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Kanturion arabice centaurea kibir maior segir minor vel seguir.


Kanturion AC e | Kation B (with a superscript 'u' over the 'i')

seguir AC e | segiuir B


Kanturion is Arabic for centaury, kibir (is) larger, segir (is) smaller, or seguir.


For a detailed description of the two types of centaury (i.e. the "smaller" and "larger" type), see Centaurea and the other entries listed below.

Kanturion is a Latin transliteration of the Arabic transliteration of the Greek word κενταύρειον /kentaúreion/. The Greek original and the ultimate Latin transliteration, as it is reflected here, differ in three instances: the 'a' in the first syllable, the missing 'a' in the second syllable and the missing 'e' in the final syllable. This is easily explained: Arabic does not have an equivalent of the vowel /e/, but under certain circumstances, a long 'a' could have a similar pronunciation. In a transliteration from Arabic to Latin, this letter would then be transcribed as 'a'.

Whereas long vowels are always spelled out in Arabic script, short vowels are only indicated by characters written above and below the line. In many manuscripts, these short vowels are not rendered at all. Most likely, the 'au' of /kentaureion/ was spelled with a short 'a' and a long 'u', the first part of which was then later on left out.

The missing 'e' in the ending probably goes back to the original Greek version of the word. In late antique and medieval times, the ending -ειον was pronounced /-ion/.

Kibir goes back to the Arabic كبير /kabīr/ "big".

Seguir, or segiuir stands for Arabic صغير /ṣaġīr/ "small".

See also: Cantorium, Centaurea, Lepton (2), Narcha (2)

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