Thursday, April 5, 2012

the Aramaic script



Aramaic was a consonantal script mostly lacking vowels and was wriiten from right to left.It originally served Aramaic (west semitic languages. And letter became the official script for the assyrian and Old Persian (Achaemenid) empires from 6-4 BC It was the source of many alphabets of the world and the vast majority of Semitic scripts (Samaritan, Jewish, Palmyra, Nabataean, Syrian, Palestinian-Christian, Mandaean, Manichaean). The Aramaic writing had an impact even on Iranian writing systems (Parthian, middle Persian, Sogdian, and Khorezm).It was the basis (through the medium of Sogdian) for Uighur, Mongolian, and the Orkhon-Yenisei alphabets. There is a hypothesis about the Indian Brahmi scripts and Kharosthi originating from the Aramaic script.

The center for the spread of Aramaic culture was the city of Damascus, and later - Palmyra and Edessa (modern Urfa in Turkey). Aramaeans mingled everywere with the local population and they assimilated it relatively easy.. Aramaic, after Akkadian, became a kind of international and diplomatic language of the Near East in antiquity. In Palestine the same time the Gospel was spoken Aramaic, so it is likely that the early Christians (including Jesus himself) spoke in it. In addition, the Aramaeans - the only ancient people of Middle East, which, along with the Persians lived up to the present day.
Initially, the Aramaic script did not differ from the Phoenician, but then the Aramaeans simplified some of the letters, thickened and rounded their lines. A specific feature of Aramaic letters is the distinction between d and r.

Aramaic writing, spread quickly from Africa to India and China.
Aramaic literature is quite wide: religious, philosophical and philological works were written in it.
In the Middle Ages the Jewish Aramaic alphabet was used to write a mystical book called 'Zohar', which evolved the numerological ideas of ​​"Kabbalah."

The Bar-Hadad inscription from North Syria (9. BC) and Zakir from Hamata (c. 800 BC). In both word boundary is implemented by vertical lines, while in inscription of Bar-Rakib Zendzhirli (late 8th century. BC. E.) points are used for this purpose.On the stela of the Sephira (late 8th century. BC . e.) there is no word boundary at all.
Aramaic language and the Aramaic script began to be used in the new-Assyrian and Persian period as international means of communication for the entire Near East up to Egypt, Asia Minor and India. As an example, the Aramaic inscription is Persian-time bilingual Aramaic-Lydian Sardis in (5. BC).
Aramaic writing and Aramaic supplanted Babylonian cuneiform and Akkadian language, even in their homeland in Mesopotamia. The wide spread of Aramaic letters led to the fact that it was used not only in monumental inscriptions, but also on papyrus and potsherds. An example of Aramaic writing on potsherds can serve as a crock of Ashur. Aramaic papyri found in large numbers in Egypt. Especially a lot of papyri found at Elephantine, among them are official and private documents of the Jewish military settlement in 5 BC In the Aramaic papyri and potsherds words are separated usually by a small gap, as we do.

At the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd centurie BC Aramaic letter forms which were fairly uniform up until then developed various version as a result of dialectal and political fragmentation in several subgroups. The most important of these is the so-called square Hebrew script, followed by the Palmyrean, Nabataean, and much later the Syrian script.

Adoption of the square Aramaic letters by the Jews occurred during Ezra (mid-5 BC) and is an external manifestation of Israel's accession to obschesemitskoy culture of the time. The square has a letter Hebrew letter for the most part, and is currently writing for religious and secular literature of the Jews. The name of this letter is connected with the desire to give signs of a square shape. The monuments of the early period of this letter, we unfortunately do not have. In the scrolls of the Dead Sea (2 BC - 1 AD), it already has a fully developed form.

Later, the square of the letters are developing a more rounded Sephardi (eastern Spanish) and more angular Ashkenazi (German-Polish) type. In the 9th century. BC Italian cursive handwriting appears rashi, named after the rabbi Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo contraction of the words Ben-Yitzhak. even greater changes and cuts were the signs of various modern cursive style.

A special branch of the Aramaic letters submitted inscriptions located in the desert city of Palmyra (Semitic name - Tadmor), dating from the period from the beginning of our era down to the destruction of the city by the Romans in 273. The originality lies in Palmyra letters ornamented nature of his character, forms of which may have been moved to a letter from some monumental book of exquisite handwriting.


If the residents of Palmyra were mostly Aramea who lived in the Arab environment, the Nabateans were Arabs enjoyed the Aramaic language as the official and literary. In the Hellenistic period (roughly from 150 BC to 100 AD), they created a kingdom stretching from the Sinai Peninsula to the eastern parts of Jordan, the chief city of Petra. Nabataean inscriptions, in most cases accurately dated, found on the territory of Damascus to the north of Arabia. Variety nabateyekogo letters represented by so-called sinaitskimi inscriptions, short graffiti 3.2 cc. Mr. Oe. on the rocky slopes of Wadi Mukattaba in the Sinai Peninsula, in the form of signs a letter of graffiti is near severnoarabskomu letter occurring in Nabataean. Certain characters are not worth the words are right here separately and linked together.
Finally, closely akin to Palmyra letter, although not directly derived from it, the Syrian letter, in which there was a significant medieval Christian literature.

Impact on Gnosticism is also evident in the use of names, concepts and phrases borrowed from Aramaic or Hebrew. So, God, creator of the world, is called in some Gnostic systems Ialdabaot (yalda Bahutu, according to some assumptions, means "child of chaos") and other mythological or symbolic figure in Gnosticism - Barbelo (be-arba Elohim - "four gods", then a father, son, feminine deity, and in first person) Eden (Eden); Achamoth (hohmot, "wisdom"), the name of the Gnostic sects naasenov (Ophites) comes from the word nahash ("snakes"), the mysterious word "commandment for commandment, the commandment to commandment, feature by feature, feature by feature, a little here, a little there "(Isaiah 28:10, 13) serve as a mystical symbol of the three Gnostic Sefirot (eons).
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