woensdag 17 december 2014

CISSI

 
CISSI
 

This is Cape Djenet between the Oued Isser and the Oued Arbaa on the Algerian coast. In Phoenician it is called k š (y).  We know the name, because there is one Neo-Punic inscription from this place (KAI 170). It concerns h š  k š y (the man from K š y) with the name Derku Adonibaal (d r k  ’ d n b ‘l), member of the assembly of the town K š ( š b ‘ m  l – k š). See: J.L.Laporte, Cap Djinet, une dédicace des Cissitani à Sévère Alexandre, BAC n.s.9B (1973) p.25-27.  D r k is a libyan name (RIL 1098) and Adonibaal is Phoenician. So, the name Derku Adonibaal shows perfectly the symbiosis between the Masaesylians and the Phoenicians in the 3rd century BC on this spot.
 
In Greek K š y is called κιδδή by Ptolemeus (IV 2,2).  Ps.Skylax seems to neglect this harbour. In Latin the name becomes Cissi in the Peutinger Table, where it is announced as a municipium in the 3rd/4th century AD.
The archaeological findings goes no further back than the 3rd century BC. Some Punic steles are found (J.G.Février, La deuxième stele punique du Cap Djenet, 1954).  A dam has been found at the end of the cape, but this was never studied in detail. Many coins are found from Juba II (IGCH 2308) in the period 25 BC – 23 AD.
Cissi was probably not very important and not very old. From the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD it stayed the same as a small not so important town.
 
The meaning of K š y.
In the Phoenician language we find a Phoenician inscription with the name of a person, who is called the Cushite (F.L.Benz, Personal Names in Phoenician and Punic inscriptions, Rome 1972). The same for a Neo-Punic inscription with a man called as a Cushite (Z.S.Harris, A grammar of the Phoenician language, New Haven 1936).  But what has a Cushite (Southern Egypt) to do with a small town on the Algerian coast?  Then there might be a far connection with a town in Catalonia, named Cissis (by Livius) or Kissa (by Polybius), that played a role in 218 BC in the fighting between the Romans and Carthaginians. Probably this is too far to seek and I should not suspect something behind it. Maybe it is just a Libyco-Berber name, of which I don’t know the meaning.
 
Some abbrevations:
BAC = Bulletin Archéologique du Comité des Travaux Historiques et Scientifiques, Paris.
IGCH = An Inventory of Greek Coin Hoards, M.Thompson – D.Morkholm – C.M.Kraay, New York 1973.
 
ncfps

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