Brill’s New Pauly

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(190 words)

[German version]

[1] City in Arabia Felix to the northwest of Adan

(Σάρακα/Sáraka). City in Arabia [II] Felix to the northwest of Adan.

[German version]

[2] Desert in the Sinai Peninsula

(Σάρακα/Sáraka, Σαρακήνη/Sarakḗnē, Ptol. 5,17,3). Desert in the Sinai Peninsula (modern al-Tīḥ) inhabited by the Σαρακηνοί/Sarakēnoí. There is probably a connexion with the Sarakēnoí who, according to Ptol. 6,7,21, lived in the Ḥiǧāz in Arabia. There has been no explanation of the etymology of this designation, used from the 3rd cent. AD on synonymously with Scenitae Arabes as an appellation for Arab Bedouins (Amm. Marc. 22,15,2; 23,6,13; Steph. Byz. Ethnica 556; Sozom. Hist. eccl. 6,38). Some derivations adduce the toponym S., others the Semitic root šrq ('east'), yet others the Semitic šrkt ('tribe, confederation'). From the 6th cent. on in Byzantium Sarakēnoí designates all Arabic-speaking peoples.


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Toral-Niehoff, Isabel (Freiburg), “Saraca”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 01 October 2020 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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