Kittim (Cyprus) and surrounding region
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But ships shall come from the coast of Kittim. They shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber. He also shall come to destruction."
Daniel 11:30 For ships of Kittim shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and shall return, and have indignation against the holy covenant, and shall do his pleasure : he shall even return, and have regard to those who forsake the holy covenant.
kit'-im (kittim, Isaiah 23:12 Jeremiah 2:10; kittiyim, apparently plural of kitti (not found, but compare (4) below); Ketioi, Kitioi, Ketieim, Jeremiah 2:10; Chettieim, Chettein): identified with Sepphoris, which is represented by the modern village of Seffuriyeh.
1. Two Usages of the Name:
In Genesis 10:4 the word is applied to the descendants of Javan, and indicates, therefore, the Greek-Latin races, whose territory extended along the coasts of the Mediterranean, and included its islands. By the side of Kittim are mentioned Elisha, Tarshish, and Dodanim (= Rodanim of 1 Chronicles 1:7), generally explained respectively as Sicily with Southern Italy, Spain and Rhodes. In its narrower sense Kittim appears simply to have stood for the island of Cyprus-it is mentioned between Bashan (= Pal) and the isles of Elisha in Ezekiel 27:6, 7, and with this Isaiah 23:1, 12 agree, Kittim occurring in these passages between Tarshish, Tyre and Sidon.
2. In Its Limited Sense:
The oldest etymology is apparently that of Josephus, who connects Kittim with the well-known old Cypriote city Kition (Citium) (Ant., I, vi, 1), testifying to the settling of the Kittim on the island. This word he further connects with Chethima, from Chethimus, and states that it was on account of Cyprus being the home of those people that all islands were called Chethim by the Hebrews. The derivation of an ancient Chethim from Chethimus, however, would make the m to be a radical, and this, with the substitution of Ch (= Kh) for Kittim, renders his proposed etymology somewhat doubtful.
3. In Its Extended Sense:
The statement of Josephus, that "all islands, and the greatest part of the sea-coast, are called Chethim (= Kittim) by the Hebrews," on the other hand, must be taken as the testimony of one well acquainted with the opinions of the learned world in his time. In Jeremiah 2:10 and Ezekiel 27:6 the isles of Kittim are expressly spoken of, and this confirms the statement of Josephus concerning the extended meaning of the name. This would explain its application to the Roman fleet in Daniel 11:30 (so the Vulgate), and the Macedonians in 1 Maccabees 1:1 (Chettieim) and 8:5 (Kitians). In the latter passage the Greek writer seems to have been thinking more of the Cyprian Kition than of the Hebrew Kittim.
4. Colonization of Cyprus:
According to Herodotus (vii.90), Cyprus was colonized from Greece, Phoenicia, and Ethiopia. Referring to the plundering of the temple of Aphrodite at Askalon by the Scythians (i.105), he states that her temple in Cyprus was an offshoot from that ancient foundation, as reported by the Cyprians themselves, Phoenicians having founded it at Cythera, on arriving from Syria. The date of the earliest Phoenician settlements in Cyprus is unknown, but it has been suggested that they were anterior to the time of Moses. Naturally they brought with them their religion, the worship of the moon-goddess Atargatis (Derceto) being introduced at Paphos, and the Phoenician Baal at Kition. If Kition be, then, a Semitic word (from the same root as the Hebrew Kittim), it has been transferred from the small band of Phoenician settlers which it at first designated, to the non-Sem Japhethites of the West. Kition occurs in the Phoenician inscriptions of Cyprus under the forms K(i)t(t) and K(i)t(t)i, the latter being by far the more common (CIS, I, i, 10, 11, 14, 19, etc.).
5. Its Successive Masters:
The early history of Cyprus is uncertain. According to the Assyrian copy of Sargon of Agade's omens, that king (about 3800 B.C. in the opinion of Nabonidus; 2800 B.C. in the opinion of many Assyriologists) is said to have crossed "the sea of the setting sun" (the Mediterranean), though the Babylonian copy makes it that of "the rising sun"-i.e. the Persian Gulf. Be this as it may, General Cesnola discovered at Curium, in Cyprus, a seal-cylinder apparently inscribed "Mar-Istar, son of Ilu-bani, servant (worshipper) of Naram-Sin," the last named being the deified son of Sargon. In the 16th century B.C., Cyprus was tributary to Thothmes III. About the year 708 B.C., Sargon of Assyria received the submission of the kings of the district of Ya', in Cyprus, and set up at Citium the stele bearing his name, which is now in the Royal Museum at Berlin. Esarhaddon and his son Assur-bani-apli each received tribute from the 10 Cyprian princes who acknowledged Assyrian supremacy. The island was conquered by the Egyptian king Amasis, and later formed part of the Persian empire, until the revolt of Evagoras in 410 B.C. The Assyrians knew the island under the name of Yad(a)nanu, the "Wedan" (Vedan) of Ezekiel 27:19 Revised Version (British and American) (Sayce, PSBA, 1912, 26).
6. The Races Therein and Their Languages:
If the orthodox date for the composition of Genesis be accepted, not only the Phoenicians, but also the Greeks, or a people of Greek-Latin stock, must have been present in Cyprus, before the time of Moses, in sufficient number to make them the predominant portion of the population. As far as can be judged, the Phoenicians occupied only the eastern and southern portion of the island. Paphos, where they had built a temple to Ashtoreth and set up an 'asherah (a pillar symbolizing the goddess), was one of their principal settlements. The rest of the island was apparently occupied by the Aryans, whose presence there caused the name of Kittim to be applied to all the Greek-Latin countries of the Mediterranean. Greek and Phoenician were the languages spoken on the island, as was proved by George Smith's demonstration of the nature of the non-Phoenician text of the inscription of King Melek-yathon of Citium (370 B.C.). The signs used in the Greek-Cyprian inscriptions are practically all syllabic.
7. The Testimony of Cyprian Art:
The many influences which have modified the Cyprian race are reflected in the ancient art, which shows the effect of Babylonian, Egyptian Phoenician and Greek contacts. Specimens are to be found in many museums, but the finest collection of examples of Cyprian art is undoubtedly that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Some of the full-length figures are life-size, and the better class of work is exceedingly noteworthy.
T. G. Pinches