A New Solution to an Old Geographic-Linguistic Riddle

Emmanuel Mastey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The geographic name Iliesis of Tiberias is mentioned six times in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic sources from the Byzantine period, namely, Jerusalem Tal-mud (a. k. a. Talmud Yerushalmi, or Palestinian Talmud) and in a few aggadic midrashim. It is a compound of an unknown Greek term, and the attributive “of Tiberias,” conjoined by the genitive Aramaic particle. Since the Middle Ages, ample attempts have been made to identify the Greek source word, subsequently leading to various solutions. On the basis of a refined analysis of the contexts in which the toponym appears, and an in-depth linguistic consideration, a new solution is suggested for the identification of the Greek term and for the nature and location of the site near Tiberias, outside of the city.

Translated title of the contributionWhat was Iliesis of Tiberiasand where was it?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-302
Number of pages20
JournalZeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


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