to the year in which this book noted down, 1433 years.

Ended is the reckoning and numbering of the years from Adam to the year in which we are.

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