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date: 22 October 2019

Aramaeanlocked

  • A. R. Millard

Extract

Term for an ancient people of the Near East, prominent in the 1st millennium bc. Their origins are obscure; they were probably semi-nomadic tribesmen driven from the Syrian steppe by drought. By about 1000 bc they had occupied an arc of land from Babylonia to southern Lebanon. In the east the ancient local culture absorbed them. In the west they took over the cities and turned many of them into autonomous tribal centres, principally Aram (Damascus), Arpad (Bit-Agusi) to the north of Aleppo, Bit-Adini east of the bend of the River Euphrates, and Bit-Bahiani at Guzana (Halaf, Tell) on the River Khabur. The earlier inhabitants mixed with the newcomers, and at Hamath (Hama) on the River Orontes a local Neo-Hittite dynasty retained control until c. 800 bc. Hardly had Aramaean kings taken power than they had to fight the Assyrians, who campaigned westwards from c. 900 bc, taking Damascus in ...

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