donderdag 15 januari 2015



This is the gulf of Oran. From Arzew to Oran or Mers el Kebir it is a distance of 50-60 km (Itin.Ant.36 miles). That can be done with difficulty in a one-days-sailing. We can be short about Oran or Warhan (arab). Nothing pre-Roman has been found here. Only the name survived, if E.Lipinski is right in his explanation (Itineraria, p.411-412). Ps.Skylax mentions after Chalka (Quiza) the harbour Arylon (Αρύλων). This is not a Greek name, but Phoenician: ‘Ar-’ilon = Precinct of God. This noun is attested in a Phoenician inscription from Kition (Cyprus), where it designates the “precinct” of a temple. See: Fouilles de Kition III. Inscriptions phéniciennes, Nicosia 1977, C1, A6/7) by M.G.G.Amadasi/V.Karageorghis.

We find ‘Ar also in Transjordanian place names: ‘Ar-Moab and ‘Ar-Gilead. See: Numb 21, Deut 2, Is 15, Judg 12. The second element of Arylon is the singular ‘ilon = God. This toponym survived down to Roman times, when it was translated in Greek by Harbour of Gods (θεϖν λίμήν) in Strabo, Geography XVII 3,9; Ptol, Geo. IV 2,2 and in Latin: Portus Divini = Port of God. It is strange that we find here no pre-Roman relics, because the circumstances for a harbour/port of call by the Phoenicians are even better than it was at Portus Magnus.

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