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Demotic ˀIš(w)r = Assyria = Syria = Aram (1)

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12 Assyrian Identity

12 Assyrian Identity

12 Assyrian Identity

6th century BCE
Achaemenid Empire
Roman Empire
Iranian culture
Papyri from Egypt

Demotic ˀIš(w)r denotes not only Assyria proper but also Syria/Aram; the latter usage is attested already in the 6th century BCE (see Erichsen 1941: 57). Some of the ˀIšwr mentioned in this papyrus (529 BCE), probably from Elephantine, have names which are definitely West Semitic (see Zauzich 1992). The trilingual decree of Canopus in the Roman period equates ˀIšr with Syria … , but in the Persian period ˀIšr may well have been equated with Assyria, even when referring to Aram.


Erichsen 1941, 57Erichsen, W. “Erwähnung eines Züges nach Nubien unter Amasis in einem demotischen Text.” Klio 34 (1941) 56-61.
Steiner 1993Steiner, Richard C. “Why the Aramaic Script was called 'Assyrian' in Hebrew, Greek, and Demotic.” Orientalia 62 (1993) 80-82.
Zauzich 1992, 364Zauzich, K.-Th. “Ein Zug nach Nubien unter Amasis.” In: J. Johnson (ed.). Life in a Multi-Cultural Society. Egypt from Cambyses to Constantine and Beyond. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 51. Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago 1992, 371-374.

Simo Parpola

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