THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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ARMAGEDDON, a name occurring in the Authorized Version of the English Bible in Rev. xvi. 16. The Revised Version has Harmagedon. The form is commonly regarded as the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew har megiddōn, the mountain district of Megiddo. The writer is describing the place where the last decisive battle was to be fought at the Day of Judgment, and Harmagedon may have been chosen as the name because the district about Megiddo had been on several occasions the scene of great battles (cf. Judg. iv. 6 ff., v. 19). It has, however, been suggested in the Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, vii. 170 (1887), that the name is for har migdo, “his fruitful mountain”—the mountain land of Israel. Prof. Cheyne (Encyc. Bibl. s.v.) again, following suggestions of H. Gunkel, H. Zimmern and P. Jensen, compares the dragon of the Apocalypse with the Babylonian Tiāmat, thinks that some myth is referred to, and finds the μαγεδων of Ἀρμαγεδων in the divine name Ὑεσεμμιγαδων, a Babylonian god of the underworld. The name of the place where Tiāmat was defeated by Marduk perhaps included that of a god of the underworld. (See Antichrist.) From the application of the word Armageddon to the great battle of the End of Time comes the use of the phrase “an Armageddon” to express any great slaughter or final conflict.
Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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