In the Ancient Near East, clay tablets were used as a writing medium for writing in cuneiform, throughout the Bronze Age and well into the Iron Age. Cuneiform characters were imprinted on a wet clay tablet with a stylus made of reed. Once written upon, many tablets were dried in the air, remaining fragile; these unfired clay tablets could be soaked in water and recycled into new clean tablets. Other tablets, once written, were fired in hot kilns making them durable. Collections of these clay documents made up the first archives, they were at the root of first libraries. Tens of thousands of written tablets, including many fragments, have been found in the Middle East. In the Minoan/Mycenaean civilizations, surviving writing is that used for accounting. Tablets serving as labels, with the impression of the side of a wicker basket on the back, tablets showing yearly summaries, suggest a sophisticated accounting system. In this cultural region the tablets were never fired deliberately, as the clay was recycled on an annual basis.
However, some of the tablets were "fired" as a result of uncontrolled fires in the buildings where they were stored. The rest are still tablets of unfired clay, fragile. Writing was. In Mesopotamia, writing began as simple counting marks, sometimes alongside a non-arbitrary sign, in the form of a simple image, pressed into clay tokens or less cut into wood, stone or pots. In that way, recorded accounts of amounts of goods involved in a transaction could be made; this convention began when people developed agriculture and settled into permanent communities that were centered on large and organized trading marketplaces. These marketplaces traded sheep and bread loaves, recording the transactions with clay tokens; these very small clay tokens were continually used all the way from the pre-historic Mesopotamia period, 9000 BCE, to the start of the historic period around 3000 BCE, when the use of writing for recording was adopted. The clay tablet was thus being used by scribes to record events happening during their time.
Tools that these scribes used were styluses with sharp triangular tips, making it easy to leave markings on the clay. Pictographs began to appear on clay tablets around 4000 BCE, after the development of Sumerian cuneiform writing, a more sophisticated partial syllabic script evolved that by around 2500 BCE was capable of recording the vernacular, the everyday speech of the common people. Sumerians used. Pictograms are symbols that express a logogram, as the meaning of the word. Early writing began in Ancient Egypt using hieroglyphs. Early hieroglyphs and some of the modern Chinese characters are other examples of pictographs; the Sumerians shifted their writing to Cuneiform, defined as "Wedge writing" in Latin, which added phonetic symbols, syllabograms. Text on clay tablets took the forms of myths, essays, proverbs, epic poetry, laws and animals. What these clay tablets allowed was for individuals to record who and what was significant. An example of these great stories was The Story of Gilgamesh.
This story would tell of the great flood. Remedies and recipes that would have been unknown were possible because of the clay tablet; some of the recipes were stew, made with goat, garlic and sour milk. By the end of the 3rd Millennium BCE the "short story" was first attempted, as independent scribes entered into the philosophical arena, with stories like: The Debate between Bird and Fish, other topics. Communication grew faster. Important and private clay tablets were coated with an extra layer of clay, that no one else would read it; this means of communicating was used for over 3000 years in fifteen different languages. Sumerians and Eblaites all had their own clay tablet libraries; the Tărtăria tablets, the Danubian civilization, may be still older, having been dated by indirect method to before 4000 BCE, dating from as long ago as 5500 BCE, but their interpretation remains controversial because the tablets were fired in a furnace and the properties of the carbon changed accordingly. Fragments of tablets containing the Epic of Gilgamesh dating to 1800-1600BCE have been discovered.
A full version has been found on tablets dated to the 1st millennium BCE. Tablets on Babylonian astronomical records date back to around 1800BCE. Tablets discussing astronomical records continue through around 75CE. Late Babylonian tablets at the British Museum refer to appearances of Halley's Comet in 164BCE and 87BCE. Clay tokens system Code of Hammurabi Sanskrit Complaint tablet to Ea-nasir, the oldest known complaint letter
The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. Varying parts of the Bible are considered to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans by Christians, Jews and Rastafarians. What is regarded as canonical text differs depending on traditions and groups; the Hebrew Bible overlaps with the Christian Old Testament. The Christian New Testament is a collection of writings by early Christians, believed to be Jewish disciples of Christ, written in first-century Koine Greek. Among Christian denominations there is some disagreement about what should be included in the canon about the Apocrypha, a list of works that are regarded with varying levels of respect. Attitudes towards the Bible differ among Christian groups. Roman Catholics, high church Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox Christians stress the harmony and importance of the Bible and sacred tradition, while Protestant churches, including Evangelical Anglicans, focus on the idea of sola scriptura, or scripture alone.
This concept arose during the Protestant Reformation, many denominations today support the use of the Bible as the only infallible source of Christian teaching. The Bible has been a massive influence on literature and history in the Western World, where the Gutenberg Bible was the first book printed using movable type. According to the March 2007 edition of Time, the Bible "has done more to shape literature, history and culture than any book written, its influence on world history is unparalleled, shows no signs of abating." With estimated total sales of over 5 billion copies, it is considered to be the most influential and best-selling book of all time. As of the 2000s, it sells 100 million copies annually; the English word Bible is from the Latin biblia, from the same word in Medieval Latin and Late Latin and from Koinē Greek: τὰ βιβλία, translit. Ta biblia "the books". Medieval Latin biblia is short for biblia sacra "holy book", while biblia in Greek and Late Latin is neuter plural, it came to be regarded as a feminine singular noun in medieval Latin, so the word was loaned as a singular into the vernaculars of Western Europe.
Latin biblia sacra "holy books" translates Greek τὰ βιβλία τὰ ἅγια tà biblía tà ágia, "the holy books". The word βιβλίον itself had the literal meaning of "paper" or "scroll" and came to be used as the ordinary word for "book", it is the diminutive of βύβλος byblos, "Egyptian papyrus" so called from the name of the Phoenician sea port Byblos from whence Egyptian papyrus was exported to Greece. The Greek ta biblia was "an expression. Christian use of the term can be traced to c. 223 CE. The biblical scholar F. F. Bruce notes that Chrysostom appears to be the first writer to use the Greek phrase ta biblia to describe both the Old and New Testaments together. By the 2nd century BCE, Jewish groups began calling the books of the Bible the "scriptures" and they referred to them as "holy", or in Hebrew כִּתְבֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ, Christians now call the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible "The Holy Bible" or "the Holy Scriptures"; the Bible was divided into chapters in the 13th century by Stephen Langton and it was divided into verses in the 16th century by French printer Robert Estienne and is now cited by book and verse.
The division of the Hebrew Bible into verses is based on the sof passuk cantillation mark used by the 10th-century Masoretes to record the verse divisions used in earlier oral traditions. The oldest extant copy of a complete Bible is an early 4th-century parchment book preserved in the Vatican Library, it is known as the Codex Vaticanus; the oldest copy of the Tanakh in Hebrew and Aramaic dates from the 10th century CE. The oldest copy of a complete Latin Bible is the Codex Amiatinus. Professor John K. Riches, Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow, says that "the biblical texts themselves are the result of a creative dialogue between ancient traditions and different communities through the ages", "the biblical texts were produced over a period in which the living conditions of the writers – political, cultural and ecological – varied enormously". Timothy H. Lim, a professor of Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism at the University of Edinburgh, says that the Old Testament is "a collection of authoritative texts of divine origin that went through a human process of writing and editing."
He states that it is not a magical book, nor was it written by God and passed to mankind. Parallel to the solidification of the Hebrew canon, only the Torah first and the Tanakh began to be translated into Greek and expanded, now referred to as the Septuagint or the Greek Old Testament. In Christian Bibles, the New Testament Gospels were derived from oral traditions in the second half of the first century CE. Riches says that: Scholars have attempted to reconstruct something of the history of the oral traditions behind the Gospels, but the results have not been too encouraging; the period of transmission is short: less than 40 years passed between the death of Jesus and the writing of Mark's Gospel. This means that there was little time for oral trad
Ezekiel is the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism and Islam, Ezekiel is acknowledged as a Hebrew prophet. In Judaism and Christianity, he is viewed as the 6th-century BCE author of the Book of Ezekiel, which reveals prophecies regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, the restoration to the land of Israel, what some call the Millennial Temple visions; the name Ezekiel means'God strengthens'. The author of the Book of Ezekiel presents himself as Ezekiel, the son of Buzzi, born into a priestly lineage. Apart from identifying himself, the author gives a date for the first divine encounter which he presents: "in the thirtieth year". If this is a reference to Ezekiel's age at the time, he was born around 622 BCE, about the time of Josiah's reforms, his "thirtieth year" is given as five years after the exile of Judah's king Jehoiachin by the Babylonians. Josephus claims that Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia's armies exiled three thousand Jews from Judah, after deposing King Jehoiakim in 598 BCE.
According to the Bible and his wife lived during the Babylonian captivity on the banks of the Chebar River, in Tel Abib, with other exiles from Judah. There is no mention of him having any offspring. Ezekiel describes his calling to be a prophet by going into great detail about his encounter with God and four "living creatures" with four wheels that stayed beside the creatures. For the next five years he incessantly prophesied and acted out the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, met with some opposition; however and his contemporaries like Jeremiah, another prophet, living in Jerusalem at that time, witnessed the fulfillment of their prophecies with the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. On the hypothesis that the "thirtieth year" of Ezekiel 1:1 refers to Ezekiel's age, Ezekiel was fifty years old when he had his final vision. On the basis of dates given in the Book of Ezekiel, Ezekiel's span of prophecies can be calculated to have occurred over the course of about 22 years; the last dated words of Ezekiel date to April 570 BCE.
Ezekiel, like Jeremiah, is said by Talmud and Midrash to have been a descendant of Joshua by his marriage with the proselyte and former prostitute Rahab. Some statements found in rabbinic literature posit that Ezekiel was the son of Jeremiah, called "Buzi" because he was despised by the Jews. Ezekiel was said to be active as a prophet while in the Land of Israel, he retained this gift when he was exiled with Jehoiachin and the nobles of the country to Babylon. Rava states in the Babylonian Talmud that although Ezekiel describes the appearance of the throne of God, this is not because he had seen more than the prophet Isaiah, but rather because the latter was more accustomed to such visions. Ezekiel, like all the other prophets, has beheld only a blurred reflection of the divine majesty, just as a poor mirror reflects objects only imperfectly. According to the midrash Canticles Rabbah, it was Ezekiel whom the three pious men, Hananiah and Azariah asked for advice as to whether they should resist Nebuchadnezzar's command and choose death by fire rather than worship his idol.
At first God revealed to the prophet. But after they had left the house of the prophet determined to sacrifice their lives to God, Ezekiel received this revelation: "Thou dost believe indeed that I will abandon them; that shall not happen. Ezekiel is commemorated as a saint in the liturgical calendar of the Eastern Orthodox Church—and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite—on July 23. Ezekiel is commemorated on August 28 on the Calendar of Saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church, on April 10 in the Roman Martyrology. Certain Lutheran churches celebrate his commemoration on July 20. Saint Bonaventure interpreted Ezekiel's statement about the "closed gate" as a prophecy of the Incarnation: the "gate" signifying the Virgin Mary and the "prince" referring to Jesus; this is one of the readings at Vespers on Great Feasts of the Theotokos in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches. This imagery is found in the traditional Catholic Christmas hymn "Gaudete" and in a saying by Bonaventure, quoted by Alphonsus Maria de' Liguori: "No one can enter Heaven unless by Mary, as though through a door."
The imagery provides the basis for the concept that God gave Mary to humanity as the "Gate of Heaven", an idea laid out in the Salve Regina prayer. The Story of Gog and Magog is mentioned in the 18th Surah of Al Kahf. Ezekiel is recognized as a prophet in Islamic tradition. Although not mentioned in the Qur'an by the name, Muslim scholars, both classical and modern have included Ezekiel in lists of the prophets of Islam; the Qur ` an mentions. This prophet is sometimes identified with Ezekiel. Carsten Niebuhr, in his Reisebeschreibung nach Arabian, says he visited Al Kifl in Iraq, midway between Najaf and Hilla and said Kifl was the Arabic form of Ezekiel, he further
The Hebrew alphabet, known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, block script, is an abjad script used in the writing of the Hebrew language. It is used in the writing of other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish, Judaeo-Spanish, Judeo-Arabic. Two separate abjad scripts have been used to write Hebrew; the original, old Hebrew script, known as the paleo-Hebrew alphabet, has been preserved in a variant form as the Samaritan alphabet. The present "Jewish script" or "square script", on the contrary, is a stylized form of the Aramaic alphabet and was known by Jewish sages as the Ashuri alphabet, since its origins were alleged to be from Assyria. Various "styles" of representation of the Jewish script letters described in this article exist, including a variety of cursive Hebrew styles. In the remainder of this article, the term "Hebrew alphabet" refers to the square script unless otherwise indicated; the Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters. It does not have case. Hebrew is written from right to left.
The alphabet was an abjad consisting only of consonants, but is now considered an "impure abjad". As with other abjads, such as the Arabic alphabet, during its centuries-long use scribes devised means of indicating vowel sounds by separate vowel points, known in Hebrew as niqqud. In both biblical and rabbinic Hebrew, the letters י ו ה א can function as matres lectionis, when certain consonants are used to indicate vowels. There is a trend in Modern Hebrew towards the use of matres lectionis to indicate vowels that have traditionally gone unwritten, a practice known as "full spelling"; the Yiddish alphabet, a modified version of the Hebrew alphabet used to write Yiddish, is a true alphabet, with all vowels rendered in the spelling, except in the case of inherited Hebrew words, which retain their Hebrew spellings. The Arabic and Hebrew alphabets have similarities because they are both derived from the Aramaic alphabet. A distinct Hebrew variant of the Phoenician script, called by scholars the paleo-Hebrew alphabet, emerged around 800 BCE.
Examples of related early inscriptions from the area include the tenth-century Gezer calendar, the Siloam inscription. The paleo-Hebrew alphabet was used in the ancient kingdoms of Judah. Following the exile of the Kingdom of Judah in the 6th century BCE during the Babylonian captivity, Jews began using a form of the Assyrian Aramaic alphabet, another offshoot of the same family of scripts; the Samaritans, who remained in the Land of Israel, continued to use the paleo-Hebrew alphabet. During the 3rd century BCE, Jews began to use a stylized, "square" form of the Aramaic alphabet, used by the Persian Empire, while the Samaritans continued to use a form of the paleo-Hebrew script called the Samaritan alphabet. After the fall of the Persian Empire in 330 BCE, Jews used both scripts before settling on the square Assyrian form; the square Hebrew alphabet was adapted and used for writing languages of the Jewish diaspora – such as Karaim, the Judeo-Arabic languages, Judaeo-Spanish, Yiddish. The Hebrew alphabet continued in use for scholarly writing in Hebrew and came again into everyday use with the rebirth of the Hebrew language as a spoken language in the 18th and 19th centuries in Israel.
In the traditional form, the Hebrew alphabet is an abjad consisting only of consonants, written from right to left. It has 22 letters. In the traditional form, vowels are indicated by the weak consonants Aleph, He, Vav, or Yodh serving as vowel letters, or matres lectionis: the letter is combined with a previous vowel and becomes silent, or by imitation of such cases in the spelling of other forms. A system of vowel points to indicate vowels, called niqqud, was developed. In modern forms of the alphabet, as in the case of Yiddish and to some extent Modern Hebrew, vowels may be indicated. Today, the trend is toward full spelling with the weak letters acting as true vowels; when used to write Yiddish, vowels are indicated, using certain letters, either with niqqud diacritics or without, except for Hebrew words, which in Yiddish are written in their Hebrew spelling. To preserve the proper vowel sounds, scholars developed several different sets of vocalization and diacritical symbols called nequdot.
One of these, the Tiberian system prevailed. Aaron ben Moses ben Asher, his family for several generations, are credited for refining and maintaining the system; these points are used only for special purposes, such as Biblical books intended for study, in poetry or when teaching the language to children. The Tiberian system includes a set of cantillation marks, called "trope", used to indicate how scriptural passages should be chanted in synagogue recitations of scripture. In everyday writing of modern Hebrew, niqqud are absent. Unlike the Paleo-Hebrew writing script, the modern Ashuri script has five letters that have special final forms, called sofit form, used only at the end of a word, somewhat as in the Greek or in the Arabic and Mandaic alphabets; these are shown below the normal form in the
The ancient Aramaic alphabet is adapted from the Phoenician alphabet and became distinct from it by the 8th century BC. It was used to write the Aramaic language and had displaced the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet, itself a derivative of the Phoenician alphabet, for the writing of Hebrew; the letters all represent consonants, some of which are used as matres lectionis to indicate long vowels. The Aramaic alphabet is significant since all modern Middle Eastern writing systems can be traced back to it as well as numerous non-Chinese writing systems of Central and East Asia; that is from the widespread usage of the Aramaic language as both a lingua franca and the official language of the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian Empires, their successor, the Achaemenid Empire. Among the scripts in modern use, the Hebrew alphabet bears the closest relation to the Imperial Aramaic script of the 5th century BC, with an identical letter inventory and, for the most part, nearly identical letter shapes; the Aramaic alphabet was an ancestor to the Nabataean alphabet and the Arabic alphabet.
Writing systems that indicate consonants but do not indicate most vowels other than by means of matres lectionis or added diacritical signs, have been called abjads by Peter T. Daniels to distinguish them from alphabets, such as the Greek alphabet, which represent vowels more systematically; the term was coined to avoid the notion that a writing system that represents sounds must be either a syllabary or an alphabet, which would imply that a system like Aramaic must be either a syllabary or an incomplete or deficient alphabet. Rather, it is a different type; the earliest inscriptions in the Aramaic language use the Phoenician alphabet. Over time, the alphabet developed into the form shown below. Aramaic became the lingua franca throughout the Middle East, with the script at first complementing and displacing Assyrian cuneiform, as the predominant writing system. Around 500 BC, following the Achaemenid conquest of Mesopotamia under Darius I, Old Aramaic was adopted by the Persians as the "vehicle for written communication between the different regions of the vast Persian empire with its different peoples and languages.
The use of a single official language, which modern scholarship has dubbed as Official Aramaic, Imperial Aramaic or Achaemenid Aramaic, can be assumed to have contributed to the astonishing success of the Achaemenid Persians in holding their far-flung empire together for as long as they did."Imperial Aramaic was standardised. The Aramaic glyph forms of the period are divided into two main styles, the "lapidary" form inscribed on hard surfaces like stone monuments, a cursive form whose lapidary form tended to be more conservative by remaining more visually similar to Phoenician and early Aramaic. Both were in use through the Achaemenid Persian period, but the cursive form gained ground over the lapidary, which had disappeared by the 3rd century BC. For centuries after the fall of the Achaemenid Empire in 331 BC, Imperial Aramaic, or something near enough to it to be recognisable, would remain an influence on the various native Iranian languages; the Aramaic script would survive as the essential characteristics of the Iranian Pahlavi writing system.30 Aramaic documents from Bactria have been discovered, an analysis of, published in November 2006.
The texts, which were rendered on leather, reflect the use of Aramaic in the 4th century BC in the Persian Achaemenid administration of Bactria and Sogdiana. The widespread usage of Achaemenid Aramaic in the Middle East led to the gradual adoption of the Aramaic alphabet for writing Hebrew. Hebrew had been written using an alphabet closer in form to that of Phoenician, the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet. Since the evolution of the Aramaic alphabet out of the Phoenician one was a gradual process, the division of the world's alphabets into the ones derived from the Phoenician one directly and the ones derived from Phoenician via Aramaic is somewhat artificial. In general, the alphabets of the Mediterranean region are classified as Phoenician-derived, adapted from around the 8th century BC, those of the East are considered Aramaic-derived, adapted from around the 6th century BC from the Imperial Aramaic script of the Achaemenid Empire. After the fall of the Achaemenid Empire, the unity of the Imperial Aramaic script was lost, diversifying into a number of descendant cursives.
The Hebrew and Nabataean alphabets, as they stood by the Roman era, were little changed in style from the Imperial Aramaic alphabet. A cursive Hebrew variant developed from the early centuries AD, but it remained restricted to the status of a variant used alongside the noncursive. By contrast, the cursive developed out of the Nabataean alphabet in the same period soon became the standard for writing Arabic, evolving into the Arabic alphabet as it stood by the time of the early spread of Islam; the development of cursive versions of Aramaic led to the creation of the Syriac and Mandaic alphabets, which formed the basis of the historical scripts of Central Asia, such as the Sogdian and Mongolian alphabets. The Old Turkic script is considered to have its ultimate origins in Aramaic, in particular via the Pahlavi or Sogdian alphabets, as suggested by V. Thomsen, or via Karosthi. Aramaic is considered to be the most source of the Brahmi script, ancestor of the Brahmic family of scripts, which includes Devanagari.
Today, Biblical Aramaic
Syria the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Armenians, Kurds, Circassians and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Alawites, Isma'ilis, Shiites, Salafis and Jews. Sunni make up the largest religious group in Syria. Syria is a unitary republic consisting of 14 governorates and is the only country that politically espouses Ba'athism, it is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement. In English, the name "Syria" was synonymous with the Levant, while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Aleppo and the capital city Damascus are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The modern Syrian state was established in mid-20th century after centuries of Ottoman and a brief period French mandate, represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the Ottoman-ruled Syrian provinces, it gained de-jure independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945, when Republic of Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act which ended the former French Mandate – although French troops did not leave the country until April 1946. The post-independence period was tumultuous, a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–71. In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic, terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état; the republic was renamed into the Arab Republic of Syria in late 1961 after December 1 constitutional referendum, was unstable until the 1963 Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party has maintained its power.
Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011 suspending most constitutional protections for citizens. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, in office from 1971 to 2000. Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an armed conflict, with a number of countries in the region and beyond involved militarily or otherwise; as a result, a number of self-proclaimed political entities have emerged on Syrian territory, including the Syrian opposition, Tahrir al-Sham and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Syria is ranked last on the Global Peace Index, making it the most violent country in the world due to the war, although life continues for most of its citizens as of December 2017; the war caused more than 470,000 deaths, 7.6 million internally displaced people and over 5 million refugees, making population assessment difficult in recent years. Several sources indicate that the name Syria is derived from the 8th century BC Luwian term "Sura/i", the derivative ancient Greek name: Σύριοι, Sýrioi, or Σύροι, Sýroi, both of which derived from Aššūrāyu in northern Mesopotamia.
However, from the Seleucid Empire, this term was applied to The Levant, from this point the Greeks applied the term without distinction between the Assyrians of Mesopotamia and Arameans of the Levant. Mainstream modern academic opinion favours the argument that the Greek word is related to the cognate Ἀσσυρία, Assyria derived from the Akkadian Aššur; the Greek name appears to correspond to Phoenician ʾšr "Assur", ʾšrym "Assyrians", recorded in the 8th century BC Çineköy inscription. The area designated by the word has changed over time. Classically, Syria lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, between Arabia to the south and Asia Minor to the north, stretching inland to include parts of Iraq, having an uncertain border to the northeast that Pliny the Elder describes as including, from west to east, Commagene and Adiabene. By Pliny's time, this larger Syria had been divided into a number of provinces under the Roman Empire: Judaea renamed Palaestina in AD 135 in the extreme southwest.
Since 10,000 BC, Syria was one of the centers of Neolithic culture where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world. The following Neolithic period is represented by rectangular houses of Mureybet culture. At the time of the pre-pottery Neolithic, people used vessels made of stone and burnt lime. Finds of obsidian tools from Anatolia are evidences of early trade relations. Cities of Hamoukar and Emar played an important role during Bronze Age. Archaeologists have demonstrated that civilization in Syria was one of the most ancient on earth preceded by only those of Mesopotamia; the earliest recorded in
Daniel (biblical figure)
Daniel is the hero of the biblical Book of Daniel. A noble Jewish youth of Jerusalem, he is taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and serves the king and his successors with loyalty and ability until the time of the Persian conqueror Cyrus, all the while remaining true to the God of Israel; the consensus of modern scholars is that Daniel never existed, the book is a cryptic allusion to the reign of the 2nd century BCE Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Six cities claim the Tomb of Daniel, the most famous being that in Susa, in southern Iran, at a site known as Shush-e Daniyal, he is not a prophet in Judaism, but the rabbis reckoned him to be the most distinguished member of the Babylonian diaspora, unsurpassed in piety and good deeds, firm in his adherence to the Law despite being surrounded by enemies who sought his ruin, in the first few centuries CE they wrote down the many legends that had grown up around his name. The various branches of the Christian church do recognise him as a prophet, although he is not mentioned in the Quran, Muslim sources describe him as a prophet.
Daniel's name means "God is my judge". While the best known Daniel is the hero of the Book of Daniel who interprets dreams and receives apocalyptic visions, the Bible briefly mentions three other individuals of this name: The Book of Ezekiel refers to a legendary Daniel famed for wisdom and righteousness. In chapter 20, Ezekiel says of the sinful land of Israel that "even if these three, Noah and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness." In chapter 28, Ezekiel taunts the king of Tyre, asking rhetorically, "art thou wiser than Daniel?" The author of the Book of Daniel appears to have taken this legendary figure, renowned for his wisdom, to serve as his central human character. Ezra 8:2 mentions a priest named Daniel. Daniel is a son of David mentioned at 1 Chronicles 3:1. Daniel is the name of a figure in the Aqhat legend from Ugarit.. This legendary Daniel is known for his righteousness and wisdom and a follower of the god El, who made his will known through dreams and visions.
It is unlikely that Ezekiel knew the far older Canaanite legend, but it seems reasonable to suppose that some connection exists between the two. The authors of the tales in the first half of the Book of Daniel were also unaware of the Ugaritic Daniel and took the name of their hero from Ezekiel; the Book of Daniel begins with an introduction telling how Daniel and his companions came to be in Babylon, followed by a set of tales set in the Babylonian and Persian courts, followed in turn by a set of visions in which Daniel sees the remote future of the world and of Israel. The tales in chapters 1–6 can be dated to the 3rd or early 2nd centuries BCE. In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim and his friends Hananiah and Azariah were among the young Jewish nobility carried off to Babylon following the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; the four are chosen for their intellect and beauty to be trained in the Babylonian court, are given new names. Daniel is given the Babylonian name Belteshazzar, while his companions are given the Babylonian names Shadrach and Abednego.
Daniel and his friends refuse the food and wine provided by the king of Babylon to avoid becoming defiled. They receive wisdom from God and surpass "all the magicians and enchanters of the kingdom." Nebuchadnezzar dreams of a giant statue made of four metals with feet of mingled iron and clay, smashed by a stone from heaven. Only Daniel is able to interpret it: the dream signifies four kingdoms, of which Babylon is the first, but God will destroy them and replace them with his own kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar dreams of a great tree that shelters all the world and of a heavenly figure who decrees that the tree will be destroyed; when Nebuchadnezzar's son King Belshazzar uses the vessels from the Jewish temple for his feast, a hand appears and writes a mysterious message on the wall, which only Daniel can interpret. The Medes and Persians overthrow Nebuchadnezzar and the new king, Darius the Mede, appoints Daniel to high authority. Jealous rivals attempt to destroy Daniel with an accusation that he worships God instead of the king, Daniel is thrown into a den of lions, but an angel saves him, his accusers are destroyed, Daniel is restored to his position.
In the third year of Darius, Daniel has a series of visions. In the first, four beasts come out of the sea, the last with ten horns, an eleventh horn grows and achieves dominion over the Earth and the "Ancient of Days" gives dominion to "one like a son of man". An angel interprets the vision. In the second, a ram with two horns is attacked by a goat with one horn. A little horn arises and attacks the people of God and the temple, Daniel is informed how long the little horn's dominion will endure. In the third, Daniel is troubled to read in holy scripture (the book is not n