Necho, Magdolos, Migdol, Cadytis, and Gaza

According to Herodotus, “on land Necos engaged battle at Magdolos with the Syrians, and conquered them; and after this he took Cadytis, which is a great city of Syria; and the dress which he wore when he made these conquests he dedicated to Apollo, sending it to Branchidai of the Milesians”. So, where is Cadytis? According to Herodotus,

“Now by this way only is there a known entrance to Egypt: for from Phoenicia to the borders of the city of Cadytis belongs to the Syrians who are called of Palestine, and from Cadytis, which is a city I suppose not much less than Sardis, from this city the trading stations on the sea- coast as far as the city of Ienysos (Khan Yunis) belong to the king of Arabia, and then from Ienysos again the country belongs to the Syrians as far as the Serbonian lake, along the side of which Mount Casion extends towards the Sea.”

Since Herodotus is using Cadytis as a reference point for coastal cities, it is obvious Cadytis must be situated near the Southern Philistine coast. The only major city in South Philistia is Gaza. Therefore, Cadytis must be Gaza (31°30’17″N, 34°27’50″E). The Greeks might have pronounced Gaza’s Akkadian, Assyrian (and Persian) name Khazita, used by Sargon II (incorrectly called “Shalmaneser” by some 19th century scholars) or Hazzatu, used in the Amarna letters, as Cadyta, naturally adding an “is” as a masculine ending. The battle at Magdolos might refer to the encounter with Josiah at Megiddo, but most likely refers to the battle with the Chaldeans at Migdol (Jeremiah 44:1, 46:14, Ezekiel 29:10, 30:6)/Tell Kedua (30°58’60″N, 32°28’31″E) in December 601/January 600 BC. By Nebuchadnezzar II’s admission, the Chaldean army was catastrophically defeated. The conquest of Gaza/Cadytis after this victory by Pharaoh Necho II, also known as Necos or Nekau Wehemibre, is reflected in Jeremiah 47:1. The idea Cadytis is Jerusalem is totally disproven by the fact Persian Period Jerusalem, said by Herodotus to be the size of Sardis, was limited entirely to the hill of the City of David, east of the modern road, with no room for a connection between that poor settlement and the Temple Mount (no settlement was found at the Stepped Stone structure; this fact alone destroys Martin’s idea).

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Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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