Where is the Sambatyon? Is there really a river somewhere that throws stones all week and rests on Shabbos?
- Anybody can ask a question
- Anybody can answer
- The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
Well, an encyclopedia entry on it says the earliest source is Pliny's Historia Naturalis, in which a river with similar miraculous properties is in fact reported in XXXI:18 (last line). The footnote there identifies it, citing a later source, as the river Eleutherus, which is currently in northern Lebanon.
I once saw an article (don't recall where) that identified it with the Dardanelles, which separates Europe from Asia. Part of the author's idea was that it was originally called ים בטיון ("Sea of the Bithynians," an ancient people who lived in that area), and that got corrupted to סמבטיון.