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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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4 Aram’s Ascent to Power at the End of the 2nd and Beginning of the 1st Millennium BCE until the End of its Rule


4.1 Aram’s Development in Northern Syria and Upper Mesopotamian from the 11th to 8th Centuries BCE As already mentioned in Section 2, the Aramaeans crossed the Euphrates and withdrew into the environs of the Bishri mountains after their defeat by Tiglath- Pileser I (1114–1076). The Assyrian king, however, continued pursuit, destroying six Aramaean cities in the region and campaigning suc- cessfully.88 Understandably, Tiglath- Pileser’s military goals converged with concerns for control of trade routes spanning from the Mediterranean and Anatolia to Babylon, with nomadic shepherds of the Middle Euphrates and Ḫabur Region implicated in recurrent attacks on caravans. Tiglath- Pileser continually traversed the Euphrates, even twice in one year, to drive back the Aḫlamu- Aramaeans.89 But at the end of his reign— and during one especially severe drought— he was unable to emerge victorious from a large- scale Aramaean invasion into Assyria. After the capture of Ninevah, flight remained the only option for him and his army. Tiglath- Pileser’s son and successor, Ashur- bel-kala (1073–1056) also led campaigns against Aramaean groups in northwestern Assyria, the Ḫabur Triangle, and the western Euphrates.90 In contrast to this period of Assyrian rule when the Aramaeans had not yet developed any significant political power but migrated as shepherds and inhabited smaller settlements, the situation changed in the late 11th and 10th centuries. A number of states crystallized within Syria and Upper Mesopo- 88 ANET 275b. Albert Kirk Grayson, Assyrian Royal Inscriptions Part 2: Records of the Ancient Near East (ed. Hans...

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