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CHALDAEA

CHALDAEA (Χαλδαία, Eth. Χαλδαῖος), in a strict sense, was probably only, what Ptolemy (5.20.3) considered it, a small tract of country, adjoining the deserts of [p. 1.601]Arabia, and included in the wider extent of Babylonia. The same view is taken by Strabo (xvi. p.739), who speaks of one tribe of Chaldaeans (φῦλόν τι τῶν Χαλδαίων), who lived near the Arabians, and on the so-called Persian Sea: this district he considered part of Babylonia (χώρα τῆς Βαβυλωνίας). That this idea prevailed till a late period is clear, since Strabo (xvi. p.767) calls the marshes near the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris τὰ ἕλη κατὰ Χαλδαίους, and Pliny (6.31) Lacus Chaldaici, while the last author in another place extends them almost to the sea, where he states that they were caused by the Eulaeus and the Tigris. In the Etym. Magnum (s. v. Ἀσσυρία) is a remarkable notice to the effect that Assyria, which is the same as Babylonia, was first called Ἐυφράτις, but afterwards Χαλδαία. From these statements we are justified in believing that at some period of ancient history, there was a district called Chaldaea, in the southern end of Babylonia, near the Persian Gulf and Arabia Deserta, though we have no certain clue to what period of history this name should be assigned. The name probably was lost, on Babylon becoming the great ruling city, and, therefore, not unnaturally imposing its name upon the country of which it was the chief town. [BABYLON]

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    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.31
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