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Pliny/above and below
Folks: For what it is worth, I thought I might share my observations
regarding the quotation from Pliny. The following latin text and translation
are taken from H. Rackham, "Pliny, Natural History With an English
Translation In Ten Volumes, " Vol. II, Harvard Univ. Press (1942). The latin
definitions are from D.P. Simpson, "Cassell's Latin Dictionary," Cassel &
Co., Ltd. (1959) and J. T. White, "English Latin Dictionary," Ginn & Co.
(1888). The latin text reads:
"Ab occidente libora Esseni fuguint usque qua nocent, gens sola et in toto
orbe practer ceteras mira, . . .
Infra hos Engada oppidum fuit, secundum ab Hierosolymis fertilitae
palmetorumque nemboribus, nunc alterium bustum. inde Masada castellum in
rupe et ipsum haut procul Asphaltite. et hactenus Iudaea est."
The transalation reads:
"On the west side of the Dead Sea, but out of range of the noxious
exhalations of the coast, is the solitary tribe of the Essens, . . . .
Lying below the Essenes was formerly the town of Engedi, second only to
Jerusalem in the fertility of its land and in its groves of palm-trees, but
now like Jerusalem a heap of ashes. Next comes Masada, a fortress on a rock,
itself not far from the Dead Sea. This is the limit of Judea."
I looked through the text to find similar examples of the use of particular
words and also checked their definitions against the cited sources, as
Infra . below, underneath, geographically to the south.
p.276 "Infra hos Engada etc. . . ."
"Lying below the Essenes was . . . Engedi, . . ."
p.289 "Infra Palmyrae solitudines . . . ."
"Below the desert of Palmyrae . . . ."
p.353 "Infra Agdeos, Carnas. . . ."
"Below there the Agdaei . . . ."
p.409 "Infra haec omnia planiora . . . ."
"Below these places the whole country is more level."
Supra . above, over, on the top, with verbs of rest or motion, above,
p. 273 "Supra Indumaeam et Samariam Iudea longe. . . . "
"Beyond Indumaea and Samaria stretches the wide expans of Judea."
p. 290 "supra amnem Calycadnum . . . ."
"Beyond the river Calycadnus . . . ."
p. 307 "supra haec Magnesia . . . ."
"Above these places is Magnesia . . . ."
p.403 "supra terram aspici . . . ."
"above the horizon. . . ."
p.427 "supra quos ad Pallacontam . . . ."
"above whom on the river Pallaconta is . . . ."
Inde . Thence, from there
p.276 "inde Masada castellum . . . ."
"Next comes Masada, a fortress . . . ."
p.279 "inde Sarepta et . . . ."
"Next are Zarephath. . . . "
p. 333 "inde fauces primae . . . ."
""Then the mouth of the straits . . . ."
p. 345 "inde flumina Iasonium . . . ."
"Then come the rivers of Iasonius. . . ."
p.347 "inde aluid flumen Charien . . . ."
"Then there is another river . . . ."
Iuxta . Close by, near, close to, hard by, just short of.
p.279 "iuxta Getta . . . ."
"Next are Getta . . . ."
Subiaceo . to lie under or close to, lying near, adjacent to .
p.281 "subiecta Libano . . . ."
""Below Mount Lebanon . . . ."
p. 329 "Phrygia Troadi superiecta. . . ."
"Phrygia lies behind Troas . . . ."
p.349 "Subicitur Ponti regio Colica . . . ."
"Below this lies the Black Sea District . . . ."
p.384 "sub ipso Caucaso. . . ."
"Below the Caucasus . . . ."
Super . above,over, upon, beyond
p.281 "super eam mons . . . ."
"Above Seleukeh is a mountain . . . ."
p.292 " super Pamphyliam . . . ."
"Beyond Pamphylia . . . ."
To me the foregoing seem to suggest the following:
1. That the author infers that Engedi and Masada are not far from the Dead
Sea but, also, possibly, that the Essenes are out of range of the Dead Sea.,
i.e. compared to Engedi and Masada.
2. As seen from the foregoing examples, the use of the word "infra" suggests
that Engedi is geographically south of the Essenes.
3. Other words frequently used by Pliny are not used in the relevant
passages. This may suggest on intent not to convey the meanings of those
words. For example, (a) had "inde" been used it might have implied that the
Essenes were "next to" Engedi, but also note that "inde" is used with Masada
which might infer that Masada is next to Engedi, which it isn't; (b) had
"uxta" been used it might have suggested a geographically closer relationship
between the Essenes and Engedi than is suggested by "infra;" (c) had a form
of "subiaceo" been used it might have suggested a relationship of both
elevation and "close by," but it was not used.
4. Masada is called a fort. The site of the Essenes is not called a fort.
5. I have not read Stern but I have ordered the book mentioned by inter
library loan from the U of I.
6. Two maps I found indicate a Roman road from Jerusalem, to Bethlehem, to
Herodium, to Hebron, to Engadi, to Masada, but no road from Qumran to Engadi.
Of course, that does not mean there were no other roads but I thought that
Pliny's description might be following the Roman road system. That appears
not to be the case. Pliny's accounts wander all over the place. Up a coast,
down a river, over a mountain range etc. Regarding Judea description he
seems to wander generally from the south to the north, then back down the
Jordan around the east side of the Dead Sea then pick up again somewhere
along the west side of the Dead Sea then back to the west, then north again.
It is a real mess.
I just thought you might be interested. Mark Dunn