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On a mystery of Talmudic Zoonymy: the parrot and the myna? A reassessment of the identity of the two andrafta Bird Species.

TERMINOLOGY The bird [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] <'ndrpt'> (andrafta or indrafta) is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud, tractate ljullin, 62b. The text states that this bird comes in two varieties, one of them called after Shabur ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] <Sbwr 'ndrpt'>) and kosher, and the other called [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] <pyrwz 'ndrpe'> after the man's name Peroz and unkosher. Note that each andrcyta bird is associated with a Persian personal name, and indeed a royal name. Not only does Sh[]p[]r ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) mean 'son of the king' in Persian, (1) but the name was borne by kings in the period comprising those generations of Mesopotamian rabbis whose teachings appear in the Baby-lonian Talmud. (2)

To put it in Aristotelian taxonomy: the genus is andrafta and the differentia specifica is association with one king rather than the other--or, more correctly, with one king's name rather than the other's. Among those kings bearing the same name, (3) reference would presumably be to the one who was culturally more focal to the originators of the Babylonian Talmud.

The great Sasanian king Shahpuhr (4) appears as Shabur in the Babylonian Talmud, where he is well regarded and is said to have been kind to certain rabbis. (5) As to Peroz this, too, is a Persian personal name, (6) and in the context of Hullin, 62b it is considered to have been the "name of a (wicked) man," to quote Jastrow's dictionary. (7) It was quite possibly King Peroz who was considered to have been wicked by the Babylonian Talmud. (8) This would have been Peroz I (r. 457-484). (9) since Peroz II was a Sasanian prince. a pretender in exile in Tang China, where he was made a general and governor. Also in Arabic the name Eiruz occurs as a woman's name (the etymon for turquoise). (10)

If the andrafta variety was actually named after King Peroz, then we have a terminus a quo for the origin of the zoonymic nominal compound Peroz andrafta. Peroz I was the seventeenth king in the Sasunian dynasty, whereas Shapur I was the second. As memory of the latter receded in time, Jewish as well as general lore about him had presumably become idealized. On the other hand, grim memories of Peroz were perhaps more vividly accurate. (11) Perois reign was marked by civil war and famine. He met a bad end while trying to quell a revolt in Armenia, (12) and perhaps this was interpreted by some as divine retribution, reinforcing a negative opinion about a monarch, the beginning of whose reign saw "the low point of Sasanian rule." (13)

What must have mattered to the rabbis of the Babylonian Talmud concerning King Peroz was something quite specific: "We know there were religious persecutions, especially against the Jews, at this time and drought and famine were rampant in the empire, as well as a revolt in Armenia in 482 CE." (14) At any rate, rabbinic opinions about King Peroz, whatever they might have been, are not a necessary factor in the hypotheses made here about Piruz andrafta and Shabur andrafta.

In accordance with the Persian literal sense of the name Peroz, the names Peroz and Shapur occur together in the following:
  In 243 CE, Gordian invaded Mesopotamia to retrieve what had been taken
  by Ardashir and his son after Alexander Severus' death. But Shabuhr
  tells us (according to SKZ (15)) that he was able to kill him at
  Misikhe in 244 CE, close to the Euphrates river which he later

The aetiology of the river name is known and is likely to have been transparent in Sasanian Mesopotamia, and there is no need to hypothesize that the river name somehow affected the opposition of the bird names Piruz andrcifta and Shahur andrafta.


The talmudic bird-name [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] <'ndrpt'> was interpreted by Ludwig Lewysohn (1858: s.v.), a scholar who was chief rabbi of Stockholm, and 140 years later by Menachem Dor (1997: 139), as denoting parakeets, on the assumption that the name was derived from Greek (lit., 'speaking like humans'). An alternative would be a derivation from Persian. (17) Of course, Alexander Kohut, the over-Persianizing lexicographer of early rabbinic literature, opted for a Persian etymology, (18) whereas the lexicographer Jastrow, whose often dubious etymologies are usually over-Semiticizing, noted for [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "prob. Pers." ' (19) Scholarly speculation about the identification of the denotation of andrcifta, as well as about the etymology, was already ongoing in the mid-nineteenth century and percolated into attempts to renovate Hebrew zoological terminology. (20)

It is important to note that such a bird-name is undocumented in the Greek sources. One possibility is that it was *av[delta]pa[phi]a[tau][tau]a, lit. 'pigeon [like] a man', from [phi][tau][tau]na 'dove, pigeon', an Attic form for Oacsa. What made the bird humanlike was that it talks. It need not have been particularly similar to a pigeon. Another possibility is that the Greek term was *av[delta]pa[phi][tau] [...]. for '[creature] talking like a man'. The morpheme av[delta]pa-(like avapo-) for 'man' occurs in compounds. e.g., av[delta]pa[pi]o[delta]ov'slave' (<'prisoners). As to the morpheme associated with 'talking', cf. ([phi][eta][mu]i for 'to say, to claim', whose inflected forms include [phi]a[tau][epsilon], [phi]a[tau][epsilon], and pato. Also cf. pat* 'that can be said', [phi]a[tau]o[zeta] 'to say', and especially (parts, for 'voice, speech. fame, or news'. (21)


Parrots were certainly not the only birds known to antiquity that supposedly talked. For that matter, the early Islamic encyclopedist JAWz claimed that three species of birds were better at talking than the parrot. This is relevant for our discussion of the two kinds of andrafta, and yet it was undoubtedly the parrot that had captured the imagination in the first place. It comes as no surprise that parrots feature in tales originating in India or in Persia. Moreover, it stands to reason that a prestigious bird such as a talking bird would be associated with a major monarch of the Sasanian dynasty, as is the case of the Shahur andrafta of the Baby-lonian Talmud.

Knowledge about parrots reached the Mediterranean in the Hellenistic period, if not earlier. Corey Brennan (1992) has pointed out that "[a] Greek doctor to the Persian royal family at the beginning of the fourth century B.C., Ctesias wrote an ill-informed but very interesting treatise on India. He had never seen the place: all his information is from traders passing through the Persian court. ... Speaking of birds, Ctesias also tells of one which talks like a human in the Indian language, and can speak Greek as well, if you teach it called the parrot ..." Whereas we have no information from the Talmud concerning bird species characterized by the ability to talk in a human voice (aside from fables), it stands to reason that parrots did belong to the realia of Sasanian Babylonia. Therefore, the interpretation of andrafta as a `bird talking like a human' is reasonable.


Dor tried to explain the difference between the clean and unclean nature of the two species of andrajta by supposing that large parrots were forbidden, while small ones were allowed, because their feet had supposedly not been observed carefully by the ancients. I find this unconvincing. When it came to the kosher status of animals, the sages of the Talmud were very careful. And yet, in consideration of the foregoing, h is remarkable that in his lexicon of Greek birdnames, Arnott. (22) who seems to be unaware of Dor's conjecture, points out that the legs of parakeets were more than once assigned the wrong color in Roman visual representations. He observes that "[a]nother [mosaic] in Cologne has a panel on which two green Parrots are shown with neckbands, beaks, neck patches (identifying them as Alexandrine) (23) and (incorrectly) legs picked out in red, pulling a cart loaded with harvest tools." (24)

Curiously enough (and relevant to Dor's conjecture about mistaken perceptions of bird legs), it seems that Roman artists could sometimes depict an animal correctly, but get the legs wrong. K. Coleman has also remarked that the rhino on Domitian's coins was portrayed accurately, except for its hind legs, (25) "which have a pronounced 'elbow', like those of a bear, instead of being graviportal (pillar-like, ... as in an elephant). The tail, however, is acutely observed." (26) But all three species of parakeets that come into question for the Roman world are rather similarly sized, so Dor cannot be right. Perhaps the etymology from Persian is correct, and the term does not denote parrots after all. Or rather, perhaps only one of the two andrafta was a parrot.


My own solution for the identities of Shabur andrafta and Peruz andrafta is as follows. I accept Lewysohn's etymology of endrpe> from Greek; perhaps <'ndrpt'> is indeed from an otherwise undocumented, peripheral Greek lexical compound for 'talking like a man'. Moreover, given the unkosher status of the Peruz andrafta, I find it reasonable that this was a talking parrot. (27)

As prescribed in the Mishnah (at Minn 3:6), such birds that "divide their feet" as per the rabbinic expression, to wit, ones that have two fingers in front and two behind, are unkosher: these include the parrots, the cuckoos, and the night raptors. That feature makes the parrots' feet prehensile: even though the parrots are frugivorous, they bring the food to their mouth by means of their foot, like raptors their prey. The Babylonian Talmud, at Hullin 65a, suggests an experiment for determining kosher status: have the bird perch on a rope, and "if it divides its feet, two here and two there, it is unclean." Furthermore, I also believe that the kosher andrafta was a taxonomically unrelated bird that could also repeat human words. Might it have been one of the Indian members of the family Sturnidae, a relative of the starlings? (28) Arnott (2007: 14) treats the Indian Sturnidae as the denotatum of the Greek bird-name Anak[]s:
  [T]he Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis), abundant throughout the
  continent and commensal with humans ... or the Brahminy Starling
  (Sturnus pagodann), much more brightly coloured than the [Eurasian]
  Starling (black.grey, orange-brown), whose native name in Tamil is
  Nakanam paichi. from which the Greek name could have been derived.
  A Common Myna has been identi-fied on a wall painting on the east
  wall of the House of the Wedding of Alexander at Pompeii.

But then the Kerkion (Anion 2007: 91) is also a suitable candidate for a talking bird. Arnett explains that this Indian bird is "described only by Aelian" in his Natural History 16.3 as
  the size of a starling, varied in colour, more intelligent than a
  Parrot. able to speak with a human voice. and so named ('Tail-bird':
  because it wagged its rump) by the Macedonians who settled in the
  cities founded by Alexander the Great. These details best suit the
  Hill Myna (Grande re/igiosa: 25+ cm ~ Starling 21 cm), one of the
  most colourful (mainly glossy) black, with bright yellow wattles,
  orange-yellow bill. and white wing patches. and by far the best
  talker among the Indian mynas: it is still locally called in Hindi
  k[]nkni myna. to which Kerki[]n may have been a
  Hellenising approximation. However, India has eight species of
  Myna, and it seems likely that the name Kerki[]n also
  includes species such as the Common (Acridoiheres tristis) and
  Bank (A. ginginianus) Mynas which are more commensal with man,
  have a jaunty walk, but show much less ability to imitate hunman

Was the kosher "andrafta of [King] Shahpur" the Hill Myna, or, at any rate. a Myna?


If the kosher andrafta was indeed a myna and thus an Indian member of the family Sturnidtw, we must now consider the status of the starlings as far as Jewish dietary norms are concerned. One cannot conclusively determine the kosher or unkosher status of the starling in talmudic times. but it is certainly not to be excluded that the myna was considered to be kosher by the Jewish sages of Babylonia. When it comes to Sturnidae, we have to focus on the starling. There exist early rabbinic discussions about the bird called zarzir 'starling' in Modern Hebrew, but we cannot assume with confidence that it denoted the starling in tal-mudic texts.

Rashi (1040-1105), commenting on the Babylonian Talmud, tractate Bora Qamma, 92b, rendered zarzir into Old French [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (estournel), thus identifying it with the starling. In both Bava Qamma, 92b and thillin, 65a we read that because of the observed association of the raven with the zarzir, (29) the latter is to be considered a relative and therefore unkosher as per the biblical prohibition of "the raven and its species." The association is expressed as "going to," but Ravad's responsa (at 14, s.v. hilkhot 'ofot) states explicitly that this term normally indicates sexual intercourse:


Nachmanides refers to the mingling of the raven with the zarzir as "dwelt with him" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). In early rabbinic sources (also the Sifra, Shemini, pericope 3, s.v. pereq he), it is stated that the biblical text added "as per its species" specifically in order to include the zarzirim.

But we must hear in mind that even if the zarziri-of the Talmud are actually starlings. those early rabbinic authorities who deemed them unkosher lived in Palestine, whereas the norms about the two kinds of andrcifia originated with the rabbinic authorities of Babylonia. (30)

Discussing the interpretation given by Rav Sa'adyah Ga'on (892-942) of the names of unkosher birds listed in the Pentateuch, Serri (2004: 278) cites the medieval Arabic encyclopedia of al-Nuwairi (1278-1332) to the effect that in Arabic the bird ghudaf, and possibly also the zagh, are also known by the name zarzur. (31) Consider however that in Nachmanides' novella to Hullin, 62b he writes:
  And I examined the zarzir again, and it is the black bird (ha-'of
  ha-sahor) that is called precisely that way in Arabic
  [i.e., zarzur], (32) and it is the one called the bird of the
  olives (cippor ha-zeitim), and in Romance estournel, and so it
  was interpreted by Rashi of blessed memory, and I found in it
  both criteria distinguishing the crow, [namely:] a supernumerary
  finger and a gizzard that can be peeled by hand ...

Nachmanides, again in his novella to Hullin, 62b, also points out that "this one [i.e., the starling] is not similar, as it is a small bird, and it sings, and its voice and its face are quite unlike the crow's." In Baghdad, Rabbi Sedaqa Husain (R. Tzedakah Chutzin) rejected Rashi's identification of zarzir with estournel. Zohar Amar noted: "I am not familiar with the criticism of Rabbi Sedaqa Husain of Rashi, but at any rate I know the bird called in Israel at present zarzir, even though I am not sure at all that this is the zarzir mentioned in early rabbinic sources." (33)


The identification we propose of the Shahur andrafta with the talking myna will not have met the standard of proof for convincing the rabbinic authorities of our own day that the myna is kosher. As a scholarly conjecture, however, the identification of the myna as the denotatum of the kosher species of andrafta is the strongest hypothesis for explaining the coexistence of both a kosher and a nonkosher variety of this bird in the Talmudic sources.


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Kairos 22: 77-100.

(1.) It is first attested in Middle Persian, in the form Shahpuhr (also Shabuhr). The Armenian form is Cungrith, Sapuh. Roman authors employ the form Sapor as a king's name in discussing the Perso-Roman wars and the strained relations between Rome and the Persians. The name ShTwar is also borne by fictional characters, such as a man in Nezami's Khusraw and Shirin.

As a given name, Sh[]ip[]r could also be bestowed upon a non-Zoroastrian; for example, Sapor of Bet-Nicator was a Christian bishop. This is evidence that it was acceptable across denominational cultures. For that matter, the incantation texts from Nippur also mention a "Saborduch m. Ephra" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Montgomery 1913: 280 and nos. 1, 131) and a "Sanduch m. Farruchan" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Montgomery 1913: 279, 280; Lidzbarski 1902: 89-105, no. 1); el. Shandukht). Compare Icelandic feminine patronymics such as Magnusdottir. Note also a Jewish man named "Bar4ibebi s. Tshehrazad" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) (Montgomery 1913: 275 and no. 15 on p. 185), which suggests that in late antiquity a Jewish woman could be named Sheherazade. Whereas Shahpuhr etymologically claims royal descent, Shahrtrz[]d is etymologically equivalent to Eugenia (fern.). Eugene (m.) < Greek [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 'of noble descent'; the loanword avginos with that same sense is not rare in Jewish midrashic literature. "The name Shahrazad is derived from the Persian chehrazad, meaning 'of noble appearance or origin' " (Marzolph and van Lecuwen 2004: vol. 2, 701-2, s.v. Shahma1d).

(2.) The conventional seven generations of Sages of the Babylonian Talmud, as current in modern scholarship, span the period from 220 to 460 C.E. The conventional date for the conclusion of the Babylonian Talmud is 500, but editing continued during the next century and beyond. The Palestinian Talmud instead was apparently concluded around 400. The Mishnah was compiled ca. 200 C.E., and that is the watershed between the Tannaic and the Amoraic periods, so named after the Tannaim (sages whose teachings appear in the Mishnah) and the Amoraim (sages whose teachings appear in the Talmud but not in the Mishnah).

(3.) Shapur I reigned from 239-242 to 270-272; Shapur II from 308/9-379; Shapur III from 383-388.

(4.) Shapur I has a further zoological association, though outside Jewish culture: "Another reference to elephants in the Historia Augusta (Gordian 33.1) presumably relates to the victory of Gordian III (r. 238-44) Over Shapur I tr. 239-70) at Resaina. vet this is also uncertain. A fragment of the poet 'Arm b. flak found in the chronicle of Tahari (839-923). also associates elephants with Shapur I. though its poetic nature makes this information very questionable ... Elephants were most notably used from the reign of Shapur 11 (r. 309-79) onwards. When they were regularly encountered in battle with Roman forces-(Charles 1998: Blankinship 1992: 36).

(5.) Apparently Shapur I was conversant with some Jewish ritual norms: in one instance he sticks his knife into the ground before cutting food and giving it to a rabbi. thus abiding by kosher norms for his guest's sake. Darvaee (2009: 78) mentions a cordial attitude on the part of a later monarch:
  Yazdgerd i (339-420 CE) who, according to the Talmud. was in close
  contact with the Jewish community. It is even said that Yazdgerd
  addressed the rahhis with couriesy. cited scriptures Lo them. and
  of course married a lewcss, i.e.. Shish dokht. This again may he
  the product of Jewish historiography and propagands. but one cannot
  deny the historicity of the contacts betweeen the the Sasamians and
  the Jews. As for Waliram V (Gur). the Zoroastrian Persians could
  see hi in as a legitimate ruler and the Jews would see him as a
  Jewish king. After all, he was Jewish since his mother was a Jewess.

Not quite so: the political leader of Mesopotamian Jewry, the PAilarch, as well as his family--themselves proud of their Davidic genealogy were likely to take pride in one of their daughters marrying into the royal family, but the rabbis would have rather looked askance at a Jewish woman's son, even a king, raised in a different cultic practice and religious belief. Nevertheless. rabbis in the Sasanian polity would have kept quiet about their qualms concerning this, to avoid problems with both the Exilarch and the roval

The rabbinic traditions about King Shapur were discussed by Wewers 1980).

(6.) Now commonly Feroze [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), but also occurring in the forms Feroz, Firuz, Peroz, The etymological sense is 'victorious' or 'prosperous'. In historical memory the first niter to bear this name was Perot the Victorious. This is a case of nomen omen. or. as the rabbinic Hebrew idiom has it. "he was called after his end. "In I Swisitel 25:25. Nabal's wife tells David about her husband: -Like his name, so is he."

(7.) S.v. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in Jastrow 1903.

(8.) It is therefore striking that the Babylonian Talmud associated the kosher andralta with a king who was liked by the Jews. and the unkosher andrqfta with a ruler they considered wicked. I am grateful to an anonymous referee for pointing out this parallel. It may be. however. that the motivation for associating either kind of talking bird with this or that king depended on lore about courtly life which at present eludes us.

(9.) Procopius. 1k hello pervico I. 3. and Agathias iv. 27 have the Form Perozes. while Priscus 33) has Pc rt yes.

(10.) The turquoise is called perozag or pirozag ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) in the Jewish Aramaic Thrguin of the Hebrew Bible (Thrgum Canticles 5:14). I consider it unlikely that Peru: wuhtdia referred to a turquoise-blue bird. In medieval Islamic literature parrots are invariably green: only the color of their beaks varied.

(11.) However, Perot i was apparently viewed Favorably by Nestorians, a local denomination not suspected of Byzantine sympathies, whereas Chalcedonians had been persecuted by him.

(12.) "This time in 484 CE, his actions cost him his life, seven of his sons, and his entire army. It is here that we hear of the famous legend of the 'pearl earring' of Peroz which was so precious that before dying he threw it to the ground so that no one would wear it" (Daryaee 2009: 25).

(13.) Daryaee 2009: 25.

(14.) Daryaee 2009: 25.

(15.) SKZ = Kettenhofen 1982.

(16.) Daryaee 2009: 6-7.

(17.) For the Old Persian lexicon, see Bartholomac 1904 and cf. Neusner 1975.

(18.) In his Aruch completum: sire, Lexicon, vocabula et res, quae in libris Targumicis, Tahnudicis et Midraschicis continentur (in Hebrew, 'Arukh ha-shalenz), an edition of the 'Allah by Nathan hen Yehiel (1031-1106) along with the supplement Mussaf HelArtikh, by Benjamin Mussafia (1606-1675), reprinted with S. Krauss's supplement. Tosibt he-Arukh ha-shalem (Vienna. 1937; New York, 1955).

(19.) Jastrow 1903: 82, s.v. indralia or indrafta ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] or [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). Concerning the vowels supplied by Jas-Crow, note that generally his pointing lacks credibility, and was apparently conjectural or at any rate not systematic, as pointed out by Kutscher 1972.

(20.) In the introduction to the second volume of his Natural History (Toldot Hateba), in which he introduced many Modern Hebrew zoonyms, Shalom Ya'akov Abramowitsch, later to become the famous writer Mendele Mokher Sfarim, rejected criticism that had been levelled by the scholar Ftirst in a review of the first volume because the author had not tried to reapply zoonyms from ancient Jewish literature. Abramowitsch (1866: vi-vii) points out that he had refrained from applying bird-names found in the Talmud, because their identification was uncertain. This would have run the risk that unkosher birds would be taken to be kosher. In particular, he adduces as an example the talmudic bird-name [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (<sbwr 'ndrpt). remarking that had he identified that bird with ha-papagayyim tovei ha-mezeg [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] the tame parrots.). he would have implied that they are kosher (whereas they are not), because the Babylonian Talmud Wallin 62), states that [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] <sbwr ndrpt's> is kosher.

(21.) Incidentally, a demon called <'gprt> ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) rather than <'nprt> ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) is mentioned in the Nippur incantation texts (Montgomery 1913: 25. 269. citing Schwab's [18921 bowl H. but even if we were to concede the possibility of metathesis (and perhaps even the anaptyctic insertion of a [d] into a consonantal cluster [nr]). any etymological relation or correlation with attchtyia is quite unlikely.

(22.) Arnott 2007: 201-3, s.v. Psittakos.

(23.) An Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria), one of the three species of parakeets widespread and common in India (out of fifteen species of parrots living there today). "Although the ancient descriptions and artistic portrayals of Indian parrots are not entirely accurate, virtually all of them imply that these were the species known to ancient Greece and Rome, thus substantially explaining Aelian's false report (NA 16.2) that India has only three types of parrot" (Arnott 2007: 201).

(24.) Arnott 2007: 202. On the parrot see Isidore of Seville, Etymologies XII.vii24. Boehrer (2001) traces the history of parrots as items of luxury from their introduction in the Greco-Roman world.

(25.) See Nissan 2011 a, a review essay on Coleman 2006. I have also reviewed Coleman's volume mainly from the perspective of magical conceptions in Nissan 2011 b.

(26.) Coleman 2006: 102. For supposed misperceptions of the anatomy of the rhinoceros' feet in Hindu tradition in regard to its edibility, see Jamison 1998.

(27.) Note a rabbinic prohibition imposed in modern times on eating a French breed of chicken whose male has two spurs pointing backwards, instead of just one spur (Amar 2004: 34). The implications of this in regard to unkosher status are discussed by Serri 2004: 307-8.

(28.) We will return to the kosher status of starlings.

(29.) In this context. there appears to be no difference between die raven and the crow. (Their lexicon only has 'on'y for the genus Corms and possibly for other corvids as well. and at any rate does not differentiate between the raven and the crow.) Even though the raven is Nigger than the crow (the latter is what in French is called corneille). and therefore the crow is closer in size to the starling. nevertheless it is the raven (Corms cora) that is as black as the starling. whereas the crow of the eastern Mediterranean is grey. In Israeli I Hebrew, the raven is called the "black lore't..-as opposed to the "grey 'orev" (Corms corone comix). i.e.. the I boded Crow. The all-black Carrion Crow (Corms corone corone) is the crow of much of western Europe. but is absent from Italy. Greece. and the eastern Meditrerranean; Pliny (Natural History 10.124) found it remarkable that an all-black crow existed in Spain. Note also that to Aristophanes (Birds 967) the icopthvg is grey (Arnott 2007, p. 113).

(30.) An exception to the avoidance of the meat of the zarzir is attested for the inhabitants of Kefar Temarta in Judaea. who considered the zarzir to be kosher, based on an anatomical criterion: this species has a crop, albeit one that it is possible to peel off by hand. See Tosefta, Hrrllirr, 3:23 (ed. Zuckermandel) and the medieval novellae of Ramban (Nachmanides) on the talmudic locus Hullin, 62b.

(31.) I suspect that ghutkl[]f is merely a voiced variant of khutt[]l the Arabic name for the swallow. The generic swallow is kosher (Amar 2004: 69-87), but the Babylonian Talmud records divergent views concerning whether the so-called "white swallow" is kosher. Serri (2004: 283-85) discusses Sa'adyah Ga'on's identification of the khuff[]f with one of the birds in the biblical lists of unclean birds.

(32.) In Spanish, zoizal denotes 'thrush'. The etymology is from Andalusi Arabic zurzal, from Arabic zurzur. The latter in turn is a cognate of the Hebrew bird name zarzir. In Maghrebine Arabic one finds the bird-name ofortjus. Fanciullo (1992: 175) took the etymology to be dordus < TURDUS, which he ascribes to the extinct Afro-Romance vernacular. According to Fanciullo, the final s is more likely to have been retained from the formation of the plural with s in Afro-Romance than from the Latin nominative case (175-76).

33. E-mail of 27 May 2008, my trans.

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Author:Nissan, Ephraim
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:Jul 1, 2011
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