Origins of the Doric Greek word Karneia

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Dear Mr Finck,

I have read your essay Classical Records of the Dorian & Danaan Israelite-Greeks. I happened to read a book of Greek history on the subject of Greek festivals in Ancient Sparta. One was called Karneia (Karnia) it is said that it came from the word Karno which meant in the Doric dialect ram. I've checked the word carno (karno) and found one city in Wales and one city in the Biblical area that is called Carnaim and which is called Carno by Ptolemy and Strabo. It is probably related to Genesis 14:5 to a city called Ashteroth Karnaim.

I would appreciate your take on this.

Thanks in advance,
Petros S.

Hello, Petros,

Of course I had not heard this before, so far as I can remember, and thank you for your observation. Being certain of the origins of much of Greek culture, it certainly does not surprise me that there would be a connection.

Apollo Karneios
Stater (a type of coin) of
Metapontion with head
of Apollo Karneios.
Museum of Fine Arts,

Karnaim (in the King James Version) is a dual form (plural of two, and some early Greek nouns also had such a form), and it comes from a Hebrew word which means horn. So I can see where that may well be related to the idea of a ram, having two horns. Karnaim appears in the Scriptures only in Genesis 14:5, and it is Strong's Hebrew lexicon # 6255.

The Karneia festival was held in honor of Apollo, and Apollo was seen as the patron/protector of shepherds and herds. According to the 9th edition of Liddell & Scott karnos is ram, and karnon is a horn, so I would be confident to say that the word is definitely a cognate with the aforementioned Hebrew word.

As for the Welsh, connection, Liddell & Scott also cite a Celtic word, karnux, which appeared in certain Greek writings and which they say is equivalent to karnon! That is truly interesting.

You may be interested in two other posts at Christogenea, one of which is a podcast I did several years ago, however there are also some accompanying notes. The podcast is entitled Greek Culture is Hebrew, and the post at the website includes citations in print where I drew mostly from the Tragic Poets to make my point. The other post is a link to a book, with a few comments I had made along with the link to a PDF copy. The title of the book is Scripture Parallels in Ancient Classics, compiled by Craufurd Tait Ramage and published in 1878.

Thank you once again, and I hope this helps,
William Finck