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From:Leo Caesius <leo_caesius@...>
Date:Wednesday, August 23, 2000, 0:16
BP Jonsson wrote:

"BTW, Steg, doesn't Ashkenaz mean "North"?  Nowadays "Det större Norden" is
often used to include the Baltic countries or to point out that one includes
Iceland and the Faroes."

and Steg Belsky replied:
"Ashkenaz was originally (like Sefarad and Tzorfat) the name of a city,
city-state, or region somewhere in the Levant area north of Israel."

   I can't help but bring up an interesting theory which tries to explain
Ashkenaz as an Old Iranian ethnic name.  I'm actually surprised that BP
hasn't heard this one before.

   Oswald Szemerényi is the author of this one.  He pointed out that there
was a nation in the area of the Caspian, known to Assyrians variously as the
Aškuzai, Askuzai, Iškuzai, or Iškuza.  I think that this term was first
identified by Röllig (but I would check the Reallexikon der Assyriologie
before committing to it).
   Szemerényi attempted to attach it to the name Ashkenaz, which is found at
Genesis 10:3 and Jeremiah 51:27; the former identifies the fater of Ashkenaz
as "Gomer" (probably the Cimmerians, known to the Assyrians as Gimirrai),
and the later connects the kingdom of Ashkenaz with two other kingdoms:
those of "Ararat" and "Minni," suggesting that the Ashkenaz were in close
relationship with the historical kindoms of Urartu and Manna (which is known
from the Assyrian records to be allied to the Aškuzai).
   He then suggests that Aškuzai, which might be rendered in Hebrew
characters as ’škwz, might easily be corrupted to ’šknz (as nun and waw are
very similar in many variants of the Hebrew script) and subsequently
vocalized as Ashkenaz.  At some later point, it would seem, the Ashkenaz
came to be identified with Central and Eastern Europe, just as Sefarad
became identified with Spain (whence Sephardic Jewry).  The process by which
this occured is not entirely clear to me, and I'd like to know more.  I do
know that Sefarad was already identified with Spain by the time of Yehuda

   The rest of the article is dedicated to proving that the Scythians of the
Greeks were the same as the Aškuzai of the Assyrians and the Sakas found in
the Old Persian inscriptions.  As I was familiar with Szemerényi's theories,
my first images of Steg's "Greater Ashkenaz" were of an irredentist
Neo-Scythia, a Wagnerian fantasy inhabited by hordes of blond-haired,
blue-eyed Jews on horseback (something like Khazaria, had it survived to
this day).
    What would be the limits of Greater Ashkenaz, if it were pinned to a
map?  Would it stretch from Cologne in the West to Birobidzhan in the East?
With its own daughter colonies in the Catskills, of course.

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