The city of Larnaca, (Greek: Λάρνακα, Turkish: Larnaka) on the west coast of Cyprus, was known in ancient times as Kition, or (in Latin) Citium. On this basis, Flavius Josephus (c. 100 AD) identified the Kittim with Cyprus, however the name seems to have been employed with some flexibility in Hebrew literature, and was sometimes used to apply to the Romans, Macedonians or Assyrians. Some authors have speculated that it comes from an Akkadian word meaning "invaders". Others (following Max Müller) have identified Kittim with the land of Hatti (Khatti), as the Hittite Empire was known.
According to The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, the name Kittim "is extended to include the W[est] in general, but esp[ecially] the seafaring W[est]."
The 'New International Version' Bible renders the expression "ships of Kittim" (appearing in the Book of Daniel 11) as "ships of the western coastlands."
In the War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness from the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Kittim are referred to as being "of Asshur".
The mediaeval rabbinic compilation Yosippon contains a detailed account of the Kittim. As the peoples spread out, it says, the Kittim camped in Campania and built a city called "Posomanga", while descendants of Tubal camped in neighboring Tuscany and built "Sabino", with the Tiber river as their frontier. However, they soon went to war following the rape of the Sabines by the Kittim. This war was ended when the Kittim showed the descendants of Tubal their mutual progeny. They then built cities called Porto, Albano, and Aresah. Later, their territory is occupied by Agnias, King of Carthage, but the Kittim end up appointing Zepho, son of Eliphaz and grandson of Esau, as their king, with the title Janus Saturnus. The first king of Rome, Romulus, is made in this account to be a distant successor of this line. A shorter, more garbled version of this story is also found in the later Sefer haYashar
The Essenes community believed that the Kittim (or Kitti'im) referred to the Roman Empire. Many writings have been discovered throughout the Dead Sea Scrolls referring to the Kitti'im with commentaries on the Law. They worshiped their standard, the imperial eagle.
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