Calneh was said to be one of the four cities founded by Nimrod, according to Genesis 10:10 in the Bible. Its identity is uncertain, and remains a mystery.[1] The verse in question reads, ...the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar, and W.F. Albright proposed[2] that this is not actually a proper name, but merely the Hebrew word meaning "all of them".

Calneh was identified with Ctesiphon in Jerome's Hebrew questions on Genesis, ca. 390 CE.[3] Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary silently follows Sir Henry Rawlinson in interpreting the Talmudic passage Joma 10a[4] identifying Calneh with the modern Nippur, a lofty mound of earth and rubbish situated in the marshes on the east bank of the Euphrates, but 30 miles distant from its present course, and about 60 miles south-south-east from Babylon.

Calneh is also mentioned in Amos 6:2, and some have also associated this place with Calno — in Isaiah 10:9, located in Northern Syria between Carchemish on the Euphrates River and Arpad near Aleppo. This is identified by some archaeological scholars as Kulnia, Kullani or Kullanhu, modern Kullan-Köy about ten kilometers southeast from Arpad.[5] Canneh, mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel 27:23 as one of the towns with which Tyre carried on trade was associated with Calneh by A.T. Olmstead, History of Assyria. Xenophon mentioned a Kainai on the west bank of the Tigris below the Upper Zab.[6]

Calneh figures among the conquests of Shalmaneser III (858 BCE) and Tiglath-Pileser III


  1. Jewish Encyclopedia, s.v. "Calneh"; A. S. Yahuda, "Calneh in Shinar" Journal of Biblical Literature 65.3 (September 1946:325-327).
  2. Albright, "The End of 'Calneh in Shinar'", Journal of Near Eastern Studies 3 (1944:254f, note 17; Yahuda 1946 registered objections to Albright's emended reading of the Masoretic text.
  3. Jerome followed Eusebius of Caesarea in this identification (Jewish Encyclopedia).
  4. Rawlinson is credited in the Jewish Encyclopedia; A "guess", according to E.G. Kraeling and J.A. Montgomery "Brief Communications: Calneh Gen. 10: 10", Journal of Biblical Literature 1935:233.
  5. Albright 1944:255; Yahuda 1946:327.
  6. Xenophon, Anabasis ii.4, noted in this connection by I J. Gelb, "Calneh" The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 51.3 (April 1935:189-191) p. 189 note 2.

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