Zebet albahar

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Zebet albahar arabice spuma maris.


Zebed f | Zebet ABCD e

albahar B ef | albhabar ACD {See Commentary}


Zebet albahar is Arabic for Latin spuma maris {"meerschaum"}.


The form albhabar, bhabar without the article, must be the result of a scribal confusion. As expected Simon's transcription of Arabic /baḥr/ is bahar as it is indeed in witnesses B ef. In the course of transmission a metathesis occurred in the source(s) of witnesses ACD resulting in habar, which is itself a common Arabic word meaning "news". Someone must have tried to draw attention to this mistake by writing a 'b' over the initial 'h' or perhaps by inserting an additional 'b', e.g. alb/habar, and this "b" was then falsely incorporated into the word ending up as the nonsensical bhabar.

Cf. Wehr (1976): ﺯﺑﺩﺍﻟﺒﺤﺭ /zabad al-baḥr/ "Meerschaum" {lit. "foam of the sea"}. Wehr: ﺯﺑﺩ /zabad/ "foam, froth, dross". ﺑﺣﺭ /baḥr/ "sea, large river". Siggel (1950: 81): ﺯﺑﺩﺍﻟﺒﺤﺭ /zabad al-baḥr/ Meerschaum, Bimsstein {i.e. "meerschaum, pumice stone"}.

Spuma maris lit. "foam of the sea".

WilfGunther 08/02/14

See also: Spuma maris, Alcionium

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