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Thus ends this singular produetion of Simon For, man.

P. B.

ART. XX. Origin of the name of Mount Caucasus,

In the sixth vol. of Researches by the Asiatic Society, Mr. Wilford has inserted a dissertation on the origin of the name of mount Caucasus : he says “ The real name should be Casas, or Cas; for in Persian Cohor Cau signifies a mountain. Now if we should translate Coh-Cas into the Sanscrit tongue, it would be Casgiri; and actually the true name of this mountain in Sanscrit is Chasa-giri, that is, the mountain of the Chasas, a most antient and powerfull tribe, who inhabited this immense range of mountains, extending even from the eastern limits of India not only to Persia, but probably as far as to the Euxine sea. They are often mentioned in the sacred books of the Hindus; and their descendants still inhabit the same mountainous regions, and are called to this day Chasas and in some places Cossais. The Greeks also mention the mountains of Persia as inhabited by Cossai, Cusseci, and Cissii: the Caspian sea also, and its adjacent mount Caucasus, were probably denominated from them. In the language of the Calmuc Tartars, Chasu signifies snow. This name of C'hasa-giri is now confined to a few spots, and that imniense range is constantly called in Sanscrit, Himachel, i.e. snowy mountain, and Himalaya, the, abode of Snow; whence the Greeks formed their name of one part of that range Imaus.” Etymology is little better than the art of conjecturing; happily, however, it has some use; for while it amuses

some,

.

Bome, it contributes to preserve relics of antiquity, which might otherwise be altogether lost. Now as Mr. Wilford conceives Caucasus to be a compound of two words, I do not dispute but he may be right with respect to the origin of the last half of it; yet as I do not conceive the sacred books of the Hindus to be so antient as he may suppose, and as the name of Asia for that part of the globe is certainly antient, it seems possible, that Chasas might mean only Asiatics, and that the Hindus gave that name of C'hasas to all Scythians, and other western Asiatic tribes, who possessed themselves at different times of different mountainous tracts on the north of India : for that the Hin. dus considered themselves as included within that district called by the Greeks Asia does not appear. But certainly we never heard of this ancient and powerful tribe before; and whether they gave name to Asia or Asia 10 them is matter of doubt; or whether both were derived from Chasu, snow, or from any other source, such as Bochart has given.

What I most doubt of, therefore, is the origin of the first half of Caucasus. It is indeed true that Coh does in Persian mean a mountain, which is sometimes mollified into Cuh: thus Gotius thinks, that Kuhi. stan, a part of Persia, is not derived from a colony of Arabs or Chusites settling there on the east side of the Euphrates, but “a communi montium nomine Kuhi et stan regio," p. 195 not. in alfergan; it being a mountainous province. Now as the name of Caucasus was confined to that portion of the mountainous range between the Euxine and Caspian sea, while the more eastern portions were called Imaus mons, or Riphai, and by other names, one may rather presume that the name

in

in question arose from some circumstance peculiar to that mountainous portion, rather than from such a general word coh, as eqnally well suited any other mountain or portion of that enormous range. I apprehend, then, that the C formed one part of the first half of Caucasus, i. e. Cauc-asus, or else was doubled, as Cauc-casus; and that Bayer bas unintentionally pointed out both the property itself and the original name of it, out of which the Greeks formed the word Cauc, as the name of the mountain. In the acts of the Academy at Petersburgh, Bayer inserted a tract de Scythiæ situ, in which he has these words, “ Herodo

tus ad occidentem Caspii maris Caucasum collocat, ad · orientem vero immensam planitiem : hæc planities

celebratissima est apud Arabes Persasque scriptores nomine Kaphgjak et Dascht quod planitiem significat." Now as quod refers 10 nomen, I presume that the first word means planities as well as the second; but whether Kaphg-ia be a single word, or two, may admit of some doubt; however, either way it may be the origin of the Greek Kauc, and also of the Hebrew name Gog. But it is not merely on the east side of the Caspian sea, that an immense plain is extended of a desert nature, for that sea is quite surrounded by immense plains, except on the south side by a range of hills dividing those desert plains from the inhabited parts of Asia. A vast extent of plains also surrounds Astracan on the north of that sea, called the Step, and the same on the west of it, called the desert of Astracan; the whole frequented only by roving hordes of Scythians, formerly and now Tartars, who occasionally depasture on any fertile parts of it. This western desert extends quite to the sea of Asof, or Palus Mæotis,

and

and ranges along the whole sides of mount Caucasus on the north close to the foot of it. We can little doubt, then, but this western plain had obtained the same name Kaphgjak as the eastern one. Bayer doubtless has tried to express the Tartarian and Persian pronunciation of this word as nearly as he could in Roman letters; but it is well known that in those languages there are indistinct sounds of a guttural and aspirated kind, which no Roman letters can perfectly express: and this possibly is the cause of that assemblage of consonants phgj in the middle, the full pronunciation of which the Grecks would be scarcely bold enough to attempt, or able to do it with safety to their teeth; they would therefore naturally soften it into Kauc, just as they softened other oriental aspirates into $, %, or 3.

What the Jews also might pronounce with G hard, as in Gog, the Greeks might soften into Kauc. Thus Bayer may have given us the original word, which has been thus corrupted in both cases, together with the true meaning of it. And it may have been these immense, and as Bayer says celebrated, plains, to which this mountain was contiguous, that was the distinguishing property, which gave rise to the name of this portion of the long range of mountains running from west to east, and to the inhabitants of it, as well as to the mountain itself: for, although the plains were little habitable, yet the vallies at the toot of the mountain on both sides were very fertile, and full of the same race of men, who occasionally roved over those plains on the north side of it. Stephanus, an ancient Greek author, expressly says, that the inhabited di-tr et on the south side was called Gogarena. Gogarena est locus inter Colchos et Iberos orientales." iberia was

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on the south side, and Colchisat the western extremity,
of the mountain; this name then included the whole
southern side of it, and sufficiently proves, that it was
called Gog by some nations as well as Kauc by others,
and both of them apparently so called from the con-
tiguous plains : the usual word for which is still
Kaphgjak, among the natives, unless it be two words
Kaphg-iak, and meant to express that part of the
desert plain only which was contiguous to the iak, i.e.
the river Jakartes on the east side of the Caspian sea:
in which case Kaphg would be the original still, and
mean the plains themselves, by others corrupted into
Gog and Kauc. We know, that at first the Romans
had no distinct letter for G different from C, so much
were those letters confounded in writing as well as
pronunciation. Bayer therefore has here, without any
intention, confirmed the opinion of Bochart long ago,
that Gog and Kauc were the same word : Bochart adds,
indeed, that Caucasus came from Kauc-hasan, for
hasan in some oriental dialects means a fortress, muni-
mentum; not intending thereby any artificial fortress
on that mountain, but that it was the natural bulwark
between the inhabited south part of Asia, and those
desert plains on the north of it. But whether this
derivation be preferable to the Chasas of Mr. Wilford,
as giving origin to the last half of the name, I cannot
determine. This only I may mention, that the
names of nations were probably prior to the names
of aggregate countries, so that Chasas father gare
name to Asia than contrariwise: and we know, that
a nation of the name of Asch did exist in antient times,
the inhabitants of Asia Minor being probably those
called Aschenaz in scripture. In Celtic Innis means
an island, and is applied to a peninsula as well as

island;

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