THE AMORITES: Canaanite Tribe, Semitic People First Mentioned in the Bible as Descendants of Canaan

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The Amorites 𒈥𒌅 MAR.TU; Akkadian Amurrūm or Tidnum; Hebrew: אֱמוֹרִי ʼĔmōrī; Ancient Greek: Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Northwest Semitic-speaking

people[1] from the Levant who also occupied large parts of southern Mesopotamia[2] from the 21st century BC to the end of the 17th century BC, where they established several prominent city-states in existing locations, such as Isin, Larsa and later notably 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.[3]

The Amorites are also mentioned in the Bible as inhabitants of Canaan[4] both before and after the conquest of the land under Joshua.

Terracotta of a couple, probably Inanna and Dumuzi, Girsu, Amorite period, 2000-1600 BC. Louvre Museum AO 16676.

Origin of the Amorites

In the earliest Sumerian[5] sources concerning the Amorites, beginning about 2400 BC, the land of the Amorites (“the Mar.tu land”) is associated not with Mesopotamia but with the lands to the west of the Euphrates, including Canaan and what was to become Syria by the 3rd century BC, then known as The land of the Amurru, and later as Aram[6] and Eber-Nari.

They appear as an uncivilized and nomadic people in early Mesopotamian writings from Sumer,[7] Akkad,[8] and 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,[9] 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, and Amorite dynasties not only usurped the long-extant native city-states such as Isin, Larsa, Eshnunna, and Kish, but also established new ones, the most famous of which was to become Babylon, although it was initially a minor insignificant state.

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Known Amorites wrote in a dialect of Akkadian found on tablets at Mari dating from 1800–1750 BC. Since the language shows northwest Semitic forms, words and constructions, the Amorite language is a Northwest Semitic language, and possibly one of the Canaanite languages. The main sources for the extremely limited extant knowledge of the Amorite language are the proper names, not Akkadian in style, that are preserved in such texts. The Akkadian language of the native Semitic states, cities and polities of Mesopotamia (Akkad, Assyria, Babylonia, Isin, Kish, Larsa, Ur, Nippur, Uruk, Eridu, Adab, Akshak, Eshnunna, Nuzi, Ekallatum, etc.), was from the east Semitic, as was the Eblaite of the northern Levant.

Homeland

There is a wide range of views regarding the Amorite homeland. One extreme is the view that kur mar.tu/māt amurrim covered the whole area between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian Peninsula 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 is closely related to the better-studied Canaanite languages, both being branches of the Northwestern Semitic languages,[10] as opposed to the South Semitic languages[11] found in the Arabian Peninsula, they are usually considered native to the region around Syria and Transjordan.

History of the Amorites

In the earliest Sumerian texts, all western lands beyond the Euphrates, including the modern Levant, were known as “the land of the mar.tu (Amorites)”. The term appears in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, which describes it in the time of Enmerkar 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 and Akkad (southern Mesopotamia), necessitating the building of a wall to protect Uruk.

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There are also sparse mentions about Amorites in tablets from the East Semitic-speaking kingdom of Ebla, dating from 2500 BC to the destruction of the city in c. 2250 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 Mar.tu was one of the “Four Quarters” surrounding Akkad, along with Subartu/Assyria, Sumer, and Elam. Naram-Sin of Akkad records successful campaigns against them in northern Syria c. 2240 BC, and his successor, Shar-Kali-Sharri, followed suit.

Artifacts from Amorite Kingdom of Mari, 1st half of 2nd millennium BC

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 were obliged to construct a 270-kilometre (170 mi) wall from the Tigris to the Euphrates 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 viewed their nomadic and primitive way of life with disgust and contempt:

The MAR.TU who know no grain…. The MAR.TU who know no house nor town, the boors of the mountains…. The MAR.TU who digs up truffles… who does not bend his knees (to cultivate the land), who eats raw meat, who has no house during his lifetime, who is not buried after death.[12]

“They have prepared wheat and gú-nunuz (grain) as a confection, but an Amorite will eat it without even recognizing what it contains!”

One of the Ramesses III prisoner tiles, speculated by some scholars to represent an Amorite man

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, 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. 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-abum in 1894 BC.

The Elamites finally sacked Ur in c. 2004 BC. Some time later, the Old Assyrian Empire (c. 2050 – 1750 BC) became the most powerful entity in Mesopotamia immediately preceding the rise of the Amorite king Hammurabi of Babylon. The new Assyrian monarchic line was founded by c. 2050 BC; their kings repelled attempted Amorite incursions, and may have countered their influence in the south as well under Erishum I, Ilu-shuma and 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 and Ishme-Dagan, were Amorites who originated in Terqa (now in northeastern Syria).

Downfall of the Amorites

The era ended in northern Mesopotamia, with the defeat and expulsion of the Amorites and Amorite-dominated Babylonians from Assyria by Puzur-Sin and king Adasi between 1740 and 1735 BC, and in the far south, by the rise of the native Sealand Dynasty c. 1730 BC. The Amorites clung on in a once-more small and weak Babylon until the Hittites’ sack of Babylon (c. 1595 BC), which ended the Amorite presence, and brought new ethnic groups, particularly the Kassites, 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 on the Orontes River 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 (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 during the Late Bronze Age collapse. The Arameans 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.

Culture

Language

The language was first attested in the 21st-20th centuries BC as an archaic Northwest Semitic language and was found to be closely related to Canaanite, Aramaic and Sam’alian languages. The language is found in the proper names recorded by scribes from the era of Amorite rulership in Babylonia, during the end of the 3rd millennium BC, and occasionally in ancient Egyptian writings. The Amorite kings communicated with other rulers through the Akkadian language. During the 15th-14th centuries BC, the Amorite city of Qatna received deep influence from the Hurrian language, as scribes of the city incorporated Hurrian elements into their texts. In the 2nd millennium BC, the Ugaritic language is said to be an Amorite dialect, but the exact classification remains uncertain.

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 and husband to Asherah. Amorites often had their god’s name within their own.

Terracotta of a couple, probably Inanna and Dumuzi, Girsu, Amorite period, 2000-1600 BC. Louvre Museum AO 16676.

Biblical Amorites

Semitic people found throughout the Fertile Crescent of the Near East at the beginning of the second millennium B.C. Amorites are first mentioned in the Bible as descendants of Canaan in a list of ancient peoples (Gen 10:16; cf. 1 Chr 1:13–16). Some of these nomadic people seem to have migrated from the Syrian desert into Mesopotamia, others into Palestine.

Akkadian cuneiform inscriptions mention a relatively uncivilized people called Amurrū (translation of the Sumerian Mar-tu), perhaps named for a storm god. They overran the Sumerians and eventually most of Mesopotamia. The city of Mari, on the upper Euphrates River, fell to them about 2000 bc; Eshunna a short time later; Babylon by 1830 B.C.; and finally Assur around 1750 B.C. Mari had been an Akkadian city; archaeological investigations there from 1933 to 1960 uncovered more than 20,000 clay tablets written in Akkadian but full of Amorite words and expressions. The tablets were found in a magnificent 300-room palace of the Amorite king, Zimri-lim, who ruled Mari in the 18th century B.C. until the city fell to King Hammurabi of Babylon. Hammurabi, also an Amorite, was known for his development of agriculture and for his famous law code.

Farther to the west, Amorites had been in Palestine and Syria as early as the third millennium bc. Egyptian texts of the early part of the 19th century bc show that additional waves of Amorite nomads were entering Canaan at that time. Many of their names are similar to the Amorite names from upper Mesopotamia. In fact, many names from the Mari tablets are identical with or similar to names in the patriarchal accounts in Genesis. People named Jacob, Abraham, Levi, and Ishmael were known at Mari, and names similar to Gad and Dan have been found there. Benjamin was known as the name of a tribe. Nahor was found to be the name of a city near Haran. According to Genesis, Abraham lived in Haran many years before going to Canaan. Jacob spent 20 years there and married two women from Haran.

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“Amorite” is considered by some to mean “westerner,” but it seems unlikely that the Amorites themselves or other western Semitic peoples such as the Hebrews would refer to them as westerners. The derivation of the name remains uncertain, although the Sumerians may have thought of the Amorites as westerners. The Amorites referred to frequently in the Bible were the truly western group which settled in Canaan and adopted the Canaanite language and culture. They so predominated there that the term “Amorite” could be used to refer to the whole population of Canaan, whose wickedness in God’s eyes received early biblical mention (Gen 15:16). In some passages the Amorites were simply listed as one of some 10 tribes inhabiting the land (Gen 15:21). At times the Amorites and Hittites were cited as a pair of heathen nations (Ez 16:3); possibly the whole area of Palestine and Syria was represented by Amorites in the southern part plus Hittites in the north.

In general, the western Amorites remained seminomadic. In Abraham’s time they occupied Hazazon-tamar in the area of Kadeshbarnea along with the Amalekites (Gen 14:7). When the cities of the plain were attacked, Abraham was dwelling at Mamre just to the north of Hebron with three Amorite brothers, Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner, who were his allies (Gen 14:13, 24). Later, Abraham’s grandson Jacob (Israel), on his deathbed in Egypt, mentioned to his son Joseph that he had taken land from the Amorites by force (Gen 48:22). The portion of that land given to Joseph included Jacob’s well at Sychar, referred to in the NT (Jn 4:5-6).

Amorites appear prominently in the OT as major obstacles to the occupation of Canaan (the Promised Land) by the Israelites after the exodus. Calling Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt, the Lord spoke of Canaan, then occupied by Amorites and others, as a good land (Ex 3:8, 17; 13:5). When the Israelites were in the wilderness, God promised to destroy those nations (Ex 23:23) and drive them out of the land (Ex 33:2). The Hebrew people were warned not to make covenants with any of them, to intermarry with them, or to tolerate their idol worship (Ex 34:11–17).

Spies sent into the land found Amalekites in the south; Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites in the northern mountains and to the west of the Jordan River, and Canaanites by the sea and along the Jordan (Nm 13:25–29). At that time, there were Amorites east of the Jordan as well (Nm 21:13).

God had instructed Israel to go up from Horeb and conquer the mountain Amorites on the west side of the Jordan all the way to the Mediterranean Sea (Deut 1:7). When they arrived at Kadesh-barnea they were at the foot of those mountains (Deut 1:19, 20). But the people murmured and complained that God had brought them from Egypt, only to be slaughtered by the Amorites. From the spies’ reports, they pictured the Amorites as an awesome people, greater and taller than the Israelites (Dt 1:26–28). At first they refused to trust God enough to go in, so God told them to turn around and head back into the wilderness. Then they changed their minds, stubbornly attacked the Amorites against God’s command, and were badly beaten (Deut 1:34–44). Finally, after 38 additional years in the wilderness, the Israelites once again faced the Amorites, but this time on the east side of the Dead Sea (Nm 21:13). The Amorite king, Sihon, refused to let them pass through his land. The Israelites were drawn up at the Arnon River, which flows into the Dead Sea about two-thirds of the way up its eastern shore.

Transjordan was controlled by two Amorite kings, Sihon and Og. Israel had to face Sihon first. His city, Heshbon, lay due east of the north end of the Dead Sea (Nm 21:21–26). Sihon himself had taken this land from the Moabites. Moses knew of Sihon’s reputation and quoted a poem which boasted of Sihon’s victory over Moab (Nm 21:27–30). Nevertheless, the Israelites defeated Sihon and devastated his kingdom from Dibon, four miles north of the Arnon, to Medeba, seven miles south of Heshbon. King Og, farther to the north, received the same treatment (Nm 21:31–35). King Balak of Moab heard of the Israelite victories and was terrified (Nm 22:2, 3).

Moses reminded the people that by relying on God’s promises, they had taken all of the land of the Amorites east of the Jordan (Deut 2:24–3:10). The conquered territory was given to the tribes of Gad and Reuben and to the half-tribe of Manasseh (Nm 32:33). Then, 40 years after the exodus began, Israel was standing on the east side of the Jordan, having dispossessed the two great Amorite nations there (Deut 1:1–4). But there were other Amorite kingdoms in the hills west of the Jordan, along with other nations (Deut 7:1-2). They were to be destroyed in the same way Sihon and Og had been defeated (Deut 31:3–6).

So famous was the victory of Israel east of the Jordan that Rahab and others in Jericho, west of the Jordan, knew of it and were frightened (Josh 2:8–11). The Israelites crossed the Jordan and took Jericho, but were defeated at the smaller city of Ai in the hill country west of Jericho. They immediately assumed that they would be wiped out by the Amorites in those hills (Josh 7:7).

The Israelites regained God’s favor, however, and defeated Ai. Their victory made an impression on the other kingdoms west of the Jordan in the hills, valleys, and coastlands up to Lebanon, who allied to fight Joshua (Jos 9:1, 2). Gibeon, an Amorite city seven miles southwest of Ai, made peace with Israel, putting more fear in the hearts of the remaining kings (Josh 10:1, 2). Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, was evidently the leader of the Amorite kings west of the Jordan (Jos 10:3). Jerusalem was only eight miles southeast of Gibeon. Adoni-zedek called together the kings of Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon, all within 50 miles of Jerusalem, to fight against Gibeon and Joshua (Josh 10:3–5).

Joshua came to Gibeon’s defense and routed the Amorites, chasing them to the northwest and southwest. The Lord fought for Israel, raining hailstones on the Amorites at Azekah, southwest of Gibeon, and causing the sun to stand still in order to provide a longer battle day (Josh 10:6–14).

In the far north, Jabin, king of Hazor, rallied the Canaanites and remaining Amorites all the way north to Mt Hermon (Josh 11:1–5). But they too were overcome (Josh 11:10–23). Toward the end of Joshua’s career, he reminded the people that it was the Lord who had given them the land of the Amorites (Josh 24:1–18).

After the occupation of Canaan by Israel, Amorites still present in the land chased Dan’s tribe into the mountains and continued to live near Aijalon, 17 miles west of Jerusalem. They still held the slopes toward the south end of the Dead Sea as well (Jgs 1:34–36). In the period of the judges the Amorites and their gods posed a constant threat to Israel’s well-being (Jgs 6:10).

At the end of the period of the judges, relations between Israel and the Amorites improved (1 Sm 7:14). David continued to honor Joshua’s treaty with the Amorite remnant of Gibeon (2 Sm 21:2–6). Solomon conscripted his labor forces from the Amorites and other peoples still surviving from Israelite conquest (1 Kgs 9:20–22).

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The OT treats the deliverance of the Amorites and their land into the hands of Israel as a great event comparable with the exodus itself, a victory to be remembered and celebrated (Pss 135:9–12; 136:13–26). If the people forgot, the Lord reminded them through his prophets (Am 2:9, 10). Long after Sihon and Og had been defeated, the area east of the Jordan was still remembered as the land of “Sihon king of the Amorites” (1 Kgs 4:19). When the kings of Israel and Judah began to fail God, the memory of the Amorites provided a standard of comparison of evil. King Ahab of Israel “did very abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the people of Israel” (1 Kgs 21:26). King Manasseh of Judah did “things more wicked than all that the Amorites did, who were before him” (2 Kgs 21:11). Thus a cycle of iniquity was completed, and Israel too was driven out of the land. Yet even after the Babylonian exile, an Amorite remnant was still capable of corrupting Jewish devotion to God through idolatry and intermarriage (Ezr 9:1, 2). The Jews’ continuing fascination with idolatry led God to address Jerusalem, representing the Jewish people, through the prophet Ezekiel: “Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite” (Ez 16:45). In the biblical view, the Amorites stood for everything that is abominable in the sight of God.

By Jack B. Scott[13]

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” warriors who at one point dominated the Israelites. The theory originated with Felix von Luschan, and did fit then-current models of Indo-European migrations; Luschan later abandoned this theory. Houston Stewart Chamberlain claimed that King David and Jesus were both Aryans of Amorite extraction. The argument was repeated by the Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg.

However, the Amorites certainly spoke exclusively a Semitic language, followed Semitic religions of the Near East and had distinctly Semitic personal names. Their origins were believed to have been the lands immediately to the west of Mesopotamia, in the Levant (modern Syria), and so they are regarded as one of the Semitic peoples.

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Amurru kingdom

The geopolitic map of the Middle East during the Amarna Period, before Amurru became part of the Hittite zone of influence

Religion

 
Ancient Levantine religion
Government Monarchy
 
• c. 14th century BC
Abdi-Ashirta
• c. 14th century BC
Aziru
Historical era Bronze Age
 
• Established
c. 2000 BC
• Disestablished
c. 1200 BC
Today part of
  • Syria
  • Lebanon
The geopolitic map of the Middle East during the Amarna Period, before Amurru became part of the Hittite zone of influence

Amurru was an Amorite kingdom established c. 2000 B.C., 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 classified as a westernmost or Amorite-specific dialect of Ugaritic. The kingdom and its people were synonymous with their god Amurru, also known as Martu, a storm and weather deity and patron god of the unknown Mesopotamian city of Ninab, titled as bêl šadê and sometimes compared to the Canaanite and Mesopotamian god Hadad/Iškur.

The first documented leader of Amurru was Abdi-Ashirta (14th century B.C.), under whose leadership Amurru was part of the Egyptian empire. His son Aziru made contact with the Hittite king Suppiluliuma I and eventually defected to the Hittites.

The Amurru kingdom was destroyed around 1200 B.C.

Attribution: This article incorporates some text from the public domain: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Edward D. Andrews, Jack B. Scott

Article Sources

  • 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.

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[1] Encyclopædia Britannica online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. Retrieved 30 November 2012.

[2] Mesopotamia (Ancient Greek: Μεσοποταμία Mesopotamíā; Arabic: بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن Bilād ar-Rāfidayn; Classical Syriac: ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, Ārām-Nahrīn or ܒܝܬ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, Bēṯ Nahrīn) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent. Mesopotamia occupies modern Iraq.

[3] Amurru was an Amorite kingdom established c. 2000 BC, in a region spanning present-day western and north-western Syria and northern Lebanon.

[4] Canaan (; Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – Kenāʿn; Hebrew: כְּנַעַן – Kənáʿan, in pausa כְּנָעַן – Kənāʿan; Biblical Greek: Χανααν – Khanaan; Arabic: كَنْعَانُ – Kan‘ān) was a Semitic-speaking civilization and region in the Ancient Near East during the late 2nd millennium BC. Canaan had significant geopolitical importance in the Late Bronze Age Amarna Period (14th century BC) as the area where the spheres of interest of the Egyptian, Hittite, Mitanni and Assyrian Empires converged or overlapped. Much of present-day knowledge about Canaan stems from archaeological excavation in this area at sites such as Tel Hazor, Tel Megiddo, En Esur, and Gezer.

[5] Sumer (/ˈsuːmər/) is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is also one of the first civilizations in the world, along with ancient Egypt, Elam, the Caral-Supe civilization, the Indus Valley civilization, the Minoan civilization, and ancient China. Living along the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, Sumerian farmers grew an abundance of grain and other crops, the surplus from which enabled them to form urban settlements.

[6] Aram (Aramaic: ܐܪܡ, romanized: Orom; Hebrew: אֲרָם, romanized: Arām), also known as Aramea, was a historical region including several Aramean kingdoms covering much of the present-day Syria, southeastern Turkey, and parts of Lebanon and Iraq. At its height, Aram stretched from the Mount Lebanon range eastward across the Euphrates, including parts of the Khabur River valley in northwestern Mesopotamia on the border of modern Iraq.

[7] Sumer (/ˈsuːmər/) is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is also one of the first civilizations in the world, along with ancient Egypt, Elam, the Caral-Supe civilization, the Indus Valley civilization, the Minoan civilization, and ancient China. Living along the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, Sumerian farmers grew an abundance of grain and other crops, the surplus from which enabled them to form urban settlements.

[8] The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. It was centered in the city of Akkad () and its surrounding region.

[9] The 4.2-kiloyear BP aridification event was one of the most severe climatic events of the Holocene epoch. It defines the beginning of the current Meghalayan age in the Holocene epoch.

[10] Northwest Semitic is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It emerged from Proto-Semitic in the Early Bronze Age.

[11] South Semitic is a putative branch of the Semitic languages. Semitic itself is a branch of the larger Afro-Asiatic language family found in (North and East) Africa and Western Asia.

[12] E. Chiera, Sumerian Epics and Myths, Chicago, 1934, Nos.58 and 112.

[13] Jack B. Scott, “Amorites,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 75–77.

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