Pelasgians or proto Latins (Arimii)
Pelasgians from the northern parts of the Danube and the Black Sea)
14. Migrations of the Arimii in Syria
One of the most
important provinces of the Romans in Asia had been Syria, which constituted
in fact an extensive military frontier of the empire in the parts towards the
Orient, especially against the Parthii. The limits of this province were: at
north Taurus mountains, at east the Euphrates, at south Arabia and Egypt. Palestine and Phoenicia had been sometimes
annexed to Syria, and separated at
The Greeks named
the inhabitants of this vast region Syri
But their national name, as Strabo (lib.
I. 2. 34; ibid. lib. xVI. 4. 27) and Flavius
Josephus (Antiq. Jud. Lib. 1. 6. 4) tell us, had been that of Aramaei.
In the sacred
traditions of the Hebrews, the land of Syria figures under the
name of Aram. According to
Mosaic genealogy, Aram had been a son of
Sem, the son of Noah (Genesis, c. 10). The descendants of Aram had spread later,
in the course of time, over Syria, Armenia, Mesopotamia and Arabia, so that all these
nations had constituted in the beginning only one people called Aramei and Arimi (Strabo. I. XIII.
c. 4. 6).
One part of the
Arameii of Syria appears in the Roman epoch as the Rhamaeenses (Harster,
Die Nationen d. Romerreiches, p. 45). The nomads from near the Euphrates, Strabo tells us (lib. xVI. 2. 10), were
also called Rhambaei, certainly a
variation of pronunciation of Ramnaei.
A soldier from the
regions of Palmyra is mentioned on a
Roman inscription from Dacia, with the name Salmas Rami (C. I. L. vol. III. nr. 837), meaning the son of Ram. We must also
consider as Syrian Abillahas Rummei
miles coh. II Sardorum (C. I. L.
vol. VIII. nr. 9198).
Finally, Laodicea, one of the
principal cities of Syria, had been called
previously Ramitha and Ramanthas, according to Stephanos Byzanthinos.
During the Roman
domination, some tribes of Syria still had some
ancient traditions about being part of the same ethnic family of the Romans.
Zenobia, the daughter of a prince with the name Amru, from near the Euphrates, the
famous queen of Palmyra and of the Orient, spoke a popular Latin language; but
she admitted that she was ashamed to converse in the literary Latin language.
She gave her sons, Timolaus, Herennian and Balbat (Vaballath) a Roman
education, and forced them to speak only in Latin (Treb. Pollionis, XXX tyr. 26. 27. 29; Fl. Vopisci, Aurel. C. 38). She herself appeared at the people
assemblies dressed in the costume of the Roman emperors. She wanted to make of Palmyra a rival of Rome in the Orient, and
said that by origin she descended from the ancient kings of Macedonia.
How powerful had
once been the Arimic element in Asia Minor, and in the regions of the
Euphrates, results also from the fact that in older times all the peoples of
Asia, from the Tigris to the Mediterranean were called Aramei and Arimi. In the
Middle Ages, the entire territory of Asia subjected to the Byzantine empire was called Romania (Du Cange, Gloss. Med. lat. see Romania; Ibid. Apud
Tudebodum lib. 7. p. 781), which was a geographical term in a newer form,
substituting in reality an older one.
According to the
ancient Greek traditions, the origin of the Arimic population from Asia was reduced to the
eastern parts of Europe, particularly to the lower Danube. According to Hesiodus theogony, Asia was a daughter of
the river Oceanos or ancient Istru (Theog. v. 359). Similarly, according to the
historian Andronus from Halikarnassus, Thrace, Europe, Libya and Asia had been daughters
of the river Oceanos (Fragm Hist. gr.
II. p. 349. 1; Apollodorus, Bibl. I.
Palestine until the
invasion of the Hebrews in the 16th century bc, the eastern and
western regions of the Jordan, covered mostly in
woods and extensive pastures, had had an Arimic population. In the Old
Testament are mentioned a number of citadels and fortified towns of the
indigenous population of Canaan, which the
Hebrews, arrived from Egypt, had occupied (Book of Joshua, ch. 12. 13. 15. 24; Flavius Josephus, Antiq. Jud.).
Of these we mention
here the following:
In Galead, the
region beyond the Jordan Ramoth,
Ramath-Haram, Ramatha (Aramatha or Arimanus), Armatha (Ramatha, Ramatho, Aramatho).
On this side of the
In the tribe
Naphtali: Rama (Ruma), Horem. In the tribe Zabulon: Remon. In the tribe Benjamin: Rama (Ruma s. Arimathia). In the tribe
Dan: Gat-Rimon. In the tribe Judah: Rimon (s. Remon) and Horma. In the tribe Simeon: Remon, Arma or Horma.
A branch of the
Ante-Lebanon mountains, which stretched on the northern parts of Palestine, bears in the
sacred books of the Hebrews the name Ermon
or Hermon. From Ermon towards the Euphrates began the region
of the Basan, where the famous king Og, a remnant of the former giants,
reigned, in the times of Moses and Joshua (Book
of Joshua, ch. 12).
Another mountain in
the region of the Moabites, on the eastern parts of the Dead Sea, had the name Abarim, where had reigned in the times
of Moses, king Balac, (see
On this mountain,
as the sacred traditions of the Hebrews tell us, Moses had died, before
entering with the people of Israel in the Promised
Land (Deuteron. c. 32, 49).
As we see, the
historical topography of Canaan shows us how old is the form of the name Remon and Rimon, used by the Hebrews from Egypt as an ethnic name for the
The same name is
also presented in the Egyptian inscriptions from the 16th century
bc, under the form Remen, and in the
sacred books of the Romans, under the form Rumon
The most numerous
and bellicose population of Palestine was formed, during
the times of the Hebrew invasion, by the so-called Amorraei (Amorraioi). This ethnographic term
had been changed from Aromaei = Aramaei (we find a similar example of
transposition of consonants in the Latin word forma, Greek morfa), the name by which all the
populations of Syria, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Arabia had once been
The Book of Joshua, which forms, so to
speak, the epic writing about the conquest of Canaan, presents an
interesting picture about the ethnographic situation of Palestine at the time of the
invasion of the Hebrews.
In chapter 24 of this book we find the
following speech of Joshua, towards the old men, the chiefs and the judges of
the Hebrews: So speaks Jehovah towards the people of Israel: And I took you,
and your parents, out of Egypt
and I brought you in the land of the Amoreii, who dwelt beyond the Jordan
and they fought with you, and I gave them in your hands, and you mastered their
the king of Moab
(on the south-eastern parts of the sea of Jordan), rose and fought against
and I saved you from his hands. And you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho, and the
inhabitants of Jericho, the Amoreii, fought against us
. and I
gave them into your hands
and I chased away the two kings of the Amoreii, but
neither with your sword, nor with your bow; and I gave you a land, for which
you have not labored, and citadels, which you have not built, and you dwell in
them; and vineyards and olives, which you have not planted, you eat
today whom you want to serve: the gods, whom your parents had served beyond the
river, or the gods in whose land you are
To this speech of
Joshua, the people answered: Far from us to desert Jehovah and serve other
Jehovah has chased away all other peoples, the Amoreii, the inhabitants of the land.