Amorite


Amorite
/am"euh ruyt'/, n.
1. a member of one of the principal tribes, or nations, of Canaan before its conquest by the Israelites. II Sam. 12:26-31.
2. the Semitic language of the Amorites.
[1600-10; < Heb emor(i) Amorites + -ITE1]

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people
      member of an ancient Semitic-speaking people who dominated the history of Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine from about 2000 to about 1600 BC. In the oldest cuneiform sources (c. 2400–c. 2000 BC), the Amorites were equated with the West, though their true place of origin was most likely Arabia, not Syria. They were troublesome nomads and were believed to be one of the causes of the downfall of the 3rd dynasty of Ur (c. 2112–c. 2004 BC).

      During the 2nd millennium BC the Akkadian term Amurru referred not only to an ethnic group but also to a language and to a geographic and political unit in Syria and Palestine. At the beginning of the millennium, a large-scale migration of great tribal federations from Arabia resulted in the occupation of Babylonia proper, the mid-Euphrates region, and Syria-Palestine. They set up a mosaic of small kingdoms and rapidly assimilated the Sumero-Akkadian culture. It is possible that this group was connected with the Amorites mentioned in earlier sources; some scholars, however, prefer to call this second group Eastern Canaanites, or Canaanites.

      Almost all of the local kings in Babylonia (such as Hammurabi of Babylon) belonged to this stock. One capital was at Mari (modern Tall al-Ḥarīrī, Syria). Farther west, the political centre was Ḥalab (Aleppo); in that area, as well as in Palestine, the newcomers were thoroughly mixed with the Hurrians. The region then called Amurru was northern Palestine, with its centre at Hazor, and the neighbouring Syrian desert.

      In the dark age between about 1600 and about 1100 BC, the language of the Amorites disappeared from Babylonia and the mid-Euphrates; in Syria and Palestine, however, it became dominant. In Assyrian inscriptions from about 1100 BC, the term Amurru designated part of Syria and all of Phoenicia and Palestine but no longer referred to any specific kingdom, language, or population.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Amorite — [am′ə rīt΄] n. [Heb emori] a member of an ancient Semitic people of c. 2000 B.C.: in the Bible, regarded as descended from Canaan, son of Ham: Gen. 10:16 …   English World dictionary

  • Amorite — noun Etymology: Hebrew Ĕmōrī Date: 1535 a member of one of various Semitic peoples living in Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine during the third and second millennia B.C. • Amorite adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Amorite — 1. noun a) A member of an ancient Semitic people who lived to the west of the Euphrates b) The language of this people 2. adjective a) Of or pertaining to this people or language …   Wiktionary

  • amorite — am·o·rite …   English syllables

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  • amorite — I. ˈaməˌrīt, usu īd.+V noun ( s) Usage: usually capitalized Etymology: Hebrew ĕmōrī + English ite 1. in the Bible …   Useful english dictionary

  • Amorite language — language name=Amorite states=ancient Mesopotamia, by the Amorites extinct=2nd millennium BC familycolor=Afro Asiatic fam2=Semitic fam3=West Semitic fam4=Central Semitic fam5=Northwest SemiticAmorite is an early Northwest Semitic language, spoken… …   Wikipedia

  • Amorite language —       one of the most ancient of the archaic Semitic languages, which are part of the Afro Asiatic language (Afro Asiatic languages) phylum. Amorite was spoken in an area that is now northern Syria. It is known almost exclusively from glosses and …   Universalium

  • HEBREW LANGUAGE — This entry is arranged according to the following scheme: pre biblical biblical the dead sea scrolls mishnaic medieval modern period A detailed table of contents precedes each section. PRE BIBLICAL nature of the evidence the sources phonology… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism


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