Timeline of the name "Palestine"

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This article presents a list of notable historical references to the name Palestine, and cognates such as Filastin and Palaestina, through the various time periods of the region.

The term Peleset (transliterated from hieroglyphs as P-r-s-t) is found in numerous Egyptian documents referring to a neighboring people or land starting from c.1150 BCE during the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt. The first mention is thought to be in texts of the temple at Medinet Habu which record a people called the Peleset among the Sea Peoples who invaded Egypt in Ramesses III's reign,[1] and subsequently on Padiiset's Statue. The Assyrians called the same region Palashtu or Pilistu, beginning with Adad-nirari III in the Nimrud Slab in c.800 BCE through to emperor Sargon II in his Annals approximately a century later.[2][3][4] Neither the Egyptian nor the Assyrian sources provided clear regional boundaries for the term.[5]

The first clear use of the term Palestine to refer to the entire area between Phoenicia and Egypt was in 5th century BC Ancient Greece.[6] Herodotus wrote of a 'district of Syria, called Palaistinê" in The Histories, the first historical work clearly defining the region, which included the Judean mountains and the Jordan Rift Valley.[7][8][9][10][11][12] Approximately a century later, Aristotle used a similar definition in Meteorology, writing "Again if, as is fabled, there is a lake in Palestine, such that if you bind a man or beast and throw it in it floats and does not sink, this would bear out what we have said. They say that this lake is so bitter and salt that no fish live in it and that if you soak clothes in it and shake them it cleans them," understood by scholars to be a reference to the Dead Sea.[13] Later writers such as Polemon and Pausanias also used the term to refer to the same region. This usage was followed by Roman writers such as Ovid, Tibullus, Pomponius Mela, Pliny the Elder, Dio Chrysostom, Statius, Plutarch as well as Roman Judean writers Philo of Alexandria and Josephus.[14] Other writers, such as Strabo, a prominent Roman-era geographer (although he wrote in Greek), referred to the region as Coele-Syria ("all Syria") around 10-20 CE.[15][16] The term was first used to denote an official province in c.135 CE, when the Roman authorities, following the suppression of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, combined Iudaea Province with Galilee and other surrounding cities such as Ashkelon to form "Syria Palaestina" (Syria Palaestina). There is circumstantial evidence linking Hadrian with the name change,[17] although the precise date is not certain,[17] and the assertion of some scholars that the name change was intended "to complete the dissociation with Judaea"[18][19] is disputed.[20]

Biblical scholars often trace the Hebrew name Peleshet (פלשת Pəlésheth), from the Semitic root p-l-sh (Hebrew: פלש‎) which means to divide, go through, to roll in, cover or invade,[21] with a possible sense in this name as "migrant" or "invader"[22] is usually transliterated as Palestine in English and equated to Philistia, which is used in the Bible more than 250 times.[23] Other scholars mention a theory "proposed by Jacobsohn and supported by others, is that the name derives from the attested Illyrian locality Palaeste, whose inhabitants would have been called Palaestīnī according to normal grammatical practice"[24] The Greek word Palaistínē (i.e., Παλαιστίνη) is generally accepted to be a translation of the Semitic name for Philistia; however another term – Land of Phylistieim (Γη των Φυλιστιειμ, transliteration from Hebrew) – was used in the Septuagint, the second century BCE Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, to refer to Philistia.[25] In the Torah / Pentateuch the term Philistia is used 10 times and its boundaries are undefined. The later Historical books (see Deuteronomistic history) include most of the biblical references, almost 200 of which are in the Book of Judges and the Books of Samuel, where the term is used to denote the southern coastal region to the west of the ancient Kingdom of Judah.[2][3][14][26]

During the Byzantine period, the entire region (Syria Palestine, Samaria, and the Galilee) was named Palaestina, subdivided into provinces Palaestina I and II.[27] The Byzantines also renamed an area of land including the Negev, Sinai, and the west coast of the Arabian Peninsula as Palaestina Salutaris, sometimes called Palaestina III.[27] The Arabic word for Palestine is فلسطين (commonly transcribed in English as Filistin, Filastin, or Falastin).[28] Moshe Sharon writes that when the Arabs took over Greater Syria in the 7th century, place names that were in use by the Byzantine administration before them, generally continued to be used. Hence, he traces the emergence of the Arabic form Filastin to this adoption, with Arabic inflection, of Roman and Hebrew (Semitic) names.[2] Jacob Lassner and Selwyn Ilan Troen offer a different view, writing that Jund Filastin, the full name for the administrative province under the rule of the Arab caliphates, was traced by Muslim geographers back to the Philistines of the Bible.[29] The use of the name "Palestine" in English became more common after the European renaissance.[30] It was officially revived by the British after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and applied to the territory that was placed under the Palestine Mandate.

Historical references[edit]

Ancient period[edit]

Egyptian period[edit]

Padiiset's Statue "the impartial envoy/commissioner/messenger of/for Canaan of/for Peleset"

Assyrian period[edit]

  • c.800 BCE: Adad-nirari III, Nimrud Slab
  • c.800 BCE: Adad-nirari III, Saba'a Stele: "In the fifth year (of my official rule) I sat down solemnly on my royal throne and called up the country (for war). I ordered the numerous army of Assyria to march against Palestine (Pa-la-áš-tu)... I received all the tributes […] which they brought to Assyria. I (then) ordered [to march] against the country Damascus (Ša-imērišu)."
  • c.735 BCE: Qurdi-Ashur-lamur to Tiglath-Pileser III, Nimrud Letter ND 2715: "Bring down lumber, do your work on it, (but) do not deliver it to the Egyptians (mu-sur-a-a) or Palestinians (pa-la-as-ta-a-a), or I shall not let you go up to the mountains."[36]
  • c.717 BCE: Sargon II's Prism A: records the region as Palashtu or Pilistu[2][3][3][4]
  • c.700 BCE: Azekah Inscription
  • c.694 BCE: Sennacherib "Palace Without a Rival: A Very Full Record of Improvements in and about the Capital (E1)": (the people of) Kue and Hilakku, Pilisti and Surri ("Ku-e u Hi-lak-ku Pi-lis-tu u Sur-ri")[37]
  • c.675 BCE: Esarhaddon's Treaty with Ba'al of Tyre: Refers to the entire district of Pilistu (KUR.pi-lis-te)

Classical antiquity[edit]

Persian (Achaemenid) Empire period[edit]

  • c.450 BCE: Herodotus, The Histories, First historical reference clearly denoting a wider region than biblical Philistia, referring to a "district of Syria, called Palaistinê"[38][39][40] (Book 3): "The country reaching from the city of Posideium to the borders of Egypt... paid a tribute of three hundred and fifty talents. All Phoenicia, Palestine Syria, and Cyprus, were herein contained. This was the fifth satrapy."; (Book 4): "the region I am describing skirts our sea, stretching from Phoenicia along the coast of Palestine-Syria till it comes to Egypt, where it terminates"; (Book 7): "[The Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine], according to their own account, dwelt anciently upon the Erythraean Sea, but crossing thence, fixed themselves on the seacoast of Syria, where they still inhabit. This part of Syria, and all the region extending from hence to Egypt, is known by the name of Palestine." One important reference refers to the practice of male circumcision associated with the Hebrew people: "the Colchians, the Egyptians, and the Ethiopians, are the only nations who have practised circumcision from the earliest times. The Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine themselves confess that they learnt the custom of the Egyptians.... Now these are the only nations who use circumcision"[41]
  • c.340 BCE: Aristotle, Meteorology, "Again if, as is fabled, there is a lake in Palestine, such that if you bind a man or beast and throw it in it floats and does not sink, this would bear out what we have said. They say that this lake is so bitter and salt that no fish live in it and that if you soak clothes in it and shake them it cleans them.". This is understood by scholars to be a reference to the Dead Sea[13]

Hellenic Kingdoms (Ptolemaic/Seleucid/Hasmonean) period[edit]

Roman Jerusalem period[edit]

  • c.2 CE: Ovid, Ars Amatoria: "the seventh-day feast that the Syrian of Palestine observes"[50]
  • c.10-19 Tibullus, Tibullus and Sulpicia: The Poems: "Why tell how the white dove sacred to the Syrians flies unharmed through the crowded cities of Palestine?"[51]
  • c.17: Ovid, Fasti (poem): "When Jupiter took up arms to defend the heavens, came to Euphrates with the little Cupid, and sat by the brink of the waters of Palestine."[52]
  • c.40: Philo of Alexandria, (1) Every Good Man is Free: "Moreover Palestine and Syria too are not barren of exemplary wisdom and virtue, which countries no slight portion of that most populous nation of the Jews inhabits. There is a portion of those people called Essenes.";[53] (2) On the Life of Moses: "[God] conducted his people as a colony into Phoenicia, and into the Coele-Syria, and Palestine, which was at that time called the land of the Canaanites, the borders of which country were three days' journey distant from Egypt.";[54] (3) On Abraham: "The country of the Sodomites was a district of the land of Canaan, which the Syrians afterwards called Palestine"[55]
  • c.43: Pomponius Mela, De situ orbis: "Syria late litora tenet, terrasque etiam latius introrsus, aliis aliisque nuncupata nominibus: nam et Coele dicitur et Mesopotamia et Damascene et Adiabene et Babylonia et Iudaea et Commagene et Sophene. Hic Palaestine est qua tangit Arabas, tum Phoenice; et ubi se Ciliciae committit Antiochia, olim ac diu potens, sed cum eam regno Semiramis tenuit longe potentissima. Operibus certe eius insignia multa sunt; duo maxime excellunt; constituta urbs mirae magnitudinis Babylon, ac siccis olim regionibus Euphrates et Tigris immissi."[56]
  • c.78: Pliny the Elder, Natural History, Volume 1, Book V: Chapter 13: "Next to these countries Syria occupies the coast, once the greatest of lands, and distinguished by many names; for the part which joins up to Arabia was formerly called Palaestina, Judaea, Coele, and Phoenice. The country in the interior was called Damascena, and that further on and more to the south, Babylonia."; Chapter 14: "After this, at the point where the Serbonian Bog becomes visible, Idumea and Palaestina begin. This lake, which some writers have made to be 150 miles in circumference, Herodotus has placed at the foot of Mount Casius; it is now an inconsiderable fen. The towns are Rhinocorura and, in the interior, Rafah, Gaza, and, still more inland, Anthedon: there is also Mount Argaris"[57]
  • c. 90: Dio Chrysostom, quoted by Synesius, refers to the Dead Sea as being in the interior of Palestine, in the very vicinity of "Sodoma"[17][20][20]
  • c.97: Josephus, Against Apion: "Nor, indeed, was Herodotus of Halicarnassus unaquainted with our nation, but mentions it after a way of his own... This, therefore, is what Herodotus says, that "the Syrians that are in Palestine are circumcised". But there are no inhabitants of Palestine that are circumcised excepting the Jews; and, therefore, it must be his knowledge of them that enabled him to speak so much concerning them."[58]
  • c.94: Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews: "...these Antiquities contain what hath been delivered down to us from the original creation of man, until the twelfth year of the reign of Nero, as to what hath befallen us Jews, as well is Egypt as in Syria, and in Palestine"[59]
  • c.100: Statius, Silvae, refers to "liquores Palestini"[17][20]
  • c.100: Plutarch, Parallel Lives:"Armenia, where Tigranes reigns, king of kings, and holds in his hands a power that has enabled him to keep the Parthians in narrow bounds, to remove Greek cities bodily into Media, to conquer Syria and Palestine, to put to death the kings of the royal line of Seleucus, and carry away their wives and daughters by violence."[60]

During the Roman period "Palestine" was not the only geographical term for the region. For example, Strabo, in his description of Jerusalem and Judea, uses the term "Coele-Syria" ("all Syria"), and Pliny (as above) uses both terms.[61][62][63]

Roman Aelia Capitolina period[edit]

Palestine in c.100CE according to Ptolemy (map by Claude Reignier Conder of the Palestine Exploration Fund)
  • 135 CE: After crushing Bar Kochba's revolt in 132-135, the Roman Emperor Hadrian applied the name Syria Palestina to the entire region that had formerly included Iudaea Province.[64] There is circumstantial evidence linking Hadrian with the name change,[17] although the precise date is not certain,[17] and the assertion of some scholars that the name change was intended "to suppress Jewish national feelings"[18][19] is disputed.[20]
  • c.150: Appian, Roman History: "Intending to write the history of the Romans, I have deemed it necessary to begin with the boundaries of the nations under their sway.... Here turning our course and passing round, we take in Palestine-Syria, and beyond it a part of Arabia. The Phoenicians hold the country next to Palestine on the sea, and beyond the Phoenician territory are Coele-Syria, and the parts stretching from the sea as far inland as the river Euphrates, namely Palmyra and the sandy country round about, extending even to the Euphrates itself"[65]
  • c.150: Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri: "Tyre then was captured, in the archonship at Athens of Anicetus in the month I lecatombacun...Alexander now determined to make his expedition to Egypt. The rest of Syrian Palestine (as it is called) had already come over to him, but a certain eunuch, Batis, who was master of Gaza, did not join Alexander"[66]
  • c.150: Ptolemy, Geography (Ptolemy), including map[67]
  • 155: First Apology of Justin Martyr, refers to "Flavia Neapolis in Palestine" in the introductory paragraph
  • c.225: Cassius Dio, Historia Romana, The Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70CE: "Such was the course of these events; and following them Vespasian was declared emperor by the senate also, and Titus and Domitian were given the title of Caesars. The consular office was assumed by Vespasian and Titus while the former was in Egypt and the latter in Palestine"[68]
  • c.300: Antonine Itinerary[69]
  • 311: Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, History of the Martyrs in Palestine. As the "Father of Church History", Eusebius' use of the name Palestine influenced later generations of Christian writers[70][71]

Late Antiquity period[edit]

Late Roman Empire (Byzantine) period[edit]

Notitia Dignitatum of c.410 CE showing Dux Palestinae
Madaba map extract showing "οροι Αιγυπτου και Παλαιστινης" (the "border of Egypt and Palestine)
  • c.380: Ammianus Marcellinus, Book XIV, 8, 11: "The last province of the Syrias is Palestine, a district of great extent, abounding in well-cultivated and beautiful land, and having several magnificent cities, all of equal importance, and rivalling one another as it were, in parallel lines. For instance, Caesarea, which Herod built in honour of the Prince Octavianus, and Eleutheropolis, and Neapolis, and also Ascalon, and Gaza, cities built in bygone ages."[72]
  • c.384: Saint Jerome, Epistle 33: "He (Origen) stands condemned by his bishop, Demetrius, only the bishops of Palestine, Arabia, Phenicia, and Achaia dissenting"[17][73]
  • c.390: Palaestina was organised into three administrative units: Palaestina Prima, Secunda, and Tertia (First, Second, and Third Palestine), part of the Diocese of the East.[74] Palaestina Prima consisted of Judea, Samaria, the coast, and Peraea with the governor residing in Caesarea. Palaestina Secunda consisted of the Galilee, the lower Jezreel Valley, the regions east of Galilee, and the western part of the former Decapolis with the seat of government at Scythopolis. Palaestina Tertia included the Negev, southern Jordan—once part of Arabia—and most of Sinai with Petra as the usual residence of the governor. Palestina Tertia was also known as Palaestina Salutaris.[75]
  • c. 400: Genesis Rabba, Jewish midrash, explains that the word "land" in Genesis 41:54 refers to three lands in the region - Phoenicia, Arabia and Palestine.[17][76] (ויהי רעב בכל הארצות: בשלש ארצות בפנקיא ובערביא ובפלסטיני)
  • c. 400: Lamentations Rabbah, Jewish midrash, mentions the dukes of Arabia, Phoenicia, Palestine and Alexandria as joining forces with Roman Emperor Vespasian.[17] (שלש שנים ומחצה הקיף אספסיאנוס את ירושלם והיו עמו ארבעה דוכסין, דוכס דערביא, דוכס דאפריקא, דוכוס דאלכסנדריא, דוכוס דפלסטיני)
  • c.450: Theodoret, Ecclesiastical History: "The see of Caesarea, the capital of Palestine, was now held by Acacius, who had succeeded Eusebius."[77]
  • c.500: Tabula Peutingeriana (map)
  • c.500: Zosimus, New History: "Finding the Palmyrene army drawn up before Emisa, amounting to seventy thousand men, consisting of Palmyrenes and their allies, [Emperor Aurelian] opposed to them the Dalmatian cavalry, the Moesians and Pannonians, and the Celtic legions of Noricum and Rhaetia, and besides these the choicest of the imperial regiment selected man by man, the Mauritanian horse, the Tyaneans, the Mesopotamians, the Syrians, the Phoenicians, and the Palestinians, all men of acknowledged valour; the Palestinians besides other arms wielding clubs and staves."[78]
  • c.550: Madaba map, "οροι Αιγυπτου και Παλαιστινης" (the "border of Egypt and Palestine)
  • c.550: Christian Topography
  • 555: Cyril of Scythopolis, The Life of St. Saba[79]
  • c.560: Procopius, The Wars of Justinian: "The boundaries of Palestine extend toward the east to the sea which is called the Red Sea."[80] Procopius also wrote that "Chosroes, king of Persia, had a great desire to make himself master of Palestine, on account of its extraordinary fertility, its opulence, and the great number of its inhabitants"[81]

Middle Ages[edit]

Rashidun, Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates period[edit]

Reconstruction of the c.700 CE Ravenna Cosmography showing "Palaestina"

Fatimid Caliphate period[edit]

  • 951-978: Estakhri, Traditions of Countries and Ibn Hawqal, The Face of the Earth: "The provinces of Syria are Jund Filstin, and Jund al Urdunn, Jund Dimaskh, Jund Hims, and Jund Kinnasrin.... Filastin is the westernmost of the provinces of Syria... its greatest length from Rafah to the boundary of Lajjun... its breadth from Jaffa to Jericho.... Filastin is the most fertile of the Syrian provinces.... Its trees and its ploughed lands do not need artificial irrigation... In the province of Filastin, despite its small extent, there are about 20 mosques.... Its capital and largest town in Ramla, but the Holy City (of Jerusalem) comes very near this last in size"[85]
  • 985: Al-Muqaddasi, Description of Syria, Including Palestine: "And further, know that within the province of Palestine may be found gathered together 36 products that are not found thus united in any other land.... From Palestine comes olives, dried figs, raisins, the carob-fruit, stuffs of mixed silk and cotton, soap and kercheifs"[85]
  • c.1000: Suda encyclopedic lexicon: "Παλαιστίνη: ὄνομα χώρας. καὶ Παλαιστι̂νος, ὁ ἀπὸ Παλαιστίνης." / "Palestine: Name of a territory. Also [sc. attested is] Palestinian, a man from Palestine.[88]
  • 1029: Rabbi Solomon ben Judah of Jerusalem, a letter in the Cairo Geniza, refers to the province of Filastin[89]
  • 1047: Nasir Khusraw, Safarnama[85] / Diary of a Journey through Syria and Palestine: "This city of Ramlah, throughout Syria and the West, is known under the name of Filastin."[90]
  • 1051: Ibn Butlan[85]

Crusaders period[edit]

  • 1100-27: Fulcher of Chartres, Historia Hierosolymitana (1095-1127): "For we who were Occidentals have now become Orientals. He who was a Roman or a Frank has in this land been made into a Galilean or a Palestinian."[91]
  • c.1130, Fetellus, "The city of Jerusalem is situated in the hill-country of Judea, in the province of Palestine" [92]
  • 1154: Muhammad al-Idrisi, The Book of Pleasant Journeys into Faraway Lands[85]
  • 1173: Ali of Herat, Book of Indications to Make Known the Places of Visitations[85]
  • c.1180: William of Tyre, Historia Hierosolymitana[93]
  • c.1185: A Brief Description, by Joannes Phocas, of the Castles and Cities, from the City of Antioch even unto Jerusalem; also of Syria and Phoenicia, and of the Holy Places in Palestine[94]
  • 1185: Ibn Jubayr, The Travels of Ibn Jubayr[85]

Ayyubid and Mamluk periods[edit]

Palestina on the Fra Mauro map, 1459
  • 1220: Jacques de Vitry, History of Jerusalem: "And there are three Palestines, which are parts of Greater Syria. The first is that whose capital is Jerusalem, and this part is specially named Judaea. The second is that whose capital is Caesarea Philippi, which includes all the country of the Philistines. The third is that whose capital is Scythopolis, which at this day is called Bethshan. Moreover, both the Arabias are parts of Syria: the first is that whose capital is Bostrum; the second is that whose capital is Petra in the Wilderness."[95]
  • 1225: Yaqut al-Hamawi, Dictionary of Geographies "Filastin is the last of the provinces of Syria towards Egypt. Its capital is Jerusalem. Of the principal towns are Ashkelon, Ramle, Gaza, Arsuf, Caesarea, Nablus, Jericho, Amman, Jaffa and Beit Jibrin"[85]
  • 1300: Al-Dimashqi[85]
  • 1321: Abu'l-Fida, A Sketch of the Countries: "The Nahr Abi Futrus is the river that runs near Ramla in Filastin"[85]
  • 1322: Ishtori Haparchi, Sefer Kaftor Vaferach, mentions twice that Ramla is also known as Filastin
  • 1338 Robert Mannyng The Chronicle
  • c.1350: Guidebook to Palestine (a manuscript primarily based on the 1285-1291 account of Christian pilgrim Philippus Brusserius Savonensis): "It [Jerusalem] is built on a high mountain, with hills on every side, in that part of Syria which is called Judaea and Palestine, flowing with milk and honey, abounding in corn, wine, and oil, and all temporal goods"[96]
  • 1351: Jamal ad Din Ahmad, Muthir al Ghiram (The Exciter of Desire) for Visitation of the Holy City and Syria: "Syria is divided into five districts, namely: i. Filastin, whose capital is Aelia (Jerusalem), eighteen miles from Ramla, which is the Holy City, the metropolis of David and Solomon. Of its towns are Ashkelon, Hebron, Sebastia, and Nablus."[85]
  • 1355: Ibn Battuta, Rihla[85] Ibn Battuta wrote that Ramla was also known as Filastin[97]
  • 1377: Ibn Khaldun, Muqaddimah: "Filastin Province taxes - 310,000 dinars plus 300,000 ratls of olive oil"[85]
  • c.1421: John Poloner "The land which we call the Holy Land came to be divided by lot among the twelve tribes of Israel, and with regard to one part was called the kingdom of Judaea ... with regard to the other part it was called the kingdom of Samaria... Both these kingdoms, together with the land of Philistim, were called Palestine, which was but a part thereof, even as Saxony and Lorraine are parts of Germany, and Lombardy and Tuscany are parts of Italy. And note that there are three Palestines. In the first, the capital city is Jerusalem, with all its hill country even to the Dead Sea and the wilderness of Kadesh Barnea. The second, whose capital city is Caesarea by the sea, with all the land of Philistim' beginning at Petra Incisa, and reaching as far as Gaza, was the Holy Land toward the south. The third is the capital city of Bethsan, at the foot of Mount Gilboa. This was once called Scythopolis, and is the place where the corpses of Saul's soldiers were hung up. This Palestine is properly called Galilee"[98]
  • 1430: Abu-l Fida Ishak, Muthir al Ghiram (The Exciter of Desire)[85]
  • 1459: Fra Mauro map
  • 1470: Al-Suyuti[85]
  • 1480: Felix Fabri "Joppa is the oldest port, and the most ancient city of the province of Palestine"[99]
  • 1492: Martin Behaim's "Erdapfel" globe
  • 1496: Mujir al-Din al-'Ulaymi, The Glorious History of Jerusalem and Hebron[85]

Early modern period[edit]

Early Ottoman period[edit]

1570 map in Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, captioned "Palaestinae Sive Totius Terrae Promissionis Nova Descriptio" ("Palestine, the whole of the Promised Land, a new description")
Published 1720
Published 1862
Published 1895
Contemporary 18th and 19th century maps of Ottoman Syria identifying the region of Palestine
  • c. 1560 Ebussuud Efendi: Ebu Suud is asked in a fatwa, "What is the meaning of the term the Holy Land, arazi-i mukaddese?" His answer is that various definitions of the term exist, among them the whole of Syria, to Aleppo and Ariha in the north. Others equate it with the area of Jerusalem (al-Quds); still others equate it with the term "Palestine."[100]
  • c.1561: Anthony Jenkinson, published by Richard Hakluyt, The Principall Navigations, Voiages, and Discoveries of the English Nation: "I William Harborne, her Majesties Ambassadour, Ligier with the Grand Signior, for the affaires of the Levant Company in her Majesties name confirme and appoint Richard Forster Gentleman, my Deputie and Consull in the parts of Alepo, Damasco , Aman, Tripolis, Jerusalem, and all other ports whatsoever in the provinces of Syria, Palestina, and Jurie, to execute the office of Consull over all our Nation her Majesties subjects"[101]
  • 1563: Josse van Lom, physician of Philip II of Spain: A treatise of continual fevers: "Therefore the Scots, English, Livonians, Danes, Poles, Dutch and Germans, ought to take less blood away in winter than in summer; on the contrary, the Portuguese, Moors, Egyptians, Palestinians, Arabians, and Persians, more in the winter than in summer"[102]
  • 1563: John Foxe, Foxe's Book of Martyrs: "Romanus, a native of Palestine, was deacon of the church of Casearea at the time of the commencement of Diocletian's persecution".[103]
  • 1570: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, folio 51[104]
  • 1591: Johannes Löwenklau: Historiae Musulmanae Turcorum Latin: "Cuzzimu barec ea ciuitas est Palæstinæ, quam veteres Hierosolyma dixerunt, Hebræi Ierusalem. Nomen hodiernum significa locum benedictum vel inclytum", translates as "Quds Barış is the city of the Palestinians, also known as Hierosolyma, in Hebrew, Jerusalem. The name means the holy one or the glorious one"[105]
  • 1577: Holinshed's Chronicles: "The principal and chief cause I suppose and think to be, because that whereas the patriarch of Jerusalem named Heraclius came in an ambassage unto him, in the name and behalf of all the whole land of Palestine called the Holy Land, requesting that he would take upon him to be their help, and defending the same against the Saladin then king of Egypt and of Damascus"[106]
  • 1591: Giovanni Botero[107]
  • c.1600: Shakespeare: The Life and Death of King John: Scene II.1 "Richard, that robb'd the lion of his heart, and fought the holy wars in Palestine"[108] / Othello Scene IV.3: "I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot to Palestine for a touch of his [Lodovico's] nether lip."[109]
  • 1616: Pietro Della Valle: Viaggi di Pietro della Valle il Pellegrino[110]
  • c.1620 Khayr al-Din al-Ramli: mentioned "Palestine" many times in his books of fatwas.[100]
  • 1624: Francis Bacon, New Atlantis, "The Phoenicians, and especially the Tyrians, had great fleets; so had the Carthaginians their colony, which is yet farther west. Toward the east the shipping of Egypt, and of Palestine, was likewise great."[111]
  • 1639: Thomas Fuller[112]
  • 1647: Sadiq Isfahani, The Geographical Works of Sadik Isfahani: "Filistin, a region of Syria, Damascus, and Egypt, comprising Ramla, Ashkelon, Beit al Mukuddes (Jerusalem), Kanaan, Bilka, Masisah, and other cities; and from this province is denominated the "Biaban-i Filistin" (or Desert of Palestine), which is also called the "Tiah Beni-Israil""[113]
  • c.1649: Evliya Çelebi, Travels in Palestine: "All chronicles call this country the Land of Palestine"[114]
  • c.1670: Khayr al-Din al-Ramli, al-Fatawa al-Khayriyah, mentions the concepts Filastin, biladuna (our country), al-Sham (Syria), Misr (Egypt), and diyar (country), in senses that appear to go beyond objective geography. Gerber describes this as "embryonic territorial awareness, though the reference is to social awareness rather than to a political one."[115]
  • 1688: John Milner[116]
  • 1714: Adriaan Reland, Palaestina ex monumentis veteribus illustrata[117]
  • 1717: Laurent d'Arvieux, Voyage dans la Palestine
  • 1730: Joshua Ottens: Regnum Persicum Imperium Turcicum in Asia Russorum Provinciae and Mare Caspium
  • 1743: Richard Pococke: Description of the East
  • 1746: Modern History Or the Present State of All Nations: "Jerusalem is still reckoned the capital city of Palestine"[118]
  • 1747: The modern Gazetteer: "Palestine, a part of Asiatic Turkey, is situated between 36 and 38 degrees of E longitude and between 31 and 34 degress of N latitude, bounded by the Mount Libanus, which divides it from Syria, on the North, by Mount Hermon, which separates it from Arabia Deserta, on the East, by the mountains of Seir, and the deserts of Arabia Petraea, on the South, and by the Mediterranean Sea on the West, so that it seems to have been extremely well secured against foreign invasions."[119]
  • 1751: The London Magazine[120]
  • 1792: Giovanni Mariti: Travels Through Cyprus, Syria, and Palestine; with a General History of the Levant[121]
  • 1794: Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville: A New Map of Turkey in Asia.
  • 1799: Pierre Jacotin, Napoleon's director of surveyancing, begins work on the "Jacotin Map": The region is labelled "Palestine" in French and فلسطين أو أرض قدس ("Palestine or Holy Land") in Arabic[122]

Modern period[edit]

Late Ottoman period[edit]

Map showing the "Quds Al-Sharif Mutasarrifate", from an atlas dated 1907. The map shows the 1860 borders between Ottoman Syria and the Khedivate of Egypt, although the border was moved to the current Israel-Egypt border in 1906. The area north of the Negev Desert is labelled "Filastin" (Palestine).
Palestine, by Salomon Munk, 1913.
  • 1809: Reginald Heber, Palestine: a Poem
  • 1812: William Crotch, Palestine (an oratorio)
  • 1833: Heinrich Friedrich Pfannkuche: "In the writings of the Greeks and Romans, we need not look for indications of a very familiar acquaintance with the history and language of the Palestinian Jews, since they did not even vouchsafe their attention to the language and national writings of the more civilized nations of antiquity, such as the Carthaginians, Phoenicians, and Strabo, from whom we have quoted above the passages bearing upon our subject, is perhaps the only one who imparts this general information of the Syrians, (to whom the Palestinians also belonged,) that they and their neighbours spoke a cognate language, but he enters on no farther explanation as to the difference between their dialects"[123]
  • 1837: Lord Lindsay, Letters on Egypt, Edom and the Holy Land: "...we bade adieu to Jerusalem... It was our intention, after exploring Palestine (properly so called), to cross the Jordan, and visit Jerash"[124]
  • 1841: Charles Henry Churchill in correspondence with Sir Moses Montefiore: "Were the resources which you all possess steadily directed towards the regeneration of Syria and Palestine, there cannot be a doubt but that, under the blessing of the Most High, [the European Powers] would amply repay the undertaking, and that you would end by obtaining the sovereignty of at least Palestine."
  • 1843: John Kitto: Palestine: the Bible history of the Holy Land[125]
  • 1856: James Redhouse, An English and Turkish dictionary: Regarded as the original and authoritative Ottoman-English dictionary, translates Holy Land as dari-filastin (House of Palestine)[126]
  • 1872-1917: The Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem was commonly referred to at the time as "Palestine".[127]
  • 1880s: The Ottoman government issues a number of decrees to foreign governments, intended to limit Zionist immigration, land purchases and settlement. The decrees refer to "Palestine", but the term is not defined.[128]
  • 1897: First Zionist Congress: the Basel program sets out the goals of the Zionist movement: "Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine"
  • 1902: The Anglo-Palestine bank: A subsidiary of the Bank Leumi, the financial instrument of the Zionist Organization
  • 1911: Filastin (newspaper)
  • 1913: Al-Karmil (newspaper): "We hoped that they [the Ottoman Party for Administrative Decentralization] would rid us of Zionist threats and dangers. We comprised a group of people who had hoped the best for their leaders. This team possessed tremendous power; not to ignore that Palestine, their country, was part of the Ottoman Empire."[129]
  • 1915: VIII Corps (Ottoman Empire), Filastin Risalesi ("Palestine Document"), an Ottoman army country survey which formally identified Palestine as including the sanjaqs of Akka (the Galilee), the Sanjaq of Nablus, and the Sanjaq of Jerusalem (Kudus Sherif).[130]

British Mandate period[edit]

  • 1918: House of Commons of the United Kingdom: Minutes: "Major Earl Winterton asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what facilities have been given to the Palestinian and Syrian political leaders now in Egypt to visit Palestine?"[131] An early use of the word Palestinian in British politics, which was used often in following years in the British government[132]
  • 1919: Zionist Organization, Statement on Palestine at the Paris Peace Conference: "The boundaries of Palestine shall follow the general lines set out below: Starting on the North at a point on the Mediterranean Sea in the vicinity south of Sidon and following the watersheds of the foothills of the Lebanon as far as Jisr El-Karaon thence to El-Bire, following the dividing line between the two basins of the Wadi El-Korn and the Wadi Et-Teim, thence in a southerly direction following the dividing line between the Eastern and Western slopes of the Hermon, to the vicinity west of Beit Jenn, then eastward following the northern watersheds of the Nahr Mughaniye close to and west of the Hedjaz Railway. In the east a line close to and west of the Hedjaz Railway terminating in the Gulf of Akaba. In the south a frontier to be agreed upon with the Egyptian Government. In the west the Mediterranean Sea."[133][134]
  • 1919: Syrian National Congress: "We ask that there be no separation of the southern part of Syria, known as Palestine, nor of the littoral western zone, which includes Lebanon, from the Syrian country." [135]
  • 1920: Franco-British boundary agreement - the framework agreement in which the borders of the Mandate of Palestine were established, being finally approved on 7 March 1923[136]
  • 1921: Syrian-Palestinian Congress
  • 1926: Permanent Mandates Commission: "M. Palacios [Spanish representative], returning to the concrete questions of a general character of which the Arabs complained, recalled those concerning the national title, the national hymn and the flag.... As regards the first point, the Arabs claimed that it was not in conformity with Article 22 of the Mandate to print the initials and even the words "Eretz Israel" after the name "Palestine" while refusing the Arabs the title "Surial Janonbiah" ("Southern Syria"). The British Government had not accepted the use of this Arab title, but gave the place of honour to the Hebrew word used for 2,000 years and decided that the official name in Hebrew was "Palestina" followed by the initials signifying "Aleph Jod", the regular Hebrew name. Was the question still under discussion and could the accredited representative give the Commission any further information? Colonel Symes explained that the country was described as "Palestine" by Europeans and as "Falestin" by the Arabs. The Hebrew name for the country was the designation "Land of Israel", and the Government, to meet Jewish wishes, had agreed that the word "Palestine" in Hebrew characters should be followed in all official documents by the initials which stood for that designation. As a set-off to this, certain of the Arab politicians suggested that the country should be called "Southern Syria" in order to emphasise its close relation with another Arab State."[137]

Biblical references[edit]

The Philistines and Philistia are mentioned more than 250 times in the Hebrew Bible.[138][139][140] The Hebrew word Peleshet (פלשת Pəlésheth) - usually translated as Philistia in English, is used in the Bible to denote the southern coastal region that was inhabited by the Philistines ("Plištim" (פְּלִשְׁתִּים Pəlištîm)[26] The Philistines first appear in a listing of the Hamitic branch of Noah's descendants.[141] The word Philistia is generally accepted to be a cognate of the word Palestine. However, the terms for biblical Philistia and geographical Palestine have been different since at least the second century BCE. As early as the LXX, thought to have been completed in 132 BCE, the biblical term for Philistines in Greek (Philistieim) was different from the contemporary Greek name for the region (Palaistine)[142]

The five books of the Pentateuch / Torah include a total of 10 references, including:[138][139]

  • Genesis 10:14: (first reference) "And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim."
  • Genesis 21:32-34: "Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines. And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God. And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days."
  • Exodus 13:17: "And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt"
  • Exodus 23:31: "And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee."

The Historical books (see Deuteronomistic history) include over 250 references, almost 200 of which are in the Book of Judges and the Books of Samuel, including:[138][139]

  • Joshua 13:1-3: "Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed. This is the land that yet remaineth: all the borders of the Philistines, and all Geshuri, from Sihor, which is before Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron northward, which is counted to the Canaanite: five lords of the Philistines; the Gazathites, and the Ashdothites, the Eshkalonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites"
  • 1Kings 4:21: "And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life."

Wisdom books include only 6 references, all in the Psalms, including:[138][139]

  • Psalm 87:4: "I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there."

Books of the Major prophets and Minor prophets include around 20 references, including:[138][139]

  • Zephaniah 2:5: "Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant."
  • Amos 9:7: "Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?"

See also[edit]

External references[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Fahlbusch et al., 2005, p. 185.
  2. ^ a b c d Sharon, 1988, p. 4.
  3. ^ a b c d Room, 1997, p. 285.
  4. ^ a b Carl S. Ehrlich "Philistines" The Oxford Guide to People and Places of the Bible. Ed. Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan. Oxford University Press, 2001.
  5. ^ Eberhard Schrader wrote in his seminal "Keilinschriften und Geschichtsforschung" ("KGF", in English "Cuneiform inscriptions and Historical Research") that the Assyrian tern "Palashtu" or "Pilistu" referred to the wider Palestine or "the East" in general, instead of "Philistia". See KGF p123-124 and Tiglath Pileser III by Abraham Samuel Anspacher, p48
  6. ^ Jacobson, David M. (February 1999). "Palestine and Israel". In Weinstein, James M. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (The American Schools of Oriental Research) (313): 65–74. ISSN 0003-097X. JSTOR 1357617. "The earliest occurrence of this name in a Greek text is in the mid-fifth century b.c., Histories of Herodotus, where it is applied to the area of the Levant between Phoenicia and Egypt."..."The first known occurrence of the Greek word Palaistine is in the Histories of Herodotus, written near the mid-fifth century B.C. Palaistine Syria, or simply Palaistine, is applied to what may be identified as the southern part of Syria, comprising the region between Phoenicia and Egypt. Although some of Herodotus' references to Palestine are compatible with a narrow definition of the coastal strip of the Land of Israel, it is clear that Herodotus does call the "whole land by the name of the coastal strip."..."It is believed that Herodotus visited Palestine in the fifth decade of the fifth century B.C."..."In the earliest Classical literature references to Palestine generally applied to the Land of Israel in the wider sense."  and David Jacobson (May–Jun 2001). "When Palestine Meant Israel". BAR 27:03. Retrieved 2 March 2012. "As early as the Histories of Herodotus, written in the second half of the fifth century B.C.E., the term Palaistinê is used to describe not just the geographical area where the Philistines lived, but the entire area between Phoenicia and Egypt—in other words, the Land of Israel. Herodotus, who had traveled through the area, would have had firsthand knowledge of the land and its people. Yet he used Palaistinê to refer not to the Land of the Philistines, but to the Land of Israel" 
  7. ^ Jacobson, David M., Palestine and Israel, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 313 (Feb., 1999), pp. 65–74
  8. ^ The Southern and Eastern Borders of Abar-Nahara Steven S. Tuell Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 284 (Nov., 1991), pp. 51–57
  9. ^ Herodotus' Description of the East Mediterranean Coast Anson F. Rainey Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 321 (Feb., 2001), pp. 57–63
  10. ^ In his work, Herodotus referred to the practice of male circumcision associated with the Hebrew people: "the Colchians, the Egyptians, and the Ethiopians, are the only nations who have practised circumcision from the earliest times. The Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine themselves confess that they learnt the custom of the Egyptians.... Now these are the only nations who use circumcision." The History of Herodotus
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  12. ^ Elyahu Green, Geographic names of places in Israel in Herodotos This is confirmed by George Rawlinson in the third book (Thalia) of The Histories where Palaestinian Syrians are part of the fifth tax district spanning the territory from Phoenicia to the borders of Egypt, but excludes the kingdom of Arabs who were exempt from tax for providing the Assyrian army with water on its march to Egypt. These people had a large city called Cadytis, identified as Jerusalem.
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