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The biblical name Kittim is mostly interpreted as the Kingdom of Kition on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus . However, the term also seems to have generally referred to the West.

Hebrew sources

  • From Arad , west of the Dead Sea, there is an ostracon from approx. 600 BC. Tradition has it that a certain Elyashib ( / ʾlyshb ) gives wine, flour, oil and bread to ktym (Pl., Sing. Kty), Greek mercenaries in the Judean army and a Nahum ( nḥm ) oil “in the hand of one Kittimiters "( byd hkty ).
  • In the Dead Sea Scrolls, ktym are mentioned in the Isaiah scroll (1Qs a ).
    • War scroll (1QM, 4QM1-7), second half of the 1st century BC Chr .: hktyym (kittīyīm), The Kittimitter of Assur ( ktyym ʾswr ) in the battle of the Essenes against the sons of darkness. They are allied with the Philistines , Edom , Moab , Ammon and apostate Jews against the "sons of light". In the following, Kittim in Egypt ( ktyym bms.yrym , Die Kiitiyim in Egypt) are mentioned. Often times, the kittim of the Qumran Scrolls are identified as Roman .

According to Segert, Kittim can be interpreted here as the Seleucids or generally Hellenistic Greeks.

    • Habakuk Pescher 1QpHap Kittiim as Chaldeans , in 4Q169 the sea belongs to the Kittiim
    • in 4Qjesajah Pescher 1 it is prophesied that Kittim will fall into the hands of Israel.


  • Genesis 10: 4, Kittīm as sons of Jawan
  • 4 Moses 24:24 in the prophecy of Balaam : ṣīm miyyad kittīm , ships from the coast of Kittim ( translated as “from Italy” in the Vulgate ) “ And ships [come] from the coast of Kittim and humble Asshur and humble Boar , but that too [leads] to ruin. "
  • 1 Chronicles 1, 7 is called Kittim as the son of Jawan, together with Elisha , Tarsis and Dodanim . These names all point west.
  • Isaiah 2:31
  • Isaiah 23: 11-12 in the prophecy about Tire as Qere, ktyym
  • Isaiah 23:12 in the prophecy on Sidon reports the fall of Kittim:

“See the land of the Kitteans, this people no longer exist. Assur had intended it for his ships. Siege towers have been built, its palaces exposed, it turned into a heap of ruins. "

  • Jeremiah 2:10 uses the island of the Kitteans as an example of a remote place in the west: "Go over to the islands of the Kitteans and see, send to Kedar and pay attention and see if something like this has happened".
  • Ezekiel 27, 6, in the lamentation over Tire (Kittīyīm), wood is brought from Kittim, " They made your oars out of oaks from Bashan , they made your deck of ivory, edged in cypresses from the islands of the Kitteans."
  • Daniel 11:30 in a prophecy from the reign of Darius ṣiyyīm kittīm , Ships of Kittim, translated as Rhomaioi in the Septuagint and the Vulgate as “Romani”
  • 1 Maccabees 1, 1: Chetiim as the country of birth of Alexander the Great .

In Flavius ​​Josephus , Jewish antiquities (I, 6, 128), Kittim is equated with Chetimos , a son of Iauanos, son of Japhtha , who settled Cyprus and gave the island its name in Hebrew, as well as numerous other islands in the sea. In Cyprus, however, the name was retained because the Greek settlers called the island Kition. This passage can be interpreted in such a way that Kittim originally referred to all islands in the Mediterranean in Hebrew, but later became one of the largest, i.e. Cyprus. Strabon (Geographica 14, 262) calls Kittim a "closed port", what is meant by this is unclear. Epiphanius von Salamis , Adversus haereses 30, 25 also wants to identify the biblical Rodanim with Kittim.


The word kt occurs several times in texts from Ugarit . It appears to have designated both Kition and the entire island of Cyprus. The text RS 16341, for example, unearthed in 1952, describes a wine delivery from kt , . In other texts kt occurs in connection with olive oil, myrrh oil and perhaps lamp oil ( kd.š ). In an inscription from Nora in Sardinia from the 9th century, sr ʾm (6) lkt , Tire, mother of Kt, is mentioned; in an inscription from Constantine (Algeria) the word ktʾ appears, which may mean “inhabitant of Kittim”.

An arrowhead of unknown origin, probably from the 11th century, bears the inscription: hs kty // mšl ʿbdy , arrow of the kittimiter, cupbearer of ʿAbday. However, a reading as ʿbdn was also suggested, which is identified as Khirbet ʿAbdeh , not far from Achsiv .


The name of the city of Larnaka ( Larnax in Greek ) was written in Ugarit , in Phoenician and Hebrew kt or kty , and was probably pronounced as a kit. kty also means "from Kittim", so kty man from Kittim, like the Greek Kitieus. The title of the kings of Kition and Idalion , Mikyaton and Pumiyaton was mlkytn mlk kty wʿdyl .

An inscription from Kition from approx. 300 BC. BC mentioned bt ʿštrt kt , the temple of Aštarte in Kition.



  • Heinrich Clementz, Benedictus Niese (Hrsg.): Jüdische antiques. Wiesbaden: Marix 2004 [reprint of the Berlin edition 1888–1895]. I., 128
  • M. Yon: Kition in the Tenth to Fourth Centuries BC. In: BASOR 308 (1997), pp. 9-16.
  • Stanislav Segert: Kition and Kittim. In: Paul Åström ; Dietrich Sürenhagen (Ed.): Periplus. Festschrift for Hans-Günter Buchholz on his eightieth birthday on December 24, 1999. Studies in Mediterranean Archeology 127, pp. 165–172.
  • James H. Charlesworth et al. (Ed.): The Dead Sea Scrolls Vol. 2. Damascus Document, War Scroll and Related Documents. Tübingen 1995.
  • HH Rowley: The Kittim and the Dead Sea Scrolls. In: Palestine Exploration Quarterly 88 (1956), pp. 92-109.
  • Michael Heltzer: Inscribed Arrowheads and Pre- and Early Monarchic Developments in Israel. In: Paul Åström; Dietrich Sürenhagen (Ed.): Periplus. Festschrift for Hans-Günter Buchholz on his eightieth birthday on December 24, 1999. Studies in Mediterranean Archeology 127, pp. 63–71.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ E. Robertson: Notes on Javan . In: The Jewish Quarterly Review 20/3, 1908, p. 475