Note that I have used the biblical spelling of places and characters whenever possible. Otherwise I use Assyrian names and spellings. Entries marked with “*” indicate fictional names not otherwise accounted for in history or literature. Fictional names only found in the original Book of Judith are marked with “**”.
Abran* - Judith’s maid, literally “graceful one”
Achior - Royal advisor to King Sennacherib and the Keeper of the King’s Seal; Achior is based on the historical figure Ahiqar mentioned in the Book of Tobit and Assyrian records where he is known as Adadsumusur. His story and proverbs attributed to him were widely circulated in ancient near east.
Adramelech - Second oldest son of King Sennacherib. He expected to be named crown prince after the death of the oldest son Assur-nadin-sumi. When denied the honor, he led a conspiracy to assassinate his father.
Armory/Arsenal - military headquarters where Holofernes resided; also known as “Hinder Palace,” “Back Palace,” and “Weapons House.” Completed in 689 BCE, the palace encompassed huge internal paved courtyards for mustering and reviewing the troops, stables, storage rooms for weapons, chariots and other equipment of war. The palace included barracks, workshops and administrative offices and elaborate residential areas housed in separate wings.
Arphaxad** - City-lord of Ecba tana made King of the Medes
Assur-nadin-sumi - Sennacherib’s oldest son and crown prince made governor of Babylon until he was captured by a coalition of Elamites, Chaldeans and Babylonians.
Babatha* - Judith’s aunt and mother-in-law
Babylon - Capital city of Babylonia
Bagoas** - General Holofernes’ steward and chamberlain
Bes - Egyptian deity venerated throughout the Ancient Near East. He brandished knife and sword to avert evil and protect the pregnant and birth-giving mother. He is represented as a bow-legged dwarf with an oversized head, goggle eyes, protruding tongue, bushy tail and large feathered crown.
Bethulia** - Judith’s home town; located in the former kingdom of Israel until invaded by the Assyrians and made into the province of Samaria in 721 BCE
Chabris** - the local priest of Bethulia, son of Gothoniel; becomes one of the elders of Bethulia
Chaldeans** - an ancient Semitic people that formed the dominant element of Babylonia.
Charmis** - son of Melchiel; becomes one of the elders of Bethulia
Cherub, pl. cherubim - a composite creature with the body of a lion, a human head and wings; used widely as an architectural and design motif throughout the Ancient Near East, including the temple in Jerusalem. The Assyrians named them genii. These creatures were depicted in the giant stone colossi.
Daughters of Song - professional singers organized in guilds for musical performances; closely associated with professional mourning women and members of women’s drumming and dancing ensembles
Dothan - a small town 1 day’s journey north of Bethulia
Ecbatana - capital of ancient Media situated at the foot of Mt. Elvend
Egrebel, Mt.* - located north of Bethulia and opposite Mt. Horon with which it forms an important East–West pass through the mountains north of Jerusalem
Elam, Elamites - A nation to the east and south of Assyria; often allied with Babylonia against the Assyrians
Esarhaddon - Sennacherib’s youngest son and eventual successor; son of Naqia, consort of Sennacherib
Esdraelon - large, fertile plain north of Dothan
Gemariah* - Bethulias’s blacksmith
Gothoniel** - a rural priest and elder of Bethulia; father of Chabris.
Granary - an administrative center and food storage facility; also known as the House of the Filling
Halule, Battle of - In 691 Babylonia and Elam assembled a large coalition of warriors, including Arameans, Chaldeans, and troops from diverse tribes and states throughout western Iran to form the greatest army yet to face Sennacherib.
Hatti-land - official parlance of the 8th century B.C.E. for any country west of the Euphrates
Hezekiah - King of Judea who was chronically ill and politically marginalized in his latter years; reigned from 715 BCE to 687 BCE.
Holofernes** - Commander-in-chief of all the Assyrian Armies during King Sennacherib’s reign
Horon, Mt.* - located south of Bethulia and opposite Mt. Egrebel with which it forms an important East–West pass through the mountains north of Jerusalem; 2849 feet above sea level
Hoshaiah* - Judith’s uncle and father-in-law; a wealthy landowner
Israel/Israelites - Settled by the twelve tribes of Jacob starting about 1,700 BCE, the Land of Israel eventually encompassed the territory between present-day Lebanon and the Red Sea. After King Solomon (around 1,000 BCE), the northern part of the kingdom split off as an independent nation and was called Israel. What remained in the south became known as Judea. After the Assyrians took control of Israel, a large host of Israelites fled to Judea. Soon after the term “Israel” was used interchangeably with “Judea,” and the residents of Judea became known as Jews regardless of their prior tribal affiliations. I have used the term “Hebrew” to designate both former Israelites and inhabitants of Judea. The term “Jew” was not used until later in history.
Issi-Adad-anenu - Governor of Assyrian province of Magidu with palace and administrative center at Megiddo
Joakim** - High Priest overseeing all the functions of the temple in Jerusalem; chief political figure during the later years of King Hezekiah
Johanna* - Judith’s nurse from age 3 to 12
Judea - see Isreal
Manasseh 1** - Judith’s first cousin and husband
Manasseh 2 - King Hezekiah’s son and successor to the throne of Judea
Melchiel** - Charmis’ father and mayor of Bethulia prior to Uzziah
Meggido - District capital of Assyrian province of Magidu
Merari** - Judith’s father; a wealthy landowner
Merodach-Baladan II - Sennacherib’s archenemy and father of Nabu-sumu-iskun; a Chaldean usurper of Babylon.
Micah** - Uzziah’s father and a poor farmer; through pure ambition became an elder of Bethulia
Mikvah - ritual bath used for purification
Morah, Tree of* - the oak tree under which the Wise Woman sits to provide advise; also known as Oak of the Pillar, Soothsayer’s Oak, Tree of the Teacher and Oak of the Diviner.
Nadin - Achior’s nephew and adopted son
Nebosumiskun - Son of Merodach-Baladan II; saved by Achior at the Battle of Halule and becomes a royal officer in the Assyrian court of Sennacherib
Nabu-ken-usur - Governor of Samaria with palace and administrative center at Samaria
Naqia - Sennacherib’s consort; her name is West Semitic in origin. She was responsible for the promotion of her son Esarhaddon, Sennacherib’s youngest son, to the position of crown-prince late in his reign. In Assyrian, her name was Zakutu meaning “The Pure One”
Nineveh - Capital of Assyrian empire during the reign of Sennacherib
Samaria - former capital of the Kingdom of Israel captured by Assyrians and made capital of new province of Samaria
Shechem - the Canaanite prince who fell in love with Dinah, the daughter of Jacob (see Genesis 34). Also the name of the city his family ruled over.
Sennacherib - King of Assyrian empire from 705 BCE to 681 BCE
Sukkah - temporary booths erected for the festival of Sukkot and decorated with twigs, fruit and leaves.
Sukkot - festival celebrating the harvest; also known as the Feast of the Ingathering, Tabernacles and Festival of Booths
Tasmetum-sarrat - Sennacherib’s beloved consort (and perhaps his first chief wife); Mother of Assur-nadin-sumi and Adramelech
Thisbe - hometown of Achior and Tobit in the land of Tob
Tob, Land of - a small territory located north of present day Amman, Jordan; given as ancestral territory to the Tobiad family
Tobiad Family - Judean noble family gifted the Land of Tob. Most of the Tobiad family deported to Assyria in 721 BCE. They had strong political connections with the Judean royalty.
Tobias - son of Tobit, member of Tobiad family
Tobit - a prince of the royal family of Judea; Achior’s uncle.
Torah - Hebrew name for the sacred writings of the Israelites and Judeans which include the laws of God, narratives and wisdoms of the prophets. Also known as the Book of Teaching, the Law and the Word of God.
Uzziah** - Son of Micah; after his father’s death becomes the mayor of Bethulia
Wise Woman of Dothan* - member of a guild of women trained to provide counsel to the community for matters not addressed by the elders of the city.