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The Aramaeans Of Syria: Some Considerations On Their Origin And Material Culture

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Chapter Summary

The Aramaeans were the dominant population group in Syria in the first millennium BCE. Their rise to political power was the result of the general collapse that put an end to the Late Bronze Age urban culture of the Levant and drastically changed the political landscape of Syria-Palestine. The rise of the Aramaeans in Syria was therefore traditionally explained as the result of the invasion of nomadic tribes who came out of the Syro-Arabian desert and settled in Syria. The urbanization process also led to a specific settlement pattern in Aramaean territories. The territory of an Aramaean state appears to have been administered from a capital, which was the seat of political and administrative rule and which may have also held a monopoly on trade. The use of Aramaic script and language clearly identifies both the ruling elite and the masses in Iron Age Syria as West Semites.

Keywords: Aramaean territories; bronze age urban culture; nomadic tribes; Syria-Palestine



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