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Arameans

The Arameans, or Aramaeans (Old Aramaic: 𐤀𐤓𐤌𐤉𐤀; Hebrew: אֲרַמִּים; Ancient Greek: Ἀραμαῖοι; Classical Syriac: ܐܪ̈ܡܝܐ, romanized: Ārāmāyē), were an ancient Semitic-speaking people in the Near East that was first recorded in historical sources from the late 12th century BC. The Aramean homeland, sometimes known as the land of Aram, encompassed central regions of modern Syria.

At the beginning of the 1st millennium BCE, a number of Aramean-ruled states were established throughout the western regions of the ancient Near East. The most notable was Aram-Damascus, which reached its height in the second half of the 9th century BCE during the reign of King Hazael.

The Arameans were never a single nation or group; rather, Aram was a region with local centers of power spread throughout the Levant. That makes it almost impossible to establish a coherent ethnic category of "Aramean" based on extra-linguistic identity markers such as material culture, lifestyle or religion.[1][2]

The people of "Aram" were called "Arameans" in Assyrian text and in the Hebrew Bible, but "Aramean" was never a self-designation. "Arameans" is merely an appellation of the geographical term Aram given to 1st-millennium BC inhabitants of Syria.[3][4]

During the eighth century BC, local Aramaean city states were gradually conquered by the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The policy of population displacement and relocation that was applied throughout Assyrian domains also affected Arameans, many of whom were resettled by Assyrian authorities. That caused a wider dispersion of Aramean communities throughout various regions of the Near East, and the range of Aramaic also widened. It gained significance and eventually became the common language of public life and administration, particularly during the periods of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (612–539 BCE) and the later Achaemenid Empire (539–330 BCE).

A distinctive Aramaic alphabet was developed and used to write Old Aramaic.[5][6][7] As a result of linguistic Aramization, a wider Aramaic-speaking area was created throughout the central regions of the Near East that exceeded the boundaries of Aramean ethnic communities. During the later Hellenistic and Roman periods, minor Aramaic-speaking states emerged, the most notable of them being Osroene, centred on Edessa, the birthplace of Edessan Aramaic, which later came to be known as Classical Syriac.[8][9][10]

Before Christianity, Aramaic-speaking communities had undergone considerable Hellenization and Romanization in the Near East.[11] Thus, their integration into the Greek-speaking world had begun a long time before Christianity became established.[12] Some scholars consider that Arameans who accepted Christianity came to be referred to as Syrians by the Greeks.[13]

The early Muslim conquests in the 7th century was followed by the Islamization and the gradual Arabization of Aramaic-speaking communities throughout the Near East. That ultimately resulted in their fragmentation and acculturation.[14]

History

Sin zir Ibni inscription
Si Gabbor stele
The Neirab steles, a pair of 7th century BCE Aramaic inscriptions found in 1891 in Al-Nayrab near Aleppo, Syria.

Origins

The toponym A-ra-mu appears in an inscription at the East Semitic-speaking kingdom of Ebla listing geographical names, and the term Armi, the Eblaite term for nearby Idlib, occurs frequently in the Ebla tablets (c. 2300 BCE). One of the annals of Naram-Sin of Akkad (c. 2250 BCE) mentions that he captured "Dubul, the ensí of A-ra-me" (Arame is seemingly a genitive form), in the course of a campaign against Simurrum in the northern mountains.[15] Other early references to a place or people of "Aram" have appeared at the archives of Mari (c. 1900 BCE) and at Ugarit (c. 1300 BCE). There is no consensus on the origin and meaning of the word "Aram", one of the most accepted suggestions being that it is derived from a Semitic root rwm, "to be high". Newer suggestions interprets it as a broken plural meaning "white antelopes" or "white bulls".[16] However, there are no historical, archaeological or linguistic evidences that those early uses of the terms Aramu, Armi or Arame were actually referring to the Arameans; thus, it is believed to originally be a toponym without any ethnic connotations.[3] The earliest undisputed historical attestation of Arameans as a people appears much later, in the inscriptions of Tiglath Pileser I (c. 1100 BCE).[17][18][19]

Nomadic pastoralists have long played a prominent role in the history and economy of the Middle East, but their numbers seem to vary according to climatic conditions and the force of neighbouring states inducing permanent settlement. The period of the Late Bronze Age seems to have coincided with increasing aridity, which weakened neighbouring states and induced transhumance pastoralists to spend longer and longer periods with their flocks. Urban settlements (hitherto largely inhabited by Amorite, Canaaite Hittite, Ugarite peoples) in the Levant diminished in size until eventually, fully-nomadic pastoralist lifestyles came to dominate much of the region. The highly mobile, competitive tribesmen, with their sudden raids, continually threatened long-distance trade and interfered with the collection of taxes and tribute.

The people who had long been the prominent population in what is now Syria (called the Land of the Amurru during their tenure) were the Amorites, a Northwest Semitic-speaking people who had appeared during the 25th century BCE, destroyed the hitherto dominant East Semitic-speaking state of Ebla, founded the powerful state of Mari in the Levant and during the 19th century BCE also Babylonia, in southern Mesopotamia. However, they seem to have been displaced or wholly absorbed by the appearance of a people called the Ahlamu by the 13th century BCE and disappear from history. Ahlamû appears to be a generic term for Semitic wanderers and nomads of varying origins who appeared during the 13th century BCE across the ancient Near East, the Arabian Peninsula, Asia Minor, and Egypt.

The Arameans would appear to be one part of the larger generic Ahlamû group rather than synonymous with the Ahlamu.[20] The presence of the Ahlamû is attested during the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1020 BCE), which already ruled many of the lands in which the Ahlamû arose in the Babylonian city of Nippur and even at Dilmun (now Bahrain). Shalmaneser I (1274–1245 BCE) is recorded as having defeated Shattuara, King of the Mitanni and his Hittite and Ahlamû mercenaries. In the next century, the Ahlamû cut the road from Babylon to Hattusas. Also, Tukulti-Ninurta I (1244–1208 BCE) conquered Mari, Hanigalbat and Rapiqum on the Euphrates and "the mountain of the Ahlamû", apparently the region of Jebel Bishri in northern Syria.

Aramean states

Various Luwian and Aramean (orange shades) states in the 8th century BCE

The emergence of the Arameans occurred during the Bronze Age collapse (1200–900 BCE), which saw great upheavals and mass movements of peoples across the Middle East, Asia Minor, the Caucasus, the East Mediterranean, North Africa, Ancient Iran, Ancient Greece and the Balkans and led to the genesis of new peoples and polities across those regions.

The Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1050 BCE), which had dominated the Near East and Asia Minor since the first half of the 14th century BCE, began to shrink rapidly after the death of Ashur-bel-kala, its last great ruler in 1056 BCE. The Assyrian withdrawal allowed the Arameans and others to gain independence and take firm control of what was then Eber-Nari (now Syria) in the late 11th century BCE.

Some of the major Aramean-speaking city states included Aram-Damascus,[21][22] Hamath,[23][24] Bet-Adini,[25][26] Bet-Bagyan,[27] Bit-Hadipe, Aram-Bet Rehob,[28] Aram-Zobah, Bet-Zamani,[29] Bet-Halupe,[30] and Aram-Ma'akah, as well as the Aramean tribal polities of the Gambulu, Litau and Puqudu.[31] Akkermans and Schwartz noted that in assessing Luwian and Aramean states in ancient Syria, the existing information on the ethnic composition of the regional states in ancient Syria primarily concerns the rulers and so the ethnolingustic situation of the majority of the population of the states is unclear. Furthermore, they mean that the material culture shows no distinctions between states dominated by the Luwians or the Arameans.[32]

Later Biblical sources tell that Saul, David and Solomon (late 11th to 10th centuries) fought against the small Aramean states ranged across the northern frontier of Israel: Aram-Sôvah in the Beqaa, Aram-Bêt-Rehob (Rehov) and Aram-Ma'akah around Mount Hermon, Geshur in the Hauran, and Aram-Damascus. An Aramean king's account dating at least two centuries later, the Tel Dan Stele, was discovered in northern Israel and is famous for being perhaps the earliest non-Israelite extra-biblical historical reference to the Israelite royal dynasty, the House of David. In the early 11th century BCE, much of Israel came under foreign rule for eight years according to the Biblical Book of Judges until Othniel defeated the forces led by Cushan-Rishathaim, who was titled in the Bible as ruler of Aram-Naharaim.[33]

Further north, the Arameans gained possession of post-Hittite Hamath on the Orontes River and were soon to become strong enough to dissociate with the Indo-European-speaking post-Hittite states.

The Arameans, together with the Edomites and the Ammonites, attacked Israel in the early 11th century BCE but were defeated. Meanwhile, Arameans moved to the east of the Euphrates and into Babylonia, where an Aramean usurper was crowned king of Babylon under the name of Adad-apal-iddin.[34]

During the 11th and the 10th centuries BCE, the Arameans conquered Sam'al (modern Zenjirli), also known as Yaudi, the region from Arpad to Aleppo, and renamed it Bît-Agushi,.[35] They also conquered Til Barsip, which became the chief town of Bît-Adini, also known as Beth Eden. North of Sam'al was the Aramean state of Bit Gabbari, which was sandwiched between the post-Hittite states of Carchemish, Gurgum, Khattina, Unqi and the Georgian[citation needed] state of Tabal.

One of their earliest semi-independent kingdoms in northern Mesopotamia was Bît-Bahiâni (Tell Halaf).

Under Neo-Assyrian rule

Aramean king Hazael of Aram-Damascus
Illustration by Gustave Doré from the 1866 La Sainte Bible depicting an Israelite victory over the army of Ben-Hadad, described in 1 Kings 20:26–34

The first certain reference to the Arameans appears in an Assyrian inscription of Tiglath-Pileser I (1115–1077 BCE), which refers to subjugating the "Ahlamû-Arameans" (Ahlame Armaia). Shortly afterward, the Ahlamû disappear from Assyrian annals and are replaced by the Arameans (Aramu, Arimi). That indicates that the Arameans had risen to dominance amongst the nomads. Among scholars, the relationship between the Akhlame and the Arameans is a matter of conjecture.[36] By the late 12th century BCE, the Arameans had been firmly established in Syria; however, they were conquered by the Middle Assyrian Empire, like the Amorites and Ahlamu before them.

Assyrian annals from the end of the Middle Assyrian Empire c. 1050 BCE and the rise of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 911 BCE contain numerous descriptions of battles between Arameans and the Assyrian army.[31] The Assyrians would launch repeated raids into Aramean lands, Babylonia, Ancient Iran, Elam, Asia Minor, and even as far as the Mediterranean to keep its trade routes open. The Aramean city-states, like much of the Near East and Asia Minor, were subjugated by the Neo Assyrian Empire (911–605 BCE) from the reign of Adad-nirari II in 911 BCE, who cleared Arameans and other tribal peoples from the borders of Assyria and began to expand in all directions (see Assyrian conquest of Aram). The process was continued by Ashurnasirpal II and his son Shalmaneser III, who destroyed many of the small Aramean tribes and conquered Aramean lands for the Assyrians. In 732 BCE, Aram-Damascus fell and was conquered by Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser III. The Assyrians named their Aramean colonies Eber Nari but still used the term "Aramean" to describe many of its peoples. The Assyrians conducted forced deportations of hundreds of thousands of Arameans to both Assyria and Babylonia, where a migrant population already existed.[37] Conversely, the Aramaic language was adopted as the lingua franca of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in the 8th century BCE, and the native Assyrians and Babylonians began to make a gradual language shift towards Aramaic as the most common language of public life and administration.

The Neo Assyrian Empire descended into a bitter series of brutal internal wars from 626 BCE that weakened it greatly. That allowed a coalition of many its former subject peoples (Babylonians, Chaldeans, Medes, Persians, Parthians, Scythians, Sagartians and Cimmerians) to attack Assyria in 616 BCE, sack Nineveh in 612 BCE and finally defeat it between 605 and 599 BCE.[38] During the war against Assyria, hordes of horse-borne Scythian and Cimmerian marauders ravaged through the Levant and all the way into Egypt.

As a result of migratory processes, various Aramean groups were settled throughout the Ancient Near East, and their presence is recorded in the regions of Assyria,[39] Babylonia,[40] Anatolia,[41] Phoenicia,[42] Palestine,[43] Egypt[44] and Northern Arabia.[45]

Population transfers, conducted during the Neo-Assyrian Empire and followed by the gradual linguistic Aramization of non-Aramean populations, created a specific situation in the regions of Assyria proper among ancient Assyrians, who originally spoke the ancient Assyrian language, a dialect of Akkadian, but later accepted Aramaic.[46]

Neo-Babylonian Empire

Eber-Nari was then ruled by the succeeding Neo-Babylonian Empire (612–539 BCE), which was initially headed by a short-lived Chaldean dynasty. The Aramean regions became a battleground between the Babylonians and the 26th Dynasty of Egypt, which had been installed by the Assyrians as vassals after they had defeated and ejected the previous Nubian-ruled 25th Dynasty. The Egyptians, having entered the region in a belated attempt to aid their former Assyrian masters, fought the Babylonians, initially with the help of remnants of the Assyrian army, in the region for decades before they were finally vanquished.

The Babylonians remained masters of the Aramean lands only until 539 BCE, when the Persian Achaemenid Empire overthrew Nabonidus, the Assyrian-born last king of Babylon, who had himself overthrown the Chaldean dynasty in 556 BCE.

Under Achaemenid and Hellenistic rule

The Arameans were later conquered by the Achaemenid Empire (539–332 BCE). However, little changed from the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian times, as the Persians, seeing themselves as successors of previous empires, maintained Imperial Aramaic as the main language of public life and administration.[47][48] Provincial administrative structures also remained the same, and the name Eber Nari still applied to the region.

The conquests of Alexander the Great (336–323 BCE) marked the beginning of a new era in the history of the entire Near East, including the regions inhabited by Arameans. By the late 4th century BCE, two newly created Hellenistic states emerged as main pretenders for regional supremacy: the Seleucid Empire (305–64 BCE) and the Ptolemaic Empire (305–30 BCE). Since earlier times, ancient Greeks commonly used "Syrian" labels as designations for Arameans and heir lands, but it was during the Hellenistic (Seleucid-Ptolemaic) period that the term "Syria" was finally defined to designate the regions west of the Euphrates, as opposed to the term "Assyria", which designated the regions further east.[49][50]

In the 3rd century BCE, various narratives related to the history of earlier Aramean states became accessible to wider audiences after the translation of the Hebrew Bible into the Greek language. Known as Septuagint, the translation was created in Alexandria, the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt that was the most important city of the Hellenistic world and was one of the main centres of Hellenization. Influenced by Greek terminology,[51] translators decided to adopt ancient Greek custom of using "Syrian" labels as designations for Arameans and their lands and thus abandon the endonymic (native) terms that were used in the Hebrew Bible. In the Greek translation (Septuagint), the region of Aram was commonly labelled as "Syria", and the Arameans were labelled as "Syrians".[52] When reflecting on traditional influences of Greek terminology on English translations of the Septuagint, the American orientalist Robert W. Rogers noted in 1921 that it was unfortunate that the change also affected later English versions.[53] In Greek sources, two writers spoke particularly clearly on the Arameans. Posidonius, born in Apamea, as quoted by Strabo, wrote: "Those people whom we Greeks call Syrioi, call themselves Aramaioi".[54] Further, Josephus, who was born in Jerusalem, defined the regions of "Aram's sons" as the Tranchonitis, Damascus "midway between Palestine and Coelo-Syria", Armenia, Bactria, and the Mesene around Spasini Charax.[54]

Heritage under early Christian period and Arab conquest

The ancient Arameans lived in a close relationship with other distinct societies in the region. Throughout much of their history, they were heavily influenced by the cuneiform culture of Mesopotamia and the surrounding areas. Bilingual texts in Aramaic and the Assyrian dialect of Akkadian are among the earliest examples of Aramaic writing. In the western regions, Aramean states had close contact with Israel, Phoenicia, and northern Arabia. The Phoenician god Baʿalšamem was even incorporated into the Aramean tradition. Identifying distinct elements of the Aramean heritage in later times is challenging because of the diverse influences on their culture. For example, the earliest Syriac legal documents contain legal formulae that could be considered Aramean, but they could also be interpreted as Neo-Assyrian or Neo-Babylonian.[55]

After the establishment of Roman rule in the region of Syria proper (western of Euphrates) in the 1st century BCE, Aramean lands became the frontier region between two empires, Roman and Parthian, and later between their successor states, the Byzantine and Sasanid Empires. Several minor states also existed in frontier regions, most notably the Kingdom of Osroene, centred in the city of Edessa, known in Aramaic as Urhay.[56] However, it is not easy in either pre-Christian or Christian periods to trace purely-Aramean elements in Edessan culture.[57]

During the Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, the Ancient Greek custom of using Syrian labels for Arameans and their language started to gain acceptance among an Aramaic-speaking literary and ecclesiastical elites. The practice of using Syrian labels as designations for Aramaic-speakers and their language was very common among ancient Greeks, and under their influence, the practice also became common among the Romans and Byzantines.[58]

An Arabization process was initiated after the Arab conquest in the 7th century. In the religious sphere of life, Aramaic-speaking Christians (such as Melkites in Palestine) were exposed to Islamization, which created a base for gradual acceptance of the Arabic language not only as the dominant language of Islamic prayer and worship but also as a common language of public and domestic life. The acceptance of Arabic language became the main vessel of the gradual Arabization of Aramean communities throughout the Near East and ultimately resulted in their fragmentation and acculturation. Those processes affected not only Islamized Aramaic-speakers but also some of those who remained Christians, which created local communities of Arabic-speaking Christians of Syriac Christian origin who spoke Arabic in their public and domestic life but continued to belong to churches that used the liturgical Aramaic/Syriac language.[59][60]

In the 10th century, the Byzantine Empire gradually reconquered much of northern Syria and upper Mesopotamia, including the cities of Melitene (934) and Antioch (969) and thus liberated local Aramaic-speaking Christian communities from the Muslim rule. Byzantines favoured Eastern Orthodoxy, but the leadership of the Antiochian Oriental Orthodox Patriarchate succeeded in reaching agreement with the Byzantine authorities and thus secured religious tolerance.[61] The Byzantines extended their rule up to Edessa (1031) but were forced into a general retreat from Syria during the course of the 11th century and were pushed back by the newly-arrived Seljuk Turks, who took Antioch (1084). The later establishment of Crusader states (1098), the Principality of Antioch and the County of Edessa, created new challenges for local Aramaic-speaking Christians, both Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox.[62]

Culture

The Iron Age culture of Syria is a topic of interest among scholars but is never referred to simply as "Aramean". Scholars have difficulty in identifying and isolating characteristic Aramean elements in the culture. Even in North Syria, where more substantial evidence is available, scholars still find it difficult to identify what is genuinely Aramean from what is borrowed from other cultures. Widespread scholarly opinion still maintains that since several ethnic groups, such as Luwians and Aramaeans, interacted in the region, one material culture with "mixed" elements resulted. The material culture appears to be so homogeneous that it "shows no clear distinctions between states dominated by Luwians or Aramaeans".[63]

Language

Ancient mosaic from Edessa in Osroene (2nd century AD) with inscriptions in early Edessan Aramaic language
Initial area of Aramaic language in the 1st century, and its gradual decline

Arameans were mostly defined by their use of the West Semitic Old Aramaic language (1100 BCE – 200 CE), which was first written using the Phoenician alphabet but over time modified to a specifically-Aramaic alphabet. Aramaic first appeared in history during the opening centuries of the Iron Age, when several newly-emerging chiefdoms decided to use it as a written language. The process coincided with a change from syllabic cuneiform to alphabetic scribal culture and the rise of a novel style of public epigraphy, which was formerly unattested in Syria-Palestine. The language is considered a sister branch of the idiom used in the Bronze-Age city-state of Ugarit, on the one hand, and Canaanite, which comprises languages further south in the speech area such as Hebrew, Phoenician, and Moabite, on the other hand. All three branches can be subsumed under the more general rubric Northwest Semitic and thus share a common origin. [64] The earliest direct witnesses of Aramaic, which were composed between the 10th and 8th centuries BC, are unanimously subsumed under the term "Old Aramaic". The early writings exhibit variation and anticipate the enormous linguistic diversity within the Aramaic language group. Despite the variation, they are connected by common literary forms and formulaic expressions. [65]

As early as the 8th century BCE, Aramaic competed with the East Semitic Akkadian language and script in Assyria and Babylonia and then spread throughout the Near East in various dialects. By around 800 BCE, Aramaic had become the lingua franca of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, which continued during the Achaemenid period as Imperial Aramaic. Although it was marginalized by Greek during the Hellenistic period, Aramaic in its varying dialects remained unchallenged as the common language of all Semitic peoples of the region until the Arabs' Islamic conquest of Mesopotamia in the 7th century AD, when the language became gradually superseded by Arabic.

The late Old Aramaic language of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Neo-Babylonian Empire and Achaemenid Persian Empire developed into the Middle Aramaic Syriac language of Persian Assyria, which would become the liturgical language of Syriac Christianity. In the first centuries AD, the Christian Bible was translated into Aramaic, and by the 4th century, local Aramaic dialect of Edessa (Urhay) had developed into a literary language, known as Edessan Aramaic (Urhaya).[66][67] Since Edessan Aramaic language (Urhaya) was the main liturgical language of Aramaic Christianity,[68][69][70] it also became known as Edessan Syriac and later defined by western scholars as Classical Syriac. That created a base for the term Syriac Christianity[71][72][73] although Eastern Orthodox patriarchates were dominated by Greek episcopate and Greek linguistic and cultural traditions. The use of Aramaic language in liturgical and literary life persisted throughout the Middle Ages[14] until the 14th century,[74] as embodied in the use of a specific regional dialect known as the Christian Palestinian Aramaic language.[75]

Descendant dialects of the Eastern Aramaic branch, which still retains Akkadian loanwords, still survive as the spoken and written language of the Assyrian people. It is found mostly in northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and northeastern Syria and, to a lesser degree, in migrant communities in Armenia, Georgia, southern Russia, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and Azerbaijan, as well as in diaspora communities in the West, particularly the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Sweden, Australia and Germany. A small number of Israeli Jews, particularly those originating from Iraq and, to a lesser degree, Iran and eastern Turkey, still speak Eastern Aramaic, but it is largely being eroded by Hebrew, especially within the Israeli-born generations.

The Western Aramaic dialect is now spoken by Muslims and Christians only in Ma'loula, Jubb'adin and Bakhah. Mandaic is spoken by up to 75,000 speakers of the ethnically-Mesopotamian Gnostic Mandaean sect, mainly in Iraq and Iran.

During the early modern period, the study of Aramaic languages (both ancient and modern) was initiated among western scholars, which led to the formation of Aramaic studies as a wider multidisciplinary field that also includes the study of cultural and historical heritage of Aramaic. Linguistic and historical aspects of Aramaic studies have been widened since the 19th century by archaeological excavations of ancient sites in the Near East.[76][77][78]

Religion

What is known of the religion of the Aramean groups is derived from excavated objects and temples and by Aramaic literary sources, as well as the names they had. Their religion did not feature any particular deity that could be called an Aramean god or goddess.[79] It appears from their inscriptions and their names that the Arameans worshipped Canaanite and Mesopotamian gods such as Hadad, Sin, Ishtar (which they called Astarte), Shamash, Tammuz, Bel and Nergal, and Canaaite-Phoenecian deities such as the storm-god, El, the supreme deity of Canaan, in addition to Anat (‘Atta) and others.[citation needed]

The Arameans who lived outside their homelands apparently followed the traditions of the countries in which they settled. The King of Damascus, for instance, employed Phoenician sculptors and ivory-carvers. In Tell Halaf-Guzana, the palace of Kapara, an Aramean ruler (9th century BCE) was decorated with orthostates and with statues that display a mixture of Mesopotamian, Hittite and Hurrian influences.

Legacy

Limestone relief; stele. This unusual stele depicts an unidentified Aramaean king holding a tulip in one hand while grasping a staff or a spear in the other hand. 11th century BCE. From Tell es-Salihiyeh, Damascus

The legacy of ancient Arameans became of particular interest for scholars during the early modern period and resulted in the emergence of Aramaic studies as a distinctive field, dedicated to the study of the Aramaic language.[76] By the 19th century, the Aramean question was formulated, and several scholarly theses were proposed regarding the development of the language and the history of the Arameans.[80]

In modern times, Aramean identity is held mainly by a number of Syriac Christians, from southeastern Turkey and parts of Syria, in the diaspora, especially in Germany and Sweden.[81][82] In 2014, Israel officially recognised Arameans as a distinctive minority.[83] Questions related to the minority rights of Arameans in some other countries were also brought to international attention.[84][85]

See also

References

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  2. ^ Gzella 2017, p. 23:It is nonetheless difficult if not impossible to establish a coherent ethnic category "Aramean" on the basis of extra-linguistic identity markers such as material culture, lifestyle (including cuisine), or religion and other cultural core traditions.
  3. ^ a b Berlejung 2014, p. 339.
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  13. ^ Witakowski 1987, p. 76:Ever since the time of christianization those Arameans who embraced the new religion have been referred to as the Syrians, a name of Greek origin which they eventually accepted themselves.
  14. ^ a b Griffith 1997, p. 11–31.
  15. ^ Lipiński 2000, p. 26-40.
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  83. ^ Eti Weissblei (2017). "Arameans in the Middle East and Israel: Historical Background, Modern National Identity, and Government Policy" (PDF). Knesset.
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  85. ^ Sommer 2012, p. 157-170.

Sources

  • Media related to Arameans at Wikimedia Commons
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Arameans
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