🏷  Semitic hidden ruler pun spook name · name   —   by Gerry · Oct 2019 · 1009 words

The name Shapiro seems favored by spook aristocrats, because Aramaic shapir means “nobility”. The name may also point to Hebrew-Aramaic sopher for “scribe”, perhaps related to Akkadian shapiru. The consonants are the same as in Schaeffer.

Aramaic shapir for “nobility”

Shapiro is officially a “Jewish” name, but has no official etymology. There’s a hint though (which has been deleted at Wikipedia): One theory derives the name from the Aramaic root √špr for “good” & “beautiful”, which is often vowelized to shapir / shapiru. And in some Aramaic compounds, it actually means “nobility”, i.e. someone from a “good family”.

And that is the central idea of spookery: Aristocrats feigning to be commoners, to conceal their corruption. The Book of Genesis itself states that the whole idea was concocted by the rulers against their subjects. Even the central term “Jew” puns with “nobility”!

The other components used together with shapir are typically ginsa for “family” (from Latin gens), and ṭuhma for “lineage”. But even without those components, we can see that the spelling and meaning are a near-perfect match for the name Shapiro. So by the spooks, shapiro may be seen as an abbreviation for shapir ginsa / shapir ṭuhma for “aristocratic” & “noble”.

Aramaic špyr = beautiful, good, proper, noble, aristocratic, upper-class

ܫܦܝܪ špyr šappir : beautiful; often with a qualifying genitive or adverbial infinitive; proper, good, suitable, OK — Aramaic (CAL)

ܫܲܦܝܼܪ ܓܸܢܣܵܐ‏ špyr gnsˀ šappir ginsa : noble — Aramaic (CAL)

ܫܲܦܝܼܪ ܓܸܢܣܵܐ‏ špyr gnsˀ šapir ginsa : noble / titled / aristocratic, respected — Syriac (AAF)

ܫܦܝܪ ܓܢܣܐ špyr gnsˀ šapir ginsa : a peer, an aristocrat, a blue-blooded person, a Grandee / a lord — Syriac (AAF)

ܫܲܦܿܝܼܪܘܼܬ ܛܘܼܗܡܵܐ špyrwt ṭwhmˀ šappiruta ṭuhma : nobility — Aramaic (CAL)

ܫܦܝܪ ܛܘܗܡܐ špyr ṭwhmˀ šapir ṭuhma : well-born, born of a family of good / noble / high standing, well-connected (?), born into the upper class — Syriac (AAF)

Shapiro, and its variations such as Shapira, Schapiro, Schapira, Sapir, Sapira, Spira, Sapiro, Szapiro (in Polish) and Chapiro (in French), is a Jewish surname which can be either Ashkenazi or Sephardi.

One theory suggests that it derives from Shpira, the Hebrew/Yiddish name for Spira (Hebrew: שפירא‎), pronounced Shpira (which is an Aramaic borrowed word meaning “handsome”). Another derives it from the medieval name of Speyer, Germany. The Jewish community of Speyer was one of three leading cities central to the development of Ashkenazi culture […]

Wikipedia: Shapiro

Akkadian šāpiru as governor title

Here’s another idea I had before: A very good fit for Shapiro would be the Akkadian title šāpiru, generally meaning “governor”. Neither Akkadian nor Hebrew differentiate in writing between O & U, so šāpiru is 100% equivalent to the name Shapiro.

The only problem with that ancient title being used as a modern spook pun is that it’s nowhere found in more modern languages, such as Hebrew or Aramaic. Typically, spooks seem to recycle puns only from classical antiquity onwards. Records of older empires may have actually been purged & lost even to them, and only recently rediscovered.

Akkadian špr = sending messages, commanding, governing

šapiru : giver of instructions; “ruler” said of kings; “governor, controller” said of officials, gener. “administrator, boss”; š. māti/PlN/nārim “(provincial) governor; controller of land, city, canal”; “controller” of people, troops; esp. NB “overseer” of craftsmen etc.; < šaparu — Akkadian (Black)

𒉺 šāpiru : overseer; governor; šāpir māti: governor — Akkadian (AAF)

šāpir : overseer, governor, prefect, commander, chief — Akkadian (Huehnergard)

Hebrew sopher for “scribe”

Another close match for Shapiro would be the Hebrew title sopher for “scribe”. It’s also close to Akkadian šāpiru, and since both are titles, some scholars see them as cognates, i.e. words with a common ancestor.

While a scribe is often thought of as a low-level copyist, many articles stress that it could also be an administrative position (like a common secretary, and a secretary of state). The Wikipedia article about the title sofer describes scribes as mainly transcribing religious texts. But in a separate Wiki article on scribes in Judaism, these scribes are described as fulfilling the role of “lawyers, journalists, government ministers, judges, or financiers”. That is an almost perfect list of the most spook-infested professions!

It’s thus possible that the spook name Shapiro could also stand for sopher, especially since Scribner & Schreiber are also spook names. However, for shapir as “nobility”, the pronunciation and the link to spookery are a much better match.

The Hebrew term for “scribe” is sofer, a participle form of the root spr, meaning “to count.” It is a Canaanite word, appearing in Ugarit (rb spr, “chief scribe”) as well as a loanword in an Egyptian text – sofer yodeʿa, i.e., “wise scribe” (Papyrus Anastasi I; late 13th century B.C.E.). It may be a cognate to Akkadian šāpiru, “secretary, official.”

Encyclopedia Judaica: Scribe

The discrepancy as to origin of Hebrew סופר = “scribe/official-in-charge” between Gesenius-Buhl, which sees this meaning as an internal Heb. development of the pres. act. ptc. of the verb ספר vs. Mendenhall’s casual mention, again just hanging there, “city of the šāpiru = governor” (see pp. 9 & 10 above, resp.), is not a matter that need concern us here;

Yoël Arbeitman: A Semitic / Afrasian Gathering in Remembrance of Albert Ehrman

One point of contention is whether the Hebrew title ספר is a cognate of Akkadian šāpiru, “envoy, overseer, governor, ruler.” The difficulty evolves around semantic discrepancies between the two terms. It seems, though, that the Akkadian root špr, like the Hebrew root ספר, has a range of meanings that also encompass a writing component. For example, the verb šapāru, principally defined as “to send a person, a report, a message,” has an extended meaning, “to write (a letter),” attested from Old Akkadian through the Neo-Babylonian period; the substantive šipru can carry the sense “commission, report, messenger.”

Nili Fox: In the Service of the King

As early as the 11th century BCE, scribes in Ancient Israel, were distinguished professionals who would exercise functions which today could be associated with lawyers, journalists, government ministers, judges, or financiers. Some scribes also copied documents, but this was not necessarily part of their job.

Wikipedia: Scribe

🏷  Semitic hidden ruler pun spook name · name