One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(The title of) the chief magistrate of the Jews at Alexandria under the Ptolemies and Romans.
Mid 17th century. From classical Latin alabarches, variant with dissimilation (in MSS and editions; compare Hellenistic Greek ἀλαβάρχης (Josephus)) of arabarches ruler of Arabs (Cicero), official in charge of customs, especially in Egypt (Juvenal) from Hellenistic Greek ἀραβάρχης from ancient Greek Ἄραβ-, Ἄραψ + -αρχης.
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