Aramaic, the language of Jesus of Nazareth, was the lingua franca of the Middle East for over a thousand years before Arabic became widespread. During the time of the Achaemenid Persian Empire it became the official language of the state, and was in use from Afghanistan to western Iran to the Mediterranean and down to the south of Egypt. This volume tells the story of the transition of Aramaic from its humble beginnings in the first millennium B.C. to its height as a truly international language. Includes both color and black and white illustrations.
10 x 12.5
Vol. I: The Ancient Aramaic Heritage (By S. P. Brock and David Taylor)
The Assyrian and Babylonian civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia and the Arabic world of the modern Middle East are widely familiar, but between the two there is a period of over a thousand years when Aramaic was the main cultural language of this area - and Aramaic was, of course, the language of Jesus of Nazareth. The earliest inscriptions in Aramaic belong to the time of the Aramaen city states of Syria in the early first millennium BC. Although these city states eventually became swallowed up by the Assyrian Empire, the use of their language, Aramaic, gradually spread all over the Middle East. During the time of the Achaemenid Persian Empire it became the official language of the state, and was in use from western Iran to the Mediterranean and down to the south of Egypt, where it was also used by a local Jewish community with their own temple. In the Hellenistic period (3rd to 1st cent. BC), after the conquests of Alexander the Great, Aramaic continued in use alongside Greek. It flourished especially in the east, and was used by the Indian king Asoka in a series of religious inscriptions found in the twentieth century in Afghanistan. In the early period of Roman domination in the Middle East, a number of small desert kingdoms came into being (1st century BC to the 3rd century AD), all of which use Aramaic (in different scripts) as their written language; these were based on Palmyra (with its famous queen, Zenobia), Petra and Hatra.