An Alternate Etymology of Skύthᾱs
Many articles that deal with the origin of Scythians begin with the premise that Scythians are of the Iranian origin. Szemerenyi, who wrote "Four Old Iranian Ethnic Names: Scythian - Skudra - Sogdian - Saka" (1980), is cited in most of the papers I have read. Wikipedia even subscribes to his etymological views on the subject of Scythians.
If some Scythians are said to be of the Hebrew origin, the alternate etymologies of Scythia and several other terms would be helpful to your cause. They would offer a counter-proposal to prevailing mainstream views. I have written the papers suggesting a Semitic origin of Sk?th?s, Scolotoi, and Skudra on the premise that the suffixes in those names are Semitic and were purposely appended to the root SK, a prominent mark of identity for this ethnic group.
While these papers do not prove that Scythians were indeed Semitic, they do present alternate etymologies, which I dare say fall within the respectable bounds of possibility. Perhaps they will prompt others to take a closer look and undertake serious academic research into the possible Semitic origin of the name Scythia and some of its inhabitants.
The paper on the etymology of Skuthas is attached. I would invite your feedback about its thesis.
An Alternate Etymology of Skύthᾱs
The etymology of Skύthᾱs stems from the root SK which appears in the Akkadian, Old Persian, and Greek names for Scythians. As the vocabulary of Semitic languages is chiefly based on word roots, it is suggested that the root SK is an indicator that the name Skύthᾱs had its origin in one of these languages. If this is indeed true, the name consists of the root SK and the suffix ύth, after eliminating the telltale Greek suffix ᾱs. Asurvey of ancient Semitic suffixes suggests that the Hebrew ūth answers in form and function to the suffix ύth in Skύth. Abstract or collective nouns are formed from this Hebrew suffix which has a secondary capability to denote a domain or extension. Consequently, Skύthᾱs could denote the name as SK + dom (domain), or it would be renderedas a collective name for a group for whom the root SK is the significant mark of identity. This paper does not attempt to discuss the potential identity of Scythians, but instead it examines the lexical senses of the Semitic suffix in the name Skύthᾱs.
The first time Scythians appear in ancient Greek manuscripts, Hesiod (c. 700 BCE) speaks of them as “mare-milking Scythians” whom he calls Σκύ(θ)ας Skύthᾱs .The fifth century BCE historian Herodotus mentions Σκύθαι Skúthai in a similar reference . Elsewhere, Scythians are cited as Σκῠ́θης Skúthēs ‘Scythian,’ Σκῠθῐ́ᾱ Skúthíā ‘Scythia,’ and ΣκύθαSkútha ‘Scythian’ . All these ethnonyms evidence the original vowel ú as a close back rounded vowel. Roger Woodward, editor of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages, states that the Greeks adopted the Phoenician waw as a vowel character to spell the long and short /u/ . Later in Classical Greek, the vowel ύ began to be pronounced y, a close front rounded vowel , giving us the familiar term, Scythia.
The Premise of a Semitic Origin
The lexical structure of Skύth is assumed to be Semitic, comprising a root and a suffix: SK + uth before the Greeks added their suffix (ᾱs), perhaps unaware of the meaning of uth. In form and function, the Hebrew suffix -ūth appears to be the most possible etymon of uth. In Hebrew texts, this suffix is occasionally found to render collective nouns such as galuwth‘exiles’ (in which case -uwth is just a different way of writing -ūth, yet both are pronounced the same) . In addition, at a conceptual level, it often makes concrete nouns abstract, as exemplified by ‘eyaluwth ‘my help’; yalduwth ‘childhood, youth,’ and malkuwth ‘royalty, royal power, reign, kingdom.’
Phonologically, the Hebrew ū is pronounced as a long /u/. This vowel is sometimes substituted with a short /u/ in some Hebrew pronunciation patterns.For example, the certain affixed forms of galuwth and yalduwth, in whichthe vowel /u/ is regularly long, are pronounced as wə·ḡā·luṯ and yal·ḏu·ṯe·ḵā with a short /u/. Ancient Greek scholars are divided over how the Attic Greek vowel /u/was historically pronounced, but this vowel is known to be short in some syllables and long in other syllables , similar to when the length of a vowel changes in the Hebrew pronunciation patterns. Although it is not possible to compare the Greek /u/ in Skύthas qualitatively to the Hebrew /u/ in-ūth with any degree of certainty, both are formed with the same basic vowel. Skύthᾱs is decidedly the Greek appellation, as its vowel ύ carries the acute mark, indicating a high pitch on a short vowel or a rising pitch on a long vowel.
Hebrew has another way of affixing concrete nouns into an abstract form that involves the use of a different suffix. Nouns terminating with -yth are abstract . Examples are chophshiyth ‘prostration by sickness’ (compare to its counterpart, chophshuwth), and shbiyth ‘exile’ (compare to shbuwth which shares the same meaning). Note that the suffix -yth is the obvious equivalent of -uwth, suggesting that these two suffixes are synonymous.
The root consonants of these synonymous suffixes are -YTh and -WTh. In ancient Palestine, a few place names bear both of these root variants: Luwchiyth is also known as Luchowth, which is based on the root WTh but said with the vowel o, as well as `Aviyth and `Ayuwthwhich illustrate the pronunciation differences for the same place. Considering that the Greek Skύthᾱs was an early version of Scythia before its medial vowel changed to y, we cannot help but observe that these two examples appear to parallel the Hebrew method of affixing nouns synonymously with -yth or -ūth.
There is a nagging possibility that although the shift of u > y is credited to the historical Greek phonological change, the medial y may merely represent a Hebrew dialect difference. Is this just a curious coincidence? Without the Greek suffix, was the name Scythia originally a Semitic name? Further exploration of these questions requires a discussion beyond the scope of this paper.
Sometimes -yth and -ūth also indicate a place name. Minniyth and Yarmuwthare examples of geographical landmarks. In proper nouns, these suffixes are occasionally used as well. Batsliyth and Batsluwth, the names for the same person (Nehemiah 7:54, Ezra 2:52), indicate how these suffixes were interchangeably used with apparent ease. In terms of ethnic or national affiliation, Hebrew chiefly employs iyth as a feminine gentilic suffix. We find Yuwdiyth ‘a Jewess,’ Yizr`e’liyth ‘Jezreelitess,’ and Kuwshiyth ‘a Cushite.’
The examples cited in this paper are not exhaustive, but they are indicative of how -yth and -ūth elaborate, enlarge, and extend the meaning of Hebrew words.
In light of the lexical functions of Hebrew suffixes, we can consider the viability that the root SK was modified by a Hebrew suffix to create the new name, SK + ūth. Taking ūth as an extensional state of the word would give us Skύth(ᾱs) as a lexical formation of SK + dom, denoting a geographical domain or extension of Scyths. An alternate interpretation of ūth would render Skύth(ᾱs) as SK + ian, an ethnonym for members of an ethnic group, or a gentilicforthe residents of Scythia, or a patronymic for the descendants of an ancestor or a group represented by the iconic root SK. Although the Hebrew suffix ūth with its lexical range of possible meanings appears to fit well in Skύth(ᾱs), the Semitic origin of Skύthᾱs remains an etymological premise. However, it does suggest the need to re-examine and re-interpret the history of Scythians through a different lens as some archaeological findings hint that the original name-bearers of Skύthᾱscame from the Ancient Near East.
 Hesiod, Catalogues of Women, Fragment 40.
Herodotus, Histories 4.2.1.
Refer to A Greek-English Lexicon by Liddell and Scott.
Roger Woodward. Greek Writing from Knossos to Homer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997, 136.
Allen, W. Sidney. Vox Graeca. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987, 65, 68-69.
 galuwth and other examples are drawn from Strong’s Concordance which uses a different pronunciation system.
 Smyth, Herbert W. A Greek Grammar for Colleges, New York: American Book, 1920, 8.
 Andrews, Stephen. “Denominative Nouns.” In Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics, edited by Geoffrey Khan and et al.,. Leiden: Brill, 2013, 709.