Saturday, September 4, 2010

Words I don't know: Ancient Edition

     I'm currently reading a book that uses a lot of ancient Middle Eastern terminology.  I've dabbled a bit in Egyptian mythology, Hebrew and Greek, but I don't recognize a lot of these words.  Context clues help a lot, but I wanted to be sure I really got them right so... to the internet!  Props to and; both sites helped quite a bit to settle my confusion. 

     Zanna is a word that made itself pretty apparent.  Zanna is the positive word for prostitute in a culture that supports the selling of one's body.  It sounds similar to zonah, which in this case is the derogatory term for prostitute.

     Hesed is a word that I'm still not sure about.  It can mean mercy or loyalty, but the context made me wonder if there might be something else.  When applied to a person, it could mean a lovely appearance.  This, to me, makes more sense.

     Hokhmah is wisdom.  The phrase I found in the book is actually hokhmah nisteret, but I couldn't find a translation for nisteret.  If anyone has any clue, please fill me in!

     The text implies that boset is shame, and I believe it was Wikipedia that confirmed that one for me.

     I couldn't find anything online for miskin, but it's pretty obvious that those are the outcasts.  They're the bottom of society, the homeless, the useless, the beggars.  They are the undesirables.

     Sycophant  is a word we use today, but it has Greek roots.  It's synonymous with suck-up, brown noser, etc.

     Khensu is the ancient Egyptian god associated with the moon. 

     I think that's quite a mouthful of words today, time to jump back into the story.  Happy reading!

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