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Arameans

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(Redirected from Aramaeans)

The Arameans or Aramaeans (also called Syriacs) were a Semitic, nomadic people mentioned six times in the Hebrew Bible, who dwelt in Aram-Naharaim or "Aram of the two rivers," also known as Mesopotamia, and the adjoining region including parts of modern Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Iran. The specific "two rivers" are variously identified by scholars, though one of the rivers is generally the Euphrates, and according to the Book of Jubilees, the other is the Tigris. The compilers of the Jewish Encyclopedia [1] (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=1701&letter=A), in 1901/8 did not find the name Aram in Babylonian or Assyrian inscriptions, but identified Naharaim with Nahrima in three tablets of the Amarna letters.

Contents

Historical

"Aramean" was a term used by the Israelites to distinguish the closely related Arpachshadite so-called "Children of Eber" tribes from their more distant cousins to the east known as Aram. However, Arameans have never had a unified nation-state; rather they are defined by their use of the Aramaic language, that was first written with the Phoenician alphabet. During the Babylonian and Persian eras, Aramaic became a lingua franca of the Levant.

Arameans had entered Syria by the 14th century BC, where they were organized by family houses, or "Bet," such as Bet Adini: The house of Adin (now Tell Ahmar), or Bet Agusi (north of Aleppo). There were also small Aramean kingdoms, such as Aram Damascus (now just "Damascus") and Hamath, however the Arameans never became a truly unified empire. These 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 Aramean wives. Though without a state, Arameans continued their presence in Babylonia and Mesopotamia, where they were assimilated into the local societies.

Modern

Modern Arameans, also known as Syriacs, are mostly Christians. To adopt the genealogical terms of antiquity, one could consider them descendants either of the Aram who was son of Shem, or, possibly, of Abraham's brother Nahor through his son Kemuel, the father of Aram.

Modern Arameans/Syriacs 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 also called Assyrians or Chaldeans. The original word for Syriac in Syriac Aramaic is Suryoye/Suryaye/Suroye/Suraye.

See also

External references

  • Jewish Encyclopedia: (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=1701&letter=A) Aram-Naharaim

de:Aramäer eo:Arameoj es:arameos pl:Aramejczycy

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