🏷  Greek Latin Sanskrit Semitic phoenix pun recommended · name   —   by Gerry · Feb 2019 · 1938 words

The name Phoenicians, Greek Phoinikes, has no official meaning, but can be explained as Semitic פן-נכס pn-nks “turners of goods” & “directors of wealth”, i.e. traders & bankers. Which is exactly what the Phoenician elites were. This could also explain the prominent use of the phoenix symbol by the spooks, plus several other puns and etymologies.

Phoenician puns in a nutshell

Understanding the Phoenician empire is crucial for understanding how spookery already existed in ancient times. I don’t think any more that spookery evolved from Phoenicia alone. The aristocratic elites of other “civilized” regions were likely not so different. But the true identity of our overlords, as global bankers & trade monopolists above regional kingdoms, that was pretty much in the open in Ancient Phoenicia, clearer than ever before or after. That’s why this entire civilization has been censored away.

Modern spooks seem to regularly use the phoenix as a symbol. Likely, they are referencing their Phoenician ancestry. However, there may be more clues in that word:

Almost no Phoenician records survived, and there are none containing the word Phoenician itself. We only know it as Greek Φοινιξ Phoinix / Φοινικες Phoinikes. But the word Phoenicia may have a revealing unofficial etymology: The Phoenicians were traders. It is thus possible that their Greek name Phoinix / Phoinikes is derived from Semitic pn-nks, which means “turning / directing / transferring of wealth / goods / accounts”. The word roots √pn and √nks exist in many other languages as well.

This is likely not a pun, but the actual etymology of the word Phoenician. But even if it isn’t, it would explain why the spooks use the phoenix as a symbol: They emphasize that they derive their power from being descendants of ancient merchants & bankers, in addition to being aristocrats.

Like all things phoenix, the name Phoenician also has more spooky puns in later languages:

(Of course, this does not mean that every common-birth sailor from the Phoenician coasts was a spook or banker. As today, it was the aristocratic elites who profited from the globalized trade, not their subjects.)

Word root pn for “trade”?

A meaning of √pn as “trade” would explain the meaning of the name Phoenicians very well. However, the spelling pn has no attested meaning of “trade” or “exchange” in Semitic. There are still possibilities how this meaning may have been connected though:

Hebrew, Aramaic pn = turn, return, clear, convert, transfer, allocate

פנא ; פני pny; pnˀ : to turn to, from; to clear, empty, remove; to turn, direct; to take aside — Hebrew (Jastrow)

פנה ; פני pny; pnh : to turn; to turn around, go away; to vacate; to free, release; to empty, remove, transfer; to free, acquit — Hebrew (Jastrow)

פני pny : to turn; to face; to turn aside; to return; to release; to give back; to pay back; to satisfy a request; to complete; to turn something, turn back; to give back, return; to convert; to turn something in a direction; to clear out; to be returned; to be repaid; to be released — Aramaic (CAL)

הפנה hpnh : to turn; to divert, to direct; to allocate (resources, etc) — Hebrew (Wikt)

Aramaic ˁp, ˁp-n = deal, amass, flourish, profit, interest, busy, business

עפי ˁpy : to be covered in excess; to deal with, be engrossed in; to amass; to flourish, blossom; to make to flourish; to profit; to become busy with — Aramaic (CAL)

עופין ˁwpyn : excessiveness; time-consuming business dealing — Aramaic (CAL)

ܥܘܦܝܢܐ ˁwpynˀ : profit, interest, a valuable return, a gain, gain — Syriac (AAF)

Sanskrit pani = bargainer; pana = trade, business; vanija merchant, trader

पणि paṇi : bargainer — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पाण pāṇa : trade — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पण paṇa : business; property; commodity for sale — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वणिज vaṇija : merchant, trader — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

Phoenicians as pn-nks “turners of wealth”

If you combine the root pn for “turning” & “transferring” with the root nks for “goods” & “wealth”, you get the compound פן-נכס pn-nks “turners of wealth” / “turners of goods”. This compound is not attested. But since almost no Phoenician texts have survived, and little from the other Semitic languages, it may have existed. It would be a very fitting expression to mean “merchant” / “banker”, and consonant-wise it is a perfect match with Greek Phoinix / Phoinikes. The Phoenician elites were merchants & bankers, and perhaps they were named after that.

Hebrew nks = property, goods, riches, wealth

נכס nks : riches, treasures, wealth; compare Assyrian nikâsu, property, wealth, gain — Old Hebrew (Strong)

נכס nks : riches, property, goods, treasury; (Aramaic) corresponding to nekes — Aramaic (Strong)

Phoenicians as pn-nks “clearers of accounts”

In Akkadian, the root nks even meant “accounts” & “accounting”. So pn-nks could also mean “clearing accounts”, which would be an even better expression for “bankers”. The “accounts” meaning is not officially attested for later Aramaic though.

Akkadian nks = cut off, property, wealth, accounts

𒃻𒅗 nikkassu : account, property, possessions, wealth, funds, assets, statement of account — Akkadian (AAF)

Phoenicians as pn-ˀnk “turners of tin”

It’s possible that one meaning of “Phoenicians” may also have been “tin traders”, because the Semitic term פן-אנך pn-ˀnk would mean “turners of tin” and is also very similar.

The tin trade was a particularly important global trade monopoly during the Bronze Age. Most bronze alloys were made from copper & tin, and tin was only found in very few locations. The Phoenician elites were particularly reknown as tin traders. Phoenician tin trade up to the Iberian peninsula is well-attested, and it’s even said to have reached Brittany & Great Britain, one of the major global tin repositories in ancient times.

Aramaic ˀnk = tin, lead

אנכא ˀnkˀ : tin, lead — Aramaic (Wikt)

אנך ˀnk : tin; tin-looking lead (?) — Aramaic (CAL)

Phoenicians as “tricksters”

In Greek, φεναξ phenax means “cheating” & “fraud”. While regular people would see this as an insult, the spooks seem to be mightily proud of their eternal hoaxing, even though they only manage it because of their limitless inherited power. It is therefore possible that they interpret the name Phoinix also in this way.

Greek phenax = cheat, fraudster, impostor

φέναξ phenax : a cheat, quack, impostor; perhaps with a play on phoinix (the bird); in Eq.634 Phenakes are addressed as the tutelary gods of cheats; a fraudster, deceiver, liar — Ancient Greek (

φένᾱξ phénāx : cheat, quack, impostor; according to Beekes, of Pre-Greek origin — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

Other phoenixes explained as Semitic

There is more indirect evidence for a Semitic origin of the Greek word Phoinix, because that word has several other meanings as well: “date palm”, “purple” and “phoenix bird”. Also, there is a Greek term phenax meaning “fraudster”. On the surface, all these meanings have little to do with each other. But they can all be explained very well as similar Semitic compound words, with the common denominator of “turning” something. Such Semitic compounds were perhaps loaned from Phoenician into Greek through archaic dialects, and then conflated:

  1. Phoinix means Phoenicians.
  2. phoinix means date palm.
  3. phoinix means purple.
  4. phoinix means phoenix bird.
  5. phenax means fraudster.

All the phoinix terms can be explained as derived from Semitic compounds with the root √pn, all having to do with “turning” something:

  1. The Phoenicians can be explained as פן-נכס pn-nks “turners of wealth”, or as פן-אנך pn-ˀnk “turners of tin”.
  2. The date palm can be explained as פן-ענקא pn-ˁnqˀ for “turned branch”, for its perfectly curved fruitstalks.
  3. The color purple can be explained as פן-קנע pn-qnˁ “turned dark-blue”, or פן-עז pn-ˁz “turned an intense color”.
  4. The phoenix bird can be explained as פן-חי pn-ḥy “return [to] life”, or as פן-נקז pn-nqz “curved beak” (see phoenix).
  5. The phenax fraudster can be explained as פן-קשט pn-qšṭ for “turning the truth”.

(Of course, this does not mean that Greek is the same as Phoenician, or entirely derived from it. It is a very different language. But Greek script is officially said to be derived from Phoenician script or variants. And loanwords being exchanged between neighboring regions is perfectly normal. Many native Greek words were also loaned into Semitic languages such as Aramaic.)

Greek phoinix = Phoenician, phoenix bird, date palm, purple

φοῖνῐξ phoînix : purple or crimson; palm tree; date (the fruit of the date palm); phoenix, the mythical bird derived from Egyptian mythology; (music) A guitar-like instrument invented by the Phoenicians; The etymology surrounding all senses remains somewhat unclear. The fact that the dye came exclusively from Phoenicia assures some connection. However, it is unclear if it comes from native Greek or is a Phoenician loanword. — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

Φοῖνῐξ Phoînix : Phoenician; Carthaginian; Phoenix, a city on the Mediterranean Sea — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

φένᾱξ phénāx : cheat, quack, impostor; according to Beekes, of Pre-Greek origin — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

Latin Poenus for “Phoenicia”, foenus for “finance”

In Latin, we find the grammar form Poenus meaning “Punic” & “Phoenician”, and also foenus / faenus / fenus meaning “finance”. I think this may not be a coincidence. If all these words stem from pn-nks “turning wealth”, then Phoenicia and the modern English word finance would be related, all ultimately stemming from the word root √pn from the Phoenician language itself.

Latin Poenus = Punic, Phoenician

Poenus : Carthaginian, Punic; of Carthage; Phoenician; scarlet, bright red — Latin (

Poenus : Phoenician — Latin (Wikt)

Poenus : Carthaginian — Latin (Wikt)

Latin foenus, faenus = usury, banking, moneylending

foenus; faenus; fenus : the proceeds of capital lent out, interest; capital lent on interest; gain, profit, advantage; usury — Latin (

foenus; faenus; fenus : interest (on capital); usury; gain, profit, advantage; (figuratively) banking, moneylending (faenus exerceo: practice banking) — Latin (Wikt)

foeneror; faeneror; feneror : to lend on interest; to drain by usury; to borrow on interest; to lend, impart, furnish; practise usury — Latin (

foenero; faenero; fenero : to lend (money) at interest; (in a bad sense) practice usury; to gain by usury; yield interest, compensate amply, regain; to give something against something else — Latin (

The English word pun means “turning around” the meaning for a word, and the Semitic root √pn means “turning around”. Plus, this root can apparently be found in many other languages as well. It’s thus possible that the word pun stems from the root √pn, and that it is thus related to the word Phoenician.

The Roman-era play Poenulus uses a lot of puns, specifically Punic puns. So it may well be that the word pun itself, or a similar term, was used already by the ancient elites. Perhaps it is not attested because the existence of pun-encryption is still a secret.

Milphio: No Punic man this day is a better Punic than I.

Milphio: Nullus me est hodie Poenus Poenior.

Plautus: Poenulus 5.2

🏷  Greek Latin Sanskrit Semitic phoenix pun recommended · name