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The Amorites (;
Sumerian
Sumerian
𒈥𒌅 ''MAR.TU'';
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
''Amurrūm'' or ''Tidnum'';
Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture with thousands of years of r ...
''Amar''; he, אמורי ''ʼĔmōrī''; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient
Northwest Semitic-speaking
Northwest Semitic-speaking
people from the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
who also occupied large parts of southern
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
from the 21st century BC to the end of the 17th century BC, where they established several prominent
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance la ...
s in existing locations, such as
Isin Isin (, modern Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countrie ...
,
Larsa Larsa (Sumerian logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures ...
and later notably
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
, which was raised from a small town to an independent state and a major city. The term ''Amurru'' in Akkadian and Sumerian texts refers to the Amorites, their principal deity and an Amorite kingdom. The Amorites are also mentioned in the Bible as inhabitants of
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
both before and after the conquest of the land under
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( he, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ''Yəhōšūaʿ'') ''Yēšūʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَعُ ٱبْنُ نُونٍ '' Yūšaʿ ibn Nūn''; la, Iosue functioned ...

Joshua
.


Origin

In the earliest
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
ian sources concerning the Amorites, beginning about 2400 BC, the land of the Amorites ("the ''Mar.tu'' land") is associated not with
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
but with the lands to the west of the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia (the "Land Between the Rivers"). O ...
, including
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
and what was to become Syria by the 3rd century BC, then known as ''The land of the Amurru'', and later as Aram and
Eber-Nari Eber-Nari (AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World ...
. They appear as an uncivilized and nomadic people in early Mesopotamian writings from
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
, Akkad, and
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
, to the west of the Euphrates. The ethnic terms ''Mar.tu'' ("Westerners"), ''Amurru'' (suggested in 2007 to be derived from ''aburru'', "pasture") and ''Amor'' were used for them in Sumerian, Akkadian, and Ancient Egyptian respectively. From the 21st century BC, possibly triggered by a long major drought starting about 2200 BC, a large-scale migration of Amorite tribes infiltrated southern Mesopotamia. They were one of the instruments of the downfall of the
Third Dynasty of Ur The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a 22nd to 21st century BC ( middle chronology) Sumerian ruling dynasty based in the city of Ur and a short-lived territorial-political state which some historians consider to h ...
, and Amorite dynasties not only usurped the long-extant native
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance la ...
s such as
Isin Isin (, modern Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countrie ...
,
Larsa Larsa (Sumerian logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures ...
,
Eshnunna Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar in Diyala Governorate Diyala Governorate ( ar, محافظة ديالى ) or Diyala Province is a Governorates of Iraq, governorate in eastern Iraq. Provincial government *Governor: Muthana al-Timimi *Deputy Governo ...
, and Kish, but also established new ones, the most famous of which was to become
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
, although it was initially a minor insignificant state. Known Amorites wrote in a dialect of Akkadian found on tablets at
Mari Mari may refer to: Places *Mari, Paraíba, Brazil, a city *Mari, Cyprus, a village *Mari, Greece, a village, site of ancient town of Marius (Laconia), Marius *Mari, Iran (disambiguation), places in Iran *Mari, Punjab, a village and a union counci ...
dating from 1800–1750 BC. Since the language shows
northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have emerged from Common Semitic in the Early Bronze Age. It is first attested ...
forms, words and constructions, the
Amorite language Amorite is an extinct early Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region in Afro- ...
is a Northwest Semitic language, and possibly one of the
Canaanite languages The Canaanite languages, or Canaanite dialects, are one of the three subgroups of the Northwest Semitic languages Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages The Semitic languages ...
. The main sources for the extremely limited knowledge about Amorite are the proper names, not Akkadian in style, that are preserved in such texts. The
Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages''. Ed. Roger D. Woodard (2004, Cambridge) Pages 218-280 ...

Akkadian language
of the native Semitic states, cities and polities of Mesopotamia ( Akkad,
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
,
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
,
Isin Isin (, modern Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countrie ...
, Kish,
Larsa Larsa (Sumerian logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures ...
,
Ur
Ur
,
Nippur Nippur (Sumerian: ''Nibru'', often logographically recorded as , EN.LÍLKI, "Enlil City;"The Cambridge Ancient History: Prolegomena & Prehistory': Vol. 1, Part 1. Accessed 15 Dec 2010. AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian l ...
,
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka, was an ancient city of (and later of ) situated east of the present bed of the River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern , , .Harmansah, 2007 Uruk is the for the . Uruk played a leading ...
,
Eridu Eridu (Sumerian: , NUN.KI/eridugki; AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambrid ...
, Adab,
Akshak upright=1.5, Approximate location of Akshak (in brown). Akkad before expansion appears in green. The territory of Lugal-Zage-Si.html"_;"title="Sumer_under_its_last_king_Lugal-Zage-Si">Sumer_under_its_last_king_Lugal-Zage-Si_appears_in_red._Circa_2 ...
,
Eshnunna Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar in Diyala Governorate Diyala Governorate ( ar, محافظة ديالى ) or Diyala Province is a Governorates of Iraq, governorate in eastern Iraq. Provincial government *Governor: Muthana al-Timimi *Deputy Governo ...
,
Nuzi Nuzi (or Nuzu; AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the ...
,
EkallatumEkallatum ( Akkadian: 𒌷𒂍𒃲𒈨𒌍, URUE2.GAL.MEŠ, Ekallātum, "the Palaces") was an ancient city of upper Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοποταμία; Syriac language, Classic ...
, etc.), was from the
east Semitic The East Semitic languages are one of three divisions Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics) Division is one of the four basic operations of arithmetic, the ways that numbers are combined to make new numbers. ...
, as was the
Eblaite Eblaite (, also known as Eblan ISO 639-3 ISO 639-3:2007, ''Codes for the representation of names of languages – Part 3: Alpha-3 code for comprehensive coverage of languages'', is an international standard for language codes in the ISO 63 ...
of the northern Levant.


Homeland

There is a wide range of views regarding the Amorite homeland. One extreme is the view that /''māt amurrim'' covered the whole area between the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia (the "Land Between the Rivers"). O ...
and the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
, the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...
included. The most common view is that the “homeland” of the Amorites was a limited area in central Syria identified with the mountainous region of Jebel Bishri. Since the
Amorite language Amorite is an extinct early Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region in Afro- ...
is closely related to the better-studied
Canaanite languages The Canaanite languages, or Canaanite dialects, are one of the three subgroups of the Northwest Semitic languages Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages The Semitic languages ...
, both being branches of the Northwestern Semitic languages, as opposed to the
South Semitic languages South Semitic is a putative branch of the Semitic languages The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language fam ...
found in the Arabian Peninsula, they are usually considered native to the region around Syria and the Transjordan.


History

In the earliest Sumerian texts, all western lands beyond the Euphrates, including the modern Levant, were known as "the land of the (Amorites)". The term appears in ''
Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta ''Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta'' is a legendary Sumerian language, Sumerian account, preserved in early post-Sumerian copies, composed in the Neo-Sumerian period (ca. 21st century BC). It is one of a series of accounts describing the conflicts ...
'', which describes it in the time of
Enmerkar Enmerkar was an ancient Sumer Sumer ()The name is from AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and ...
as one of the regions inhabited by speakers of a different language. Another text known as ''Lugalbanda and the Anzud bird'' describes how, 50 years into Enmerkar's reign, the Martu people arose in
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
and Akkad (southern Mesopotamia), necessitating the building of a wall to protect
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka, was an ancient city of (and later of ) situated east of the present bed of the River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern , , .Harmansah, 2007 Uruk is the for the . Uruk played a leading ...
. There are also sparse mentions in tablets from the East Semitic-speaking kingdom of
Ebla Ebla (Sumer Sumer ()The name is from '; ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", ifrom ''The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary''). Literally, "land of the native ...

Ebla
, dating from 2500 BC to the destruction of the city BC: from the perspective of the Eblaites, the Amorites were a rural group living in the narrow basin of the middle and upper Euphrates in northern Syria. For the Akkadian kings of central Mesopotamia was one of the "Four Quarters" surrounding Akkad, along with
Subartu The land of Subartu (Akkadian ''Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri'', Assyrian ''mât Šubarri'') or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur) is mentioned in Bronze Age literature Before the spread of writing, oral literature did not always survive ...
/
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
,
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
, and
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronz ...

Elam
.
Naram-Sin of Akkad Naram-Sin also transcribed Narām-Sîn or Naram-Suen ( akk, 𒀭𒈾𒊏𒄠𒀭𒂗𒍪: '' DNa-ra-am D Sîn'', meaning "Beloved of the Moon God Sîn", the "𒀭 ''Dingir'' (, usually transliteration of cuneiform, transliterated DIĜIR, ) is a ...
records successful campaigns against them in northern Syria BC, and his successor,
Shar-Kali-Sharri Shar-Kali-Sharri (𒀭𒊬𒂵𒉌 𒈗𒌷, '' DShar-ka-li-Sharri''; reigned c. 2217–2193 BC middle chronology, c. 2153–2129 BC short chronology The short chronology is one of the chronologies of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, ...
, followed suit. By the time of the last days of the Third Dynasty of Ur, the immigrating Amorites had become such a force that kings such as
Shu-Sin Shu-Sin, also Šu-Suen ( akk, 𒀭𒋗𒀭𒂗𒍪: ''dingir, DŠudingir, DSin (mythology), Sîn'', after the Moon God Suen, Sîn", the ":Wikt:𒀭, 𒀭" being a silent honorific for "Divine", formerly read Gimil-Sin) was king of Sumer and Akkadian ...
were obliged to construct a wall from the
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of the Armenian Highlands through the Syrian Desert, Syrian and Arabian Deserts, and empti ...

Tigris
to the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia (the "Land Between the Rivers"). O ...
to hold them off. The Amorites appear as nomadic tribes under chiefs, who forced themselves into lands they needed to graze their herds. Some of the Akkadian literature of this era speaks disparagingly of the Amorites and implies that the Akkadian- and Sumerian-speakers of
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
viewed their nomadic and primitive way of life with disgust and contempt: "They have prepared wheat and ''gú-nunuz'' (grain) as a confection, but an Amorite will eat it without even recognizing what it contains!" As the centralized structure of the Third Dynasty slowly collapsed, the component regions, such as Assyria in the north and the city-states of the south such as Isin, Larsa and Eshnunna, began to reassert their former independence, and the areas in southern Mesopotamia with Amorites were no exception. Elsewhere, the armies of
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronz ...

Elam
, in southern Iran, were attacking and weakening the empire, making it vulnerable. Many Amorite chieftains in southern Mesopotamia aggressively took advantage of the failing empire to seize power for themselves. There was not an Amorite invasion of southern Mesopotamia as such, but Amorites ascended to power in many locations, especially during the reign of the last king of the Neo-Sumerian Empire,
Ibbi-Sin Ibbi-Sin ( sux, , ), son of Shu-Sin Shu-Sin, also Šu-Suen ( akk, 𒀭𒋗𒀭𒂗𒍪: ''dingir, DŠudingir, DSin (mythology), Sîn'', after the Moon God Suen, Sîn", the ":Wikt:𒀭, 𒀭" being a silent honorific for "Divine", formerly read Gim ...
. Leaders with Amorite names assumed power in various places, usurping native Akkadian rulers, including in Isin, Eshnunna and Larsa. The small town of Babylon, unimportant both politically and militarily, was raised to the status of a minor independent city-state, under
Sumu-abumSumu-Abum (also Su-abu) was an Amorite, and the first King of the First Dynasty of Babylon (the ''Amorite Dynasty''). He reigned from 1830-1817 BC (short chronology) / 1897-1883 BC (middle chronology). He freed a small area of land previously rule ...
in 1894 BC. The Elamites finally sacked Ur in BC. Some time later, the
Old Assyrian Empire The Old Assyrian Empire was the second stage of Assyrian history, covering the history of the city of Assur Aššur (; Sumerian language, Sumerian: AN.ŠAR2KI, Assyrian cuneiform: ''Aš-šurKI'', "City of God Ashur (god), Aššur"; syr, ܐܫ ...
(1750 BC) became the most powerful entity in Mesopotamia immediately preceding the rise of the Amorite king
Hammurabi Hammurabi () was the sixth king of the First Babylonian dynasty The First Babylonian Empire, or Old Babylonian Empire, is dated to BC – BC, and comes after the end of Sumerian power with the destruction of the Third Dynasty of Ur The ...

Hammurabi
of Babylon. The new Assyrian monarchic line was founded by BC; their kings repelled attempted Amorite incursions, and may have countered their influence in the south as well under
Erishum I Erishum I or Erišu(m) I (inscribed m''e-ri-šu'', or mAPIN''-ìš'' in later texts but always with an initial ''i'' in his own seal, inscriptions, and those of his immediate successors, “he has desired,”) c. 1905 BC — c. 1866 BC (short chrono ...
,
Ilu-shuma Ilu-shuma or Ilu-šūma, inscribed DINGIR''-šum-ma'',Khorsabad copy of the ''Assyrian King List'' i 24, 26. son of Shalim-ahum was the thirty-second king of Assyria, c. 1900 BC (short chronology.) The length of his reign is uncertain, as the ''Ass ...
and
Sargon I Sargon I (also transcribed as Šarru-kīn I and Sharru-ken I) was the king King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort ...

Sargon I
. However, even Assyria eventually found its throne usurped by an Amorite in 1809 BC: the last two rulers of the Old Assyrian Empire period,
Shamshi-Adad I Shamshi-Adad ( akk, Šamši-Adad; Amorite language, Amorite: ''Shamshi-Addu'' ), ruled 1808–1776 BC, was an Amorite conqueror who had conquered lands across much of Syria, Anatolia, and Upper Mesopotamia.Some of the Mari letters addressed to Sha ...

Shamshi-Adad I
and
Ishme-Dagan Ishme-Dagan ( akk, 𒀭𒅖𒈨𒀭𒁕𒃶, Diš-me- Dda-gan, ''Išme-Dagān''; ''fl.'' ''c.'' 1889 BC — ''c.'' 1871 BC by the short chronology of the ancient near east The chronology of the ancient Near East is a framework of dates for ...
, were Amorites who originated in
Terqa Terqa is the name of an ancient city discovered at the site of Tell Ashara on the banks of the middle Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system ...
(now in northeastern Syria).


Downfall

The era ended in northern Mesopotamia, with the defeat and expulsion of the Amorites and Amorite-dominated Babylonians from Assyria by
Puzur-SinPuzur-Sin was an Assyrian vice regent who was responsible for driving out Asinum the Amorite The Amorites (; Sumerian 𒈥𒌅 ''MAR.TU''; Akkadian ''Amurrūm'' or ''Tidnum''; Egyptian ''Amar''; he, אמורי ''ʼĔmōrī''; grc, Ἀμορ ...
and king
Adasi Adasi is a small village in Gondia district Gondia district (also known as Gondiya) is an administrative district in the state of Maharashtra in India. The district headquarter is located at Gondia. The district occupies an area of and has ...
between 1740 and 1735 BC, and in the far south, by the rise of the native
Sealand Dynasty The Sealand Dynasty, (URU.KÙKIWhere ŠEŠ-ḪA of King List A and ŠEŠ-KÙ-KI of King List B are read as URU.KÙ.KI) or the 2nd Dynasty of Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ' ...
BC. The Amorites clung on in a once-more small and weak
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
until the
Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara before 1750 BC, then the Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centered on Hattusa Hattusa (also ...

Hittites
' sack of Babylon ( BC), which ended the Amorite presence, and brought new ethnic groups, particularly the
Kassites The Kassites () were people of the ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratificati ...
, to the forefront in southern Mesopotamia. From the 15th century BC onward, the term ''Amurru'' is usually applied to the region extending north of Canaan as far as
Kadesh Qadesh, Qedesh, Qetesh, Kadesh, Kedesh, Kadeš and Qades come from the common Semitic root "Q-D-Š", which means "sacred." Kadesh and variations may refer to: Ancient/biblical places * Kadesh (Syria) or Qadesh, an ancient city of the Levant, on o ...
on the
Orontes River ; tr, Asi , name_native_lang = , name_other = Asi , name_etymology = , image = Noria in Hama 01.jpg , image_size = 250 , image_caption = The Norias of Hama along the Orontes in Syria , map ...
in northern Syria. After their expulsion from Mesopotamia, the Amorites of Syria came under the domination of first the Hittites and, from the 14th century BC, the
Middle Assyrian Empire The Middle Assyrian Empire is the period in the history of Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَ ...
(1365–1050). They appear to have been displaced or absorbed by a new wave of semi-nomadic West Semitic-speaking peoples, known collectively as the
Ahlamu Ahlamu or Aḫlamū, were a group or designation of Semitic semi-nomads. Their habitat was west of the Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, i ...
during the
Late Bronze Age collapse The Late Bronze Age collapse was a transition period in a large area covering much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly ac ...
. The
Arameans The Arameans (Old Aramaic Old Aramaic refers to the earliest stage of the Aramaic language Aramaic ( Classical Syriac: ''Arāmāyā''; Old Aramaic: ; Aramaic alphabet, Imperial Aramaic: ; Hebrew alphabet, square script ) is a language t ...
rose to be the prominent group amongst the Ahlamu, and from c. 1200 BC on, the Amorites disappeared from the pages of history. From then on, the region that they had inhabited became known as Aram ("Aramea") and Eber-Nari.


States

In the Levant: *
Amurru kingdom Amurru was an Amorites, Amorite Monarchy, kingdom established c. 2000 BC, in a region spanning present-day western and north-western Syria and northern Lebanon. The inhabitants spoke the Amorite language, an extinct early Northwest Semitic language, ...
*
Yamhad Yamhad was an ancient Semitic people, Semitic kingdom centered on Aleppo, Ḥalab (Aleppo), Syria. The kingdom emerged at the end of the 19th century BC, and was ruled by the Yamhad dynasty, Yamhadite dynasty kings, who counted on both military ...
*
Qatna Qatna (modern: ar, تل المشرفة, Tell al-Mishrifeh) was an ancient city located in Homs Governorate Homs Governorate ( ar, مُحافظة حمص / ALA-LC ALA-LC ( American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standa ...
* Ebla's Third Dynasty In Mesopotamia: *
First Babylonian Dynasty The First Babylonian Empire, or Old Babylonian Empire, is dated to BC – BC, and comes after the end of Sumerian power with the destruction of the Third Dynasty of Ur The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a 2 ...
* Mari's Lim Dynasty *
Apum Apum was an ancient Amorite The Amorites (; Sumerian language, Sumerian 𒈥𒌅 ''MAR.TU''; Akkadian language, Akkadian ''Amurrūm'' or ''Tidnum''; Egyptian language, Egyptian ''Amar''; he, אמורי ''ʼĔmōrī''; grc, Ἀμορραῖο ...
*
Kurda Kurda, was an ancient city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived f ...

Kurda
*
Andarig Andarig or Anderiq (modern day: Tell Khoshi) was a middle bronze age kingdom in the Sinjar plain, Sinjar Plain region of Upper Mesopotamia, northern Mesopotamia, located between the Khabur (Euphrates), Habur and Tigris river. It is mentioned several ...
*
Ṭābetu
Ṭābetu


Culture


Language

The language was first attested in the 21st-20th centuries BC and as an archaic
Northwest Semitic language Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have emerged from Proto-Semitic, Common Semitic in the Early Bronze Age. It is fi ...
and belonging to the branch of Canaanite dialects. The language is found in the proper names recorded by
scribes A scribe is a person who serves as a professional copyist A copyist is a person who makes copies. The term is sometimes used for artists who make copies of other artists' paintings. However, the modern use of the term is almost entirely con ...
from the era of Amorite rulership in
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
, during the end of the
3rd millennium BC The 3rd millennium BC spanned the years 3000 through 2001 BC. This period of time corresponds to the Early to Middle Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas ...
, and occasionally in ancient
Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture with thousands of years of r ...
writings. The Amorite kings communicated with other rulers through the
Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages''. Ed. Roger D. Woodard (2004, Cambridge) Pages 218-280 ...

Akkadian language
. During the 15th-14th centuries BC, the Amorite city of
Qatna Qatna (modern: ar, تل المشرفة, Tell al-Mishrifeh) was an ancient city located in Homs Governorate Homs Governorate ( ar, مُحافظة حمص / ALA-LC ALA-LC ( American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standa ...
received deep influence from the
Hurrian language Hurrian is an extinct Hurro-Urartian language spoken by the Hurrians (Khurrites), a people who entered northern Mesopotamia around 2300 BC and had mostly vanished by 1000 BC. Hurrian was the language of the Mitanni kingdom in northern Mesopotamia ...
, as scribes of the city incorporated Hurrian elements into their texts. In the
2nd millennium BC The 2nd millennium BC spanned the years 2000 through 1001 BC. In the Ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban de ...
, the
Ugaritic language Ugaritic () is an extinct North-West Semitic language, classified by some as a dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") is used in two distinct ways to refer to ...
directly descended from the Amorite language, with Amorite itself going extinct over the course of the 2nd millennium BC.Pardee, Dennis. "Ugaritic", in
The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia
' (2008) (pp. 5–6). Roger D. Woodard, editor. Cambridge University Press, , (262 pages).


Religion

The Amurru share the name with their patron deity, Amurru or Martu (also known as '' Ilu Amurru'', DMAR.TU), a
storm and weather deity
storm and weather deity
and husband to
Asherah Asherah , ''ʾăšērâ''; Ugaritic language, Ugaritic: 𐎀𐎘𐎗𐎚 ''Aṯirat'', name=, group= in ancient Semitic religion, is a mother goddess who appears in a number of ancient sources. She appears in Akkadian literature, Akkadian wri ...
. Amorites often had their god's name within their own.


Biblical Amorites

The term ''Amorites'' is used in the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Gree ...

Bible
to refer to certain highland mountaineers who inhabited the land of
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
, described in
Genesis Genesis may refer to: Literature and comics * Genesis (DC Comics), a 1997 DC Comics crossover * Genesis (Marvel Comics), a Marvel Comics villain * Genesis, a fictional character from the ''Preacher (comics), Preacher'' comic-book series * ''Genes ...

Genesis
as descendants of
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...
, the son of
Ham Ham is pork Pork is the culinary name for the meat of a domestic pig The domestic pig (''Sus scrofa domesticus'' or only ''Sus domesticus''), often called swine, hog, or simply pig when there is no need to distinguish it from other ...
(). They are described as a powerful people of great stature "like the height of the cedars" () who had occupied the land east and west of the
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In ge ...

Jordan
. The height and strength mentioned in Amos 2:9 has led some Christian scholars, including Orville J. Nave, who wrote the Nave's Topical Bible, to refer to the Amorites as "giants". In
Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos'') is the fifth book of the Jewish , where it is called ''Devarim'' ( he, דְּבָרִים), "the words f Moses F, or f, is the sixth Letter (alphabet), let ...
, the Amorite king,
Og
Og
, was described as the last "of the remnant of the
Rephaim In the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusively in Bibl ...

Rephaim
" (). The terms Amorite and Canaanite seem to be used more or less interchangeably, Canaan being more general and Amorite a specific component among the Canaanites who inhabited the land. The Biblical Amorites seem to have originally occupied the region stretching from the heights west of the
Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت , lit. ''the Dead Sea'',The first article ''al-'' is unnecessary and usually not used. or Buhayrat, Bahret or Birket Lut, ''lit.'' "Lake/Sea of Lot") is a s ...

Dead Sea
() to
Hebron Hebron ( ar, الخليل أو الخليل الرحمن ; he, חֶבְרוֹן ) is a State of Palestine, Palestinian. city in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judaean Mountains, it lies Above mean sea level, above ...

Hebron
(), embracing "all
Gilead Gilead or Gilad (; he , גִּלְעָד, ar, جلعاد – Ǧalʻād, Jalaad) is the name of three persons and two geographic places in the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a coll ...
and all
Bashan Bashan (; he, הַבָּשָׁן, ''ha-Bashan''; la, Basan or ''Basanitis'') is a term for the northernmost region of the Transjordan in the Bible, Transjordan, which is located in what is today known as Syria. Within it are present day Golan ...
" (), with the
Jordan valley The Jordan Valley ( ar, غور الأردن, ''Ghor al-Urdun''; he, עֵמֶק הַיַרְדֵּן, ''Emek HaYarden'') forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. Unlike most other river valleys, the term "Jordan Valley" often applies just to ...
on the east of the river (), the land of the "two kings of the Amorites".
Sihon Sihon was an Amorite The Amorites (; Sumerian language, Sumerian 𒈥𒌅 ''MAR.TU''; Akkadian language, Akkadian ''Amurrūm'' or ''Tidnum''; Egyptian language, Egyptian ''Amar''; he, אמורי ''ʼĔmōrī''; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were a ...
and Og ( and ). Both Sihon and Og were independent kings. The Amorites seem to have been linked to the
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
region, and the
Jebusite The Jebusites (; ISO 259-3 ''Ybusi'') were, according to the books Book of Joshua, of Joshua and Books of Samuel, Samuel from the TORAH, a Canaanite tribe that inhabited Jerusalem, then called Jebus (Hebrew: ) prior to the conquest initiated by J ...
s may have been a subgroup of them (). The southern slopes of the mountains of
Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrolog ...

Judea
are called the "mount of the Amorites" (). The
Book of Joshua The Book of Joshua ( he, ספר יהושע ') is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament, and is the first book of the Deuteronomistic history, the story of Israel from the conquest of Canaan to the Babylonian exile. I ...
speaks of the five kings of the Amorites were first defeated with great slaughter by
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( he, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ''Yəhōšūaʿ'') ''Yēšūʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَعُ ٱبْنُ نُونٍ '' Yūšaʿ ibn Nūn''; la, Iosue functioned ...

Joshua
(). Then, more Amorite kings were defeated at the waters of Merom by Joshua (). It is mentioned that in the days of
Samuel Samuel ''Šəmūʾēl''; ar, إِشْمَوِيل ' or '; el, Σαμουήλ ''Samouḗl''; la, Samūēl is a figure who, in the narratives of the , plays a key role in the transition from the period of the to the institution of a under ...
, there was peace between them and the Israelites (). The
Gibeonites Gibeon ( he, גִּבְעוֹן, Standard Hebrew ''Giv‘ōn''; ar, جبعون; Tiberian Hebrew ''Giḇʻôn''; in LXX grc, Γαβαων, Gabaon) was a Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic: ; Phoen ...
were said to be their descendants, being an offshoot of the Amorites who made a covenant with the Hebrews. When
Saul Saul (; he, , translit=Šāʾūl; gr, Σαούλ; ), according to the Hebrew Bible, was the first monarch of the Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), United Kingdom of Israel. His reign, traditionally placed in the late 11th century BCE, suppose ...

Saul
later broke that vow and killed some of the Gibeonites, God is said to have sent a famine to Israel.


Racialism

The view that Amorites were fierce, tall nomads led to an anachronistic theory among some racialist writers in the 19th century that they were a tribe of "
Aryan Aryan or Arya (, Indo-Iranian *''arya'') is a term originally used as an ethnocultural An ethnoreligious group (or ethno-religious group) is an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other ...
" warriors who at one point dominated the Israelites. The theory originated with
Felix von Luschan Felix Ritter von Luschan (11 August 1854 – 7 February 1924) was an Austrian doctor, anthropologist, explorer, archaeologist and ethnographer. Life Luschan was born the son of a lawyer in Hollabrunn, Lower Austria Lower Austria (german: Nieder ...
, and did fit then-current models of
Indo-European migrations The Indo-European migrations were the migrations of Proto-Indo-European language Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family ...

Indo-European migrations
; Luschan later abandoned this theory.
Houston Stewart Chamberlain Houston Stewart Chamberlain (; 9 September 1855 – 9 January 1927), a British-born philosopher and naturalised German citizen, wrote works about political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical ...
claimed that
King David David (; ) (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". is described in th ...
and
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...

Jesus
were both
Aryans Aryan or Arya (, Indo-Iranian *''arya'') is a term originally used as an ethnocultural An ethnoreligious group (or ethno-religious group) is an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each othe ...
of Amorite extraction. The argument was repeated by the Nazi ideologue
Alfred Rosenberg Alfred Ernst Rosenberg ( – 16 October 1946) was a Baltic German The Baltic Germans (german: Deutsch-Balten or , later ; and остзейцы ''ostzeitsy'' 'Balters' in Russian) are ethnic German inhabitants of the eastern shores o ...
. However, the Amorites certainly spoke exclusively a
Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region in Afro-Eurasia which generally includes Western Asia ...
, followed
Semitic religion Ancient Semitic religion encompasses the polytheistic religions of the Semitic peoples from the ancient Near East and Northeast Africa. Since the term ''Semitic'' itself represents a rough category when referring to cultures, as opposed to lang ...
s of the
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
and had distinctly Semitic personal names. Their origins were believed to have been the lands immediately to the west of Mesopotamia, in the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
(modern
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
), and so they are regarded as one of the
Semitic peoples Semites, Semitic peoples or Semitic cultures was a term for an ethnic, cultural or racial group.The Semitic Languages
by Stefan Weninger, Walter de Gruyter, 23 Dec 2011, p.361


References


Bibliography

* E. Chiera, ''Sumerian Epics and Myths'', Chicago, 1934, Nos.58 and 112; * E. Chiera, ''Sumerian Texts of Varied Contents'', Chicago, 1934, No.3.; * H. Frankfort, ''AAO'', pp. 54–8; * F.R. Fraus, ''FWH'', I (1954); * G. Roux, ''Ancient Iraq'', London, 1980.


External links


Amorites
in the ''Jewish Encyclopedia'' {{Use dmy dates, date=April 2017 States and territories established in the 3rd millennium BC States and territories disestablished in the 18th century BC States and territories disestablished in the 16th century BC Canaan Hebrew Bible nations Semitic-speaking peoples Ancient peoples of the Near East 21st-century BC establishments Giants in the Hebrew Bible Gilead