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Libanon vocant greci thus nos olibanum et arabes post eos luben.


Libanon ABC efp | Libanuʒ j
{Libanon} vocant om. AC
greci B efjp | grece AC
{nos} autem add. j
olibanum | olibanon B
luben B efjp | liben (-bẽ A) AC


Libanos is Greek for Latin thus {"frankincense"}, which we also call olibanus, and the Arabs call it luben, which comes from the Greek.


Greek λίβανος /líbanos/ denotes "frankincense-tree", latinized libanus in the Vulgate (Sirach, 24, 21).
Simon’s form Libanon is the Greek accusative sg. form λίβανον /líbanon/ depending on vocant.

Latin thus/variant tus can mean "any fragrant incense or frankincense". The word is an early loan from Greek θύον /thýon/ with a more specific meaning "thyine wood" or "citron-wood" from Tetraclinis articulata (syn. Callitris quadrivalvis, Thuja articulata) [[1]]. This tree, which is native to the Western Mediterranean, has a fragrant wood that was burnt in sacrifices, consequently in the plural τὰ θύα /thýa/ means "burnt offerings or incense", from which the Latin meaning developed.

is a medieval Latin word meaning "frankincense", obviously derived from libanus contaminated with oliva.

Wehr (1976): ﻟﺑﺎﻥ /lubān/ "frankincense, olibanum". Siggel (1950: 65): ﻟﺑﺎﻥ /lubān/ Weihrauch v. Juniperus, Boswellia serrata [[2]], [[3]] u. thurifera [[4]] (Burserac.) u.a. {i.e. "incense from Juniperus, Boswellia serrata and thurifera (Burserac.) et alia"}.

The Glossarium Latino-Arabicum. (Seybold 1900) lists p. 289 under “libanum tus turis the form ﻟﺑﺎﻥ /lubān/” [[5]] but p. 522 under “tus i.e. incensum hoc est libanum” it has a variant vocalisation: ﻟﺑﺎﻥ /libān/ [[6]]. However the form liban in witnesses ACD is probably only the result of a misreading and slavish copying.

Botanical identification:

The burning of aromatic biotic material which in the process releases a certain fragrance has a long history with virtually all cultures participating to this day in one form or another. For this purpose a large number of species are used. One sought after aromatic is frankincense, the exuded and hardened resin tapped from trees of the genus Boswellia [[7]], which grow mainly in Southern Arabia and North Africa. Cf. Miller (1969: 102ff).

WilfGunther (talk) 15/12/2013

See also: Tus, Luben, Konder

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