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The Rise and Fall of the Aramaeans in the Ancient Near East, from Their First Appearance until 732 BCE

New Studies on Aram and Israel

Gotthard G. G. Reinhold

In the early nineties, after Reinholds first publication »Die Beziehungen Altisraels zu den aramäischen Staaten in der israelitisch-judäischen Königszeit« an archaeological find came to light with the broken pieces of the early Aramaic written Têl Dan Stela, which has greatly illuminated the portrait of Aram and ancient history of Israel. The author offers a renewed overview to the Aramaean history on the foundation of the forced researches in the last 50 years. This begins with the early testifying of Aram in cuneiform sources of the 3rd/2nd Mill. B.C. from the Mesopotamian and Syrian area and ends with the decline of Aram-Damascus. The Volume incorporates a revised edition of the researches history and two excurses about the newest palaeographic results to the second line of the Bar-Hadad Stela of Aleppo in Syria on the base of precision photographs and computer-enhancements and presents a new transcription and translation of the Têl Dan Stela fragments. These are a certain basis to build on the royal line of sucession in Aram-Damascus and to illuminate their historical background in the Ancient Near East. Reinhold emphasizes, that the results of archaeology could always be adapted or replaced by recent discoveries; but he hopes that the «New Studies on Aram and Israel» will be served as a base for the future research of the Near Eastern Archaeology and History.


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2 The Development of Aramaean Tribes during the Second Half of the Second until the Beginning of the First Millennium BCE in the Ancient Near East


As Iris von Bredow24 has demonstrated, during the end of the third and beginning of the second millennia B.C.E.—i.e., the transition from the Late Bronze to Early Iron Age— nomadic tribes from northern Syria called the MAR.TU (i.e., Amurru, “people from the west”)25 likely entered Mesopo- tamia and menaced even the strongest dynasties of the cultivated territo- ries, adumbrating a similar process that would occur with the “onslaught of nomadic Aramaean tribes on the cultivated lands of northern Syria”26 during the second half of the second until the beginning of the first millen- nium BCE. Description with the term “onslaught,”27 however, should not indicate a unified military act, process, or occurrence but rather one aspect of the various territorial and political takeovers by new populations from the desert’s fringes. Indeed, many indicators from various regions at the end of the Late Bronze Age evince either the direct conquest of intact cities from older cultures by nomadic incursions or the transition of Aramaean tribes— settled on the outskirts and wont to migrate as “semi- nomadic pastoralists,” i.e., shepherds between desert and cultivated land— to longer sedentariness, which thus precipitated the collapse of the Late Bronze Age economy.28 Set- tlements otherwise intact were thus overtaken or created anew, now in the hands of tribal leaders. Significantly, these conflicts arose most frequently 24 Iris von Bredow, Die Geschichte Syriens vom Neolithikum bis zum Ende der Bronzezeit (Abteilung Alte Geschichte, Historisches Institut der Universität Stuttgart; Stuttgart WS 2004/2005), printed...

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