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II. History

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a survey of the history of the Aramaeans of ancient Syria from their origin and state formation until the end of their existence as independent polities; it takes into account the latest written and archaeological evidence. Emphasis is laid on the formative period of Aramaean history. Chronologically, the chapter deals with the Iron Age I and the larger part of the Iron Age II (ca. 1200-622 B.C.), a period that witnessed the rise and decline of the Aramaean polities. The main contemporary sources are the annals of the Middle- and Neo-Assyrian kings, the Luwian royal inscriptions, and the inscriptions left by the Aramaeans themselves. The biblical account, which often deals with the tense relations between the Israelite and Aramaean kingdoms has to be used with great caution. It is mainly relevant for the history of the Aramaean kingdom of Aram-Damascus.

Keywords: ancient Syria; Aramaean polities; Aramaeans; archaeological evidence; Iron Age



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