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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Da´gon is the name of a national god of the Philistines at Gaza and Ashdod (; ; sq.; ). As to the meaning of the name, it is probably derived from a word signifying fish, and there is every reason to believe that it had the body of a fish with the head and hands of a man. That such was the figure of the idol is asserted by Kimchi, and is admitted by most modern scholars. It is also supported by the analogies of other fish deities among the Syro-Arabians. Besides the Atergatis of the Syrians, the Babylonians had a tradition, according to Berosus, that at the very beginning of their history an extraordinary being, called Oannes, having the entire body of a fish, but the head, hands, feet, and voice of a man, emerged from the Erythraean sea, appeared in Babylonia, and taught the rude inhabitants the use of letters, arts, religion, law, and agriculture; that, after long intervals between, other similar beings appeared and communicated the same precious lore in detail, and that the last of these was called Odakon. Selden is persuaded that this Odakon is the Philistine god Dagon. The temple of Dagon at Ashdod was destroyed by Jonathan the brother of Judas the Maccabee, about the year B.C. 148 ().





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Dagon'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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