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Specialist in Aramean history

 

 

 

     David Dag


    Important information before the article

     Syria and Syrian is modern terminology. Syria never existed during time of the Aramean city states. This terminology is only used by the scholars as a tool of explanation for the readers. In other words it is an anachronism.

Phoenicia and Phoenician is used for Canaan and Canaanites and their language. It’s anachronistic because the Canaanites never called themselves Phoenicians, nor their language, or their land as such. It was the Romans and maybe even the Greeks before them that used these names about them. It was an exonym not an endonym. It is used as a tool of explanation for the readers but also used in language trees only to distinguish between proto-Canaanite, Ugaritic (Canaanite language in local cuneiform script of ancient Ugarit, modern Ras Shamra in western Syria) Phoenician and Punic. Modern terminology,  

Nimrod is sometimes erroneously used for the ancient Assyrian capital Kalhu (Calhu) also known as Calah in the Old Testament of the Bible. The name Nimrod was never used by the ancient Assyrians in their own records in Akkadian cuneiform (their mother tongue). It is said that ignorant modern local Arab Muslims in Iraq called many ancient cities Nimrod including Calhu. Some scholars and assyriologists unfortunately still use Nimrod when they refer to Calhu. The Turks have renamed ancient Commagene by the name Nemrut Dag (Mount Nimrod in Turkish). This is not the true name of the city. The founder of Commagene was Antiochus I Soter from the Seleucid dynasty. This dynasty of kings ruled 40 years after Alexander the Greats death. That is 40 years after the so called Diadochi wars. The Seleucid dynasty had the title "King of Syria" before the Roman Empire ended their rule during their Eastern expansion. St Ephrem (306-373 AD) erroneously claimed the founder of Urhoy (Edessa) was Nimrod. This is not true either because Nimrod was a mythical king who never existed outside the Judeo-Christian as well as the Islamic tradition (the story about him differ in both traditions) . As for Urhoy it was refounded as Edessa by Seleucus I Nicator who was the founder of the Seleucid dynasty and one of Alexander the Greats four generals. This was long after Alexander’s death. Named after the capital of Greek Macedon (there were no Slavs there like today.

Babylon, Babylonia and Babylonians are non-ethnic names invented by the Greeks for the city of Babel, while Babylonia and Babylonians were constructed in Greek at first. After the Achaemenid  Persian king Cyrus the Great conquered Babel he organized his empire amongst his satraps. The name of Babel was only used prior to this time only for the city of Babel, while The Persians expanded the name for the entire southern part of the Euphrates and Tigris area of modern day Iraq. They used the Old Persian cuneiform name "Babiru"and "Babirush" and in Elamite they used the name"Papili".  So when Alexander the Great conquered the Persians he must have annexed this Persian province "Babiru" or "Babirush" under the name Babylonia and the inhabitants of this former Persian occupied province. The name of that area was originally "Mat Sumer-Akkad", also "Mat Kaldu", "Karduniash". There were also 36 Aramean tribes registered there in cuneiform sources since 1000 BC and the area was later known as "Beth Aramaye" until the 10th century AD in Edessan Aramaic sources. The name Babylonian empire, regardless if it refers to Old, Middle or Neo-Babylonian empires was invented by modern scholars but never used by the ancients themselves when they ruled.

 This article like many other books if not most written in modern times use the name "Mesopotamia" erroneously - believe it or not - sometimes for the entire area between the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers in modern Iraq only and sometimes the explanation given is the land between the Euphrates and the Tigris (these Rivers pass through modern days Iraq, Eastern Syria (Jezireh region), and southeastern Turkey. All this is wrong because according to ancient sources in Egyptian, Akkadian, Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin use the following names in their respective languages for the very same area between the Upper Euphrates and the Upper Tigris and the tributaries of the first one namely the Balikh and Khabur. It does not include the rest of the Euphrates or the rest of the Tigris southwards including the second’s eastern tributaries the Greater and Lesser Zab which constituted the original heartland of the ancient Assyrians which was called "Mat Ashur" in Akkadian.

In Egyptian hieroglyphs this upper area – the original Mesopotamia – was called "Nahren", while the ancient "Amarna letters" excavated in Egypt use the name "Nahrima". In Akkadian it was called "Birit Narim", "Mat Biritim" and "Mat Narayim". The term "Beth Nahrin" in Edessan Aramaic was never used by the ancient Assyrians nor any people for that matter in Antiquity before Christ nor was it used for the entire area between the Euphrates and Tigris. It is only in modern songs, poems and folklore it is misused as such, regardless of modern ideologies. As for the Greek and Latin the name "Mesopotamia" only mean "Between Rivers" without naming them, but the ancient Greek, geographer and cartographer Claudius Ptolemaios (also known as Claudius Ptolemy) used the name "Mesopotamia" only for the upper part. Likewise many  Roman sources in Latin also use it this way with the exception of one or a few about emperors who expanded the roman province of Mesopotamia further south but not all the way south. In the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible known to Christians as the Old Testament Bible) the term "Aramnaharaim" in Hebrew is used in the same way only for the north, this entered Edessan Aramaic Christian literature as "Orom-Nahrin/Aram-Nahrin" used synonymously with "Beth Nahrin". Edessan Aramaic also has another variant for "Beth Nahrin" known as "Beth Nahrawotho/Beth Nahratha". Edessan Aramaic as an Aramaic dialect from the Late Aramaic period of the Aramaic language was called "Nahroyo".

The Septuagint (oldest translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek) in Ptolomean dynasty ruled Alexandria in Egypt in the 3rd century BC during the rule of Ptolelmy II Philadelphus 72 or 70 wise Hellenized Jews translated it into koine Greek for the Alexandrian Library. They translated "Aramnaharaim" as "Mesopotamia" in Greek. This led some ill-informed historians in modern times as well as nationalists to erroneously interpret this as Aramnaharaim was between the entire area of Euphrates and the Tigris. Having said that, even though there is evidence of Aramean presence both in history as well as in modern time  in the entire area of the of the both main rivers as well as west of them as well as in Assyria proper (what used to be the heartland of the ancient Assyrians before it expanded into an empire).

Palestine is used in the articles as a tool of explanation by modern scholars through the anachronistic lens of the ancient Romans whom they know the geography through. Referring to what later in Romans times became known as the Roman province of “Palestina”. Have in mind that the articles are not referring to what we in modern times know as an “Arab nation state” during the articles’ respective historical context but only to geography pure and simple. Even though the etymology of the term Palestine or Palestina is derived etymologically to one of the many so-called “Sea Peoples” namely the Peleset (better known in the Old Testament books of the Bible as the Philistines. The modern day “Palestinians” claim an Arab nationalism. Plus the Aramean small kingdom of Palastin also known as Walastin should not be misunderstood as referring to the geography of later “Roman Palestine” because it is closer to the modern times southern border of modern day Turkey. Helene Sader wrote the following about it “This area, from the plain of Antioch in the west to Aleppo and Hamath in the east,” and that the Arameans took it from the Neo-Hittite rulers.

Activist in the Aramean Democratic Organization


Aramean History

Helene Sader

 

Aramean History - Egypt

Alejandro F Botta

 

Aramean History - Anatolia

Andre Lemaire

 

Aramean History - Phoenicia

Herbert Niehr

 

Aramean History - Northern Arabia

Herbert Niehr

 

Aramean History - Babylonia

Michael P Streck

 

Aramean History - Assyria

Martti Nissinen

 

Aramean History - Aramean Heritage

John F Healey

 

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