Aram & Arameans

In the early stages of critical historiography in 19th century, the idea was advanced that the terms Arma or Aram, and Arime or Arme are Semitic and pertain to the Semites. I. Diakonoff, makes the supposition tha the name Armina ( Armini-Armeni) is given to Armenian and the Armenians because of their neighborhood to the Aramaeans in the southern region of Hayk.

The idea of seeing a Semitic origin in the names Arma, Aram, Arim, Arime, Arme, Armani, Armina, Armeni, and the like, had become such an obsession with some authors that it prevents them from seeing the essence of the interrelationships between the Armenian Highland and Northern Mesopotamia, and creates added difficulties for the clarification of certain obscure problems related to them.

The fact is that the very name Aram has no connection of origin with those Semites who were later called Aramaeans. A careful study of the cuneiform documents of the Near East shows that the Semitic nomadic tribes that were later called Aramaeans, were previously known by the names Sutu and Ahlame. They had come to Northern Mesopotamia and settled in the territories of Mitanni ( Naharina) which was either destroyed or about to be destroyed at that time, and they were called Aramaeans after the ancient name Arma or Aram of the land on which they settled. A similar example is the case of the Egyptians; the name Egypt did not belong to the Arabs, but they have come and settled in the land of Egypt, and by this ancient name of the land they were (and still are) called Egyptians.

J. Myers had written earlier that the Aramaeans* seem to have started to come out of Northeastern Arabia around 1350 B.C. when nomadic marauders whom the Babylonian kings called “SUTI AND ACHLAME” were spreading, looting and devastating along the entire Euphratian border.

R. O’Callaghan has the following to say about the appearance of these Semitic tribes: “The Sutu and the Akhlamu are first mentioned in Assyrian sources as appearing in the time of Arik-den-ili (1316-1305) of Assyria. The former name is connected with the Egyptian Sttyw, meaning “Asiatics”. Thus as a matter of fact they do service as Egyptian mercenaries…”

We see an indication to the recent appearance of these tribes in Northern Mesopotamia in the following statement of Adad-Nirari I (cir. 1310-1280 B.C.): “…conqueror of the lands of Turuki and Nigimhi in their totality, together with all their kings, mountains, and highlands, the territory of widespreading Kuti (v. adds, conqueror of Kutmuhi and all of its allies), the hordes of the Ahlami and Suti, the Iauri and their lands, who enlarged boundary and frontier…”

As we see, according to Adad_Nirari’s assertion, at the beginning of the 13th century these Semitic tribes were still in the process of enlarging their borders by moving forth and occupying new territories that did not belong to them.

Source:”Armenia, Summer and Subartu” by Prof. Dr.Martiros Kavoukjian

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