PART 5  –  Ch.XXXIII.14

The Pelasgians or proto – Latins (Arimii)

(The Pelasgians from the northern parts of the Danube and the Black Sea)

 

PART 5

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XXXIII. 14. Migrations of the Arimii in Syria and Palestina.

 

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 other times.

The Greeks named the inhabitants of this vast region Syri (Syroi). 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. 2. 2).

 

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 Jordan:

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 Ch.XXXIII. 16).

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 Pelasgian Arimii.

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 and Ruminus.

The most numerous and bellicose population of Palestine was formed, during the times of the Hebrew invasion, by the so-called AmorraeiAmorraioi). 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 generally called.

 

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 land …and Balac … the king of Moab (on the south-eastern parts of the sea of Jordan), rose and fought against Israel … 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 … choose today whom you want to serve: the gods, whom your parents had served beyond the river, or the gods in whose land you are dwelling

To this speech of Joshua, the people answered: “Far from us to desert Jehovah and serve other gods … Jehovah has chased away all other peoples, the Amoreii, the inhabitants of the land”.

 

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