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Arabic

(361 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] In contrast to  Ancient Southern Arabian, this is in fact Northern Arabic; it belongs to the northern branch of the Semitic languages. (Northern) Arabic personal names are found in Assyrian cuneiform sources from the 9th cent. onwards, with contemporaneous seals and short inscriptions in proto-Arabic script. Diverse early Northern Arabic dialects are written in modified Ancient Southern Arabian scripts (graffiti and tomb monument inscriptions), so  Thamudic (6th cent. BC - 4th cen…

Syriac

(358 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Aramaic dialect from the geographical surroundings of Edessa [2], modern Urfa, which gave rise to the later Syriac literary language. Lexically, Syriac belongs to Central Aramaic just as the Aramaic of the Babylonian Targumim (Targum Onqelos and Jonathan), but already has Northeastern Aramaic features in its phonetics, morphology and syntax. The Early Syriac inscriptions (AD 6 - 3rd cent. AD), written in Estrangelā script, still have a strongly standardised Central Aramaic charact…

Square script

(182 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] ( ketāḇ merubbā) is the term for the style of script in which Jewish Hebrew and Aramaic texts are written. It developed from the Aramaic square script style (in the Babylonian Talmud ketāḇ aššūrī, i.e. Assyrian script), which according to the Babylonian Talmud (Aboda Zara 10a) was brought from Babylonian captivity to Palestine by Jews in the post-Exilic period, whereas the Samaritan style developed from the palaeo-Hebraic script. The earliest documents extant in square script are fragments of the Biblical books …

Aḥiqar

(195 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Aramaic name of the legendary keeper of the seal who served the Assyrian kings  Sanherib and  Asarhaddon (704-669 BC), mentioned in the Apocryphon Tob 1,21 f. (2,10; 11,17; 14,10, Ἀχιάχαρος; Achiácharos). Assyrian sources are not available. A late Babylonian cuneiform script ((2nd cent. BC) calls an Aba-enlil-dari by the Aramaic name of Ahuaqār [1. 215-218]. A. is the lead character of a biographical novel written in Official Aramaic on papyri (5th century BC) from  Elephantine. It contains wisdom sayings wr…

Punic

(258 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] is the later form of Phoenician found in the Phoenician colonies of North Africa, esp. Carthage, its far-flung trading centres on Malta, Sicily and Sardinia, in Italy, southern France, Spain, and - disseminated by trade - throughout almost the entire Mediterranean region. Initially, P. was indistinguishable in writing from Phoenician, but from approx. the 5th cent. BC, the first variant written forms begin to appear. The Semitic pharyngeal and laryngeal consonants were hardly used…

Ešmūn

(78 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Old Phoenician deity, probably a  healing deity (> šmn, ‘Oil’), interpreted by the Greeks as  Asclepius and also as  Apollo. An important sanctuary of the cult of Esmun, which was widespread around the Mediterranean, was situated near Ṣidon ( Bustān aš-Šaiḫ). In Tyrus, Esmun was associated with  Melqart. Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) Bibliography 1 E. Lipiński, s.v. E., DCPP, 158-160 2 R. Stucky, Die Skulpturen aus dem E.-Heiligtum bei Sidon: griech., röm., kypr. und phönik. Statuen vom 6. Jh. v.-3. Jh. n. Chr., 1993.

Alphabet

(5,280 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) | Wachter, Rudolf (Basle)
[German version] I. Ancient Middle Eastern origins The early Semitic alphabet seems to have developed in parallel lines from various early stages of the proto-Canaanite language: ancient Hebrew (Gezer, Lachic, Shechem, Izbet Ṣarṭah in Palestine 17th-12th cents. BC) and proto-Sinaitic (Serabit el-Ḫadem c. 15th cent. BC). As its counterpart, cuneiform scripts from Ugarit (14th-13th cents. BC), Bet Shemesh/Palestine, Tell Nebi Mend/Syria and Sarepta/Phoenicia (13th-12th cents. BC) have also been found. The alphabet from these scripts ranged from between 27 and 30 characters. T…

Ḥatra

(298 words)

Author(s): Hauser, Stefan R. (Berlin) | Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] [1] Trading centre in north Mesopotamia This item can be found on the following maps: Syria | Zenobia | Commerce | Limes Trading centre in north Mesopotamia, founded middle of the 1st cent. AD. Expanded to a fortified round city ( c. 2 km diameter) in the mid 2nd cent., H. was an important sanctuary of the sun god  Šamaš and capital of a ‘kingdom of the Arabs’ starting c. 166, at the same time an Arsacid border province. The city was besieged in vain by Trajan (AD 116) and Septimius Severus (196 and 198). After the end of the Arsacid dynasty, it …
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