Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Multiple Corrigenda in One Sentence

On pg. 25 I write "A favorite locus for the alphabet transfer was one of the Greek trading posts like Posidonios (El-Alalakh) in Syria."  This is wrong in a number of ways.  First, of all the Greek city in Ancient Syria mentioned by Herodotus (3.91) is called Posideion not Posidonios, which, of course, is the name of the famous Hellenistic philosopher (155-51 BCE).  Second, the site sometimes thought to be of possible importance in the transfer of the alphabet is Al-Mina, a coastal site a little south of Samandağ, Turkey not Alalakh, which is a bronze-age site some 50 kilometres inland. Third, it is not clear that the site of Al Mina is the Posideion mentioned by Herodotus. Other have suggested Ras Al-Bassit in the present-day country of Syria. Finally, see the chapter by Roger Woodard in Bakker's Companion to the Ancient Greek Language for some doubts about the importance of Al Mina. This mistake rivals the worst mistake discovered yet for pure and total confusion!

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