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II. Society, Institutions, Law, and Economy

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Chapter Summary

The great variety of Aramaic dialects in the different kingdoms of the 9th and 8th centuries B.C.10 as well as the lack of archaeological proof of a common Aramaean culture speaks in favour of ethnic diversity among the Aramaeans. Fundamental to tribal societies is the high value they place on family lineage and close relationships in all sectors of society. The best information on the institution of kingship among the Aramaeans results from the inscriptions of the kings of Sam'al. The king and the inner circle of the ruling élite probably had judicial authority. The tasks of the kings included not only attention to internal and external security but also the founding of new villages, the control of the royal administration, and the encouragement of economic growth. From Aramaic inscriptions we have only a limited idea about the economy in the Aramaean kingdoms of Syria.

Keywords: Aramaean culture; Aramaean kingdoms; economy; ethnic diversity; royal administration; Syria; tribal societies



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