Peacock It is a question, perhaps, more of geographical and historical than of Biblical interest to decide whether תֻּכַּיַּים. (tukkiyim; Sept. ταῶνες; Vulg. parni. 1Ki 10:22, also written תּוּכַיַּים, 2Ch 9:21) denotes peacocks strictly so called, or some other species of animal or bird; for on the solution of the question in the affirmative depends the real direction of Solomon's fleet; that is, whether, after passing the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, it proceeded along the east coast of Africa towards Sofala, or whether it turned eastward, ranging along the Arabian and Persian shores to the peninsula of India, and perhaps weirt onwards to Ceylon, and penetrated to the great Australian, or even to the Spice Islands. Bochart, unable to discover a Hebrew root in tukyim, rather arbitrarily proposes a transposition of letters by which he converts the word into Cuthyim, denoting, as he supposes, the country of the Cuthei, which, in an extended sense, is applied, in conformity with various writers of antiquity, to Media and Persia; and Greek authorities show that peacocks abounded in Babylonia, etc. (See AElian, Anim. 13:18; Curtius, 9:1, 13; Diod. Sic. 2:53. Peacocks are called "Persian birds" by Aristophanes, Aves, 484; see also Acharn. 63.) This mode of proceeding to determine the species and the native country of the bird is altogether inadmissible, since Greek writers speak of Persian peacocks at a much later period than the age of Solomon; and it is well known that they were successively carried westward till they passed from the Greek islands into Europe, and that, as Juno's birds the Romans gradually spread them to Gaul and Spain, where, however, they were not common until after the 10th century. They do not occur on the Assyrian or Egyptian monuments. But even if peacocks had been numerous in Media and Northern Persia at the time in question, how were they to be furnished to a fleet which was navigating the Indian Ocean, many degrees to the south of the colder region of High Asia? and as for the land of the Cuthei, or of Cush, when it serves their purpose writers remove it to Africa along with the migrations of the Cushites. The tukkyim have been presumed to derive their appellation from an exotic word implying "tufted" or "crested," which, though true of the peacock, is not so obvious a character as that afforded by its splendid tail; and therefore a crested parrot has been supposed to be meant: so Hudt (Diss. de Nav. Sal. 7, § 6) and one or two others. Parrots, though many species are indigenous in Africa, do not appear to have existed in ancient Egypt; they were unknown till the time of Alexander, and then both Greeks and Romans were acquainted only with species from Ceylon, destitute of crests, such as Psittacus Alexandri (see Antiphanes in Athen. 14:654; Horace, Sat. 2:2, 23; and esp. Bochart, Hieroz. 2:709 sq.); and the Romans for a long time received these only by way of Alexandria, though in the time of Pliny others became known. Keil (Diss. de Ophir, p. 104, and Comment. on 1Ki 10:22), with a view to support his theory that Tarshish is the old Phoenician Tartessus in Spain, derives the Hebrew name from Tucca, a town of Mauretania and Numidia, and concludes that the Aves Aumidicae (Guinea-fowls) are meant: which birds, however, in spite of their name, never existed in Numidia, nor within a thousand miles of that country. Again, the pheasant has been proposed as the bird intended; but Phas. Colchicus, the only species known in antiquity, is likewise without a prominent crest, and is a bird of the colder regions of the central range of Asiatic mountains. Following a line of latitude, it gradually reached westward to High Armenia and Colchis, whence it was first brought to Europe by Greek merchants, who frequented the early emporium on the Phasis. The center of existence of the genus, rich in splendid species, is in the woody region beneath the snowy peaks of the Himalayas, reaching also eastward to Northern China, where the common pheasant is abundant, but not, we believe, anywhere naturally in a low latitude. (Other interpretations are supported in Hase's Biblioth. Brem. 2:468 sq.; Ugolino, Thesaur. vii.)

All versions and comments agree that after the Cebi or apes (probably Cercopithecus Eantellus, one of the sacred species of India), some kind of remarkable bird is meant; and none are more obviously entitled to the application of the name than the peacock, since it is abundant in the jungles of India, and would be met with, both wild and domesticated, by navigators to the coasts from Camboge to Ceylon, and would better than any of the others bear a long sea voyage in the crowded ships of antiquity. Moreover, we find it still denominated togei in the Malabaric dialects of the country, which may be the source of thuki, as well as of the Arabic tawas and Armenian taus. Gesenius (Thesaur. p. 1502) cites many authorities to prove that the tucci is to be traced to the Tamul or Malabaric toyei, "peacock;" which opinion has recently been confirmed by Sir E. Tennent (Ceylon, 2:102, and i, p. 20, 3d ed.), who says, "It is very remarkable that the terms by which these articles (ivory, apes, and peacocks) are designated in the Hebrew Scriptures are identical with the Tamil names, by which some of them are called in Ceylon to the present day — tukeyim may be recognized in tokei, the modern name for these birds." Thus Keil's objection "that this supposed togei is not vet itself sufficiently ascertained" (Comment. on 1Ki 10:22) is satisfactorily met. With regard to the objection that the long ocellated feathers of the rump, and not those of the tail, as is commonly believed, are the most conspicuous object offered by this bird, it may be, answered that if the name togei be the original, it may not refer to a tuft, or may express both the erectile feathers on the head of a bird and those about the rump or the tail; and that those of the peacock have at all times been sought to form artificial crests for human ornaments. One other point remains to be considered, namely, whether the fleet went to the East, or proceeded southward along the African shore? No doubt, had the Phoenician trade guided the Hebrews in the last-mentioned direction, gold and apes might have been obtained on the east coast of Africa, and even some kinds of spices in the ports of Abyssinia; for all that region, as far as the Strait of Madagascar, was at that early period in a state of comparative affluence and civilization. But in that case a great part of the commercial produce would have been obtained within the borders of the Red Sea, and beyond the Strait; the distance to be traversed, therefore, being but partially affected by the monsoons, never could have required a period of three years for its accomplishment; and a prolonged voyage round the Cape to the Guinea and Gold Coast is an assumption so wild that it does not merit serious consideration; but intending to proceed to India, the fleet had to reach the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb in time to take advantage of the western monsoon; be in port, perhaps at or near Bombay, before the change; and after the storms accompanying the change it had to proceed during the eastern monsoon under the lee of the land to Coodramalli, or the port of Palesimundus in Taprobana, on the east coast of Ceylon; thence to the Coromandel shore, perhaps to the site of the present ruins of Mahabalipuram; while the return voyage would again occupy one year and a half. The ports of India and Ceylon could furnish gold, precious stones, Eastern spices, and even Chinese wares; for the last fact is fully established by discoveries in very ancient Egyptian tombs. Silks, which are first mentioned in Pr 31:22, could not have come from Africa, and many articles of advanced and refined social life, not the produce of Egypt, could alone have been derived from India. SEE OPHIR.

Though in this short abstract of the arguments respecting the direction of Solomon's fleet there may be errors, none, we believe, are of sufficient weight to impugn the general conclusion which supports the usual rendering of tukyim by "peacocks;" although the increase of species in the West does not appear to have been remarkable till some ages after the reign of the great Hebrew monarch, when the bird was dedicated to Juno, and reared at first in her temple at Samos. There are only two species of true peacocks, viz. that under consideration, which is the Pavo cristatus of Linn.; and another, Pavo Muticus, more recently discovered, which differs in some particulars, and originally belongs to Japan and China. Peacocks bear the cold of the Himalayas; they run with great swiftness, and where they are serpents do not abound, as they devour the young with great avidity, and, it is said, attack with spirit even the cobra de capello when grown to considerable size, arresting its progress and confusing it by the rapidity and variety of their evolutions around it, till, exhausted with fatigue, it is struck on the head and dispatched. The ascription of the quality of vanity to the peacock is as old as the time of Aristotle, who says (Hist. An. 1:1, § 15), "Some animals are jealous and vain like the peacock." The A.V. in Job 39:13, speaks of "the goodly wings of the peacocks;" but there the Hebrew words are different (כּנִŠ רנָנַים נעֶלָסָה, the wing of the renanim is lifted up, or flutters joyously), and have undoubted reference to the "ostrich" (q.v.). SEE ADRAMMELECH.

Bible concordance for PEACOCK.

PEACOCK in Christian symbolism was an emblem of the resurrection. It is well known that this bird loses its brilliant plumes every year at the approach of winter ("annuis vicibus," as Pliny expresses it, Hist. Nat. 10:22), and renews them in spring, when nature seems to reissue from the tomb. Hence interpreters of Christian archeology regard this bird as an unequivocal type of the resurrection (Bosio, Sotl. p. 641; compare Aringhi, Rom. subter. c. 36, p. 612); although Mamachi (Antiq. Christ. 3:92) observes that this opinion rests solely upon the authority of the fathers. Anthony of Padua has made the same representation (Serm. fer. 5 post Trinit.). St. Augustine finds another token of the resurrection in the incorruptibility which his age attributed to the flesh of the peacock (De Civit. Dei, 21:4). These references are corroborated by the figures of this bird found in early Roman cemeteries. We figure one of these from the cemetery of Sts. Marcellin and Peter (Bottari, vol. 2, pl. 97), of a peacock rising from a globe as an emblem of this world. For others, see Boldetti (Civit. p. 163), Lupi (Dissert. II, 1:204); D'Agincourt (Peinture, pl. 2, No. 9), Polidori (Sopra alcuni sepolcri, etc., p. 57).

Definition of peacock

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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