Textbook of Syrian Semitic Inscriptions - Vol. 2

Textbook of Syrian Semitic Inscriptions - Vol. 2

Textbook of Syrian Semitic Inscriptions - Vol. 2

Textbook of Syrian Semitic Inscriptions - Vol. 2

Excerpt

The present volume is devoted to written remains in Aramaic on stone, potsherd, and papyrus dating from the first six to seven centuries of the 1 millennium B.C., when such remains constitute our primary source for the study of the language. It comprises (chapter I) nearly all the extant inscriptions in Old Aramaic dialects belonging to the period of Aramaean political dominance in the 9 and 8 centuries; (chapter II) the two large inscriptions in the Semitic dialect closely related to Aramaic which was during that period the vernacular of the area of Zenjirli (anciently Sam'al); and (chapter III and chapter IV) a representative selection of inscriptions, ostraca, and papyri in Official or Imperial Aramaic, which ousted the various Old Aramaic dialects and became the lingua franca of the Near East during the ensuing periods of Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian hegemony. With the splitting of the lingua franca into a number of younger local dialects after the fall of the Persian empire, a new phase of Aramaic studies begins, in which epigraphic texts play only a subsidiary role alongside the vast Jewish, Syriac, and Mandaic literatures. Because of the different problems that are posed, it has seemed to me appropriate not to include material from this phase in the Textbook, though for the benefit of students interested in taking the subject further I give some guidance on it in the Bibliographical Notes.

I am grateful to the Clarendon Press for agreeing to the inclusion of a generous selection of photographs and sketches, and for allowing several additional plates and figures to be devoted to texts from volume I (Hebrew and Moabite Inscriptions), where the absence of illustrations was widely regretted. In response to many requests I have also numbered the inscriptions serially so as to facilitate cross references. A similar numbering has been undertaken for the second impression of volume I, and is given later in this volume (with some corrigenda and addenda) for the convenience of those who already possess a copy of the first impression. References to Phoenician and Punic inscriptions, which will form the subject-matter of volume III, are meanwhile given according to the enumeration in Donner and Röllig Kanaandische und aramäische Inschriften. The only other substantial change from volume I is in the disposition of the bibliographies, which are now appended to each inscription instead of being gathered together at the end.

My cordial thanks are due to all the authors, editors, and publishers whose illustrations are reproduced or have been used as the basis of my own sketches, in particular to Dr. S. A. Birnbaum, Professor Edda Bresciani, Dr. D. Diringer, Professor H. Donner, Professor Sir Godfrey Driver . . .

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