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Encyclopedia > Arameans

The Aramaeans, or Arameans, were a Semitic, seminomadic and pastoralist people who originated and had lived in upper Mesopotamia and Syria. Aramaeans have never had a unified empire; they were divided in independent kingdoms all across the Near East. Yet to these Aramaeans befell the privilege of imposing their language and culture upon the entire Near East and beyond. Scholars even have used the term 'Aramaization' for the Syro-Mesopotamian peoples, languages and cultures that have been made 'Aramean'. Semitic is a linguistic term referring to a subdivision of largely Middle Eastern Afro-Asiatic languages, the Semitic languages, as well as their speakers corresponding cultures, and ethnicities. ... The Near East is a term commonly used by archaeologists and historians, less commonly by journalists and commentators, to refer to the region encompassing the Levant (modern Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon), Anatolia (modern Turkey), Mesopotamia (Iraq and eastern Syria), and the Iranian Plateau (Iran). ... The Near East is a term commonly used by archaeologists and historians, less commonly by journalists and commentators, to refer to the region encompassing the Levant (modern Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon), Anatolia (modern Turkey), Mesopotamia (Iraq and eastern Syria), and the Iranian Plateau (Iran). ...

Contents


Language

Aramaeans are mostly defined by their use of the Aramaic language, first written using the Phoenician alphabet slightly modified. Their language, namely Aramaic, belongs -- like Hebrew, Ammonite and others -- to the north-western group of Semitic dialects. As early as the 8th century BC, Aramaic language and writing competed with the Akkadian language and script (cuneiform) in Assyria, and thereafter it spread throughout the Orient. Around 500 BC, when the Achaemenid monarchs looked for a tongue that could be understood by all their subjects, they chose Aramaic, which became the lingua franca of their vast empire. It was not until Greek emerged several centuries later that Aramaic lost its prestige as the most sophisticated language; but it remained unchallenged as the common dialect of all peoples of the Near East and was to remain so until the Arab invasion (7th century CE). Aramaic is a Semitic language with a 3,000-year history. ... The Phoenician alphabet dates from around 1000 BC and is derived from the Proto-Canaanite alphabet. ... Aramaic is a Semitic language with a four-thousand year history. ... Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family spoken by more than 7 million people, mainly in Israel, the West Bank, the United States and by Jewish communities around the world. ... Ammon is an Egyptian proper noun that can refer to at least two distinct entities. ... Semitic is a linguistic term referring to a subdivision of largely Middle Eastern Afro-Asiatic languages, the Semitic languages, as well as their speakers corresponding cultures, and ethnicities. ... Akkadian (lišānum akkadītum) was a Semitic language (part of the greater Afro-Asiatic language famaily) spoken in ancient Mesopotamia, particularly by the Assyrians and Babylonians. ... Cuneiform (from the Latin word for wedge-shaped) can refer to: Mesopotamian clay tablet 492 BCE, Field Museum of Natural History,Chicago, Illinois. ... Assyria in earliest historical times referred to a region on the Upper Tigris river, named for its original capital, the ancient city of Ashur. ... Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Dynasty was a dynasty in the ancient Persian Empire, including Cyrus II the Great, Darius I and Xerxes I. At the height of their power, the Achaemenid rulers of Persia ruled over territories roughly emcompassing some parts of todays Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon... Aramaic is a Semitic language with a four-thousand year history. ... Lingua franca, literally Frankish language in Italian, was originally a mixed language consisting largely of Italian plus a vocabulary drawn from Turkish, Persian, French, Greek and Arabic and used for communication throughout the Middle East. ... Aramaic is a Semitic language with a four-thousand year history. ... The Near East is a term commonly used by archaeologists and historians, less commonly by journalists and commentators, to refer to the region encompassing the Levant (modern Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon), Anatolia (modern Turkey), Mesopotamia (Iraq and eastern Syria), and the Iranian Plateau (Iran). ... The Arabs (Arabic: عرب ʻarab) are a large and heterogenous ethnic group found throughout the Middle East and North Africa, originating in the Arabian Peninsula of southwest Asia. ...


History

The origin of the Aramaeans is still uncertain, arising from the limited amount of evidence regarding the mention of Aramaeans in Mesopotamian inscriptions. The appearance of the Aramaeans is retraced to two different dates: the 14th and the 12th centuries depending upon the acceptance of some kind of relationship between the Aramaeans and the Ahlamû. Nonetheless, present-day scholarship seems to be agreed upon their Upper Mesopotamian origins. This is an article about the ancient middle eastern region. ...


14th century BC

The Ahlamû are first mentioned in the el-Amarna letters alluding to the king of Babylon; the presence of the Ahlamû are also attested in Assyria, Nippur and even at Dilmun (Bahrain); Shalmaneser I (1274-1245 BC) defeated the Shattuara, King of Mitanni and his Hittite and Ahlamû mercenaries at Jazirah. In the following century, they cut (the Ahlamû) the road from Babylon to Hattusas, and Tukulti-Ninurta I (1244-1208 BC) claims that he conquered Mari, Hana and Rapiqum on the Euphrates and "the mountain of the Ahlamû". The Amarna letters is the name popularly given to an archive of correspondence, mostly diplomatic, found at Amarna, the modern name for the capital of the Egyptian New Kingdom primarily from the reign of pharaoh Amenhotep IV, better known as Akhenaten (1369 - 1353 BCE). ... Babylon is the Greek variant of Akkadian Babilu, an ancient city in Mesopotamia (Location: , , modern Al Hillah, Iraq). ... Assyria in earliest historical times referred to a region on the Upper Tigris river, named for its original capital, the ancient city of Ashur. ... The city of Nippur [nipoor] (Sumerian Nibru, Akkadian Nibbur) was one of the most ancient of all the Babylonian cities of which we have any knowledge, the special seat of the worship of the Sumerian god, Enlil, ruler of the cosmos subject to An alone. ... Dilmun (sometimes transliterated Telmun) is associated with ancient sites on the islands of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. ... Shalmaneser I, son of Adad-nirari I, succeeded his father as king of Assyria about 1310 BC. He carried on a series of campaigns against the Aramaeans in northern Mesopotamia, annexed a portion of Cilicia to the Assyrian empire, and established Assyrian colonies on the borders of Cappadocia. ... Mitanni or Mittani (in Assyrian sources Hanilgalbat, Khanigalbat) was a kingdom in northern Syria during the later 2nd millennium BCE. The name was later used as a geographical term for the area between the Khabur and Euphrates rivers in Neo-Assyrian times. ... Hittite can refer to either: The ancient Anatolian people called the Hittites; or The Hittite language, an ancient Indo-European language they spoke. ... The term Jazirah is island or peninsula in Arabic language and may refer to Al Jazirah, Mesopotamia Al Gezira, Sudan Gezira, of Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt Algeciras a city in Southern Spain Al Jazeera, Arabic television channel, Qatar. ... Babylon is the Greek variant of Akkadian Babilu, an ancient city in Mesopotamia (Location: , , modern Al Hillah, Iraq). ... Hattusa (also known as Hattusas or Hattush) was the capital of the Hittite Empire. ... Tukulti-Ninurta I was a king of Assyria from 1244 BC to 1208 BC. Categories: Royalty stubs | Assyrian kings ... The Mari (also known as Cheremis in Russian and ÇirmeÅŸ in Tatar) are a Volga-Finnic people in the Volga area, the natives of Mari El, Russia. ... Hana can be: A Jewish variant transliteration of Hannah. ... The Euphrates (the traditional Greek name for the river, which is in Old Persian Ufrat, Aramaic Prâth/Frot, in Arabic Al-Furat الفرات, in Turkish Fırat and in ancient Assyrian language Pu-rat-tu) is the westernmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia (Bethnahrin in Aramaic), the...


12th century BC

For the first time, an inscription of Tiglath-Pileser I (1115-1077 BC) refers to the ‘Ahlamû-Aramaeans’ (Ahlame Armaia) and from then on, the Ahlamû rapidly disappear from Assyrian annals -- to be replaced by the Aramaeans (Aramu, Arimi). ‘Ahlamû-Aramaeans’ would consider the Aramaeans as an important and in time dominant faction of the Ahlamû tribes, however it is possible that the two peoples had nothing in common, but operated in the same area. It is conceivable that the name 'Arameans' was a more accurate form of the earlier ethnonym Martu (Amorites, westerners) in the Assyrian tablets. Tiglath-Pileser I (the Hebraic form of Tukulti-apil-Esharra, my trust is in the son of Esharra) was King of Assyria (1115 BC - 1077 BC). ... This article concerns the Assyrian people. ... Amorite (Hebrew ’emōrî, Egyptian Amar, Akkadian Amurrū (corresponding to Sumerian MAR.TU or Martu) refers to a Semitic people who occupied the middle Euphrates area from the second half of the third millennium BC and also appear in the Tanakh. ...


11th century B.C.

The Aramaeans were, in the 11th century BC, established in Syria. The Bible tells us that Saul, David and Solomon (late 11th to 10th centuries) fought against the Aramaeans kingdoms across the northern frontier of Israel: Aram-Sôvah in the Beq’a, Aram-Bêt-Rehob and Aram-Ma’akah around Mount Hermon, Geshur in the Hauran, and Damascus. Farther north, the Aramaeans were in possession of Hamath on the Orontes and were soon to become strong to dissociate the Neo-Hittite block. The Bible (sometimes The Book, Good Book, Word of God, The Word, or Scripture), from Greek (τα) βιβλια, (ta) biblia, (the) books, is the classical name for the Hebrew Bible of Judaism or the combination of the Old Testament and New Testament of Christianity (The Bible actually refers to at least two... Saul (Hebrew Shaul meaning demanded) is: 1. ... Michelangelos David. ... Solomon (Hebrew, Shlomo from Shalom for peace, also Arabic as Suleiman or Sulyaman meaning peace) can mean any of the following: 1. ... Damascus by night, pictured from Jabal Qasioun; the green spots are minarets Damascus (Arabic officially دمشق Dimashq, colloquially ash-Sham الشام) is the capital city of Syria. ... Hama is a province of Syria with currently approximately 350,000 inhabitants. ... The Orontes or ‘Asi is a river of Lebanon and Syria. ...


10th – 9th centuries BC

The Aramaeans conquered, during the 10th and the 9th centuries, Sam’al (Zenjirli), the region of Aleppo which they renamed Bît-Agushi, and Til-Barsip, which became the chief town of Bît-Adini. At the same time, Aramaeans moved to the east of the Euphrates, where they settled in such numbers that the whole region became known as Aram-Naharaim or "Aram of the two rivers". One of their earliest kingdoms in Mesopotamia was Bît-bahiâni (Tell Halaf). Old Town Aleppo viewed from the Citadel Aleppo is also the name of two townships in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. ... The Euphrates (the traditional Greek name for the river, which is in Old Persian Ufrat, Aramaic Prâth/Frot, in Arabic Al-Furat الفرات, in Turkish Fırat and in ancient Assyrian language Pu-rat-tu) is the westernmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia (Bethnahrin in Aramaic), the... Sumerian list of gods in cuneiform script, ca. ... Hunting scene relief in basalt found at Tell Halaf, dated 850-830 BCE Tell Halaf is an archaeological site in the Al Hasakah governorate of northeastern Syria, near the Turkish border. ...


From 8th century BC

Aramaean kingdoms were subjugated by Adad-nirari II, Ashurnasirpal II, and his son Shalmaneser III, who destroyed many of the small tribes, and gave control of Syria and local trade and natural resources to the Assyrians. Some Assyrian kings even took Aramaean wives. Though without a state, Arameans continued their presence in the Near East. Adad-nirari II is generally considered to be the first King of Assyria in the Neo-Assyrian period. ... Ashurnasirpal II, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California Ashurnasirpal II was king of Assyria from 884 BC-859 BC. Ashurnasirpal succeeded his father, Tukulti-Ninurta II, in 884 BC. He conquered Mesopotamia and the territory of what is now the Lebanon, adding them to the growing Assyrian empire. ... Shalmaneser III (Šulmānu-ašarēdu, the god Shulmanu is pre-eminent) was king of Assyria (859 BC-824 BC), and son of the previous ruler, Ashurnasirpal II. His long reign was a constant series of campaigns against the eastern tribes, the Babylonians, the nations of Mesopotamia and Syria... It has been suggested that Assyrian people be merged into this article or section. ... This article concerns the Assyrian people. ... The Near East is a term commonly used by archaeologists and historians, less commonly by journalists and commentators, to refer to the region encompassing the Levant (modern Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon), Anatolia (modern Turkey), Mesopotamia (Iraq and eastern Syria), and the Iranian Plateau (Iran). ...


Religion and art

Fertile Crescent
myth series
Mesopotamian
Levantine
Arabian
God in Hebrew
Babylonian/Assyrian religion
Yezidism
The Levant
edit

It appears from their inscriptions as well as from their names, that Aramaeans worshipped Sumero-Akkadian and Canaanite gods, such Haddad, (Adad), the storm-god, El, the supreme deity of Canaan, Sin, Ishtar (whom they called ‘Attar), the Phoenician goddess Anat (‘Atta) and others. Semitic gods refers to the gods or deities of peoples generally classified as speaking a Semitic language. ... Image File history File links Palmsymbol. ... This article is in need of attention. ... In the Western Semitic pantheon, the Elohim are the sons of El assembled on the divine holy place, Mt. ... Arabic Mythology is the ancient beliefs of the Arabs. ... At the bottom of the hands, the two letters on each hand combine to form יהוה (YHVH), the name of God. ... This diorite head is believed to represent king Hammurabi Babylonian and Assyrian religion was a series of belief systems in places in the early civilisations of the Euphrates valley. ... The Yezidi or Yazidi (Kurdish; Êzidî) are adherents of a small Middle Eastern religion with ancient origins. ... The Levant Levant is an imprecise geographical term historically referring to a large area in the Middle East south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and by the northern Arabian Desert and Upper Mesopotamia to the east. ... Ä’l is a northwest Semitic word and name translated into English as either god or God or left untranslated as El, depending on the context. ... Elyon: The name or epithet or word ‘Elyôn (Masoretic pronunciation of Hebrew עליון), is traditionally rendered in Samaritan Hebrew as illiyyon, and means something like higher, upper. It derives from the Hebrew root ‘lh, Semitic root ‘ly go up, ascend. ‘Elyôn when is means God or is applied to God... Haddad - בעל הדד - حداد (in Ugaritic Haddu) was a very important northwest Semitic storm god and rain god, cognate in name and origin with the Akkadian god Adad. ... A 19th-century reproduction of a Greek bronze of Adonis found at Pompeii Adonis, an annual vegetation life-death-rebirth deity, imported from Syrian into Greek mythology, always retained aspects of his Semitic Near Eastern origins and was one of the most complex cult figures in classical times. ... Anat, also ‘Anat (in ASCII spelling `Anat and often simplified to Anat), Hebrew or Phoenician ענת (‘Anāt), Ugaritic ‘nt, Greek Αναθ (transliterated Anath), in Egyptian rendered as Antit, Anit, Anti (not to be confused with Anti) , or Anant, is a major northwest Semitic goddess. ... The Palmyran god of the evening star. ... For the small research submarine, see Asherah (submarine). ... Astarte on a car with four branches protruding from roof. ... Atargatis, in Aramaic ‘Atar‘atah, was a Syrian deity, more commonly known to the Greeks by a shortened form of the name, Derceto or Derketo (Strabo 16. ... Azizos or Aziz; the Palmyran god of the morning star. ... Baal was a Semitic god worshipped by the Canaanites and Phoenicians, who brought his worship to other parts of the Mediterranean. ... Ba‘alat Gebal, Lady of Byblos, was the goddess of the of the city of Byblos, sometimes known to the Greeks as Baaltis. ... Other deities worshipped at Ugarit were El Shaddai, El Elyon, and El Berith. ... // The ancient god Dagon Dagon was a major northwest Semitic god, the god of grain and agriculture according to the few sources to speak of the matter, worshipped by the early Amorites, by the people of Ebla, by the people of Ugarit and a chief god (perhaps the chief god... In the Western Semitic pantheon, the Elohim are the sons of El assembled on the divine holy place, Mt. ... See Kug-Baba for the sumerian queen. ... Liluri was an old Syrian goddess of mountains. ... Manuzi was an old Syrian weather god. ... In Ugaritic Mot Death (spelled mt) is personified as a god of death. ... Salem or Shalom is the god of the dawn and peace in the pantheon of the Levant. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Yahu, Yah, Yam, or Yaw [jaÊŠ] is the name of the Levantine god of chaos and mass-destruction, and in some myths he is one of the ilhm (Els) or sons of El. ... Canaanite can describe anything pertaining to Canaan: in particular, its languages and inhabitants. ... Originating from the ancient Phoenician and Canaanite god of storms, who was subsumed into an aspect of Baal, see Hadad. ... EL or El may mean: Electroluminescence, an optical and electrical phenomenon where a material such as a natural blue diamond emits light when an electric current is passed through it. ... Sin has been a term most usually used in a religious context, and today describes any lack of conformity to the will of God; especially, any willful disregard for the norms revealed by God is a sin. ... Ishtar is the Akkadian counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna and to the cognate northwest Semitic goddess Astarte. ... Anat, also ‘Anat (in ASCII spelling `Anat and often simplified to Anat), Hebrew or Phoenician ענת (‘Anāt), Ugaritic ‘nt, Greek Αναθ (transliterated Anath), in Egyptian rendered as Antit, Anit, Anti (not to be confused with Anti) , or Anant, is a major northwest Semitic goddess. ...


The Aramaeans apparently followed the traditions of the country where they settled. The King of Damascus, for instance, employed Phoenician sculptors and ivory-carvers. In tell Halaf-Guzana, the palace of Kapara, an Aramaean ruler (9th century B.C.), was decorated with orthostats and with statues that display a mixture of Mesopotamian, Hittite and Hurrian influences. Damascus by night, pictured from Jabal Qasioun; the green spots are minarets Damascus (Arabic officially دمشق Dimashq, colloquially ash-Sham الشام) is the capital city of Syria. ... Phoenician can mean: The Phoenician ancient civilization The Phoenician alphabet The Phoenician languages This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... This is an article about the ancient middle eastern region. ... Hittite can refer to either: The ancient Anatolian people called the Hittites; or The Hittite language, an ancient Indo-European language they spoke. ... The word Hurrian may refer to: An ancient people of the Near East, the Hurrians. ...


Modern

Modern Arameans, also known as Syriacs, are mostly Christians. Modern Arameans are the original Syrians, but because of the large modern-day Arab population with this appellation, the term Syriacs is used to refer to more recent Aramaic-speaking peoples. These people are sometimes called, Assyrians or Chaldeans and most of them have lived in northern Iraq. The modern-day Arameans are followers of the Melkite, Maronite, Syriac Catholic, Chaldean Catholic, Syriac Orthodox, Antiochian Orthodox, and 'Nestorian' Churches. The original word for Syriac in Syriac-Aramaic is Suryoye/Suryaye, from which Suroye/Suraye developed. The term for Syriac in Arabic is Suryani. Syriacs (in Syriac: (ܣܘܪܝܝܐ)Suryoye/Suryaye) are the indigenous inhabitants of Beth Nahrain (Iraq, southeast Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, western Iran and northern Jordan. ... This article is about the religous people known as Christians. ... The Arabs (Arabic: عرب ʻarab) are a large and heterogenous ethnic group found throughout the Middle East and North Africa, originating in the Arabian Peninsula of southwest Asia. ... Syriacs (in Syriac: (ܣܘܪܝܝܐ)Suryoye/Suryaye) are the indigenous inhabitants of Beth Nahrain (Iraq, southeast Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, western Iran and northern Jordan. ... It has been suggested that Assyrian people be merged into this article or section. ... Map showing the location of Tel Kaif, Iraq and the neighboring areas. ... The term Melkite (also written Melchite) is used to refer to various Christian churches and their members originating in the Middle East. ... Maronites (Marunoye ܐܶܝܢܘܪܡ in Syriac, Mâruniyya مارونية in Arabic) are members of an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Pope of Rome. ... The Syrian Catholic Church is a Christian church in the Levant in full communion with the pope having practices and rites in common with the Jacobites. ... The Chaldean Catholic Church is an Eastern Rite sui juris (autonomous ritual church) particular church of the Catholic Church, maintaining full communion with the Pope in Rome. ... The Syriac Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church based in the Middle East with members spread throughout the world. ... The Antiochian Orthodox Church is one of the five churches that comprised the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church before the Great Schism, and today is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches. ... The Assyrian Church of the East is a church that traces its origins to the See of Babylon, said to be founded by Saint Thomas the Apostle. ... Syriac is an Eastern Aramaic language that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. ... Arabic (; , less formally, ) is the largest member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. ...


See also

See Aram-Naharaim and Arameans. ...

External references

  • Jewish Encyclopedia: Aram-Naharaim
  • The Arameans
  • The Indigenous Origins of the Arameans of Upper Mesopotamia. See also the article section for more on the Arameans.

References

  • S. Moscati, 'The Aramaean Ahlamû', FSS, IV (1959), pp. 303-7;
  • M. Freiherr Von Oppenheim, Der Tell Halaf, Leipzig, 1931 pp. 71-198;
  • M. Freiherr Von Oppenheim, Tell Halaf, III, Die Bauwerke, Berlin, 1950;
  • A. Moortgat, Tell Halaf IV, Die Bildwerke, Berlin, 1955;
  • B. Hrouda, Tell Halaf IV, Die Kleinfunde aus historischer Zeit, Berlin, 1962;
  • G. ROUX, Ancient Iraq, London, 1980.

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