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. The verse in question reads, ...the beginning of his [Nimrod's] kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar, and some scholars have proposed that this is not actually a proper name, but merely the Hebrew word meaning "all of them".

Calneh was traditionally identified with Ctesiphon, as in Jerome's writings (Hebrew questions on Genesis, ca. 390). Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary identified 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. A 'Calneh' is also mentioned in Amos 6:2, and some have also associated this place with Calno — according to 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, about six miles from Arpad. Also sometimes connected with this is Canneh, mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel 27:23 as one of the towns with which Tyre carried on trade.

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