however, suggested, it would seem independently, by Mr. Kittel (Indian Antiquary, i. 128), who supposes
the first part of the word to be Dravidian, a transformation from ane, elephant.
Pictet, finding his first
suggestion not accepted, has called up a Singhalese word aliya, used for elephant, which he takes
to be from ala, great; thence aliya, great creature; and proceeding further, presents a combination of
ala, great, with Skt. phata, sometimes signifying a tooth, thus ali-phata, great tooth=elephantus.6
in Notes on Northern Africa (p. 19, quoted by Pott), gives elef ameqran (Great Boar, elef being boar)
as the name of the animal among the Kabyles of that region, and appears to present it as the origin of
the Greek and Latin words.
Again we have the Gothic ulbandus, a camel, which has been regarded
by some as the same word with elephantus. To this we shall recur.
Pott, in his elaborate paper already
quoted, comes to the conclusion that the choice of etymologies must lie between his own alaf-hindi
and Lassens al-ibha-danta. His paper is 50 years old, but he repeats this conclusion in his Wurzel-
Wörterbüch der Indo-Germanische Sprachen, published in 1871,7 nor can I ascertain that there has been
any later advance towards a true etymology. Yet it can hardly be said that either of the alternatives carries
Both, let it be observed, apart from other difficulties, rest on the assumption that the knowledge
of [Greek Text] elefaV, whether as fine material or as monstrous animal, came from India, whilst nearly
all the other or less-favoured suggestions point to the same assumption.
But knowledge acquired, or at
least taken cognizance of, since Potts latest reference to the subject, puts us in possession of the new
and surprising fact that, even in times which we are entitled to call historic, the elephant existed wild,
far to the westward of India, and not very far from the eastern extremity of the Mediterranean. Though
the fact was indicated from the wall-paintings by Wilkinson some 65 years ago,8 and has more recently
been amply displayed in historical works which have circulated by scores in popular libraries, it is singular
how little attention or interest it seems to have elicited.9
The document which gives precise Egyptian
testimony to this fact is an inscription (first interpreted by Ebers in 1873)10 from the tomb of Amenemhib,
a captain under the g
reat conqueror Thotmes III. [Thutmosis], who reigned B.C. c. 1600. This warrior, speaking from his tomb of the great deeds of his master, and of his own right arm, tells how the king, in
the neighbourhood of Ni, hunted 120 elephants for the sake of their tusks; and how he himself (Amenemhib)
encountered the biggest of them, which had attacked the sacred person of the king, and cut
through its trunk. The elephant chased him into the water, where he saved himself between two rocks; and
the king bestowed on him rich rewards.
The position of Ni is uncertain, though some have identified
it with Nineveh.11 [Maspero writes: Nii, long confounded with Nineveh, after Champolion (Gram. égyptienne,
page 150), was identified by Lenormant (Les Origines, vol. iii. page 316 et seq.) with Ninus
Vetus, Membidj, and by Max Müller (Asien und Europa, page 267) with Balis on the Euphrates: I am inclined
to make it Kefer-Naya, between Aleppo and Turmanin (Struggle of the Nations, 144, note).] It is named
in another inscription between Arinath and Akerith, as, all three, cities of Naharain or Northern Mesopotamia,
captured by Amenhotep II., the son of Thotmes III. Might not Ni be Nisibis? We shall find that Assyrian
inscriptions of later date have been interpreted as placing elephant-hunts in the land of Harran and in
the vicinity of the Chaboras.
If then these elephant-hunts may be located on the southern skirts of Taurus,
we shall more easily understand how a tribute of elephant-tusks should have been offered at the court
of Egypt by the people of Rutennu or Northern Syria, and also by the people of the adjacent Asebi or
Cyprus, as we find repeatedly recorded on the Egyptian monuments, both in hieroglyphic writing and
What the stones of Egypt allege in the 17th cent. B.C., the stones of Assyria 500 years
afterwards have been alleged to corroborate. The great inscription of Tighlath-Pileser I., who is calculated
to have reigned about B.C. 11201100, as rendered by Lotz, relates:
Ten mighty ElephantsThe same facts are recorded in a
later inscription, on the broken obelisk of Assurnazirpal from Kouyunjik, now in the Br. Museum, which
commemorates the deeds of the kings ancestor, Tighlath Pileser.14
Slew I in Harran, and on the banks of the Haboras.
Four Elephants I took alive;
Their teeth, and the live Elephants
I brought to my city Assur.13
In the case of these Assyrian inscriptions,
however, elephant is by no means an undisputed interpretation. In the famous quadruple test exercise
on this inscription in 1857, which gave the death-blow to the doubts which some sceptics had emitted as
to the genuine character of the Assyrian interpretations, Sir H. Rawlinson, in this passage, rendered the
animals slain and taken alive as wild buffaloes. The ideogram given as teeth he had not interpreted.
The question is argued at length by Lotz in the work already quoted, but it is a question for cuneiform