Semitic People

Semitic Languages

Proto-Semitic is a hypothetical reconstructed language ancestral to the historical Semitic languages. There is no consensus regarding the location of the Proto-Semitic urheimat; scholars hypothesize that it may have originated in the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant, the Sahara, or the Horn of Africa.
A Bayesian analysis performed in 2009 proposes that it was spoken in the Levant during the Early Bronze Age from about 3750 BC, with a later single introduction from South Arabia into the Horn of Africa around 800 BCE.
This statistical analysis could not, however, estimate when or where the ancestor of all Semitic languages diverged from Afroasiatic. It thus neither contradicts nor confirms the hypothesis that the divergence of ancestral Semitic from Afroasiatic occurred in Africa.
The earliest attestations of a Semitic language are in Akkadian, dating to around the 2300 BC and the Eblaite language, but earlier evidence of Akkadian comes from personal names in Sumerian texts around the 2800 BC.
North Africa received Semitic migrations, according to some studies it may have been diffused in recent time by Arabs who, mainly from the 700 AD., expanded to northern Africa. However the Canary islands is not known to have had any Semitic language.
In North Africa J-M267 is dominated by J-P58, and dispersed in a very uneven manner according to studies so far, often but not always being lower among Berber and/or non-urban populations. In Ethiopia there are signs of older movements of J-M267 into Africa across the Red Sea, not only in the J-P58 form.
This also appears to be associated with Semitic languages. According to a study in 2011, in Tunisia, J-M267 is significantly more abundant in the urban (31.3%) than in the rural total population (2.5%).
These results could be explained by supposing that Arabization in Tunisia was a military enterprise, therefore, mainly driven by men that displaced native Berbers to geographically marginal areas but they frequently married Berber women.
Semitic evolved into three groups: East Semitic (an extinct branch that comprised Akkadian), Central Semitic (which gave rise to Aramaic, Ugaritic, Phoenician, Hebrew and Arabic), and South Semitic (South Arabian and Ethiopian).
Subclade J1-P58, the Central Semitic branch of haplogroup J1, appears to have expanded from the southern Levant (Israel, Palestine, Jordan) across the Arabian peninsula during the Bronze Age, from approximately 3500 to 2500 BC. Camels were domesticated in Somalia and southern Arabia c. 3,000 BCE, but did not become widely used in the southern Levant before approximately 1100 BCE.
Camels played an important role in the further diffusion of J1-P58 lineages, notably with the Bedouins in the desertic parts of the Middle East and North Africa. Bedouins now make up a substantial percentage of the population of Sudan (33%), Libya (15%), the United Arab Emirates (8%) and Saudi Arabia (5%).
The two most common Jewish subclades of J1 downstream of P58 are Z18297 and ZS227. The latter includes the Cohanim haplotype. Most of the other branches under P58 could be described as Semitic, although only FGC12 seems to be genuinely linked to the medieval Arabic expansion from Saudi Arabia.
Based on very limited data, the main Lebanese subclades of J1 appear to be J1-Z640 and J1-YSC76. Both subclades have also been found in Sicily, Andalusia and Portugal, which suggests that they were already found among the Phoenicians.
However, since the Arabs conquered the same regions as those colonised by the Phoenicians, it is too early to reach such a conclusion. Subclades found in Sardinia are very useful as practically all J1-P58 on the island were supposedly brought by the Phoenicians. They include Z18297 (could also be Jewish), Z2324>YP4763, YSC76>FGC15940>ZS1690 and YSC76>FGC8223>FGC8216>FGC8196.
Semitic languages
There are several locations proposed as possible sites for prehistoric origins of Semitic-speaking peoples: Mesopotamia, the Levant, Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, and North Africa, with the most recent Bayesian studies indicating Semitic originated in the Levant circa 3800 BC, and was later also introduced to the Horn of Africa in approximately 800 BC.
Semitic languages were spoken across much of the Middle East and Asia Minor during the Bronze Age and Iron Age, the earliest attested being the East Semitic Akkadian of the Mesopotamian and south eastern Anatolian polities of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia, and the also East Semitic Eblaite language of the kingdom of Ebla in the north eastern Levant.
The 5.9 kiloyear event was one of the most intense aridification events during the Holocene, the current geological epoch that began after the last glacial period approximately 11,650 years before present.
It occurred around 3900 BC, ending the Neolithic Subpluvial, or the Holocene Wet Phase, an extended period from about 7500–7000 BCE to about 3500–3000 BCE of wet and rainy conditions in the climate history of northern Africa both preceded and followed by much drier periods.
The 5.9 kiloyear event is associated with the last round of the Sahara pump theory, and probably initiated the most recent desiccation of the Sahara, as well as a five century period of colder climate in more northerly latitudes.
It triggered human migration to the Nile, which eventually led to the emergence of the first complex, highly organized, state-level societies in the 4th millennium BC. It may have contributed to the decline of Old Europe and the first Indo-European migrations into the Balkans from the Pontic–Caspian steppe.
For some reason, all the earlier arid events (including the 8.2 kiloyear event) were followed by recovery, as is attested by the wealth of evidence of humid conditions in the Sahara between 10,000 and 6,000 BP. However, it appears that the 5.9 kiloyear event was followed by a partial recovery at best, with accelerated desiccation in the millennium that followed.
For example, Cremaschi (1998) describes evidence of rapid aridification in Tadrart Acacus of southwestern Libya, in the form of increased aeolian erosion, sand incursions and the collapse of the roofs of rock shelters.
In the eastern Arabian Peninsula, the 5.9 kiloyear event may have contributed to an increase in relatively greater social complexity and have corresponded to an end of the local Ubaid period and the emergence of the first state societies at the lower end of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in southern Mesopotamia.
In central North Africa it triggered human migration to the Nile, which eventually led to the emergence of the second complex, highly organized, state-level societies in the 4th millennium BC.
By causing a period of cooling in Europe, it may have contributed to the decline of Old Europe and the first Indo-European migrations into the Balkans from the Pontic–Caspian steppe. Around 4200–4100 BCE a climate change occurred, manifesting in colder winters in Europe.
Between 4200–3900 BCE many tell settlements in the lower Danube Valley were burned and abandoned, while the Cucuteni-Tripolye culture showed an increase in fortifications, meanwhile moving eastwards towards the Dniepr. Steppe herders, archaic Proto-Indo-European speakers, spread into the lower Danube valley about 4200–4000 BCE, either causing or taking advantage of the collapse of Old Europe.
Work at the site of ‘Ain Ghazal in Jordan has indicated a later Pre-Pottery Neolithic C period which lasted between 8200 and 7900 BP. Juris Zarins has proposed that a Circum Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex developed in the period from the climatic crisis of 6200 BCE, partly as a result of an increasing emphasis in PPNB cultures upon animal domesticates, and a fusion with Harifian hunter gatherers in Southern Palestine, with affiliate connections with the cultures of Fayyum and the Eastern Desert of Egypt, which spread Proto-Semitic languages through the region. Cultures practicing this lifestyle spread down the Red Sea shoreline and moved east from Syria into Southern Iraq.
As Harifian used the Outacha retouch point technique found earlier in the Fayyum, it has been suggested that Proto-Semitic may have come from Egypt across the Sinai. The climatic recovery during the Chalcolithic, led to the development of the secondary products revolution and the Ghassulian culture, pioneering the Mediterranean mixed economy with subsistence horticulture, extensive grain farming, commercial production of olives and wine, and nomadic transhumance pastoralism. The mix has varied historically with climate change. The Ghassulians are usually accepted as being early Semitic speakers.
Ghassulian refers to a culture and an archaeological stage dating to the Middle Chalcolithic Period in the Southern Levant (c. 3800–c. 3350 BC). Considered to correspond to the Halafian culture of North Syria and Mesopotamia, its type-site, Tulaylat al-Ghassul, is located in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea in modern Jordan and was excavated in the 1930s.
The Ghassulian stage was characterized by small hamlet settlements of mixed farming peoples, and migrated southwards from Syria into Israel. Houses were trapezoid-shaped and built mud-brick, covered with remarkable polychrome wall paintings. Their pottery was highly elaborate, including footed bowls and horn-shaped drinking goblets, indicating the cultivation of wine. Several samples display the use of sculptural decoration or of a reserved slip (a clay and water coating partially wiped away while still wet). The Ghassulians were a Chalcolithic culture as they also smelted copper. Funerary customs show evidence that they buried their dead in stone dolmens.
Ghassulian culture has been identified at numerous other places in what is today southern Israel, especially in the region of Beersheba. The Ghassulian culture correlates closely with the Amratian of Egypt and may have had trading affinities (e.g., the distinctive churns, or “bird vases”) with early Minoan culture in Crete.
Ghassulian culture replaced the Minhata and Yarmukian culture, and seems to have developed in part from a fusion of Pre-Pottery Neolithic B in the Amuq Valley, with Minhata and nomadic pastoralists of the circum Arabian nomadic pastoral complex. It was associated with the Older Peron, which began in the 5000 BCE to 4900 BCE era, and lasted to about 4100 BCE, a period of generally clement and balmy weather conditions that favored plant growth.
The Ghassulian phase seems to have been formative for the Canaanite civilization – in which a chalcolithic structure pioneered a Mediterranean mixed economy, involving the intensive subsistence production of horticultural fruit and vegetables, extensive farming of grains and cereals, transhumance and nomadic pastoral systems of animal husbandry, and commercial production (as in Crete) of wine and olives.


The Amorites (Sumerian MAR.TU; Akkadian Amurrūm or Tidnum; Egyptian Amar; Hebrew: אמורי ʼĔmōrī; Ancient Greek: Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic-speaking people[1] from Syria who also occupied large parts of southern Mesopotamia from the 21st century BC to the end of the 17th century BC, where they established several prominent city states in existing locations, such as Isin, Larsa and later notably Babylon, which was raised from a small town to an independent state and a major city. The term Amurru in Akkadian and Sumerian texts refers to both them and to their principal deity.

The Amorites are also mentioned in the Bible as inhabitants of Canaan both before and after the conquest of the land under Joshua.
1 Origin
2 History
2.1 Effects on Mesopotamia
2.2 Downfall
2.3 States
3 Biblical Amorites
4 Indo-European hypothesis
5 References
6 Bibliography
7 External links
Terracotta of a couple, probably Inanna and Dumuzi, Girsu, Amorite period, 2000-1600 BC. Louvre Museum AO 16676.
In the earliest Sumerian sources concerning the Amorites, beginning about 2400 BC, the land of the Amorites (“the Mar.tu land”) is associated not with Mesopotamia but with the lands to the west of the Euphrates, including Canaan and what was to become Syria by the 3rd century BC, then known as The land of the Amurru, and later as Aram and Eber-Nari.
They appear as an uncivilized and nomadic people in early Mesopotamian writings from Sumer, Akkad, and Assyria, especially connected with the mountainous region now called Jebel Bishri in northern Syria called the “mountain of the Amorites”.[citation needed] The ethnic terms Mar.tu (“Westerners”), Amurru (suggested in 2007 to be derived from aburru, “pasture”) and Amor were used for them in Sumerian, Akkadian,[2] and Ancient Egyptian respectively.[3] From the 21st century BC, possibly triggered by a long major drought starting about 2200 BC, a large-scale migration of Amorite tribes infiltrated southern Mesopotamia. They were one of the instruments of the downfall of the Third Dynasty of Ur, and Amorite dynasties not only usurped the long-extant native city-states such as Isin, Larsa, Eshnunna, and Kish, but also established new ones, the most famous of which was to become Babylon, although it was initially a minor insignificant state.
Known Amorites wrote in a dialect of Akkadian found on tablets at Mari dating from 1800–1750 BC. Since the language shows northwest Semitic forms, words and constructions, the Amorite language is a Northwest Semitic language, and possibly one of the Canaanite languages. The main sources for the extremely limited knowledge about Amorite are the proper names, not Akkadian in style, that are preserved in such texts. The Akkadian language of the native Semitic states, cities and polities of Mesopotamia (Akkad, Assyria, Babylonia, Isin, Kish, Larsa, Ur, Nippur, Uruk, Eridu, Adab, Akshak, Eshnunna, Nuzi, Ekallatum, etc.), was from the east Semitic, as was the Eblaite of the northern Levant.
In the earliest Sumerian texts, all western lands beyond the Euphrates, including the modern Levant, were known as “the land of the mar.tu (Amorites)”. The term appears in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, which describes it in the time of Enmerkar as one of the regions inhabited by speakers of a different language. Another text known as Lugalbanda and the Anzud bird describes how, 50 years into Enmerkar’s reign, the Martu people arose in Sumer and Akkad (southern Mesopotamia), necessitating the building of a wall to protect Uruk.
There are also sparse mentions in tablets from the East Semitic-speaking kingdom of Ebla, dating from 2500 BC to the destruction of the city c. 2250 BC: from the perspective of the Eblaites, the Amorites were a rural group living in the narrow basin of the middle and upper Euphrates in northern Syria.[4] For the Akkadian kings of central Mesopotamia Mar.tu was one of the “Four Quarters” surrounding Akkad, along with Subartu/Assyria, Sumer, and Elam. Naram-Sin of Akkad records successful campaigns against them in northern Syria c. 2240 BC, and his successor, Shar-Kali-Sharri, followed suit.
Artifacts from Amorite Kingdom of Mari, 1st half of 2nd millennium BC
By the time of the last days of the Third Dynasty of Ur, the immigrating Amorites had become such a force that kings such as Shu-Sin were obliged to construct a 270-kilometre (170 mi) wall from the Tigris to the Euphrates to hold them off.[5] The Amorites appear as nomadic tribes under chiefs, who forced themselves into lands they needed to graze their herds. Some of the Akkadian literature of this era speaks disparagingly of the Amorites and implies that the Akkadian- and Sumerian-speakers of Mesopotamia viewed their nomadic and primitive way of life with disgust and contempt:


Ahlamu or Aḫlamū, were a group or designation of Semitic semi-nomads. Their habitat was west of the Euphrates, between the mouth of the Khabur and Palmyra. They were first mentioned in the sources since Rim-Anum (18th century BC), a king of Uruk, and in texts from Mari; then, in the 14th century BC in Egyptian sources, in one of the Amarna letters, in the days of Akhenaten, where it is affirmed that they had advanced until the Euphrates.

Although the etymology and meaning is ultimately uncertain, it can be safely be said to derive from the Semitic language family. In the past it was proposed as “companion or confederate” by an error of scholar Wayne T. Pitard, comparing it to an unrelated Arabic root, presumably ح ل ف (ḥ-l-f), which does indeed mean such. The more recent proposal by Lipiński, connects it instead to غ ل م (ḡ-l-m) denoting a boy, lad, post-pubescent youth, a young man, a man full of virility or prowess, the prime of his life, full of testosterone, wild or lusty. The sense of puberty and hitting sexual as well physical maturity can be found as well in the variant ح ل م (ḥ-l-m). He further compares the word form as a broken plural pattern found common in Arabic; bands of wild young men.
There is also a scholarly debate as to whether this term is a proper name of a group or rather a designation of a type of group. The significance of this comes in identifying possible genealogical backgrounds and connections of some groups given this appellation, such as the Aramaeans and even some tribes that had elsewhere been called Amorites. It would imply either sub-tribes of an over-arching “Aḫlamite” people or rather as separate distinct peoples identified as such by a similar lifestyle. This would be a nomadic designation of the roaming raiding forces that made forays and razzias to capture flocks, slaves, and food supplies from the desert regions South and West of Mesopotamia.
In part, these Ahlamu certainly meant the Amorites. One of the tribes of the Ahlamu were the Arameans, they often acted together with the Suteans. Raids of the Ahlamu are also performed in the Persian Gulf in that they may have disrupted or interrupted trading in Dilmun.
In one of his inscriptions, the Assyrian king Adad-nirari II states that his father, Ashur-dan II, defeated different peoples of the mountains including Ahlamu nomads. According to the inscription of another Assyrian king, Shalmaneser I, the Ahlamu with the Mitannian support of Shattuara II of Hanigalbat, were defeated in their uprising against the Assyrians.
Ahlamu were even able to obstruct communication between kingdoms, mentioned by king of Babylon Kadashman-Enlil II, in his relations with the Hittite king Ḫattušili III, in which he complains about the interruption of sending messengers between the two courts, under the pretext of the assaults of Ahlamu bandit. From the 12th century B.C.E. onward, the Mesopotamians increasingly referred to these same mobile groups as “Arameans.”[3]
They are also known as enemies of the Assyrians, when Assyria resurfaces again, already in the time of the monarch Ashur-resh-ishi I, he alluded to victories over the Ahlamu, and Gutians, so did his successor, Tiglath-Pileser I.[4]
The Assyrian king, Arik-den-ili, turned westward into The Levant (modern Syria and Lebanon), where he managed to subjugate the Suteans, the Ahlamu and the Yauru, in the region of Katmuḫi in the middle Euphrates.[5]
Social life
Ahlamu could fight on their own as they acted as mercenaries with other peoples like the Hittites or the Mitannis. In addition, because of their excellent knowledge of the desert, they were sometimes hired as caravan guides or drovers, the same as the nomads Suteans for large commercial expeditions.
Moreover, they lived in tents, under the jurisdiction of a sheikh, Rab Zārāti, lord of the tent camp. In the Kassitic Nippur, they served as guards. Some of them had Kassitic or Babylonian names, although history says that they were not always reliable.


The Arameans (Aramaic: ܐܪ̈ܡܝܐ‎, ʼaramáyé, Arabic: آراميون‎), were an ancient Northwest Semitic Aramaic-speaking tribal confederation who emerged from the region known as Aram (in present-day Syria) in the Late Bronze Age (11th to 8th centuries BC). They established a patchwork of independent Aramaic kingdoms in the Levant and seized tracts of Anatolia as well as briefly conquering Babylonia.
The emergence of the Arameans occurred during the Bronze Age collapse (1200–900 BC), which saw great upheavals and mass movements of peoples across the Middle East, Asia Minor, The Caucasus, East Mediterranean, North Africa, Ancient Iran, Ancient Greece and Balkans, leading to the genesis of new peoples and polities across these regions.
The first certain reference to the Arameans appears in an inscription of Tiglath-Pileser I (1115–1077 BC), which refers to subjugating the “Ahlamû-Aramaeans” (Ahlame Armaia). Shortly after, the Ahlamû rapidly disappear from Assyrian annals, to be replaced by the Aramaeans (Aramu, Arimi). This indicates that the Arameans had risen to dominance amongst the nomads; however, it is possible that the two peoples had nothing in common, but operated in the same area.[6] By the late 12th century BC, the Arameans were firmly established in Syria; however, they were conquered by the Middle Assyrian Empire, as had been the Amorites and Ahlamu before them.
The Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1050 BC), which had dominated the Near East and Asia Minor since the first half of the 14th century BC, began to shrink rapidly after the death of Ashur-bel-kala, its last great ruler in 1056 BC, and the Assyrian withdrawal allowed the Arameans and others to gain independence and take firm control of what was then Eber-Nari (and is today Syria) during the late 11th century BC. It is from this point that the region was called Aramea.
Some of the major Aramean speaking kingdoms included: Aram-Damascus, Hamath, Bit Adini, Bit Bahiani, Bit Hadipe, Aram-Bet Rehob, Aram-Zobah, Bit-Zamani, Bit-Halupe and Aram-Ma’akah, as well as the Aramean tribal polities of the Gambulu, Litau and Puqudu.[7]
Later Biblical sources tell us that Saul, David and Solomon (late 11th to 10th centuries) fought against the small Aramean kingdoms ranged across the northern frontier of Israel: Aram-Sôvah in the Beqaa, Aram-Bêt-Rehob (Rehov) and Aram-Ma’akah around Mount Hermon, Geshur in the Hauran, and Aram-Damascus. An Aramean king’s account dating at least two centuries later, the Tel Dan Stele, was discovered in northern Israel, and is famous for being perhaps the earliest non-Israelite extra-biblical historical reference to the Israelite royal dynasty, the House of David. In the early 11th century BC, much of Israel came under Aramean rule for eight years according to the Biblical Book of Judges, until Othniel defeated the forces led by Chushan-Rishathaim, the King of Aram-Naharaim.[8]
Further north, the Arameans gained possession of Neo-Hittite Hamath on the Orontes and were soon to become strong enough to dissociate with the Indo-European speaking Neo-Hittite states.
During the 11th and the 10th centuries BC, the Arameans conquered Sam’al (modern Zenjirli), also known as Yaudi, the region from Arpad to Aleppo, which they renamed Bît-Agushi, and Til Barsip, which became the chief town of Bît-Adini, also known as Beth Eden. North of Sam’al was the Aramean state of Bit-Gabbari, which was sandwiched between the Syro-Hittite states of Carchemish, Gurgum, Khattina, Unqi and the Georgian state of Tabal.
At the same time, Arameans moved to the east of the Euphrates, where they settled in such numbers that, for a time, the whole region became known as Aram-Naharaim or “Aram of the two rivers”. Eastern Aramaean tribes spread into Babylonia and an Aramaean usurper was crowned king of Babylon under the name of Adad-apal-iddin.[1] One of their earliest semi-independent kingdoms in southern Mesopotamia was Bît-Bahiâni (Tell Halaf).
The Arameans never formed a unified state but had small independent kingdoms across parts of the Near East, (present-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestinian territories, the northwestern Arabian peninsula and south-central Turkey). Their political influence was confined to a number of states such as Aram Damascus, Hamath, Palmyra, Aleppo and the partly Aramean Syro-Hittite states, which were entirely absorbed into the Neo-Assyrian Empire (935–605 BC) by the 9th century BC. In the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the Aramaeans, Chaldeans, Suteans and indigenous Assyrians-Babylonians became largely indistinguishable, as these groups were culturally and ethnically absorbed into the native populace of Mesopotamia.[1]
By contrast, Imperial Aramaic came to be the lingua franca of the entire Near East and Asia Minor after King Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria (ruled 745–727 BC) made it one of two official languages of the vast Neo-Assyrian Empire (the other being Akkadian) in the mid-8th century BC, in recognition of the mostly-Aramean speaking population in areas Assyria had conquered west of the Euphrates and the large numbers of Arameans in Mesopotamia. This empire stretched from Cyprus and the East Mediterranean in the west to Persia and Elam in the east, and from Armenia and the Caucasus in the north to Egypt, Libya and Arabia in the south. The Achaemenid Empire (c. 550–330 BC) greatly spread Imperial Aramaic: north to the coast of the Black Sea and eastward to the Indus Valley. This version of Aramaic, influenced by Akkadian and later by Old Persian, later developed into the Syriac dialect of Edessa.
Between the 1st and 4th centuries AD, the Arameans began to adopt Christianity in place of the polytheist Aramean religion, and the Levant became an important centre of Syriac Christianity, along with the Aramean kingdom Osroene to the east from where the Syriac language and Syriac script emerged.
Use of the Western Aramaic language has steadily declined in the face of Arabic since the Islamic conquest of the area in the 7th century AD, and the last vestiges of the spoken tongue in and around Maalula are in danger of extinction, although Assyrian population maintain spoken dialects of Akkadian influenced Neo-Aramaic as well as Syriac as a liturgical language. Similarly, some Jewish communities and the Mandean people also retain dialects of Aramaic. Today, an Aramean identity is mainly held by a small number of largely Arabic-speaking Syriac Christians in south-central Turkey, in Syria, and in the Aramean diaspora overseas. In 2014, Israel recognized the Aramean minority, an Arabic- and Aramaic-speaking Christian community.[2][3]
The toponym A-ra-mu appears in an inscription at the East Semitic speaking kingdom of Ebla listing geographical names, and the term Armi, which is the Eblaite term for nearby Idlib (modern Aleppo), occurs frequently in the Ebla tablets (c. 2300 BC). One of the annals of Naram-Sin of Akkad (c. 2250 BC) mentions that he captured “Dubul, the ensí of A-ra-me” (Arame is seemingly a genitive form), in the course of a campaign against Simurrum in the northern mountains.[4] Other early references to a place or people of “Aram” have appeared at the archives of Mari (c. 1900 BC) and at Ugarit (c. 1300 BC).
However, there is absolutely no historical, archaeological or linguistic evidence that the Aramu, Armi or Arame were actually Arameans or even related to them; and the earliest undisputed historical attestation of Arameans as a people appears much later, in the inscriptions of Tiglath Pileser I (c. 1100 BC).[5]
Nomadic pastoralists have long played a prominent role in the history and economy of the Middle East, but their numbers seem to vary according to climatic conditions and the force of neighbouring states inducing permanent settlement. The period of the Late Bronze Age seems to have coincided with increasing aridity, which weakened neighbouring states and induced transhumance pastoralists to spend longer and longer periods with their flocks. Urban settlements (hitherto largely Amorite, Canaanite, Hittite, Ugarite inhabited) in The Levant diminished in size, until eventually fully nomadic pastoralist lifestyles came to dominate much of the region. These highly mobile, competitive tribesmen with their sudden raids continually threatened long-distance trade and interfered with the collection of taxes and tribute.
The people who had long been the prominent population within what is today Syria (called the Land of the Amurru during their tenure) were the Amorites, a Canaanite speaking group of Semites who had appeared during the 25th century BC, destroying the hitherto dominant East Semitic speaking state of Ebla, founding the powerful state of Mari in the Levant, and during the 19th century BC founding Babylonia in southern Mesopotamia. However, they seem to have been displaced or wholly absorbed by the appearance of a people called the Ahlamu by the 13th century BC, disappearing from history.
Ahlamû appears to be a generic term for a new wave of Semitic wanderers and nomads of varying origins who appeared during the 13th century BC across the Near East, Arabian Peninsula, Asia Minor, and Egypt. The presence of the Ahlamû is attested during the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1020 BC), which already ruled many of the lands in which the Ahlamû arose, in the Babylonian city of Nippur and even at Dilmun (modern Bahrain). Shalmaneser I (1274–1245 BC) is recorded as having defeated Shattuara, King of the Mitanni and his Hittite and Ahlamû mercenaries. In the following century, the Ahlamû cut the road from Babylon to Hattusas, and Tukulti-Ninurta I (1244–1208 BC) conquered Mari, Hanigalbat and Rapiqum on the Euphrates and “the mountain of the Ahlamû”, apparently the region of Jebel Bishri in northern Syria.
The Arameans would appear to be one part of the larger generic Ahlamû group rather than synonymous with the Ahlamu.
Between the 1st and 4th centuries AD, the Arameans began to adopt Christianity in place of the polytheist Aramean religion, and the Levant became an important centre of Syriac Christianity, along with the Aramean kingdom Osroene to the east from where the Syriac language and Syriac script emerged.
Use of the Western Aramaic language has steadily declined in the face of Arabic since the Islamic conquest of the area in the 7th century AD, and the last vestiges of the spoken tongue in and around Maalula are in danger of extinction, although Assyrian population maintain spoken dialects of Akkadian influenced Neo-Aramaic as well as Syriac as a liturgical language. Similarly, some Jewish communities and the Mandean people also retain dialects of Aramaic. Today, an Aramean identity is mainly held by a small number of largely Arabic-speaking Syriac Christians in south-central Turkey, in Syria, and in the Aramean diaspora overseas. In 2014, Israel recognized the Aramean minority, an Arabic- and Aramaic-speaking Christian community.[2][3]








Sea People




The Royal Palace of King Aghrish, Ebla

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Translation of a list of Sumerian charachtars on Clay, The Royal Palace, Ebla


File:Ebish-Il Louvre AO17551.jpg

File:The ancient city of Mari.jpg


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he Phoenicians were the direct descendents of the Canaanites of the south Syrian and Lebanese coast who, at the end of the second millennium BC, became isolated by population and political changes in the regions surrounding them. The name derives from the Greek, Phoinikes, referring to the purple coloured dye which the Phoenicians extracted from the murex shell, and with which they produced highly prized textiles.
The major Phoenician cities were Tyre, Sidon, Byblos and Arwad. These cities represented a confederation of fiercely independent maritime traders. By the late eighth century BC, the Phoenicians had founded trading posts and colonies around the entire Mediterranean, the greatest of which was Carthage on the north coast of Africa (present day Tunisia). Explorers and traders from Carthage even ventured beyond the Straits of Gibraltar as far as Britain in search of tin.
Phoenician craftsmen and artists perpetuated the purest ideals of their Canaanite ancestors into the first millennium and transmitted them throughout the Mediterranean world. They were extremely skilled in metalworking, ivory carving, jewellery manufacture and glass-making. One of the most significant contributions of the Phoenicians was in developing the alphabet invented by the Canaanites and passing it to the Greeks: it is the same alphabet we use today.


Phoenician figurines from the Temple of Obelisks at Byblos, Lebanon, Gilded bronze (7th-8th BCE).
Phoenician gold and garnet pendant, circa 8th/6th century b.c.
Phoenician King-- Byblos
Phoenicians bringing gifts for the Persian King--Persepolis relief, 5 century BC

Phoenician boat at Tyre



Map of  Mediterranean world with Phoenician colonies

Map of  Mediterranean world with Greek colonies

Map of  Mediterranean world with Roman Empire


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, 2ND-1ST MILL.BCE, Baal, God, Bronze, Gods, Gold, Goldwork, Sculpture, Statue, Statuette, Syrian, Ugarit (Ras Shamra)




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Abcedary Ugarit

The Ugaritic Alphabet



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Carthaginian held territory in the early 3rd century BC.



Sea People:


Levant 800 BC

The Fertile Crescent

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