philistine


philistine
philistinism /fil"euh stee niz'euhm, -stuy-, fi lis"teuh niz'euhm, -tee-/, n.
/fil"euh steen', -stuyn', fi lis"tin, -teen/, n.
1. (sometimes cap.) a person who is lacking in or hostile or smugly indifferent to cultural values, intellectual pursuits, aesthetic refinement, etc., or is contentedly commonplace in ideas and tastes.
2. (cap.) a native or inhabitant of ancient Philistia.
adj.
3. (sometimes cap.) lacking in or hostile to culture.
4. smugly commonplace or conventional.
5. (cap.) of or belonging to the ancient Philistines.
[1350-1400; ME < LL Philistini (pl.) < LGk Philistînoi < Heb palishtim]
Syn. 1. Babbitt, vulgarian. 3. lowbrow.

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Member of a group of Aegean origin that settled on the southern coast of Palestine.

The Philistines first settled the region during the 12th century BC, about the time the Israelites arrived. They lived in five cities (the Pentapolis) that together made up Philistia, from which the Greeks derived the name Palestine. They first fought the Israelites in the 11th century BC. In the 10th century BC they were defeated by the Israelite king David. They were later ruled by Assyria, Egypt, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The group appears prominently in the Old Testament
from which much of the information about them is derived
though they left no written records of their own. It is from these many and coloured biblical references that the term assumes its modern significance in the English language.

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people
      one of a people of Aegean origin who settled on the southern coast of Palestine in the 12th century BC, about the time of the arrival of the Israelites. According to biblical tradition (Deuteronomy 2:23; Jeremiah 47:4), the Philistines came from Caphtor (possibly Crete). They are mentioned in Egyptian records as prst, one of the Sea Peoples (Sea People) that invaded Egypt in about 1190 BC after ravaging Anatolia, Cyprus, and Syria. After being repulsed by the Egyptians, they occupied the coastal plain of Palestine from Joppa (modern Tel Aviv–Yafo) southward to the Gaza Strip. The area contained the five cities (the Pentapolis) of the Philistine confederacy (Gaza, Ashkelon [Ascalon], Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron) and was known as Philistia, or the Land of the Philistines. It was from this designation that the whole of the country was later called Palestine by the Greeks.

      The Philistines expanded into neighbouring areas and soon came into conflict with the Israelites (Israelite), a struggle represented by the Samson saga (Judges 13–16) in the Old Testament. With their superior arms and military organization the Philistines were able (c. 1050) to occupy part of the Judaean hill country. They were finally defeated by the Israelite king David (10th century), and thereafter their history was that of individual cities rather than of a people. After the division of Judah and Israel (10th century), the Philistines regained their independence and often engaged in border battles with those kingdoms.

      By the early part of the 7th century, Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, Ashdod, and probably Gath were vassals of the Assyrian rulers; but during the second half of that century the cities became Egyptian vassals. With the conquests of the Babylonian king Nebuchadrezzar II (605–562) in Syria and Palestine, the Philistine cities became part of the Neo-Babylonian empire. In later times they came under the control of Persia, Greece, and Rome.

      There are no documents in the Philistine language, which was probably replaced by Canaanite, Aramaic, and, later, Greek. Nor is much known of the Philistine religion, since all their gods mentioned in biblical and other sources have Semitic names and were probably borrowed from the conquered Canaanites. Until their defeat by David, the Philistine cities were ruled by seranim, “lords,” who acted in council for the common good of the nation. After their defeat, the seranim were replaced by kings.

      The Philistines long held a monopoly on smithing iron, a skill probably acquired in Anatolia. At sites occupied by the Philistines at an early period, a distinctive type of pottery, a variety of the 13th-century Mycenaean styles, has been found.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • philistine — (n.) person deficient in liberal culture, 1827, originally in Carlyle, popularized by him and Matthew Arnold, from Ger. Philister enemy of God s word, lit. Philistine, inhabitants of a Biblical land, neighbors (and enemies) of Israel (see… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Philistine — A Philistine (with a capital initial letter) is a member of an ancient Semitic people of Palestine. A philistine (with a small initial letter, usually) is a person who is hostile or indifferent to culture …   Modern English usage

  • Philistine — ► NOUN 1) a member of a people of ancient Palestine who came into conflict with the Israelites. 2) (philistine) a person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts. DERIVATIVES philistinism noun. ORIGIN Greek Philistinos, from Hebrew …   English terms dictionary

  • Philistine — Phi*lis tine, n. [L. Philistinus, Heb. Phlishth[=i], pl. Phlishth[=i]m.] 1. A native or an inhabitant of ancient Philistia, a coast region of southern Palestine. [1913 Webster] 2. A bailiff. [Cant, Eng.] [Obs.] Swift. [1913 Webster] 3. A person… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Philistine — Phi*lis tine, a. 1. Of or pertaining to the Philistines. [1913 Webster] 2. Uncultured; commonplace. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • philistine — I noun artless person, conformist, conventionalist, nouveau riche, social climber, traditionalist II index ordinary Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • Philistine — n in the Bible, a member of a race of people who lived in Palestine, and who were the enemies of the ↑Israelites …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Philistine — O.T. people of coastal Palestine, who made war on the Israelites, mid 14c., from O.Fr. Philistin, from L.L. Philistinus, from Late Gk. Philistinoi, from Heb. P lishtim, people of P lesheth ( Philistia ); Cf. Akkad. Palastu, Egyptian Palusata; the …   Etymology dictionary

  • philistine — n *obscurantist, barbarian …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Philistine — [fil′i stēn΄, fil′istīn΄; fi lis′tin, fi lis′tēn΄] n. [ME < LL(Ec) Philistinus, usually pl. Philistini < LGr (Josephus) philistinoi < Heb p lishtim; akin to PALESTINE] 1. a member of a non Semitic people that lived in Philistia and… …   English World dictionary

  • Philistine — Phil·is·tine (fĭl’ĭ stēn′, fĭ lĭs’tĭn, tēn′) n. 1) A member of a people, perhaps of Aegean origin, who settled ancient Philistia around the 12th century BC. 2) often philistine A person who is smugly indifferent or hostile to art and culture. adj …   Word Histories


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